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Brownshirt Princess

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Lionel Gossman

Part I. Seeking a New Religion: Gott in Mir

1. The Title

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  • 1 Rejection of antiqua or Latin script and adoption of Fraktur, often in a highly stylized form, was (...)

1The Princess’s poem is presented in three typologically distinct parts. In the first of these – twenty-one pages of loosely connected verse, printed on very high quality paper in large-font Fraktur or traditional German rather than Roman lettering1 – the text is divided into sections of uneven length (anywhere from four to seventeen lines) each of which, even the shortest, has a page to itself and can be read either as an untitled individual poem in a collection or as an integral part of a loosely constructed but continuous poetic whole. These twenty-one pages are followed by twelve pages, where text – once again of varying length – appears only on the right-hand page and the left-hand page remains blank. These in turn are followed by another six consecutive pages of text, once again divided into sections or individual poems of uneven length, one on each page. In physical appearance, the book thus has a spacious, almost monumental character, despite its modest dimensions.

  • 2 Schwaner’s Germanen-Bibel was republished in 1934 and again in 1941. Judging it desirable to prese (...)

2The most common verse form is iambic pentameter, occasionally rhyming, with some preference for feminine rhymes. As in Goethe’s Faust, Part I, lines of four feet vary the pentameters, either interspersed among them or forming entire poems (or sections of the work). The form, which may have been designed to evoke memories of Goethe, Schiller, and Hölderlin in the reader, appears to have been intended, like the typeface, to generate an impression of faithfulness to national tradition, the implication being that the seemingly new and revolutionary content – the assertion of a religious faith distinct from the Christianity of the established churches and of an ethics at variance with Christian ethics as commonly understood – also belongs in fact to a long-established, authentic Germanic tradition. In this respect, the Princess’s poem takes its place alongside other works of the time advocating a faith grounded in the native religious traditions of the ”Germanic race,” such as the Germanen-Bibel [Germanic Peoples’ Bible] – a Holy Book composed of texts by great German writers and philosophers – of Wilhelm Schwaner, editor of the Volkserzieher [People’s Educator] and co-founder (with the artist and art teacher Ludwig Fahrenkrog) of various neo-pagan religious groups which came together in 1913 to form the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft [Germanic Religious Community]. Originally published in 1904, Schwaner’s Germanen-Bibel had been reprinted in a popular edition in 1920 and again in yet another edition in 1921, the year of the appearance of Gott in mir.2

  • 3 On Hauer, see the well-documented monograph of the sometime National Socialist scholar Margarete D (...)
  • 4 Theodor Däubler’s multi-volume mythic Nordlicht (1910) would be a prime example, as would some of (...)

3Likewise, the themes of the Princess’s poem anticipate the later writings of the Tübingen Orientalist and sometime Christian missionary Jakob Wilhelm Hauer, who gradually moved in the course of the 1920s toward a conception of a German faith rooted in Nordic and Aryan traditions and radically opposed to all ”Near-Eastern and Semitic” religions (Christianity as well as Judaism and Islam), and who in 1933 helped to bring most of the non-Christian, Germanic religious movements together under the single umbrella of the Deutsche Glaubensbewegung [German Religious Movement] and served as that movement’s first leader.3 The Princess’s later writings show a marked affinity with Hauer’s ideas, as we shall see in Part II of this study. In addition, both form and subject matter of Gott in mir are typical of a certain genre of poetic production in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Wilhelminian Germany.4

  • 5 See online Appendix A. Also available directly from Princeton University Library on http://libweb5 (...)

4Thanks to the generosity of Princeton University Library’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, a scanned copy of the original German text of the Princess’s poem has been made available as an online appendix to the present study for the benefit of German-speaking readers. A rough translation into English has also been provided and, in addition, the poem has been quoted from liberally in translation.5 While the language of the poem, in the original no less than in the translation, is not always entirely clear at the most basic level of meaning, the rhythms and syntax of the German are decidedly spacious, close to those of ceremonial speech or prophecy, rather than condensed and elliptic as in much modern poetry. They suggest a speaker or poetic voice who is an exceptional – aristocratic – individual and at the same time fully in tune with her language community, her Volk, and who may therefore be regarded by the reader both as a leader and model and as a mirror image of what is deepest in him or herself.

***

  • 6 Meister Eckharts Mystische Schriften in unsere Sprache übertragen von Gustav Landauer (Berlin: Kar (...)
  • 7 Diederichs and the so-called Sera-Circle around him in Jena seem to have shared Nietzsche’s view o (...)
  • 8 Ed. Otto Karrer (Munich: Verlag ’Ars Sacra’ Josef Müller, 1926). Sections were devoted to Spanish (...)
  • 9 Maria Carlson, ”No Religion Higher than Truth.” A History of the Theosophical Movement in Russia 1 (...)
  • 10 On the social, cultural and ideological basis of opposition, in Germany, to the values of the new (...)

5The title of the Princess’s volume, Gott in mir, would not have struck an educated reader of 1921 as particularly strange. Pantheistic, immanentist, and Gnostic religious currents had long been well represented in Germany and had gathered new strength in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in a climate of growing disaffection from the traditional Christian teachings of the established Churches. In 1903 two translations into modern German of the writings, in Middle High German, of the medieval mystic Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1328) appeared – one by the Jewish anarcho-socialist Gustav Landauer (who, as a member of the government of the Räterepublik of Bavaria during its brief existence, was murdered in 1919 by right-wing counter-revolutionaries) and one with the influential and innovative publisher Eugen Diederichs, whose sympathies tended to be with the völkisch Right rather than the socialist Left.6 Diederichs also commissioned the Jewish philosopher and theologian Martin Buber to compile an anthology of writings by mystics of all times and all places (Ekstatische Konfessionen [Ecstatic Confessions], 1909).7 The young Heidegger planned to write a book on Eckhart and to teach a course on mysticism, and a few years after the publication of the Princess’s poem a smaller collection of mystical texts appeared in Munich under the title Gott in uns: Die Mystik der Neuzeit [God in Us: The Mysticism of the Modern Age].8 Contemporaries of the Princess referred regularly to Meister Eckhart and to the great German mystics of the early modern period, Jacob Böhme (1575-1624) and Angelus Silesius (1624-1677). Goethe’s nature-philosophy was sometimes integrated into this tradition and exercised an unmistakable influence on Rudolf Steiner, who devoted his earliest writings to the national poet and later named the temple of his anthroposophical faith after him. The theosophical movement, based on the writings of Helena Petrowna Blavatsky (1831-1891), had won a considerable following, as one historian reports, among ”thinking people who felt intellectually and spiritually cut adrift, unwilling or unable to choose between the sterility of scientific positivism and the impotence of a diminished church.”9 Its harmonizing notion of ”the One Life, the Soul of the World, the ultimate reality in which each living thing shares” and of which every thing that exists is a kind of emanation, appealed especially to those, chiefly in the non-commercial or pre-industrial middle and upper classes, who felt threatened by the growing power of big business and organized labor in late Wilhelminian Germany and rejected the utilitarianism and crass selfish or class interests – the ”materialism,” as they called it – that they saw displacing long established, communally respected traditions and values. Oppressed by what they perceived as the decadence of the age and the degeneration of the German people as a whole, these disaffected elements were drawn to a variety of movements promising regeneration of both the individual and the social fabric and commonly grouped under the umbrella concept of Lebensreform [Reform of (All Aspects of) Life]10

  • 11 Julius Hart, Der neue Gott: Ein Ausblick auf das kommende Jahrhundert (Florence and Leipzig: Eugen (...)
  • 12 Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, ed. Johannes Winckelmann (Tübingen, 1980), p. 307, quoted in Justus H (...)
  • 13 Avenarius often opened his magazine to opposing points of view in an effort to make it a truly nat (...)

6Instead of a unified and harmonious nation, it was felt in the circles of the disaffected that the long-desired and long-awaited breakthrough to a new, united Germany in 1871 had brought alienation, fragmentation, selfish and unrestrained pursuit of individual gain, and bitter class conflict. ”Fragmentation and disunity” [Zersplitterung und Uneinigkeit] will be seen as the characteristic feature of our age, declared Julius Hart, one of a team of two brothers who were enormously influential in Lebensreform circles at the turn of the century. ”All creative energies lose their unity and strike out in separate directions” [Alle Kräfte sondern sich und streben auseinander].11 Whence, according to Max Weber, the many calls, among the more educated, for salvation from inner or spiritual distress – to which most Lebensreform programs were in one way or another a response, and which Weber contrasted with calls by the lower classes for salvation from outer or material distress. In Weber’s words, what the disaffected middle and upper classes longed for was ”’union’ with oneself, with human beings, with the cosmos” [’Einheit’ mit sich selbst, mit den Menschen, mit dem Kosmos].12 This longing led some in the educated classes to situate themselves on an idealistic, anarchist or radical socialist ”Left” that defined itself as ”modern,” and others to situate themselves politically on a ”Right” that emphasized the community of the Volk or nation and was outspokenly critical of ”modernity” (by which they understood modern capitalism and big business and the displacing of traditional values, folkways, and social structures by economic liberalism and political democracy). The longing for ”Einheit” or wholeness was thus common to both a certain ”Left” and a certain ”Right,” to so-called ”Modernists” and ”anti-Modernists” alike – a situation that helps to explain the difficulty of labeling complex figures like Eugen Diederichs or Ferdinand Avenarius – the editor and publisher of the lively, popular, literary and cultural magazine Der Kunstwart [The Art Custodian] – either ”modern” or ”anti-modern. ”13

12. Ludwig Fahrenkrog. Vignette in his Baldur (1908)

  • 14 Hermann Bahr in the literary magazine ”Moderne Dichtung” (January 1, 1890), quoted in Ulbricht, ”’ (...)
  • 15 Ludwig Fahrenkrog, Baldur: Drama (Stuttgart: Greiner und Pfeiffer, 1908), pp. 46 (Act I, scene 2, (...)
  • 16 On the conflation of Christ and Baldur or Odin (Wotan), see Ekkehard Hieronimus, ”Zur Religiosität (...)
  • 17 On Wachler’s theatre, see the contemporary essay by the ”Heimatkunst” poet and essayist Friedrich (...)

