Monday, April 28, 2014

Bavaria, the Thule Society, the SOSJ and the Making of a Revolutionary Faith Part II

Welcome to the second installment in my examination of the notorious Thule Society. In the first part of this series I sought to vaguely outline my objective as well recap some of the common misconceptions surrounding Thule. As was noted there, many popular accounts of the Society such as those that appear in Pauwels and Bergier's The Morning of the Magicians and Trevor Ravenscroft's The Spear of Destiny are largely fictitious. The reality of the Thule Society is both far stranger and more terrible than the popular perception created by such works and grafted onto popular culture by Hellboy and such like.

It is this reality that we shall begin to explore in this post. Before addressing Thule, however, I must first broadly outline the individuals and organizations that played a role in laying the groundwork for the creation of the society. The roots of Thule lay with a curious group of mystics who have had an extensive, if little acknowledged, influence upon metaphysical traditions for several decades now.
"The three godfathers of the Nazi Thule were Guido von List (1848-1919), Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels (1874-1954), and Rudolf von Sebottendorff (1875-1945). It is significant that all three decided at some point to adorn their plain bourgeois names with the particle von (which in German suggests noble descent even when it is not further defined by Graf, Baron, etc.). One of the hallmarks of master-race philosophy is that no one is known to have embraced it who does not consider himself a member of that race. And what is more tempting, having once adopted the belief that one's own race is chosen by Nature or God for preeminence, than to put oneself at its aristocratic summit?
"The Viennese Jorg Lanz, a former religious of the Cistercian Order, was the founder in 1907 of the Order the New Templars (ONT), a chivalric, gnostic, and ritualistic order with the most extreme of racist ideals. There can be little doubt that the ONT, with its lodges in ruined castles, was the prototype for Heinrich Himmler's Schutzstaffel (the notorious 'SS'), as it was transformed after 1930 to become the training- and breeding-ground for the masters of a New Age of Aryan supremacy. Lanz was a very copious writer on biblical exegesis, astrology, antifeminism, and many other topics. One of his earliest creations, in about 1900, was Theozoology: a new 'science' inspired by H. P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine.
"Blavatsky had explain the origin of the anthropoid apes, not as remnants of the ancestors mankind, but as the descendants of bestiality committed by the Third Race (Lemurians) with monstrous animals. Lanz applied this principle in the most perverted way: the non-Aryan races, he said, were the result of bestiality on the part of the ancient Aryans, after their departure from the northern Garden of Eden. To deal with these peoples, thus regarded as only semi-human, Lanz recommended variously: enforced sterilization and castration; deportation to Madagascar; enslavement; incineration a sacrifice to God; and use as beasts of burden. As Goodrick-Clarke comments, 'Both the psychopathology of the Nazi holocaust and the subjugation of non-Aryans in the East were presaged by Lanz's grim speculations.'
"It is no surprise that Lanz had a theory about the original homeland of the Aryans: it was a vanished polar continent called Arktogaa (from the Greek: 'northern earth'). This was adopted by his older acquaintance Guido von List, another Viennese mythomaniac who, more than anyone else, laid the foundation for the romantic blend of ideas that links the proto-Nazis uncannily with the Greens and New-Agers of today: an interest in natural living, vegetarianism, anti-industrialism; an appreciation of prehistoric monuments and the wisdom of those who built them; a feeling for astrology, earth energies, and natural cycles; a religious outlook vaguely resembling that of Theosophy. The generic name given to this kind of thinking was volkisch, an untranslatable word on the borderlines between nationalistic and folkloric."
(Arktos: The Polar Myth in Science, Symbolism, and Nazi Survival, Joscelyn Godwin, pgs. 48-49)
German children from the World War I-era sporting Halloween costumes influenced by the Volkisch movement
