Wewelsburg Castle – The Nazi Temple of Doom

Photo credit: <a href=https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wewelsburg_Natamartchouk.jpg#/media/File:Wewelsburg_Natamartchouk.jpg>Left</a>; <a href=Right" title="Photo credit: Left; Right" width="800" height="419" />
Photo credit: Left; Right

The castle of Wewelsburg overlooks the village of the same name in Westphalia, Germany. It once belonged to the prince-bishops of Paderborn, and after that to the Kings of Prussia.

In 1933 it came into the hands of Heinrich Himmler, a leading member of the Nazi Party and head of the Schutzstaffel (SS), the elite military wing of the Nazi Party. Only pure Aryans were permitted to be members of the SS.

Himmler was deeply interested in mysticism and the occult. He chose Wewelsburg as his home and the headquarters of the SS. But more than this, he made Wewelsburg a kind of spiritual center for his strange beliefs.

Himmler laying a wreath in the crypts of the castle. Photo Credit
Himmler laying a wreath in the crypts of the castle. Photo Credit

The SS revered the castle as a place of mystical power. It was located near the site of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, where German tribesmen defeated the armies of Rome in 9 BC.

Himmler redesigned the castle and named its rooms after military heroes in Teutonic history and folklore, such as King Arthur, King Henry the Lion, Widikund and Frederick the Great.

The walls were decorated with swastikas, ancient Germanic runes, and other mystic German symbols. Special tableware, decorated with such symbols, was made for the castle.

Obergruppenführersaal (SS Generals’ Hall)

The castle was filled with works of arts glorifying the German people and their achievements. In the basement, there was a huge swastika where SS ‘heroes’ were cremated.

Himmler also built a room with twelve pillars, representing King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. Each pillar was guarded by a sacred flame.

In fact, Himmler thought of Wewelsburg as a center of mystic power. Twelve SS officers became the new Knights of the Round Table and performed occult rites in celebration of the National Socialist state.

They believed the number twelve was of great significance. The SS was divided into twelve departments with twelve leaders.

There were twelve pedestals in the castle vault, and twelve spokes in the Black Sun, a symbol in the floor that represented the twelve SS ‘knights.’

Himmler believed that after the final victory of the German people Wewelsburg would be the spiritual center of the world. The SS would become the priests of the new world. Before campaigns, the leading SS commanders were called to the castle to prepare them spiritually.

Members of the SS were issued by Himmler with rings engraved with skulls and mystics symbols. When a member of the SS died these ‘death’s head rings’ were brought to Wewelsburg and placed in a casket.

Wewelsburg in Germany. Photo Credit
Wewelsburg in Germany. Photo Credit

Nobody knows where these 11,500 rings now are, but it was rumored that they were buried at a nearby mountain.

When it became clear that Germany would not win the war, Himmler ordered the destruction of Wewelsburg Castle. This order was carried out on March 31, 1945, with the U.S. Army only three days away.

The castle was destroyed by explosives and tank mines and then looted.

In 1948 restoration of the castle begun and in 1950 it became a museum and a youth hostel. Thirty-two years later it became a war memorial under the title Wewelsburg 1933-1945: Kult- und Terrorstätte der SS.

The museum’s history department was reopened in 2010. It has a permanent exhibit that presents the strange story of SS activities in the castle.

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.

@joris1944 facebook.com/joris.nieuwint