7”A searing pain runs through this age and the agony can no longer be borne,” the essayist and critic Hermann Bahr wrote in 1890. ”There is a common clamor for a savior, and the crucified are everywhere. […] That salvation will come out of suffering and grace out of despair, that there will be daylight again after this horrific darkness… – the faith of modernity lies in such a glorious, blessed resurrection” [Es geht eine wilde Pein durch diese Zeit und der Schmerz ist nicht mehr erträglich. Der Schrei nach dem Heiland ist gemein und Gekreuzigte sind überall. [...] Daß aus dem Leide das Heil kommen wird und die Gnade aus der Verzweiflung, daß es tagen wird nach dieser entsetzlichen Finsternis... – an diese Auferstehung, glorreich und selig, das ist der Glaube der Moderne].14 Throughout the play Baldur (1908) by Ludwig Fahrenkrog – artist, art professor, champion of everything Nordic and Germanic and co-founder with Wilhelm Schwaner of the neo-pagan Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft (1913) – there is a repeated call for ”Life! Light! Salvation!” [Leben! Licht! Erlösung!] (figs. 12, 13). The finale of Baldur consists of a Song of the Youths and Maidens in praise of the ”Son of the Immortals” who ”came to save us, bringing life and light. ”15 (Baldur, the god of innocence, beauty, joy, purity, and peace, was the son of Odin or Wotan, the Norse or Germanic father-god, and is presented throughout the play as a native Germanic blend of Prometheus and Christ.16) Fahrenkrog’s play was performed in the open-air ”folk” theater at Thale in the foothills of the Harz Mountains, which had been founded and was being managed by the völkisch writer and publicist Ernst Wachler, another champion of ”Germanic” and ”Nordic” superiority. Despite his part-Jewish ancestry (which led in the end to his death at Theresienstadt) Wachler was one of the first members of Fahrenkrog’s Germanic religious community and an early supporter of National Socialism. In fact, such ”folk” theaters, designed to be places where the four elements of a cultural unity that modernity was accused of having torn apart – art, religion, nature, and Volk or nation – could come together, appealed chiefly to better-off, middle-class audiences, like the model of them all: Wagner’s Bayreuth. So too, it can be reasonably surmised, did the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft itself, as well as the Princess’s poem in its austerely luxurious presentation.17

13. Ludwig Fahrenkrog. ″Baldur, Sonne, Geist des Alls,″ in his Baldur (1908)

  • 18 Though not peculiar to Germany, Lebensreform does appear to have been more vigorous and influentia (...)
  • 19 Janos Frecot, Johann Friedrich Geist, Diethart Kerbs, Fidus 1868-1948; Zur ästhetischen Praxis bür (...)
  • 20 Landauer passage cited in Hinz, Mystik und Anarchie, p. 18. (Landauer’s case was probably less rar (...)

8Side-stepping the organized Left’s demands for fundamental state imposed social and economic change, the advocates of Lebensreform looked instead to remedy the alleged ills of modernity – which, for them, were above all feelings of spiritual emptiness and alienation from both the natural world and traditional communities – through freely chosen changes of lifestyle.18 Vegetarianism, nudism, homeopathic medicine, sport and physical culture, free love, dance therapy, eugenics, education reform, Wandervogel youth groups, a return to life on the land, and the founding of new agricultural communities and garden cities, were some of the many programs proposed to effect those changes. Lebensreform was certainly in important respects a form of ”bourgeois escapism,”19 a revolt that avoided any real challenge to the established order, and a potentially dangerous retreat from the political arena, viewed as itself partly responsible for the social ills that had to be cured. Nevertheless, the changes in lifestyle it proposed, with their emphasis, in most cases, not only on community but on freedom from the restraints of convention and external authority, were themselves a ”modern” rather than traditionally conservative response to the discontent and resentment produced in certain milieux by the rapid social and economic development of Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century and by the ”materialist” and ”Philistine” culture that those milieux felt had accompanied it. Exceptional in some respects (his Jewish origin and ultimate fate), the case of Gustav Landauer – who grew to manhood in the years of rapid expansion – is not untypical in others. It was his encounter with Ibsen, Landauer relates, that ”transformed the dream of beauty in the lad I then was into a desire to create reality, that forced me […] not to ignore the real basis of things – society and all its ugliness – but to criticize it and act against it through the rebellion and struggle of the individual. I understood nothing at that time of socialism and had not a clue about economic problems. What drove me into opposition to the ambient society […] was neither belonging to a particular social class nor social compassion. It was my romantic longing constantly bumping up against fences established by a narrow Philistinism. And so it came about that I was an Anarchist, without acknowledging it, before I became a Socialist and that I am one of the few who did not come to Socialism by way of Social Democracy.” The notion of ”another” or ”alterative Modernity” may better convey the complex and politically ambiguous character of the Lebensreform movement than the term ”anti-modern. ”20

9The poetry of the turn of the century is already permeated by Lebensreform notions and images, often in overt opposition to Christianity and bourgeois morality. Thus Max Bruns, a translator of Baudelaire and himself a publisher of works by many turn-of-the-century poets (Richard Dehmel, Max Dauthendey, Karl Henckell, Ludwig Jacobowksi), celebrates the body, the natural world, and their deep-seated inner harmony in a ”Lied von der Jugend” [Song of Youth] from his 1897 collection Aus meinem Blute [From My Blood] (dedicated to Dehmel):

  • 21 Max Bruns, Aus meinem Blute (Minden/Westfalen: J. C. C. Bruns’ Verlag, n.d.), pp. 70-71. A visual (...)

O Kraft in mir, du göttliche, jauchzende Kraft! Kraft des jungen Leibes und der jungen Seele […] O Sonne, Sonne! Allklare du in deiner rein strahlenden Nacktheit […] Und o Erde, Urgebärende alles Lebens, mit dem keuschen, nie welkenden Schoße! Und du, weites Meer, noch im Wechsel beständig dir gleichend, Urbild alles Menschenseins…
[O vital energy in me, divine, exulting energy! Energy of the young body and the young soul [...] O sun, sun! All bright in your pure luminous nudity [...] And o earth, original birth-mother of all Life, with your chaste, never withering womb! And you, vast sea, ever the same in the midst of change, primordial image of all human existence...] 21

10In Julius Hart’s Triumph des Lebens [Triumph of Life] (1898), beneath a characteristic header design by the illustrator Hugo Höppener (fig. 14), better known as ”Fidus” (like the Princess, both a rebel against convention and authority and an early supporter of National Socialism), the poet celebrates the arrival of spring in nature and in his own body. The poem opens on an erotic evocation of the marriage of Heaven – the Sun – and Earth, that is the union of seeming opposites, the overcoming of tenacious and life-destroying dualisms: light and darkness, spirit and matter, male and female, the divine and the human:

14. Fidus (Hugo Höppener). Header in Julius Hart, Triumph des Lebens (1898).

  • 22 Julius Hart, Triumph des Lebens (Florence and Leipzig: Eugen Diederichs, 1898), p. 57. The poet Fr (...)

Der Frühling glüht durch alle Lüste,
die Wolke blitzt von weissem Licht,
herniederströmt ein Feuersamen,
der aus dem Leib der Sonne bricht.
Geöffnet ist der Schoß der Erde,
nackt liegt sie noch in welkem Struth,
und liebesschauernd dehnt sie zitternd
sich in der neuen jungen Glut.
[Spring glows through all desire,
the clouds flash with white light,
fiery seed bursts forth
from the body of the sun and pours down.
The womb of the earth is open.
Naked she still lies in the withered swamp,
and shuddering with desire stretches out her trembling limbs
in new and youthful ardor]22

11A religious feeling for the unity of the universe underlay most Lebensreform projects and it was widely held among the advocates of Lebensreform that a new or renewed religion would be a significant component in the desired rejuvenation of both individuals and the community as a whole – that is, the German nation or Volk or, as more and more people were coming to think of it, the German race.

  • 23 See Appendix to Part 1: ”The völkisch rejection of Christianity.”
  • 24 Meister Eckeharts Schriften und Predigten: Aus dem Mittelhochdeutschen übersetzt und herausgegeben (...)
  • 25 Carlson, pp. 28, 116-17, 135-36.