Both List and Lanz would have an enormous influence on the Volkisch movement in pre-World War I Austria and Germany and would pioneer a mystical variation of the ideology that came to be known as Ariosophy (which was, roughly speaking, a strange brew of Volkisch ideology and H.P. Blavatsky's Theosophy system). An in depth examination of the philosophy of List and Lanz is far beyond the scope of this series, but I shall briefly touch upon it. Let us begin with List, whose work served as the basis for what would eventually become known as Ariosophy.
"Guido von List (1848-1919) had begun his career as a nature worshiper and lover of ancient German folk myths and culture, a man who believed in the reunification of his native Austria with Germany, and who came to despise both Jews and Christians as alien forces in Europe who had robbed Germans of their spiritual and territorial birthrights. He wrote a series of romantic novels about the ancient to Teutons, and dreamed of reestablishing the ancient priesthood of Wotan, an organization he called the Armanenschaft either after the Teutonic warrior Arminius, who defeated the Roman Legions under Varus at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest (A.D. 9), or after a qabalist bowdlerization of the name of one of three Teutonic tribes mentioned by Tacitus in Germania, the Hermiones.
"In 1875, the same year that Blavatsky founded her Theosophical Society in New York, List was invoking Baldur, the Teutonic Sun God, on a hilltop outside Vienna. In Baldur's honor, he buried eight wine bottles there in the shape of the swastika and pledged himself to the worship of the Old Ones, Baldur and Wotan being prominent among them. At this time, the Armanenschaft – the priesthood of the sun – was but a gleam in his Aryan eye.
"He took of journalism after his family's fortunes went awry, and began daydreaming in print about the prehistoric Teutons, a hypothetically pure race free of the taint of spiritually retarded blood.
"However, during his convalescence after cataract surgery at the age of fifty-four – dwelling in a temporary but none the less unnerving state of blindness – he understood that his main preoccupations of politics and race were the two halves of a single coin. Always interested in the past more than the present..., List had developed an intense fascination with the signs and symbols of heraldry, as well as those of the proto-Aryan language he believed could be found in runes and ancient inscriptions..."
(Unholy Alliance, Peter Levenda, pgs. 55-56)
List was one of the first of these German Volkisch thinkers to appropriate the swastika and apply a mystical Aryan significance to it.
"List had been fascinated with swastika since his early youth, recognizing it as the Ur-symbol of the Teutonic (read: 'Aryan') peoples; a pagan sign equivalent in power and emotional meaning to the cross for Christians, or the Star of David for Jews. He first pointed this out in a series of articles published about 1905-1908, and thereafter the symbol began to take on more than just a cosmological or theosophical significance and would soon come to represent an entire body of ideas – both occult and political – that would eventually culminate in the formation of the Thule Gesellschaft nearly two decades later...
"While an educated perspective on the swastika reveals the symbol as an ancient Eastern symbol of good fortune, words themselves have their own intrinsic power. Thus, when a German calls the swastika by the term hakenkreuz he is calling it a 'hooked cross.' To a German of the twentieth century (as for a German of the thirteenth century), the word cross has decidedly Christian overtones; a hooked cross therefore imply some deviation from, or modified form of, Christianity. In this way, the link between the inherently amoral swastika and questionable religious beliefs is made by way of the mostly loaded term 'hooked cross.' When the various volkisch and German cultural societies began adopting the hakenkreuz as their emblem, then, they were just as conscious of its anti-Christian potential as they were of their own anti-Semitic intent. This was not paganism as a pure, Earth-Mother-worshiping cult (such as the modern Wicca phenomenon), but paganism as a movement set up in opposition to Judeo-Christianity as well as to Communism, Capitalism, and Democracy, which are all creatures of the Jewish-Masonic conspiracy..."
(ibid, pgs. 58-59)

