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Peter Levenda’s quest for the truth began in 1979 while reading Aftermath: Martin Bormann and the Forth Reich, by Ladislas Farago. This book revealed how Hitler’s former Reichsleiter had escaped to South America after the war pretending to be a priest, protected by the “underground railroad” of Nazi sympathizers that operated and still operate all over that continent, including many if not most of the police and military. Levenda came across a description of one of Bormann’s many hideouts, a Branch Davidian-like cult compound called “Colonia Dignidad” (Colony of Righteousness), which was, as Farago described, “the weirdest encampment of the postwar world, housing a sect that combines Nazism and vodooism.”
Intrigued as he was by such an odd combination, Mr. Levenda decided to check the place out for himself, and actually flew down to Chile to conduct the investigation. He did manage to penetrate the compound, but only briefly, and this lead to his being chased out of Chile by a series of unidentified agents, then later fired from his job at “a large, multinational corporation that did a lot of business with the Chilean military.” It also lead to the research that eventually culminated in Levenda’s terrifying, spellbinding book, Unholy Alliance: A History of the Nazi Involvement With the Occult .
It all started with the Thule Gesellschaft, a pagan, anti-Semitic, right-wing aristocratic society founded by a Freemason and Eastern mystic named Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff. They met every Saturday in Munich’s Four Season’s Hotel to discuss things like runes, racial evolution, Nordic mythology and German nationalism. Registered under the name “Thule Gesellschaft” as a “literary-cultural society”, in order to fool the communist Red Army now controlling Munich, this group had originally been known as the Germanenorden, or the German Order Walvater of the Holy Grail. According to Levenda, “The Germanenorden had an impressive series of initiatory rituals, replete with knights in shining armor, wise kings, mystical bards and forest nymphs”, including a Masonic-style program of secrecy, initiation and mutual cooperation.” But they were not copying the ideological aspects of Freemasonry. As Levenda writes, “What the Germanenorden became was, essentially, an anti-Masonry: a Masonic-style society dedicated to the eradication of Freemasonry itself.” Their symbol was a long dagger on top of a swastika, and their beliefs had been influenced largely by the writings of Guido von List and Lanz von Liebenfels, two men who will feature prominently in our story.
Liebenfels had founded the neo-pagan, swastika-waving “Order of the New Templars” on Christmas Day, 1907, along similar ideological lines. In that same year, occult researcher Guido von List began The List Society part of a then-developing “völkish” (folkish) movement extolling the virtues of Norse heritage - heritage which could be traced by reading the Edda, a compilation of Icelandic legends which Hitler would later take great interest in. The völkish movement itself was based in part on the ideas of Madam Helena Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society famous for her books Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine . She wrote that humanity was descended from a series of imperfect races which had once ruled the earth, and which all had a common Atlantean origin dating back millions of years, culminating in the Aryan race - which had at one point possessed supernatural powers but had since lost them.
She also romanticized about the occult significance of the swastika, of Lucifer, “The Light-Bearer”, and of a cabal of spiritual “Hidden Masters” called the Great White Brotherhood, who guided human evolution from their abode in the Himalayas and who Blavatsky herself purported to channel during her many self-induced trances. And the philosophy of List and Liebenfels took this a bit further, to the extent that the Aryan race was the only “true” humanity, and that the Jews, along with a host of other undesirables, or “minderwertigen” (“beings of inferior value”) were sapping the race of its strength and purity through the evil machination of Christianity, Freemasonry, capitalism and Communism. They believed that the Aryan race had come from a place called Thule, located at the North Pole, where there was an entrance to a vast underground area populated by giants. “Among the völkish cults”, writes Levenda, “it was believed that - as soon as the Germans had purified the planet of the pollution of the inferior races - these Hidden Masters, these Supermen from Thule, would make themselves known, and the link which had been lost between Man and God would be forged anew.”