12In the age of Darwin and Nietzsche, many deemed traditional Christianity not only incapable of providing that component, but itself part of the problem, rather than the solution. Christianity was accused of having adulterated and enfeebled the once energetic and creative Germanic or Nordic race.23 Far from being ”anti-modern,” the völkisch critics of Christianity were thoroughly in tune with ”modern” values and ideas when, following Nietzsche, they rejected Christianity as a slave religion, a religion of subservience, like its Judaic parent, to a tyrannical God, and demanded in its place a ”modern” religion compatible with the native, inborn love of personal freedom that, since Tacitus, had been ascribed to the Germanic and Nordic peoples. Some tried to reconnect with an indigenous German pantheistic and mystical tradition. Herman Büttner, whose modern German translation of Meister Eckhart’s Middle High German writings and sermons was published by Diederichs in 1903, declared in his Introduction that the work of the medieval German monk represented ”nothing less than a new religious creation, a fundamentally different religion from the mediator-based Christianity of the Church.”24 The considerable success of theosophy at the turn of the century reflected the same dissatisfaction with the Christianity represented by the established churches. Both Helena Petrowna Blavatsky’s theosophy and Rudolf Steiner’s breakaway movement of anthroposophy, it has been said, were ”forms of pantheism and metaphysical monism,” even if the theosophists themselves denied this.25

  • 26 Wille’s circle of friends included the Hart brothers, Heinrich and Julius, who were prominent in t (...)
  • 27 Quoted from the Prospectus by Karin Bruns in Handbuch literarisch-kultureller Vereine, Gruppen und (...)

13To the children of Darwin’s generation the attraction of theosophy may have been that it appeared to offer a middle way – the possibility of reaching God not through a discredited faith that required the submission of the free, modern intelligence to an ancient and ”alien” dogma, or through the action of an external mediator, but ”scientifically,” through a ”higher” knowledge, such as Mme Blavatsky’s ”Secret Doctrine.” It is not surprising that theosophists like Rudolf Steiner were among the founding members of the Giordano Bruno-Bund [Giordano Bruno Association] and the Deutscher Monistenbund [German Monist Association] – both of which were formed in response to popular ideas, derived from Darwin, about the nature of man and the universe and both of which rejected any separation of God and the world or man and nature. The Giordano Bruno-Bund was established in 1900 when Bruno Wille – a sometime theologian, mathematician, and philosopher, a founder of the avant-garde Neue deutsche Volksbühne [New German People’s Theater] in Berlin, and a leading figure in the Deutscher Freidenkerbund [German Association of Freethinkers]26 – joined forces with Wilhelm Bölsche, a highly successful popularizer of Darwinist evolutionism, to mark the 300th anniversary of the burning at the stake of the great Renaissance nature philosopher Giordano Bruno, by creating what the founders described as a ”Hochburg aller reinen, starken und geistig-adeligen Bestrebungen, zugleich eine Kampfgenossenschaft gegen alles Dunkelmännertum”27 [a citadel of all pure, strong and intellectually noble endeavors, at the same time a comradeship-in-arms against obscurantism of every kind]. The founding members included, besides Steiner, the völkisch artist Fidus, a member, like Wille and Bölsche, of the literary and cultural Friedrichshagener Kreis [Friedrichshagen Circle]; the liberally inclined poet and essayist Wolfgang Kirchbach, a close friend of Ferdinand Avenarius, editor of Der Kunstwart; the writer Carl Hauptmann, a frequent guest of the Vogelers and the Modersohns in Worpswede; Count Paul von Hoensbroech, an aristocratic ex-Jesuit turned passionate critic of Roman Catholicism; Rudolf Penzig, an educational reformer, President of the Berlin Humanistengemeinde [Humanist Community], and editor of the magazine Ethische Kultur [Ethical Culture]; along with a fair sprinkling of academics.

15. Wolfgang Kirchbach, cover of Ziele und Aufgabe des Giordano Bruno-Bundes (1905).

  • 28 Wolfgang Kirchbach, Ziele und Aufgaben des Giordano Bruno-Bund (Schmargendorf bei Berlin: Verlag R (...)
  • 29 Quoted in Gerhard Kratzsch, Kunstwart und Dürerbund, p. 93.

14In a pamphlet published by the Bund in 1905 (fig. 15), Kirchbach outlined its ”Ziele und Aufgaben” [goals and tasks]. ”First and foremost” among them was ”the cultivation and development of a monist worldview, that is, a unified view of the universe, embracing all its known creative and driving forces, its physical and chemical nature, its ethical powers, its inner intellectual and spiritual movements, as well as its external material forms, […] in all their variety and, at the same time, in the unity that is the core, ground, and meaning of their existence.” From its foundation, it was the aim of the Bund, Kirchbach went on, ”to analyze and expose the absurdity of the dualistic systems, with their oppositions of body and mind, spirit and nature […], to which church dogma and the dogmas of philosophical and scientific schools reduce the infinite variety of phenomena – and to demonstrate through observation […] the underlying unity of everything.” The second task of the Bund was the cultivation of ”Andacht” [reverence]. Monism as a modern philosophical and scientific position was thus to be complemented by monism as a modern form of religion. ”From the outset it was expected that the Bruno-Bund would seek out those who were more or less repelled by the content of dogmatic religion, by religious sectarianism, and by the growing intolerance of the established churches, and who hoped to find in pure religious feeling both consolation and a way of developing their moral and logical convictions.” For the founders were convinced that ”in the massive modern process of criticizing and destroying obsolete ideas, it was not enough to substitute abstract philosophical ideas for the lost comforting beliefs of childhood, and that something of positive value for the moral life and for the imagination was needed to provide new nourishment for the soul and make up for the loss of the old.” For this new nourishment Kirchbach looked to ”the reverence inspired by poetry, art, and music.” The Bund organized poetry-reading and musical evenings, botanical and geological study excursions, recitations and talks in the open air and in the woods around Berlin, and a celebration of the summer solstice near Lake Tegel in the northern outskirts complete with ritual dances and costumes.28 Kirchbach’s own understanding of the universe as revealed by Darwin and Haeckel appears to have had a religious dimension. ”The totality of the force of nature is in us too” [die Totalität der Naturgewalt (ist) auch in uns], he wrote his brother in September 1882, anticipating the Princess’s Gott in mir, ”and every creature is a piece of the great All that also moves the planets around each other.”29

15The Deutscher Monistenbund was founded in January 1906, only a few years after the Giordano-Bruno Bund, by the Darwinist Ernst Haeckel with the twin aims of ”promoting a unified view of the world and of life, based on modern natural science, and of bringing all the adherents of such a view together in a single organization.” ”The monist worldview,” according to a modern account of it, ”sought to resolve […] apparent contradictions – between freedom and necessity, nature and spirit, body and soul, the individual self and the cosmos, God and the World.” The Bund itself was to be more than an association of people with a shared ”scientific” view of the world. It was to be ”an agent for promoting a general cultural transformation. By presenting itself as an alternative to Christian religious communities, monism and the scientific view it represented were thus raised to the status of a substitute religion.” The Bund aimed, moreover, to reach out to the popular masses and enlighten those kept hitherto in ignorance by the dogmas of the churches. This was to be accomplished through the action of convinced Monists professing their beliefs in newspapers and magazines, public lectures and evening discussion groups, and organizing monist festivals in celebration of the seasonal changes of spring, summer, and winter. The talks on Monism given by the 1909 Nobel prizewinner and pioneer of physical chemistry, Wilhelm Ostwald, were published under the title Monistische Sonntagspredigten [Monist Sunday Sermons] (Leipzig: Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, 1911) and were intended to be read at Monist gatherings at the same hour as services in the Christian churches.30

  • 31 Jacobowski, the founder of Die Kommenden, was Jewish. The membership included Leo Frobenius, the a (...)
  • 32 There is no English equivalent of the term ”völkisch.” Since the late nineteenth century it has be (...)
  • 33 Quoted in Dieter Fricke, ”Der ’Deutschbund’,” in Handbuch zur Völkischen Bewegung 1871-1918,″ p. (...)
  • 34 Ekkehard Hieronymus in Handbuch zur Völkischen Bewegung 1871-1918, p. 136, citing the Regularium (...)
  • 35 Quoted in Michael Bönisch, ”Die ’Hammer’-Bewegung,” in Handbuch zur Völkischen Bewegung 1871-191 (...)