While List's ideas were largely shunned by academia, they found support among wealthy patrons of Austrian and German high society. To better spread List's idea, the Guido van List Society was officially founded in 1908 (though it had been in the making since at least 1905). The List Society, with its prominent individual members, would provide the financial backing as well as the legitimacy for the Austrian's ideas to receive a mass following.

List's ideology combined the study of symbolism, numerology, astrology, onomatology, toponymy, runology, megaliths, folklore, and so forth to rediscover the language and faith of the ancient Aryans. As such, List's work bares more than a few passing resemblances to the concept of "twilight language" pioneered by James Shelby Downard, William Grimstad, and (fascist sympathizer) Michael A. Hoffman II. The similarities between these two concepts is a fascinating topic that is unfortunately far beyond the scope of this present series. But I urge my readers to keep this topic in mind as I shall return to it at some point in the future.

Another point worth mentioning at this juncture is Ariosophy's rather schizophrenic view concerning Freemasonry. While attitudes were certainly not uniform across the board, the general perception among Ariosophists seem to have been that Masonry had begun as a part of the high Aryan tradition but had gradually been polluted by Jewish influences over the centuries to the point that it become a grave threat to the survival of the volk by the modern era.
"...The notion of an anti-Semitic group organized like a secret quasi-masonic lodge appears to arisen arisen among volkisch activists around 1910. Some anti-Semites were convinced that the powerful influence of Jews in German public life could be understood only as the result of a widespread Jewish secret conspiracy; it was supposed that such a conspiracy could best be combated by a similar anti-Semitic organization. In spring 1910 Philipp Stauff, a prominent volkisch journalist, mentioned in his correspondence the idea of an anti-Semitic lodge with the names of members kept secret to prevent enemy penetration. The following year Johannes Hering, who belong to the local Hammer group in Munich as well as the Alldeutscher Verband, and who was friendly with both List and Lanz von Liebenfels wrote to Stauff about Freemasonry. Hering stated that he had been a Freemason since 1894, but this 'ancient Germanic institution' had been polluted by Jewish and parvenu ideas; he concluded that a revived Aryan lodge would be a boon to anti-Semites."
(The Occult Roots of Nazism, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, pg. 127) 

Thus, many of Ariosophy-centric organizations adopted the structure and trappings of Freemasonry despite frequently associating the Masons (as well as the communists) with an international Jewish conspiracy. More about the Hammer groups and Philipp Stauff shall be said in a moment. For now, let us consider the individual chiefly responsible for the spread of various anti-Semitic secret societies in Germany and Austria during the early twentieth century.

