The library of books about the occult accumulated by Heinrich Himmler, Nazi SS chief, was discovered this month in the Czech Republic.
He reportedly believed that the occult and mysticism were key to Aryan supremacy. Himmler like many other prominent Nazis believed that much could be understood about the Aryan Race, by studying the past and especially by studying arcane rituals and beliefs. Himmler had long had connections with mystics and occultists.
He was not alone in the Nazi Party, in his interest in the occult. Many historians have argued that the movement was influenced by the mystical German movement, the Volkisch and its philosophy. Himmler was only one of many Nazi’s who collected books on the occult. Although it is generally recognized that Himmler was particularly influenced by mysticism and the occult. His beliefs influenced the way that he ran the SS and may account for their extreme brutality during the war.
The 13,000-volume library was found in a depot of the National Library of Czech Republic near Prague. The depot had not been accessed since the 1950’s.
Bjørn Helge, Norwegian Masonic researcher, told Verdens Gang (a Norwegian newspaper) that some of the books were seized from the Norwegian Order of Freemasons in Oslo during Nazi occupation of the country. Himmler had many occult books taken from countries occupied by the Germans.
Himmler founded the H Sonderkommando in 1935. The ‘H’ stood for ‘Hexe’ which is the German word for ‘witch.’ Their mission was to collect as much information as possible on sorcery, the occult and the supernatural.
The majority of the collection was known as the ‘Witches Library.’ It focused on witches and their persecution in medieval Germany.
Himmler believed that the Roman Catholic Church attempted to eliminate the German Aryan race with witch hunts.
He learned that one of his ancestors had been burned as a witch. Adolf Hitler did not have the same interest in the occult but he allowed Himmler to explore the subject freely, because he valued his abilities.
The books were to be kept in Wewelsburg Castle in western Germany. The castle is considered the ‘Black Camelot’ of Nazism; this is where Himmler created a court of SS ‘knights,’ mimicking King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Many believe that here, Himmler was attempting to create a new Germmanic religion, in rivalry to Christianity, which he detested.
Today, the castle is a museum. The ceiling, with its swastika design, is the centerpiece of the exhibition. It is a vivid reminder of some of the strange ideas that influenced the Nazis.
Historians plan to analyze the Witches Library. A Norwegian TV company plans to make a documentary about the discovery.