16The same years that saw the creation of the Giordano Bruno-Bund, the Monisten-Bund as well as several more directly literary, artistic, and cultural associations with reformist aims, such as Die Kommenden [The Coming Generations], established in 1900 by the poet Ludwig Jacobowski, the Neue Gemeinschaft [New Community] (1900) of the Hart brothers, the Dürer-Bund [Dürer Association] (1902), founded by Ferdinand Avenarius, and the Verdhandi or Werdandi-Bund zur Förderung jungdeutscher Kunst [Werdandi Association for the Promotion of Young German Art] (1907), whose chief promoters included Moeller van den Bruck and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, also saw the establishment of a large number of more explicitly nationalist societies with similar heterodox religious agendas. Whereas the Bruno Bund, the Monistenbund and most of the literary societies did not have a single, clearly defined political orientation and included members from different backgrounds and of various political persuasions31 – even if a majority of members of the Dürer-Bund and the Werdandi-Bund seem to have been associated with völkisch circles (i.e. nationalist circles in which national identity was usually based on race)32 – the nationalist societies were more rabidly and uniformly xenophobic and anti-Semitic, and generally no less anti-Christian than the Monists. Among the earliest were the Germanenbund [Teuton Association], founded in Salzburg in 1886, the militarist and anti-democratic Alldeutscher Verband [All-German Association], founded in 1891 to promote German imperial ambitions and preserve the purity of the German race, and the Deutschbund [German Association], founded in 1894 by Friedrich Lange in order to cure ”the ailing essence of our people” and save it from being delivered ”into bondage to the Jews,” made subservient to ”English arrogance and cunning,” and ”ousted from its own land by waves of immigrant Slavs.”33 Lange, the author of Reines Deutschtum: Grundzüge einer nationalen Weltanschauung [Pure German-ness: Basic Principles of a National World View] (Berlin, 1894), deemed Christianity unsuited to the task of bringing about a rebirth of German ”Volkstum” and advocated a return to pure German ways. The secret society of the Ordo novi Templi [Order of the New Templars], founded in 1900 by the racist Lanz von Liebenfels, aimed to ”revive the ancient ario-heroic idea of a Männerbund or male fraternity based on racial identity,” develop settlements or ”racial reservations” for the breeding of a racially pure population, promote a more natural lifestyle (vegetarianism and ”Sonnen-, Licht- und Luftkultur” [regular exposure to sun, light, and air]), and establish columbaria [Urnenfriedhöfe] as part of a revival of the forgotten ario-heroic cult of the dead.34 Similar ambitions inspired the establishment of the Guido von List Society, with its select inner core of devotees, the so-called Armanen-Orden [Order of Armans]. (”Armanen,” meaning inheritors of the sun-god, was the name given by List to the most pure-blooded Germans). List himself was a prolific writer of essays, novels, and festive plays celebrating the so-called ”Ariogermanen.” The goal of the Germanen-Orden, founded in 1912 by Hermann Pohl, was the rebirth of a racially pure German nation, from which the ”parasitic and revolutionary rabble-races” (Jews, anarchist crossbreeds, and gypsies) would be deported, the promotion of an ”Aryan-Germanic religious revival”, and the creation of a pan-German ”Armanist Empire” [Armanenreich]. The Hammerbund [Hammer Association], formed in 1910 around the rabidly anti-Semitic Theodor Fritsch’s monthly magazine Der Hammer (1902-1940; the reference is to the hammer of the Nordic God Thor), the program of which, carried on the back cover of every issue, was ”die Ausscheidung des Judentums aus dem Volksleben” [the extirpation of the Jews and their culture from the life of the people], proclaimed as its goals ”Schulreform, Rechtsreform, Bodensitz-Reform, Schutz der rechtschaffenden Stände gegen die Unterdrückung durch das Grosskapital wie auch die blöde Massen-Herrschaft, Vertretung einer gesunden Mittelstandpolitik, religiöse Erneuerung im modernen Geiste” [school reform, legal reform, land-property reform, defense of the honest middle classes against oppression by Big Business as well as by the stupid rule of the Masses, support for healthy centrist policies and for religious renewal in a modern spirit].35

  • 36 Runen, no. 7 (21 July 1918); Rudolf von Sebottendorf, Bevor Hitler kam (Munich, 1934), pp. 57-60; (...)
  • 37 Göring, Heß, Himmler, Rosenberg, Julius Streicher, and other leading figures in the NSDAP, though (...)

17The most famous of these nationalist groups was doubtless the mysteriously funded Thule-Gesellschaft [Thule Society], which was founded in Munich in August 1918 and played a major role in the overthrow of the Bavarian Räterepublik in 1919. The name referred to the mythical island in the far north, which had supposedly been the home of a great Nordic culture, like the Atlantis evoked by Hermann Wirth and his patron Ludwig Roselius. The goal of the Thule Society was to restore the grandeur and power of that culture and the purity of the race that had created it. Consistent with this goal, proof of Aryan blood was required for membership of the society – as indeed it was for many of the other nationalist societies referred to. ”We recognize no international brotherhood of man, only the interests of a particular people, we know of no brotherhood of man, only the brotherhood of blood. […] We hate the slogan of equality. Struggle is the father of all things, equality is death. […] We are not democrats, we reject democracy absolutely. Democracy is Jewish, all democratic revolution is Jewish. […] We are aristocrats.” [”Wir kennen keine internationale Brüderschaft der Menschen,” its founder, the enigmatic Rudolf von Sebottendorf, declared, ”sondern nur völkische Belange, wir kennen nicht die Brüdershaft der Menschen, sondern nur die Blutbrüderschaft. […] Wir hassen das Schlagwort von der Gleichheit. Der Kampf ist der Vater aller Dinge, Gleichheit ist der Tod. […] Wir sind keine Demokraten, wir lehnen Demokratie durchaus ab. Demokratie ist jüdisch, alle Revolution der Demokratie ist jüdisch. […] Wir sind Aristokraten.”] When the Republic was proclaimed in Munich in November 1918 and Prince Max of Baden announced the resignation of the Kaiser, Sebottendorf’s fury knew no bounds: ”Yesterday we experienced the collapse of everything that was familiar, dear, and precious to us,″ he cried at a meeting of the Society in the Four Seasons Hotel in Munich. ”In place of our blood-related Prince there now reigns our deadly enemy: Juda. […] A time of struggle, of bitter affliction, a time of danger is coming. […] As long as I hold the iron hammer, it will be my goal to engage the Thule Society in this struggle. Our Order is a Germanic Order. Fidelity is Germanic. Our God is Walvater. His rune is the aarune. […] Aarune means Aryan, the original Fire, the Sun, and the Eagle. And the Eagle is the symbol of the Aryans. The eagle was made red to convey its capacity for self-immolation […]. From today onwards, the eagle is our symbol. It should remind us that we must pass through death in order to live.”36 The Thule Society is generally held to have been one of the main instigators of the NSDAP.37

  • 38 Quoted from Das Reich der Erfüllung: Flugschriften zur Begründung einer neuen Weltanschauung, ed. (...)

18Virtually all the nationalist and racist movements – of which only a few have been mentioned here – had a religious dimension. Even the more open and more liberally inclined Neue Gemeinschaft of the Hart brothers set itself the goal of solving the problem of social alienation through a ”new religion.” Drawing on a pantheistic-monistic notion of the unity of the All, invoking Spinoza and Giordano Bruno, and following in the footsteps of Zarathustra and Heraclitus, the writers and artists who came together in the Neue Gemeinschaft felt that they were ”people of the future” who, by remaking themselves, would remake the world. They hoped to lead the way ”to the New Man, who will be the God and artist of the world.” ”We say, exactly as did Christ and Buddha, that we do not intend to abolish the old religions but to lead them forward. In destroying them, we restore them to life, fulfill them and complete them. […] Through all religions there runs a deep and hidden doctrine: that of eternal rebirth.”38

  • 39 Uwe Puschner, ”Weltanschauung und Religion,” section 4, quoting from Karl Themel, Der religiöse Ge (...)
  • 40 Max Robert Gerstenhauer, Was ist Deutsch-Christentum? 2nd edn. (Berlin-Schlachtensee, 1930), quote (...)
  • 41 Paul de Lagarde, ”Über das Verhältnis des deutschen Staates zu Theologie, Kirche und Religion” (18 (...)
  • 42 W. Maasddorff, Die Religion und die Philosophie der Zukunft, 2nd edn. (Lorch-Württemberg: Karl Röh (...)
  • 43 Schwaner, cited in Der Kunstwart, XXVI, 2nd issue for August 1913, p. 263.