These were the beliefs of the members of the Thule Gesellschaft when they met on November 9, 1918 to discuss something of immediate concern; the Communist control of Munich. After a rousing speech by Sebottendorf, the Thule Society began to prepare for a counter-revolution, stockpiling weapons and forming alliances with other like-minded groups, such and the Pan-Germans, the German School Bund and the Hammerbund. The following year, on April 7, a Bavarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed in Munich, causing the Prime Minister of Bavaria to run off to Bamburg in order to prevent a total Communist take-over of the government. Six days later the Thule-organized Palm Sunday Putsch failed to overcome the Communists in Munich, and now the Thule members were on the Red Army’s “most wanted” list. Sebottendorf got busy organizing an army of Freikorps (Freecorps) to counter-attack. (One of the units of the Freikorps, the Ehrhardt Brigade, later became part of the German Army, and eventually, part of the S.S.) On April 26, the Red Army raided Thule headquarters and began making arrests, including the arrest of the well-connected Prince von Thurn und Taxis. On April 30, Walpurgisnacht, they were executed in the Luitpold High School courtyard. The following day, their obituaries were published in Sebottendorff’s newspaper Münchener Beobachter (which would evolve one year later in to the official Nazi publication, Völkischer Beobachter.) The citizens of Munich became outraged. The Thule Society organized a citizen rebellion, which was joined by the 20,000-member Freikorps, and together they marched, “beneath a swastika flag, with swastikas painted on their helmets, singing a swastika hymn.” By May 3, after much bloodshed and destruction, the Communists in Munich were defeated. But there was much work to be done. The Soviet threat was still very real. With the help of the local police and military, the Thule Gesellschaft began organizing a more full-scale national revolt, using connections with society’s wealthy intellectuals. They also began recruiting among Germany’s working class by forming a group called the German Worker’s Party, which met regularly in beer halls to discuss the threat of Jews, Communists, and Freemasons. This group would later become the National Socialist German Workers’ Party - The Nazi Party - and in November 1923, they would make their first attempt at national takeover, the failed Beer Hall Putsch, lead by a man who had originally been sent by the German Army to spy on them - Adolf Hitler.
We all know what the Nazi party went on too accomplish. What most people do not know is the extent to which those actions were inspired by the occult beliefs of their perpetrators. As Levenda writes, “The most extreme aims of the Thule Society would all eventually become official policy of the Third Reich, while its purely metaphysical and occult characteristics were adopted wholeheartedly by the S.S.” Hitler himself was fascinated by the occult. While he was a college student he began reading Von Liebenfels’ magazine, Ostara. Later in 1909, while he was living in poverty in a men’s dormitory and selling his paintings on the street, Hitler actually met Liebenfels in his office. He is said to have arrived looking “so distraught and so impoverished that the New Templar himself gave Hitler free copies of Ostara and bus fare back home.” Hitler’s friend Josef Greiner recalls in his memoirs how obsessed young Adolf was with astrology, religion, occultism, magic and yoga. Hitler loved Wagner, as we know, especially The Ring Cycle, Parsifal, Lohengrin, and Rienzi. It was from Wagner that Hitler gained his affinity for knighthood, chivalry, and the Quest for the Holy Grail - a pagan, Teutonic Grail. In 1915, Hitler was at war, and while in the trenches, wrote a poem, one which “sings the praises of Wotan, the Teutonic Father God, and of runic letters, magic spells, and magic formulas.” So there is no doubt that Hitler’s interest in occultism and paganism ran deep. There is doubt, however, as to whether or not Hitler actually performed any magical operations himself. According to Levenda, this was not in his nature, a nature inclined more towards accomplishing things here on Earth, in the 3rd dimension. He did not have the time and the patience necessary for real spiritual endeavors.
According to In fact, a number of people deeply involved in the occult would have great influence on him and play essential roles in the development of the Third Reich. It would do us well to examine them one by one.
Hitler, while working as the leader of the German Worker’s Party, became friends with Thulist Deitrich Eckast, who published a newspaper called Auf Gut Deutsch (In Good German), which “ranks with the Völkischer Beobachter as a racist sheer with intellectual pretensions.” Eckart had a tremendous effect on Hitler, and it was he who first introduced Hitler to all the wealthy and powerful people he needed make his crusade possible, including Henry Ford, who would later contribute “vital financial support” to the Nazi party. From Eckart, Hitler learned a great deal about the esoteric sciences, and it is said that they occasionally attended séances together and talked to ghosts. Eckart, who died after the Beer Hall Putsch, is quoted as saying, “Hitler will dance, but it is I who plays the tune.”
Eckart’s protégé, and soon Hitler’s as well, was Alfred Rosenburg, a man who would later become “one of the architects of official Nazi policies.” One of these policies was that all of the Masonic temples in all of the Nazis’ occupied territories were to be raided, and the goods shipped back to Rosenberg himself. This was done by Franz Six and Otto Ohlendorf, both occultists. Rosenberg was also friends with another occultist named Walther Darré, who became agricultural minister of the Third Reich. “Together”, writes Levenda, “they ran around the nation drumming up support for an official state religion based on the worship of the Old Gods, a religion that included purifying the Aryan race of elements that were in the process of polluting it and diluting the strength of its blood.”
Gutberlet was an astrologer, a shareholder in the Völkischer Beobachter who had been Hitler’s close friend since the days of the German Worker’s Party in 1919. In the memoirs of Walter Schellenberg he is described as “a Munich physician who belonged to the intimate circle around Hitler.” Gutberlet believed in the sidereal pendulum, an astrological device which he claimed gave him the power to sense at once the presence of any Jews or persons of partial Jewish ancestry, and to pick them out in any group of people. Hitler availed himself of Gutberlet’s mystical powers and had many discussions with him on racial questions.