Guido von List's protege, the former Cistercian monk Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels, would effectively craft a kind of Gnostic ideology out of List's theories. His really lasting effect on volkisch thinking and Ariosophy, however, was his obsession with Medieval military orders such as the Teutonic Knights, the Knights Hospitallers and especially the Knights Templar. Any number of nationalist and proto-fascist groups would attempt to create their own secretive orders based upon these Medieval predecessors both before and after World War I thanks to Lanz's writings. Lanz himself would found the Order of the New Templars (ONT), an organization that would have a considerable influence on both the Thule Society as well as the later SS.
"The Order of the New Templars was an occult lodge that met at a ruined castle high on a cliff over the Danube – the eerie Burg Werfenstein in Upper Austria, a few miles upriver from Hitler's childhood home – among other sites. The members were white, surplice-style robes emblazoned with the red cross of the Templars, a cross that von Liebenfels believed was formed of two, superimposed and counterrotating, swastikas...
"Von Liebenfels – in Ostara and in other publications, such as his weirdly entitled Theozoologie oder die Kunde von den Sodoms-Aefflingen und dem Gotter-Elektron (1905), which we may translate as 'Theozoology, or the Science of the Sodom-Apelings and the Electron of the Gods' – prescribed sterilization and castration for inferior races. and, of course, denounced miscegenation owing to its pollution of the pure-blooded German Volk. He also sounded a theme that was to occupy all other racist ideologues, including Hitler, and that was the forced submission of women to Aryan men. To the Nazis and their ideological predecessors, feminism was an evil on the same level as Freemasonry, international Jewry, and Bolshevikism. In fact, the Nazis believed feminism (like Bolshevikism) to be the creation of international Jewry for the express purpose of finishing off the Aryan race. The irony has come full circle, of course, for the term 'feminazis' has has become a staple of Rush Limbaugh-style, talk radio agit-prop.
"But von Liebenfels did not stop at sweeping political indictments. He included occult biology in his repertoire, with a concentration on the pineal and pituitary glands. He believed – as did Blavatsky and as do many current mystics and theosphists – that a space between these glands in the hypothalamus of the brain was formally a supercharged area that gave Aryans the twin powers of telepathy and omniscience: the third Eye; but that – because of the pollution of Aryan blood with that of members of the inferior races – these two glands had so atrophied that the Aryan people had lost their psychic abilities. This is a somewhat liberal borrowing of the teachings of legitimate Eastern adepts who train their devotees in methods of awakening this innate potential (regardless of their racial background).
"According to Liebenfels, however, the solution to the problem of the incipient physical and spiritual degeneration of the Aryan race was not hatha yoga or Transcendental Meditation, but the creation of a new priesthood of the Holy Grail; a new Knights Templar of the German Blood (for that was, according to von Liebenfels, what the Grail represented). As for the inferior races? They were to be deported; or incinerated as a sacrifice to God; or simply used as slave labor."
(Unholy Alliance, Peter Levenda, pgs. 68-69)
Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels
Now that I've addressed List and Liebenfels somewhat, let us move along to the secret order that spawned the Thule Society: the Germanenorden. The chief figure behind the creation of the Germanenorden was publisher and anti-Semitic agitator Theodor Fritsch, one of the most revered Ariosopohists of the Nazi regime.
"The Reichhammerbund and the Germanenorden were established by one of the most important early racist and violently anti-Semitic publicists, Theodor Fritsch (1852-1933). A milling engineer by trade, Fritsch came to anti-Semitism by way of the Lebensreform movement in the 1870s. Echoing widespread anxiety in the Western world over the decline of artisans and the inability of small business to compete against larger concerns, Fritsch's first political foray was an attempt organize German millers into a guild to combat the influence of corporations. The cry for artisanship against mass production and smallholders against big capital had already found its most influential exponent in England's John Ruskin, who like many of his volkisch counterparts idolized medieval life. The sentiment was widespread. As far afield as the American Midwest, the Grange, a fraternal farmers guild organized on Masonic lines, fought the railroads over unfair freight charges. Neither was Fritsch unique in his view that corporate interests were pawns of the Jews. However, he soon took unreflective, resentful anti-Semitism into the emergent realm of quasi-Darwinian biology. In his 1881 book Leuchtkugeln (Flares), Fritsch anticipated Lanz's line of thought with the supposition that Jews were transitional beings between apes and humans. He followed Leuchtkugeln with a succession of pamphlets called Brennende Fragen (Burning Questions) before producing his Antisemiten-Katechismus (later retitled Handbuch der Jugenfrage).
