The Occult and the Third Reich

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Julianus reviews The Occult and the Third Reich: The Mystical Origins of Nazism and the Search for the Holy Grail by Jean-Michel Angebert, translated by Lewis A M Sunberg in the archive of Bkwyrm Occult Book Reviews.

Angeber The Occult and the Third Reich

This is based upon the researches of a fellow named Otto Rahn (1904-1939), whose book, Crusade Against the Grail, earned him a job in the “Ancestral Heritage” bureau of the S.S. Rahn’s thesis was that the Cathars were the keepers of the Holy Grail, which was a stone tablet inscribed with secret knowledge. This was kept at the Cathar fortress of Montségur and later smuggled out and hidden before the place was taken by the forces of the Albigensian Crusade.

So far so good, but Rahn evidently linked this to Nazi-style “Aryan” racial theories, and Angebert (apparently a pseudonym for at least two people) uses this to derive a whole “system” of Nazified occultism that makes Hitler the heir of the Cathars, Manichaeans and Gnostics. All this is accomplished with a grasp of religious and occult history that makes Kenneth Grant look good! In fact if you snip out the occasional moralising on the horrors of World War II, this book could be a “primer” of Aryan-supremacist mysticism. Now, even assuming that Adolph and company were really hard-core Black Magicians (which is more than a little doubtful), it is obvious on the face of it that they must have been blithering incompetents, (think about it: they sacrifice tens of millions of innocent human beings and they can’t even win a lousy war!)

The main problem with this book is that Angebert (whoever they are) has effectively accepted a Nazi racial interpretation of all occult lore as unquestionable fact. That there might be a non-racist interpretation of anything does not even occur to our author(s), who seem ready to assume that any reference to an “elite” or “elect” group in any tradition in all of history MUST pertain to some sort of Nazi-style “master race” doctrine. Never mind that this is clearly not the case, or that even the concept of a “biological salvation” (if we may so call it) is virtually inconceivable before the Nineteenth Century and thus is more a product of the Scientific Revolution than any “occult tradition.”