A friend of Hitler’s from way back, he had been arrested at the Beer Hall Putsch with him in 1923, and had transcribed Hitler’s Mein Kampf (originally titled Four and a Half Years of Struggle Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice) while they were both in prison. He later became Hitler’s Deputy Führer. He was an “intimate” of the Thule Society, and was way into the occult. Hess introduced Hitler to one of his professors, Karl Haushofter, a man with an interest in astrology who claimed clairvoyance. Haushofter later came to wield considerable power in Germany by founding the Deutsche Akadamie, and by heading the University of Munich’s Institute Geopolitik, “A kind of think tank-cum-intelligence agency”, according to Levenda. He was vital in forming the Nazi alliances with Japan and South America, and was responsible for the adoption of the Lebensraum (“Living Room”) policy, which stated that, “a sovereign nation, to ensure the survival of its people, had a right to annex the territory of other sovereign nations to feed and house itself.”
The S.S. (Schuzstafel) was originally formed as a personal bodyguard to Hitler, and numbered around 300 when Heinrich Himmler joined. But when he rose to its leadership in 1929, things changed a bit. Four years later, membership had soared to 52,000. He established headquarters at a medieval castle called Wewelsburg, where his secret inner order met once a year.. According to Walther Schellenberg’s memoirs, “Each member had his own armchair with an engraved silver nameplate, and each had to devote himself to a ritual of spiritual exercises aimed mainly at mental concentration…. The focal point of Wewelsburg, evidently owing much to the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, was a great dining hall with an oaken table to seat twelve picked from the senior Gruppenführers. The walls were to be adorned with their coats of arms.” Underneath this dining hall there was kept a so-called “realm of the dead”, a circular well in which these coats of arms would be burnt and the ashes worshipped after the “knight” had died. (There are tales of Himmler using the severed heads of deceased S.S. officers to communicate with ascended masters.) In addition to this, each knight had his own room, “decorated in accordance with one of the great ancestors of Aryan majesty.” Himmler’s own room was dedicated to a Saxon King Henry the Fowler, whose ghost Himmler sometimes conversed with.
Outside of the inner order, SS officers were discouraged from participating in Christian ceremonies, including weddings and christenings, and celebrated the Winter Solstice instead of Christmas. The traditional day of gift exchange was switched to the day of the summer solstice celebration. Writes Levenda, “These ceremonies were replete with sacred fires, torchlit processions, and invocations of Teutonic deities, all performed by files of young blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan supermen.” Although Himmler admired the ceremonial nature of Catholicism and modeled the S.S. partially on the Order of the Jesuits, he also despised Christianity for what he considered its weak, masochistic nature. He held further resentment because of the persecution of German witches during the Inquisition.
Himmler, along with Richard Darré, was responsible for absorbing The Ahnenerbe Society “a kind of seminary and teaching college for the future leaders of the Thousand Year Reich”, into the S.S. The Ahnenerbe was devoted to some odd völkish studies, each of which had a subdivision dedicated to it: “Celtic Studies”; Externsteine (near Wewelsburg), where the world-tree Yggdrasil was supposed to reside; Icelandic research; Tibetan research; runic studies; a strange new twist on physics called the “World Ice Theory”; and an archeological research in an effort to find evidence of past Aryan presence in remote locations all over the world, such as South America, giving rise to “Aryans discovered America” stories. Another theory propounded by Himmler was that babies that had been conceived in cemeteries would inherit the spirits of whoever was buried there, and actually published lists of cemeteries that were good for breeding because of the Teutonic heroes resting therein. Himmler was infatuated with the concept of the Holy Grail, and hired researchers to try and prove that the Grail was actually a Nordic pagan artifact.
According to Levenda, “Himmler was obsessed by the idea that British Intelligence was being run by the Rosicrucian order, and that occult adepts were in charge of MI5.” Whether or not that was true, the Germans were certainly not the only participants in the war using the power of magic to their advantage. Levenda provides the details of a “Cult Counterstrike” organized by the intelligence agencies of the U.S. and Britain, an effort centering around the “most evil man in the world”, the Great Beast 666, Aleister Crowley.
Crowley had gone to live in New York during WWI after being rejected for military service by the British government, and began writing “pro-German propaganda” for a magazine called The Fatherland, published by George Viereck. Crowley took over as editor. He later claimed that he had really been working for British Intelligence, because, “his articles were so outlandish that the journal was reduced to absurdity, a caricature of serious political discussion, which would help the British cause more than harm it.”