"The catechism, whose impact on German anti-Semitism can be measured by its print run, numbered forty editions by 1936, condemned capitalism as a Jewish conspiracy and denied the Jews could create anything of culture and beauty. Hitler himself testified to the importance of Fritsch's catechism. 'I have thoroughly studied the Handbuch der Jugenfrage since my youth in Vienna. I'm convinced that it helped prepare the ground in a very special way for the national socialistic anti-Semitic movement.' Fritsch's familiar public persona as an anti-Semitic agitator may be the reason why he was accorded greater honor in the Third Reich than most figures associated with Ariosophy. To the Nazis, he was the Altmeister, the Old Master. Drawing from similar volkisch influences, Fritsch had developed his own perspective on Aryan racism and neopaganism independent of List, but he seems to have been drawn gradually into List's orbit through association with the Vienna Ariosophist's network of initiates and followers. His Utopian tendencies were expressed in his 1896 book, Stadt der Zukunft (City of the Future), which envisioned garden cities whose dwellers could live in harmony with nature."
(Hammer of the Gods, David Luhrssen, ps. 62-63)
Around the last decade of the nineteenth century Fritsch tried to organize a formal political party based around anti-Semitism. It was a colossal failure. Not only did the Deutsch-Soziale Reformpartei fail to gain widespread popular support, but it began to grow progressively more moderate as it entered the political field. This alarmed Fritsch to the point that he decided political reform was impossible. As a result, he began to focus on publishing as a way of changing the cultural landscape to the point that a fanatically anti-Semitic political party would be viable in general elections. It was this path that led him to the Reichshammerbund and, ultimately, the Germanenorden.
"Fritsch was in all events determined to work outside the system. Like List, he was more concerned with changing the cultural paradigm than with changing the government. Fritsch wrote that 'Anti-Smitism is a matter of Weltanschauung, which can be accepted by anyone, no matter what party he belongs to.... Our aim is to permeate all parties with the anti-Semitic idea.' In 1902 in Leipzig he founded the Hammer; a monthly and later fortnightly publication subtitled 'Blatter fur Deutschen Sinn' ('Bulletin for German Thought'). He railed in those periodicals against all symptoms of modernism: big department stores, motion pictures, women's fashions, mass media. He perceived the Jews behind every despised aspect of modern life. Lebensreform permeated the Hammer, including vegetarianism, a bias for agrarian over industrial life, and the call for a practical and nationalistic socialism. After the war, Hammer circulation increased to some eight thousand subscribers. Contributors to the Hammer included Lanz, Ernst Wachler, and other List Society members...
"Whatever Fritsch's influence as a publisher on shaping the intellectual landscape, his activity soon took concrete form in a new organization. In 1905 Hammer subscribers began organizing themselves into Hammer Gemeinden (Hammer groups), local circles that studied Fritsch's ideology and even discussed establishing a utopian community according to the master's principles.
"Growing from this modest soil where organizations that would enjoy greater influence. Stung by anti-Semitsm's failure in parliament, especially after the January 1912 elections, which left the Social Democrats as the largest party in the Reichstag, Fritsch called in March 1912 for a new anti-Jewish association, one that would remain 'above the parties.' Out of a meeting in his Leipzig home on May 24-25, 1912, with some twenty prominent Pan-Germans and List Society members came the Reichshammerbund. Headed by Karl August Hellwig, a retired colonel living in Kassel and a List Society member, the Bund consisted of activists from the Hammer groups. A fortnight earlier, on March 12, 1912, Fritsch approved the transformation of the Wodan Lodge, a secret society within the Magdeburg Hammer group, into the nucleus of the Germanenorden under the leadership of Herman Pohl, a sealer of weights and measures. The Germanenorden became the Reichshammerbund's secret parallel organization.
"Along with Hellwig and Fritsch, authority over the Reichshammerbund was vested in a twelve-member Armanen Rat, a council whose name derived from List's imaginary ancient Aryan priesthood. Members had to prove that they and their spouses were of unimpeachable Aryan stock. The Reichshammerbund canvassed actively for members. Fritsch and Hellwig were interested in making common cause with Roman Catholics and reaching out to farmers and workers, teachers and civil servants, the military and the universities. However, the atmosphere of Wilhelmine Germany was not conducted for a mass volkisch movement with occult undertones. The Hammerbund recruited no more than a few hundred members scattered along nineteen chapters. Its most active branch, in Nuremberg, numbered only twenty-three members by the end of 1912. In spring of 1914 a Reichshammerbund chapter was established in the Thule Society's future home, Munich. It was founded by Wilhelm Rohmeder, who later joined Thule."
(Hammer of the Gods, David Luhrssen, pgs. 64-66)