19In fervently völkisch circles the emphasis on religion, which in those circles meant a so-called ”German” religion, a religion related to German blood and race (an ”Aryan” Christianity, cleansed of all Old Testament and Jewish components, or an overtly neo-pagan, purely Germanic and Nordic religion), was even greater than in the eclectic and largely literary milieu of the Neue Gemeinschaft. According to Uwe Puschner, who has studied the völkisch movement extensively, ”religion is at the very center of the völkisch world-view;” as one writer put it in 1926, it was ”the true soul of the movement.”39 For it was a fundamental völkisch conviction that the main goal of the movement – ”the spiritual and moral renewal and rebirth of the German people” and the construction of a völkisch polity – was attainable only through ”the inclusion of religion” and specifically through a ”Germanic religious reformation.”40 ”Every nation needs its own national religion,” Paul de Lagarde, one of the most influential German writers on religious topics of the late nineteenth century, had maintained only a few years after the founding of the Empire under Wilhelm I. Only religion, he explained, binds the members of a people together in such a way that, while each individual retains complete freedom, there is no danger to the unity of the nation, since each individual is an inseparable member or limb of the whole and thus cannot will anything contrary to the will of the whole. A nation can indeed be held together by pure power, but the response to power is revolution. Acknowledging that a new religion cannot be artificially created, Lagarde argued that the task for those who seek a new and great Germany ”is to do everything appropriate to prepare the way for a national religion and to prepare the nation to accept that religion, which – essentially un-Protestant – cannot, if Germany is to become a new country, be simply an improved version of the old religion, [and] which – essentially un-Catholic – must be a religion for Germany alone, if it is to be the soul of Germany.”41 A 1902 pamphlet entitled ”The Religion and Philosophy of the Future″ called for a ″German-national religion,” on the grounds that the traditional Protestant and Catholic churches do not offer a religion that ”corresponds to the living feelings of the German Volksseele [soul of the people].”42 Germany needed a new religion that would embrace and reunite all the aspects of the people’s life, Wilhelm Schwaner declared in similar vein: ”Our families, our schools, our houses of worship, our temples of art, our dwellings – everything, absolutely everything should be sanctified by religion, but by a native, not a borrowed, alien religion. The Holy and Blessed Land, for us, is Germany. The Rhine, the Elbe, the Oder, and the Danube are our Holy Stream. The Brocken, the Hermannstein, the Riesenkoppe and the Wartburg are our Holy Mount. The Edda, Faust, and the Ring are our Holy Books.”43

  • 44 Joachim Kurd Niedlich, Deutsche Religion als Voraussetzung deutscher Wiedergeburt (Leipzig, 1921). (...)
  • 45 Ottmar Hegemann, ”Das Recht des Kristentums,” Heimdall, Zeitschrift für Deutschtum und Altdeutscht (...)
  • 46 ”Unsere Ziele,” Das Geistchristentum: Monatschrift zur Vollendung der Reformation durch Wiederhers (...)
  • 47 Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century, trans. Vivian Bird (Torrance, CA: Noontide Pr (...)

20A ”German religion” was the ″condition of German rebirth” after the catastrophe of 1918, in the words of the very title of a work by Joachim Kurd Niedlich, a prolific writer of books and essays advocating a German Christianity purged of all Judaic elements and a leader of the movement in favor of a ”German people’s church” and a German people’s religion. Religion, Niedlich and other völkisch spokesmen held, was especially important to Aryans and Germans inasmuch as it binds individuals into a community. It was ”a fundamental feature of their being and of their culture.”44 For that reason, for the German people to abandon religion would be tantamount to its abandoning the very source of its greatest strength.45 A year before the National Socialists seized power, Artur Dinter reiterated that the work of creating a united German nation was still – for lack of a national religion – incomplete. ”We are still not a nation for one reason and one reason only: because nothing in the depths of our being unites us. The things that give us cause to call ourselves German – the same blood, the same language, the same homeland – all these remain on the surface unless they are given depth in religion and custom. […] Not until we recognize that our religion and our eternal obligation on this earth is to serve the people and the fatherland by sacrificing ourselves and dedicating our entire lives to them, can the growth and development of our people take deep root.”46 Alfred Rosenberg, who saw himself as the ”philosopher” of National Socialism, likewise considered that ”it will be the chief task of the awakening Germany […] to create a church for the German Volk. We will work until a second Meister Eckhart one day […] embodies, enacts and shapes this German community of souls. [...] To give the Nordic race-soul its form as a German church under the sign of the mythos of the Volk, that is for me the greatest task of our century.”47

  • 48 J. W. Hauer, ”Die Anthroposophie als Weg zum Geist,” Die Tat, 12, no. 11, February, 1921, pp. 800- (...)
  • 49 Carlson, p. 28; Rudolf Steiner, ”Form-Creating Forces” (a lecture given in Berlin, 20 June 1912), (...)
  • 50 In demanding a ”modern” religion, the publisher Diederichs and many of his authors had a ”German” (...)
  • 51 Thomas Westerich, Orplid das heilige Land: Das Mysterium der Reinheit (Stade: Zwei Welten Verlag, (...)

21In völkisch circles, Mme Blavatsky’s theosophy and Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy may well have seemed less in tune with the general shift of emphasis from intellectual knowledge and understanding to biology and ”life” than some newer religious movements, which took as their point of departure not an occult doctrine but an immediate inner experience of the divine. Thus Wilhelm Hauer, the future founder of the German Faith Movement, writing in Diederich’s periodical Die Tat [The Action], noted with obvious regret that ”anthroposophy is strongly marked by rationality.” ”Dr. Steiner,” he added, ”combats purposefully and energetically the modern predilection for the subconscious and the irrational,” which he views as a regression to primitive stages of human development.48 In addition, both theosophy and anthroposophy were internationalist and universalist, rather than nationalist. The charter of the Theosophical Society (1875) announced that the ”principal aim and object of the Society is to form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity,” while Steiner insisted that his teaching was ”an affair of humanity, like mathematics” and in no way ”an affair of one particular nation.”49 The new emphasis on life and biology, in contrast, favored a ”concrete” notion of the larger whole (itself a part of the even larger Totality or Cosmos) as a distinct ”Volk” or race, a community united by blood rather than an allegedly abstract, purely conceptual ”humanity.” It also encouraged a view of religion as an integral part of both individual life and national life (or the life of the racial community), organically related to and uniting both. Religion, in short, was inseparable from biology. For each race, many believed, there was a form of religion that was ”natural” to it, part of its very being.50 ”Religion is race, race religion,” as one völkisch ideologist put it.51

22Those who held this view of religion and sought to lay the foundations of a ”German” religion could nevertheless claim to be tolerant of other races’ religions, which allowed them to rail against the ”intolerance” of Christianity (and especially of the Roman Catholic Church) with its claim to be the only ”true” religion, while at the same time excluding from their own ranks all those who were not of pure German blood or descent.

  • 52 Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, trans. John Lees, 2 vols. (London and New York: John Lane, (...)
  • 53 Wilhelm Schwaner, Germanen-Bibel, 2nd edn. enlarged, 2 vols. (Berlin-Schlachtensee; Volkserzieher- (...)
  • 54 J. Wilhelm Hauer, Deutsche Gottschau: Grundzüge eines deutschen Glaubens, 4th edn. (Stuttgart: Kut (...)
  • 55 From document in Matheson, ed., The Third Reich and the Christian Churches, p. 23.

23Houston Stewart Chamberlain, for instance, presented tolerance as a characteristic feature of Aryan peoples, in contrast to the intolerance he declared characteristic of the Semites and taken over from them by Church Christianity.52 According to Wilhelm Schwaner in the Afterword of his Germanen-Bibel of 1904, while every people must create its own bible and the Germans therefore must have one appropriate to their national spirit, not to that of the Jews, later generations may compile from the ”Bibles of the Jews, the Christians, the Germans, the Latins, and the Slavs that which one day will inspire and unite them all: the Bible of Humanity.”53 In the early 1930s Wilhelm Hauer insisted that the attitude of the Deutsche Glaubensbewegung to other religions was one of respect for all authentic men and women of faith, but with the clear understanding that every people has its own native religious form and that the religion of one people is not right for another and cannot ever be successfully imposed on another.54 A similar note was struck in the revised guidelines (16 May 1933) of the Deutsche Christen [German Christians], a nationwide religious association that sought to retain Christianity as the national religion by eliminating its Judaic elements and was here trying to reach out to a broad audience: ”Recognizing the difference between peoples and races as a God-given order for this world, we urge that the cultural heritage of other peoples should not be destroyed by the mission to the heathen.”55

  • 56 Quoted in Matheson, ed., The Third Reich and the Christian Churches, p. 6.
  • 57 Quoted in Matheson, The Third Reich and the Christian Churches, pp. 39-40, 81-82. In the period af (...)

24In practice, needless to say, toleration was less in evidence than anti-Semitism and racism, and the real reason for rejecting missionary activity is found in the first, unrevised Manifesto of the Deutsche Christen (26 May 1932): ”We regard the mission to the Jews as a grave danger to our culture. Through its doors alien blood is imported into the body of our nation.”56 In a sensational address to an audience of 20,000 in the Berlin Sportpalast on 13 November 1933, Reinhold Krause, the leader of the Berlin Deutsche Christen, proclaimed that ”it will not do for German Christian pastors to explain: ’We stand where we have always stood, on the basis of the Old Testament,’ although, on the other hand, the guiding principles speak of ’racially attuned Christianity.’ In practice the one excludes the other.” Krause demanded that the New Testament be purged of ”all obviously distorted and superstitious reports” and that ”the whole scapegoat and inferiority theology of the Rabbi Paul” be eliminated. In May 1939, the Deutsche Christen opened a research institute, the avowed aim of which was the ”dejudaizing of the Church and of Christianity.”57

  • 58 Following Lagarde (Deutsche Schriften, pp. 140-42), it was generally agreed that a national faith (...)

25The particular form taken by religion among native Germans – Germans by race – was widely held to be an immediate inner experience of the divine. This was allegedly demonstrated by the long tradition exemplified among German churchmen by Meister Eckhart, Jacob Böhme, and Angelus Silesius, and continued by countless German artists and writers in whose music, poetry, and painting the native religious impulse took refuge, according to Alfred Rosenberg, in the face of persistent efforts by the orthodox established Church to suppress it.58 The Judeo-Christian emphasis on external influences and authorities – Scripture, doctrine, the action of a mediator, and the institution of the Church itself – like the Judeo-Christian view of God as transcendent and radically other, was considered ″artfremd,″ that is, alien to the race or breed of the Germans.