There is some evidence to suggest that Crowley was working for MI5 during this time, spying on his fellow OTO initiate Karl Germer, a German intelligence agent, so perhaps his excuse for working for The Fatherland is sound. Whatever the case, he was definitely hired by MI5 during WWII. Crowley had become friends with author Dennis Wheatley, well-known for a number of fiction and non-fiction books based on the occult, who had once worked for Winston Churchill’s Joint Planning Staff.
He had been introduced to Crowley by a journalist named Tom Driberg, who would later become a spy for MI5 as well, and who would come into possession of Crowley’s diaries shortly after his death in 1947. Wheatley also introduced Crowley to yet another MI5 agent, Maxwell Knight. Knight was the real historical figure behind the fictional character “M” in all the James Bond novels, written by Knight’s friend in the Department of Naval Intelligence, Ian Fleming. Crowley met Knight for dinner at Wheatley’s house, and it was there that Crowley agreed to take them both on as magic students. Later, Ian Fleming dreamed up a way to use Crowley’s expertise in a scheme against the Germans.
The scheme involved an Anglo-German organization known as “The Link”, a supposed “cultural society” which had once been under the leadership of Sir Barry Domville, Director of Naval Intelligence from 1927 to 1930. The Link had been investigated by Maxwell Knight in the 1930s because of its involvement in German spy operations, and was soon dissolved after much incriminating evidence was found.
As Levenda describes it, Fleming, “thought that if the Nazis could be made to believe that The Link was still in existence, they could use it as bait for the Nazi leadership. The point was to convince the Nazis that The Link had sufficient influence to overthrow the Churchill government and thereby to install a more pliable British government, one which would gladly negotiate a separate peace with Hitler.”
The suggestion came in the form of fake astrological advice passed on to the gullible Rudolf Hess, who was already under the delusion that only he could talk the British into peace with Germany, and that it was his destiny to do so. One of his staff astrologers, Dr. Ernst Schulte-Strathaus, under British employ, encouraged Hess to make his mission to England on May 10, 1941 a significant date because of a rare conjunction of six planets in the sign of Taurus.
The Duke of Hamilton was also enlisted to let Hess know that he would be happy to entertain him should he plan to go through with such an endeavor. So Hess, a trained pilot, embarked on a rather dangerous solo flight to the British Isles, parachuting into Scotland decked out in various occult symbols, where he was immediately arrested by the waiting Brits. According to Levenda, “Fleming tried to obtain permission for Crowley to debrief Hess in order to develop intelligence on the occult scene in the Third Reich and particularly the Nazi leadership.” But this permission was denied, and Hess spent the rest of his days in prison not being much use to anybody. Levenda finds this suspicious, for, “What could have been a major propaganda coup against the Nazis went utterly wasted, as if by tacit agreement on both sides.”
After Hess’ arrest, Hitler denounced him as a crazed madman, and began persecuting astrologers and occultists in his own domains more so than ever before. Crowley continued trying to help the Allied cause, but most of his ideas were rejected. One, however, while initially dismissed, was later implemented. This involved dropping occult pamphlets on the German countryside that predicted a dire outcome for the war and depicted the Nazi leadership as Satanic. A forgery of a popular German astrological magazine called Zenit was created and dropped onto enemy battlefields. It was set for full-scale distribution, but the delivery was intercepted by the Gestapo before it could be completed.
Besides Crowley, there were other occultists involved in the fight against the Third Reich. One of Crowley’s protégés, Jack Parsons, who was the Head of the Agapé O.T.O. Lodge in California as well as a charter member of both Cal-Tech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, invented the “Greek Fire” rocket propellant which was widely used by the United States Navy between 1944 and 1945. According to Levenda, it was “a solution that could have only come from someone with a working knowledge of the arcane lore of alchemy and magic.” (1) There was also a Golden Dawn initiate named Sam Untermyer, an attorney and wealthy philanthropist once called a “Satanist” by a British newspaper. Untermyer started the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights and the World-Anti-Nazi Council, which both promoted the boycott of German products. He also donated money to the hunt for Nazi agents coming into New York. And with the help of a man named Richard Rollins, he started a secret society called “The Board”, which engaged in counterespionage against Nazi groups who were recruiting in the United States.
The World War II that Levenda describes is a magic war, and a holy war - a war in which both sides considered themselves to be fighting the forces of evil. It is a war operated behind the scenes by mystical adepts using their esoteric knowledge of symbolism, astrology, meditation, astral travel, clairvoyance, and mind control against the enemy. It was a war inspired by age-old beliefs in the Elder Gods of Europe’s ancient past. In the pages that follow, Mr. Levenda discusses that war with the Editor of Dagobert’s Revenge.