As one can imagine, the aims and rituals of the Germanenorden were quite bizarre.
"This history of the early Germanenorden must be supplemented by an account of its aims, rules, and rituals. According to circular of the Franconian province, the principal aim of the Germanenorden was the monitoring of the Jews and their activities by the creation of a centre to which all anti-Semitic material would flow for distribution. Subsidiary aims included the mutual aid of brothers in respect of business introductions, contracts, and finance. Lastly, all brothers were committed to the circulation of volkisch journals, especially the Hammer, their 'sharpest weapon against Jewry and other enemies of the people.' The articles of the Germanenorden betray an overt ariosophical influence. All nationals, male or female, of flawless Germanic descent were eligible for admission to the Order. Application forms requested details about the colour of the applicant's hair, eyes, and skin. The ideal coloration was blond to dark blond hair, blue to light brown eyes, and pale skin. Further details regarding the personal particulars of the applicant's parents and grandparents, and in the case of married applicants, those of the spouse were also required...
"The emblems of the Germanenorden indicate a further source of ariosophical inspiration. From the middle of 1916 the official Order newsletter, the Allgemeine Ordens-Nachrichten, began to display on its front cover a curved-armed swastika superimposed upon a cross... In due course advertisements for volkisch jewelry, rings, pendants and tie-pins, incorporating various runes and the swastika, appeared in this publication. The supplying firm, Haus Eckloh of Ludenscheid in Westphalia, worked from designs submitted by members of the List Society during the war. Although the swastika was current among several contemporary volkisch associations in Germany, it was through the Germanenorden and the Thule Society, its successor organization in post-war Munich, that this device came to be adopted by the National Socialists.
"The ceremony and ritual of the Germanenorden demonstrate its strange synthesis of racist, masonic, and Wagnerian inspiration. A summons to an initiation ceremony of the Berlin province on 11 January 1914 informed brothers that this was a frock-coat and white-tie affair and that any new candidates would have to submit to racial tests by the Berlin phrenologist, Robert Burger-Villingen, who had devised the 'plastometer', his own instrument for determining the relative Aryan purity of the subject by means of cranial measurements. A surviving ritual document of c. 1912 describes the initiation of novices into the lowest grade of the Order. While the novices waited in an adjoining room, the brothers assembled in the ceremonial room at the lodge. The Master took his place at the front of the room beneath the baldachin flanked on either side by two Knights wearing white robes and helmets adorned with horns and leaning on their swords. In front of these sat the Treasurer and Secretary wearing white masonic sashes, while the Herald took up his position in the centre of the room. At the back of the room in the grove of the Grail stood the Bard in a white gown, before him the Master of Ceremonies in a blue gown, while the other lodge brothers stood in a semicircle around him as far as the tables of the Treasurer and Secretary. Behind the grove of the Grail was a music room where a harmonium and piano were accompanied by a small choir of 'forest elves.'
"The ceremony began with soft harmonium music, while the brother sang the Pilgrims' Chorus from Wagner's Tannhauser. The ritual commenced in candlelight with brothers making the sign of the swastika... and the Master reciprocating. Then the blindfolded novices, clad in pilgrimage mantles, were ushered by the Master of Ceremonies into the room. Here, the Master told them of the Order's Ario-Germanic and aristocratic Weltanschauung, before the Bard lit the sacred flame in the grove and the novices were divested of their mantles and blindfolds. At this point the Master seized Wotan's spear and held it before him, while the two Knights crossed their swords upon it. A series of calls and responses, accompanied by music from Lohengrin, completed the oath of the novices. Their consecration followed with cries from the 'forest elves' as the new brothers were led into the grove of the Grail around the Bard's sacred flame. With the ritual personifying lodge officer as archetypal figures in Germanic mythology, the ceremonial must have exercised a potent influence on the candidates."
(The Occult Roots of Nazism, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, ps. 128-130)
an image inspired by Wagner's Tannhauser, an influence on the Germanenorden's rituals
With the onset of World War I, a schism developed with the Germanenorden.
"With the outbreak of World War I, many Orden brothers volunteered for service and lost their lives at the front. Lodge activity became relatively dormant. Towards the end of 1916, the remnant of the Orden underwent a schism after a power struggle between Pohl and the Berlin lodge. Chief among the anti-Pohl faction was Philipp Stauff, an anti-Semitic journalist who had risen to high station in the List Society before the war, in part on his claims of having spoken in séances to members of the long-dead priesthood of pagan Germany. Stauff embellished List's ideas on the esoteric significance of runes in his book Runenhauser (1913), which discovered the secret runic language of the wooden beams of medieval buildings."
(Hammer of the Gods, David Luhrssen, pg. 67)
Philipp Stauff and his wife
It was from the faction of the Germanenorden that continued to follow Herman Pohl that the Thule Society would emerge. Before getting to Thule, however, a bit should be said about the "anti-Pohl" faction of the Germanenorden that followed Philipp Stauff as it will have some bearing on this narrative in future installments. The Stauff faction would become mixed up with some very curious company in post-World War I Germany.
"After the armistice in November 1918 former brothers of the loyalist Germanenorden set about its revival. The Grand Master, Eberhard von Brockhusen (1869-1939), was a Brandenburg landowner and a generous List Society patron. He was rather preoccupied with the revolt of Polish laborers on his estates, and complained that Order administration was chaotic owing to the lack of a constitution; in early 1919 he asked Erwin von Heimerdinger or to relieve him of his office. Although Stauff informed Brockhusen that his resignation had been accepted at the beginning of March, the affair seemed to drag on as Brockhusen was still pleading for a constitutional reform in the summer, and accusing Stauff of slander. Brockhusen's correspondence reveals a deep dismay at post-work conditions and a hatred of the Poles. In the late summer Heimerdinger abdicated the Chancellorship in favor of the Grand Duke Johann Albrecht of Mecklenburg, who was very enthusiastic about the Order and the Free Corps expedition to the Baltic countries in 1919. The Order soon lost this prominent patron when he died of a heart attack on 6 February 1920. Brockhusen remained in office and finally got his constitution accepted in 1921, which provided for an extraordinarily complex organization of grades, rings, and provincial 'citadels' (Burgen) supposed to generate secrecy for a nationwide system of local groups having many links with militant volkisch associations, including the Deutschvolkischer Schult- und Trutzbund.
"Despite the petty and futile debates of its senior officers in Berlin, the Germanenorden provinces initiated clandestine activities involving the assassination of public figures associated with the new German Republic, the loathsome symbol of defeat and disgrace to radical nationalists. The Germanenorden was used as a cover-organization for the recruitment of political assassins in 1921. The murderers of Matthias Erzberger, the former Reich Finance Minister and the hated signatory of the armistice, were Heinrich Schultz and Heinrich Tillessen, who had been strongly influenced by volkisch propaganda after demobilization at the end of the war. They had settled in June 1920 in Regensburg, where they met Lorenz Mesch, the local leader of the Germanenorden. In May 1921 Schultz and Tillessen went to Munich, where they received their orders to kill Erzberger from a person who claimed to have the authority of the Germanenorden. The attempted assassination of Maximilian Harden, the republican author, was also traced to the Order. The impressive secrecy and ideology of the Order thus inspired volkisch fanatics to murder the Jewish and republican enemies of the German nation in a modern 'Vehm.'"
(The Occult Roots of Nazism, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, pg. 132-133)

