Anne Edelstam: Cults and Nazism


It is interesting to note, at a time when Tom Cruise, a well-known scientologist, is going to attend the Nobel Peace prize in Oslo, the resemblance between cults and Nazism. Both are based on false premises, on myths and pseudoscience. Several books have been written on the subject. I’ll just mention two of them here: The Nazis and the Occult by Dusty Sklar (Dorset Press New York) and the more recent book by Christopher Hale: Himmler’s Crusade, the true story of the 1938 Nazi expedition into Tibet with Ernst Schäfer.

The Reichsführer, Heinrich Himmler, the second most powerful man in the Nazi elite, believed in the Aryan Master Race and thought of the SS as an aristocracy that never could grow old, some sort of super-human. He had modelled the SS on a Hindu warrior caste and was fascinated by the East and its religions – he hated Christianity: the church was according to him “an erotic homosexual plague with Jewish roots”. He believed that “the Aryan race had descended directly and fully formed from heaven…” they were the master race, or Herrenfolk, and that races of giants had once roamed the earth; the universe having been formed from a cosmic battle between fire and ice according to the Ice Theory and the lost kingdom of Atlantis. Hence the Tibet-expedition, which was in fact a search for this ancient Germanic super- race in contrast to the inferior people, minderwertigen, such as the Jews and the Gypsies. Bodily forms became a preoccupation.

All cults believe that they have found the Truth and that they are the chosen ones, the elite. They are just like the Nazis embedded in a false myth of their own superiority. To belong to the cult, its leader and its ideology means belonging to this elite. The others, the ones who do not join the cult (whatever cult it might be) are the evil ones (the Nazis would say the Jews, the homosexuals, the Gypsies, the disabled…).

Eric Schäfer was sent in the footsteps of another explorer, the Swede Sven Hedin, to explore Tibet. Himmler had a theory about the Aryan race stemming from the mountains of Tibet. During the expedition, Tibetans were carefully measured, skulls taken back to be further studied and their ancient symbol of good fortune which represented the wheel of life, the swastika, became in 1933 the national flag of Nazi Germany. Their symbol was thus based on a perverted myth just as the symbols of several cults of today are based on perverted myths and bits and pieces of different religions.

The occultism, rituals and myths, then as well as today, was used as a mind-control measure in order to inculcate master conscionsness (Herrenbewusstsein) in elite members of the SS. Myths masqueraded as science became the building blocks of genocide and Nazism became a religion in itself with its leaders the “Gottmenschen”, or men of God. The SS individuals who trusted them were not uneducated people but aristocrats, academics, lawyers and doctors; the cream of Germany’s professional classes. Just as the adherents of cults today are also often educated people, from the liberal professions, fooled to believe in some pseudoscientific nonsense that will eventually completely alienate them from society and family.

The background to this beliefsystem, both to Nazism and to New Age, can be found in theosophy and a certain Helena Blavatsky. She found an occult salon in New York at the end of the 19th century and became eventually a world- known guru, leader of the Theosophical movement. Like many charlatans, Blavatsky flirted with scientists in order to try to get some recognition. In her book entitled “Tibetan wisdom”, she claimed to have traveled to Tibet. She exposes her theory of the “evolutionary science of seven rounds, seven root races and seven sub-races”. The number seven as some sort of magical circle is later to be found in anthroposophy where the teaching of children is supposed to follow 7 year periods: either you learn at 7 years of age or at 14 and so on. The cover of her book had a big swastika drawn on it. The Aryan Race was supposed to have been stemming from this so-called evolution of mankind. Her other book “The Secret Doctrine” had an important impact in Germany. The Nazis encouraged theosophy.

But already a century earlier, German intellectuals and scientists had made race the cornerstone of their thinking, undermining the authority of the Bible and the status of its original language, Hebrew. In the beginning of the 19th century, a linguist by the name of Schlegel argued that Sanscrit was the language of the elites and sprung from a race of cultured warriors in Northen India whom later traveled to Egypt and all the way up to Scandinavia. These northerners, Schlegel called the Aryans meaning aristocrats or nobles in Sanscrit. Aryans were thought of as “youthful, tall, blond, generous, brave and creative.” Jews were definitly not part of this race of super-humans. By the end of the 19th century, several books had been published on race as a foundation of culture, thus it was thought that great civilizations were inherited like a bloodline.

Theosophy stemmed from these thoughts and could thus easily emerge as a powerful cult based on some of the beliefs of the time. We can hence see how science and occultism lay happily side-by-side under the ancient Tibetan symbol of the swastika – ruled by the Nazis who believed in these pseudoscientific ideas.

Unfortunatly it continues to flourish to this day in all the different cults that thrive in our societies often hidden under the banner of “religious tolerance” although their doctrines are all but tolerant, which means that we are accepting tyranny and nazism among us. Why? Could it be that we are still so arrogant as to believe that we are immune to belief systems or are we simply lazy and don’t want to try to understand the underlying factors of mind-control that every single one of us can be subject to? How many dead bodies do we need to learn from history? Or are we unable or unwilling to learn? Do we prefer to live in splendid ignorance until we are ourselves touched personally by the problem? Questions for each one of us to meditate.

Written by Anne Edelstam