  • 59 Chamberlain, Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, vol. 1, pp. 221-23, 246-47. In the year Chambe (...)
  • 60 See Appendix to Part I, ”The Völkisch rejection of Christianity.”
  • 61 Klaus Jeziorkowski, ”Empor ins Licht: Gnostizismus und Licht-Symbolik in Deutschland um 1900,” in (...)
  • 62 Quoted from Niekisch, Entscheidung (Berlin, 1930), in Michael Pittwald, Ernst Niekisch: Völkischer (...)
  • 63 ”Wir Volkserzieher nennen uns Gottsucher; wir anerkennen ein Gotteswesen, das alles durchdringt al (...)

26In the search for the truly German religion, the religion biologically proper to the German race, there was much disagreement. Countless sects arose – and competed with each other for adherents. Among those who wished to remain Christian many followed Houston Stuart Chamberlain in asserting that Christ himself, whatever his debt to Judaism, was racially not Jewish but Aryan59 and in doing everything possible to divest Christianity of its Jewish roots and thus develop it into an Aryan religion, a truly and fully German Christianity.60 In late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Germany Gnosticism had a field day.61 Others asserted that Christianity was ineradicably ”Semitic” at its very core, with an oppressive Roman-style ecclesiastical superstructure tacked on to it, and was therefore incompatible with and destructive of the ”freedom-loving” German spirit. A truly German religion, they held, would draw on the ancient religious traditions of the Germanic peoples, which, they claimed, Christianity had either appropriated to its own ends or destroyed. ”Only where Christianity has ceased to be,” the so-called National Bolshevist Ernst Niekisch declared in 1930, ”can the true religious feeling of the German begin.” A return to paganism [Verheidung] was the condition of a Germanic-völkisch feeling for the divine, through which ”das Germanisch-Heroische” would be revived.62 Notwithstanding the differences among them, however, almost all these new sects and groupings subscribed to a view of God as not outside the individual but dwelling within him and substantively identical with him. ”Gott in uns,” in one form or another, was the essential conviction of all the new religions. Thus Wilhelm Schwaner in Der Volkserzieher [The People’s Educator] (1905): ”We educators of the people call ourselves Godseekers: we recognize a divine being that, as the creative, sustaining, and regulating principle, is all-pervasive, but we do not seek that being beyond the clouds; we seek it in ourselves.”63

  • 64 Wilhelm Schwaner, Germanen-Bibel, vol. 1, pp. xxxi-xxxii. The likely source of this text is Schmit (...)

27As part of the Introduction to the first volume of his Germanen-Bibel (1904-5) (fig. 16) Schwaner printed a text entitled Die Religion des Geistes [The Religion of the Spirit] by Eugen Heinrich Schmitt (1851-1916), a prolific writer of works – several published by Diederichs – promoting anarchism (1897, 1904) and Gnosticism (1903), as well as of books on Nietzsche (1898), Tolstoy (1901), with whom he entertained a correspondence (published in 1926), and Ibsen (1908). Schmitt’s claim, clearly endorsed by Schwaner, was that he was ”annunciating a new Man and a new World, the God-Man [Gottmensch]” – not, Schmitt insisted, ”the God-Man seated on a throne, far from all earthly misery, at the right hand of the Heavenly Ruler,” but ”the living, present God-Man […] who awaits his awakening, his emergence in the soul of each one of the least among you.” ”We have come,” Schmitt went on, ″to reveal the great mystery of the God-Man within you […] to bring about the raising of Man to Divinity.″ This implies no dogma and no written law. ″We have not come simply to repudiate the teachings or the dogma of any church or sect; our teaching is simple, like no other, a bringer of blessedness [beseligend] and liberation to the world [weltbefreiend], like no other. It has slumbered in the depths of all the religions and philosophies of Mankind; it was the hidden goal seen glimmering, like the sun behind the clouds, by all the great visionaries and poets.″ The new religion unites man ″with the Ground of all beings, the Original Unity, the Father of all beings″ [mit dem Urwesen der Wesen, der Ureinheit, dem Vater der Wesen] as well as with everything human, in blessed community, through love.″ ″Seek not the resurrected one in the grave, seek him not in imaginary heavens,″ readers of the Germanen-Bibel are told. ″For lo, the resurrected one is here. You yourselves are the resurrected ones! [...] You have been taught a God filled with insatiable thirst for revenge, a God who brandishes the threat of eternal punishment in Hell. Our Divinity is the awakening, all-binding love and reason in each one of us. […] Seek God in the spirit of Man. Whoever does not find him there will never find him.″64 According to another contributor to the Introduction to the Germanen-Bibel (Ernst Eberhardt-Humanus), ″the fundamental principle of our national myth is self-redemption [Selbsterlösung – i.e. salvation that requires no mediator]. Its call to us is: ’Break through, break through! Through Night to the Light!’″ [Hindurch, hindurch! Durch Nacht zum Licht]

16. Cover of Wilhelm Schwaner, Germanen-Bibel (1905) The oak tree, standing alone in the center of the landscape and solidly rooted in the earth, serves here as a sym¬bol of the strength of Germanic faith and its rootedness in the native soil. (The oak was the tree preferred by the God Thor.) Readers might have been reminded of Caspar David Friedrich’s iconic ″Einsamer Baum″ (Lonely Tree) of 1822, now in the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Friedrich’s tree, though blasted, stands firm in the center of his painting, an emblem of German tenacity and resilience.

28In the first of two articles entitled ″Germanen-Tempel,″ published in 1907-08 in Schwaner’s Volkserzieher, Ludwig Fahrenkrog offered yet another version of the ”God in us” theme as the basis of a new Germanic religion. ″Are you, German soul, not rich enough to build your sanctuary out of your own primal native heritage?″ he asked rhetorically, and lamented the subservience of fervent, young Germans in matters of faith to the ″suggestive pomp of Orientals, always zealous for absolutes.″ By Orientals, he explained, he meant ″Moses with his ’Thou shalt not,’ Jesus’s ’Love thine enemy,’″ and Paul’s inflexible claim that there is only one road to salvation. ″Remember too,″ he added, for good measure, ″the Pope’s infallibility in matters concerning the human soul.″ In sum, in Christianity ″the Germanic is in subjection to the Oriental″ and the free spirit of the German has been overwhelmed by the slavish obedience of the Oriental to a tyrannical and intolerant external authority. But Jesus himself, Fahrenkrog noted, ″spoke of a divine truth, according to which ’The kingdom of heaven is within you!’″

29Fahrenkrog had in fact answered his own question a year earlier, in his Geschichte meines Glaubens [History of my Faith], a narrative of his spiritual journey.65 His basic article of faith, he had written then, was ″Gott in uns″: ″If God is in everything, hence not only in me, then I am also the Other. If, however, God is in me, then his law is also in me and I have no need either of written law or of a Mediator. Likewise I cannot expect to achieve salvation otherwise than in and through myself.″ His ″new-won view of the world″ could be summarized, Fahrenkrog explained, in three short phrases: ″God in us – the Law in us – self-redemption.”66 Later, in 1912, Fahrenkrog incorporated the essence of his religious ideas in a proposed profession of faith for the Germanisch-deutsche Religionsgemeinschaft (the immediate predecessor of the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft), of which the first two articles were: ″I am physically and spiritually a part of the World–All” [i.e. the divine]; and: ″As Self, I am also the Other (this follows from article 1).″ Later still, he proposed a somewhat differently worded profession of faith, article 3 of which stated mystically: ”It is. The All is in me and I am in the All. [...] All things spring from the same original source. There is no difference between God-All and human soul. Man is part of the Totality, a particular being. And yet he is also God.″ According to Fahrenkrog, the immediate, incontrovertible experience of the indwelling of God in the human soul is the essence of all true religion: ″Whoever does not find these propositions self-evident is not truly religious. They refer to fundamentals. Neither faith nor dogma plays any role here.″67

  • 68 Die Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft (Berlin-Steglitz: Verlag Kraft und Schönheit, n.d.). See fig. (...)

30The final, formal profession of faith of the Germanische Glaubens gemeinschaft was printed in Fahrenkrog’s Das Deutsche Buch [The German Book], published in the very year that the Princess’s poem Gott in mir appeared (1921), as well as separately in a small booklet drawn from it68 (figs. 17, 18). The principles of the new faith were stated more systematically here, but ”Gott in uns” remained for Fahrenkrog the essence of religion. (It still appears on the cover-page of every issue of Germanen-Glaube, the journal of the revived post-World War II Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft.) Other aspects of the faith of the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft, as formulated in the movement’s 1921 Bekenntnis or Profession of Faith – self¬fulfillment as each individual’s obligation to the All; reverence for nature in all its manifestations; ″purity″ (which, it was underlined, is not the same as ″innocence″); love of beauty, wisdom, strength, and action; the values of family and heritage (marriage, children, respect for one’s parents); honor and loyalty to other members of the community; and ″Rasse und Reich, Heimat und Land″ [race and country, homeland and native soil] – are so much part of the Princess’s outlook in Gott in mir, as well as in all her later work, that it is hard to imagine she was not familiar with the Bekenntnis or even perhaps a member of the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft.