That Germanenorden patron and Chancellor Grand Duke Johann Albrecht of Mecklenburg was involved with the Baltic Campaign, a now largely forgotten military expedition launched by various Freecorps with tentative approval of the Weimer Republic and the British that nonetheless captivated German nationalists in the interwar years, will be highly significant point as this series unfolds, so do keep it in mind dear reader.

It is also significant that the broader Germanenorden, from which the Thule Society began as a lodge of, was involved in the Freecorps movement and latter manifestations, such as the Deutschvolkischer Schult- und Trutzbund. The Thule Society was of course famously involved with the Freecorps movement as well. Many mainstream historians, if they mention Thule at all, depict its affiliation with several of the Bavarian Freecorps as an isolated incident. But in point of fact, more than a few of those Ariosophical-centric occult lodges were actively involved in the Freecorps movement as the above cited passage makes clear. Mainstream accounts of the Freecorps and affiliated organizations such as the Deutschvolkischer Schult- und Trutzbund (of which virtually all leading members of the Freecorps movement had been members of at one time or another, according to Robert G.L. Waite's Vanguard of Nazism [pg. 206 n. 87]) have on occasion subtly acknowledged this connection.
"The Schultz-und-Trutzbund was organized in October 1919 by Alfred Roth, man who had been active in prewar racist groups such as the Reichshammer-Bund. The purpose of the S-u-T is stated in its constitution:
"'The Bund fights for the moral rebirth of the German Volk... It considers the pernicious and destructive influence of Jewry to be the main cause of defeat [in World War I] and the removal of this influence to be necessary for the political and economic recovery of Germany, and for the salvation of German Kultur.'
"Well before Hitler became a dominating influence in the struggling German Workers Party, the Schultz-und-Trutzbund had establish its own printing presses and was flooding the country with the most violent and scurrilous anti-Semitic propaganda. 'In the year 1920 alone,' declares its founder, 'we distributed over 7,642,000 pieces [of propaganda material].' The Bund had its own newspaper, the Deutschvolkischen Blatter, and its own psuedoscientific magazine, the Politische-Anthropologische; both publications carried the swastika on their mastheads. This was long before Hitler adopted the crooked cross as the symbol of mystic Aryan racism and the official sign of his party. Before it was ostensibly dissolved in January 1923, the Bund had a total membership of almost a quarter of a million men.
"The Schultz-und-Trutzbund did important work in preparing Germany for Nazi racism, but it made a more specific contribution than that. A list of only its most distinguished graduates who figured prominently in Nazi Germany would include the following Julius Steicher, Gauleiter of Nuremberg, editor of the unspeakable Sturmer; Dietrich Eckart, with Alfred Rosenberg co-editor of the Volkischer Beobachter, also a charter member of the Thule Society; Reinhard Heydrich, SS Grupenfuhrer, Chief of the Security Service of the Gestapo; the Duke of Saxe-Coberg-Gotha, President of the German Red Cross; Wilhelm Murr, Federal Governor of Wurtemberg; Walter Buch, Reichsleiter and President of the Party Court; and Fritz Sauckel, Federal Governor of Thuringia, notorious Chief Administrator of the Labor Draft Law."
(Vanguard of Nazism, Robert G.L. Waite, pgs. 206-207)