  • 69 On Bonus, see Rainer Flasche, ″Vom deutschen Kaiserreich zum Dritten Reich: Nationalreligiöse Bewe (...)
  • 70 Peter Matheson, ed., The Third Reich and the Christian Churches, p. 40.

31″Gott in mir,″ ″Gott in uns,″ the indwelling of God in Man, and the underlying identity of substance of God and Man remained in effect the fundamental religious experience and the basic principle of virtually all the advocates of a German national faith throughout the twentieth century. It was the conviction both of the publisher Diederichs himself and of many of his authors – such as the prolific Arthur Bonus, author of a widely acclaimed plea for the ″Germanization of Christianity″ (1911-12) [Zur Germanisierung des Christentums, volume 2 of his Zur religiösen Krisis (On the Religious Crisis)], and Herman Büttner, the translator of Meister Eckhart, who asserted in his Büchlein vom vollkommenen Leben. Eine deutsche Theologie [The Book of the Perfect Life: A German Theology] of 1907 that since God is in us, a perfect life can be lived without abnegation of the self or total surrender of the self to God. It was the conviction of the poet Dietrich Eckart, who befriended and groomed Hitler in the latter’s early Munich days. It was the conviction of the passionately anti-Judaic and anti-Christian Mathilde von Ludendorff, the founder, with her second husband, the famous First World War general Erich von Ludendorff, of the Verein Deutschvolk [German People’s Union] and the author of innumerable books and pamphlets in the 1920s and 1930s (and right on into the post-World War II period), propagating her idea of ″Deutsche Gotterkenntnis″ [The German Way to Knowledge of God]; as it was the conviction of her rival as a religious leader, Jakob Wilhelm Hauer, who in the early 1930s founded and for a time headed the Deutsche Glaubensbewegung, and for whom God is present ”in allem, was erscheint, so auch in uns″ [in every phenomenon, hence also in us]. It was the conviction of the political theorist and sociologist Paul Krannhals, who declared in 1933 that ″Gott ist in uns und wir sind in Gott″ [God is in us and we are in God]; while in Nazi leadership circles a similar immanentist view of the relation of the divine and the human was put forward by Alfred Rosenberg in The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930).69 Even some of the Deutsche Christen (who tried to retain a Christianity purged of Judaic elements) rejected ″theology’s attempts to separate God and Man and to justify its own existence by proving that man is fallen, weighed down by original sin, and therefore in need of the salvation the Church can offer.″ ″We recognize no God/Man division,” Reinhold Krause told the 20,000 people gathered in the Berlin Sportpalast in November 1933.70

17. Cover of pamphlet extracted from Ludwig Fahrenkrog’s Das Deutsche Buch to promote the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft (1921).

18. Rear cover of pamphlet from Fahrenkrog’s Das Deutsche Buch (1921), with advertisements for illustrated postcards of wise sayings from the Edda, for rubber stampsof the swastika, ″the ancient sign of the Aryans and particularly the Germans,″which ″every German by blood should have imprinted on writing paper, postcards, etc.,″ and for the journal Kraft und Schönheit, in case the reader and friends are interested in learning about body culture and Lebensreform.

Notes

1 Rejection of antiqua or Latin script and adoption of Fraktur, often in a highly stylized form, was a sign of adherence to völkisch ideologies (i.e. ideologies based on a racial conception of the people or nation), as was the use of German names instead of Latin ones for the months of the year; see Uwe Puschner, ”Die Germanenideologie im Kontext der völkischen Weltanschauung,” Göttinger Forum für Altertumswissenschaft, 2001, 4: 85-97. Puschner refers to an article entitled ”Deutsches Volk, hüte deine deutsche Schrift: ein Erbgut deutscher Art” [German people, defend your German script, an essential legacy of German-ness] in Kultur und Familie, 1913/14, 3: 187f. Hitler’s decision in 1941 to make Roman script standard was greeted with dismay by some völkisch leaders and provided one of them with ”evidence” in the post-War period that he had been an opponent of Hitler’s policies. In a letter dated 17 January 1954 Ludwig Dessel, then head of the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft, a neo-pagan, völkisch religious group dating back to the end of the Wilhelminian era, claimed that ”the moment Hitler made Roman script standard, it became clear to me [nothing else apparently opened his eyes - LG] that I would never be in agreement with him, that his war aims were not as I had seen them, and that what he wanted for the German people was not what I wanted or what the German people wanted for itself. […] I can truly say that from that time on I hated him, because he freely and deliberately gave up a cultural treasure that was one of the pillars of our national tradition.” (”GGG und NS: Zugehörigkeit zur NSDAP,” http://www.germanische-glaubens-gemeinschaft.de/gggundns.htm) On the notion of ”völkisch,” see below Ch. 2 n. 32.

2 Schwaner’s Germanen-Bibel was republished in 1934 and again in 1941. Judging it desirable to preserve a link between the new Germanic religion and German Christianity, Schwaner subsequently distanced himself from Fahrenkrog and the radically pagan Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft. For similar pantheistic longings in the art of the time, see Online Appendix B, Image Portfolio 2.

3 On Hauer, see the well-documented monograph of the sometime National Socialist scholar Margarete Dierks, Jakob Wilhelm Hauer 1881-1962: Leben, Werk, Wirkung; Mit einer Personalbibliographie (Heidelberg: Schneider, 1986) and the notably more critical studies of Hubert Cancik, ’”Neuheiden’und totaler Staat: Völkische Religion am Ende der Weimarer Republik” in his Religions- und Geistesgeschichte der Weimarer Republik, pp. 176-212, Ulrich Nanko, Die Deutsche Glaubensbewegung: Eine historische und soziologische Untersuchung (Marburg: Diagonal Verlag, 1993), and Schaul Baumann, Die Deutsche Glaubensbewegung und ihr Gründer Jakob Wilhelm Hauer (1881-1962) (Marburg: Diagonal Verlag, 2006). In English, see the references to Hauer in Doris L. Bergen, Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996) and Karla O. Poewe, New Religions and the Nazis (New York: Routledge, 2006).

4 Theodor Däubler’s multi-volume mythic Nordlicht (1910) would be a prime example, as would some of the popular poetry of Friedrich Lienhard. For other examples, see Helmut Scheuer, ”Zur Christus-Figur in der Literatur um 1900,” and Gunter Martens, ”Stürmer in Rosen: Zum Kunstprogramm einer Strassburger Dichtergruppe der Jahrhundertwende,” in Fin de Siècle: Zur Literatur und Kunst der Jahrhundertwende (Frankfurt a.M.: Vittorio Klostermann, 1977), pp. 378-402 and 481-507.

5 See online Appendix A. Also available directly from Princeton University Library on http://libweb5.princeton.edu/visual_materials/Misc/Bib_2934672.pdf

6 Meister Eckharts Mystische Schriften in unsere Sprache übertragen von Gustav Landauer (Berlin: Karl Schnabel [Axel Junckers Buchhandlung], 1903); Meister Eckeharts Schriften und Predigten: Aus dem Mittelhochdeutschen übersetzt und herausgegeben von Herman Büttner (Leipzig: Eugen Diederichs, 1903), 2 vols. The texts translated by Landauer were selected and rearranged by him on the principle that ”everything would be left out that does not speak to us” and that ”Meister Eckhart is too good for a [merely] historical reading; he must be resuscitated as a living voice.” (Vorwort, p. 5) On Landauer‛s relation to Eckhart, see Thorsten Hinz, Mystik und Anarchie: Meister Eckhart und seine Bedeutung im Denken Gustav Landauers (Berlin: Karin Kramer Verlag, 2000).

7 Diederichs and the so-called Sera-Circle around him in Jena seem to have shared Nietzsche’s view of Christianity as simply ”Judaism to the second power.” (Hubert Cancik, Nietzsches Antike: Vorlesung [Stuttgart and Weimar: J. B. Metzler Verlag, 1995], pp. 142-43) See also Justus H. Ulbricht, ‘”Theologia deutsch’: Eugen Diederichs und die Suche nach einer Religion für moderne Intellektuelle,” in Romantik, Revolution und Reform: Der Eugen Diederichs Verlag im Epochenkontext 1900-1949 (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 1999), pp. 156-74: ”It is impossible not to detect an anti-Semitic undertone of the kind found in the late Nietzsche in the very project of Diederichs and his stable of authors to revive the mystical tradition – which did not prevent a Jewish intellectual like Martin Buber from publishing his ’Ecstatic Testimonies’ with Diederichs.” (p. 164)

8 Ed. Otto Karrer (Munich: Verlag ’Ars Sacra’ Josef Müller, 1926). Sections were devoted to Spanish mysticism, French mysticism, European mysticism in the nineteenth century (Newman and others), visionaries, and poets (Droste-Hülshoff, Lamartine, Verlaine, Newman, Manzoni, among others). On Heidegger, see John D. Caputo, ”Heidegger and Theology,” in The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger, ed. Charles B. Guignon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 326-44, on pp. 337-38.