As was noted above, the Reichshammer-Bund was the organization that had spawned the Germanenorden, making it entirely possible that Orden members were the controlling force behind the Schultz-und-Tutzbund. Reportedly Theodor Fritsch himself, the chief figure behind the Germanenorden, played a leading role in the Schultz-und-Tutzbund, as did several individuals associated with the Thule Society.
"... The tireless Fritsch was one of the national leaders of the Schultz-und-Trutzbund, which grew from 25,000 members in 1919 to 110,000 by the following year. Among the leaders of the Schultz-und-Trutzbund's Munich chapter were such familiar associates of the Thule society as Dietrich Eckart, Julius Lehmann, and Gottfried Feder, along with Max Sesselmann, an editor of the Munchener Beobachter who later marched with Hitler during the Beer Hall Putsch. Like the Thule Society, the Munich Schultz-und-Trutzbund met at Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten."
(Hammer of the Gods, David Luhrssen, pg. 240 n. 113)
Dietrich Eckart, of whom much more will be said later
All of this would seem to indicate that, despite the schism, some type of link remained between the anti- and pro-Pohl (from which the Thule Society derived) factions of the scattered post-WWI Germanenorden. Another indication of this link is that the above mentioned Schultz-und-Trtuzbund assassins, Heinrich Schultz and Heinrich Tillessen, had previously served in the Oberland Freecorp of Bavaria before joining the secret order. The Oberland Freecorp was in turn one of the Freecorps that the Thule Society played a role in founding.

Its also interesting to note that Schultz and Tillessen were also said to be members of the Organisational Council (O.C.), a clandestine organization founded by leading figures of the Freecorps. They may in fact have been operating under the orders of the O.C. when they assassinated Matthias Erzberger. The O.C., which was effectively a kind of nationalist Murder Inc., claimed to be carrying on the work of the notorious Vehmic courts of Medieval Germany. The Holy Vehm have of course long fascinated the conspiratorial right and this modern manifestation of the Vehm is most significant in that regard. It shall be addressed at length in a future installment.

Next's weeks blog, however, will begin an examination of the Thule Society in earnest. Stay tuned.


  1. Being one who has been to Thule Greenland, blue eyed and raised by Fredric Goossen (step father). and having much esoteric learning, I for one can not relate to xtian madness. My knowledge is learned. Gnostic propensities rule. The rule of arians is not of my concern. There is wholesale ignorance on the xtian concern. Shineforth brave souls! Dennis Harrison

  2. Dennis-

    That's awesome that you've been to Greenland. My father was stationed there for a time while he was in the Army.

    I'm unaware of Fredric Goossen, but it certainly sounds like you had a curious upbringing.:)