9 Maria Carlson, ”No Religion Higher than Truth.” A History of the Theosophical Movement in Russia 1875-1922 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), pp. 5-6.

10 On the social, cultural and ideological basis of opposition, in Germany, to the values of the new commercial and industrial society and on the social milieux in which disaffection and criticism were strongest, see Gerhard Kratzsch, Kunstwart und Dürerbund: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Gebildeten im Zeitalter des Imperialismus (Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 1969), pp. 23-31, 40-41. Kratzsch’s breakdown of the membership of the Dürer-Bund in 1905 into social and employment categories (pp. 337-38, 467-68) shows that it was overwhelmingly middle-class and professional – churchmen, schoolteachers, and students being disproportionately represented. Of 3,194 members in 1905, only 20 were ”Handwerker” [artisans/ tradesmen] and 47 shop or office employees. The Hammer, the anti-Semitic Theodor Fritsch’s self-proclaimed ”parteilose Zeitschrift für nationales Leben” [Independent Journal for National Life], claimed to address itself above all to a ”middle class that is less and less respected in the modern state” as the latter increasingly ”kneels before two idols, the secret violent power of capital on the grand scale on the one hand, and the threateningly violent proletarian mass on the other.” This ”Mittelstand” consists not only of artisans and shopkeepers but also of ″all who are neither multimillionaires nor proletarians.″ (Michael Bönisch, entry on the ”Hammer”-Bewegung in Handbuch zur Völkischen Bewegung 1871-1918, pp. 341-65, on p. 355) Wilhelm Schwaner claimed that the subscribers to his magazine Der Volkserzieher were, in addition to schoolteachers, ”pastors, post office employees, shopkeepers, artisans and peasants, as well as heads of administrative districts.” (Der Kunstwart, XXVI, 2nd August issue, 1913, p. 281)

11 Julius Hart, Der neue Gott: Ein Ausblick auf das kommende Jahrhundert (Florence and Leipzig: Eugen Diederichs, 1899), p. 26.

12 Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, ed. Johannes Winckelmann (Tübingen, 1980), p. 307, quoted in Justus H. Ulbricht, ”’Cogito ergo credo’: Religionswissenschaftliche Argumente für ein Museum der Lebensreform,” in Unweit von Eden: Tagung der Konzeption des Museums der deutschen Lebensreform im Fidushaus Waltersdorf, ed. Ute Grund (Potsdam: Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, 2000), pp. 39-54, on p. 43. According to Thomas Nipperdey, religion was an essential component of all Lebensreform movements. (Religion im Umbruch: Deutschland 1870-1918 [Munich: C. H. Beck, 1988], pp. 148 ff.). See Online Appendix B, Image Portfolio 2.

13 Avenarius often opened his magazine to opposing points of view in an effort to make it a truly national forum for discussion and debate: e.g. on the role of Jewish writers in German literature (vol. XXV, 11, 1st issue for March, 1912, pp. 281-94) or on the possibility and desirability of a new ”Germanic” religion (vol. XXVI, 22, 2nd issue for August, 1913, pp. 259-64, 280-82). A tribute to Karl Marx on the 100th anniversary of his birth appeared in the number for April-June 1918.

14 Hermann Bahr in the literary magazine ”Moderne Dichtung” (January 1, 1890), quoted in Ulbricht, ”’Cogito ergo credo’,” p. 46.

15 Ludwig Fahrenkrog, Baldur: Drama (Stuttgart: Greiner und Pfeiffer, 1908), pp. 46 (Act I, scene 2, set in Stonhenge), 101 (Finale).

16 On the conflation of Christ and Baldur or Odin (Wotan), see Ekkehard Hieronimus, ”Zur Religiosität der völkischen Bewegung,” in Cancik, Religions- und Gestesgeschichte der Weimarer Republik, pp. 159-75, quoting the head pastor of Bremen, J. Bode, author of Wodan und Jesus: Ein Büchlein vom christlichen Deutschtum (1920): ”In what is most essential and best in them, Wodan and Jesus are in agreement. The faith of both is deep-rooted, farseeing, and generous. In both, there is a striving after spiritual freedom […].” (p. 162) In the early 1920s Friedrich Döllinger (Baldur und Bibel, 1920) and Hermann Wieland (Atlantis, Edda und Bibel, 1922) held that Jesus was a prehistoric Germanic king and that the basic texts of the Bible represent ancient Germanic wisdom. (See Eduard Gugenberger and Roman Schweidlenka, Mutter Erde: Magie und Politik zwischen Faschismus und neuer Gesellschaft, p. 49) ”The Krist and Father Wotan get on well together,” according to a contributor to Wilhelm Schwaner’s Volkserzieher (1913, p. 47); in the view of Klaus Wagner (Krieg: Eine politisch-entwicklungsgeschichtliche Untersuchung [1906]), ”to brand Jesus, that fighter full of Germanic daring, as a patient lamb, is a lie, an impudent distortion of a Siegfriedian image, of a Baldurian figure.” (Both quoted in W. W. Coole and M. F. Potter, Thus Spake Germany [London: Routledge, 1941], pp. 6, 7) The Baldur-Christ analogy was taken up even by a poet who was a regular contributor to Pfemfert’s Die Aktion. As early as 1902, in ”Baldur: Bruchstücke einer Dichtung,” Ernst Stadler, an early expressionist writer from Alsace, who fell in the first months of World War I, presented Baldur, Christ, and Prometheus as aspects of the same heroic savior-figure. As in Fahrenkrog’s drama, the ”Finale” of Stadler’s poem points toward a new day, when life will be resanctified and redeemed from the ugliness and darkness of the present: ”Baldur = Prometheus = Christus - / Heiliges Leben/ In Licht, in Schönheit,/ Nie sterbender Götterrausch/ Glühendster Trunkenheit!.../ Nur fühlen, atmen, schwelgen. Seligstes/ Nirwana und/ Aus tausend Himmeln tausend Morgensonnen.” (Ernst Stadler, Dichtungen, Schriften, Briefe, Kritische Ausgabe, ed. Klaus Hurlebusch and Karl Ludwig Schneider [Munich: C. H. Beck, 1983], p. 28) See, in addition, Sylvia Siewert, Germanische Religion und neugermanisches Heidentum (Frankfurt; Bern; Berlin; Brussels; NewYork; Oxford; Vienna: Peter Lang, 2002), p. 134; Uwe Puschner, ”Weltanschauung und Religion: Ideologie und Formen völkischer Religion,” Zeitenblicke (2006), 5, no. 1: sec. 13 http://www.zeitenblicke.de/2006/1/Puschner/index.html.

17 On Wachler’s theatre, see the contemporary essay by the ”Heimatkunst” poet and essayist Friedrich Lienhard, Das Harzer Bergtheater (Stuttgart: Greiner & Pfeiffer, 1907). Also George L. Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology (New York: Schocken Books, 1981 [1st edn. 1964]), pp. 80-82.

18 Though not peculiar to Germany, Lebensreform does appear to have been more vigorous and influential there than in other major European countries. Its cultural and ideological significance is now fully recognized and there is an extensive literature on it. For a comprehensive overview, see Wolfgang R. Krabbe, Gesellschaftsveränderung durch Lebensreform (Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 1974) and Die Lebensreform: Entwürfe zur Neugestaltung von Leben und Kunst um 1900, ed. Kai Buchholz et al., exhib. cat. (Darmstadt: Häusser, 2000). In English, see Matthew Jefferies, ”Lebensreform – a Middle-Class Antidote to Wilhelminism?,” in Geoff Eley and James Retallack, eds., Wilhelminism and its Legacies: German Modernities, Imperialism and the Meanings of Reform 1890-1930 (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2003), pp. 91-106. In Jefferies’ brief but comprehensive article, the usual critique of Lebensreform by German scholars, namely that it was a form of bourgeois escapism, is challenged on the dubious grounds that many of its agendas (environmentalism, vegetarianism, body culture, etc.) are once again in vogue. It is true that contemporary champions of organic food and ”natural” cures might find nothing unfamiliar in Himmler’s view, for instance, of the way the food industry (un-natural food) and the pharmaceutical industry (un-natural cures for the maladies resulting from the consumption of the un-natural products of the food industry) work together to undermine the people’s health (see The Kersten Memoirs 1940-1945, pp. 43-48), but that in itself does not invalidate the argument of the German scholars. The classic study of George L. Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich (1964), has lost none of its relevance.

19 Janos Frecot, Johann Friedrich Geist, Diethart Kerbs, Fidus 1868-1948; Zur ästhetischen Praxis bürgerlichen Fluchtbewegungen (Munich: Rogner & Bernhard, 1972; new expanded edn. with introd. by Gert Makenklott, 1997).

20 Landauer passage cited in Hinz, Mystik und Anarchie, p. 18. (Landauer’s case was probably less rare than he apparently thought.) On the concept of an ”alternative” modernity rather than ”anti-modernity,” see Arno Klönne, ”Eine deutsche Bewegung, politisch zweideutig,” in Die Lebensreform: Entwürfe zur Neugestaltung von Leben und Kunst um 1900, pp. 31-32; Eva Barlösius, Naturgemässe Lebensführung: Zur Geschichte der Lebensreform um die Jahrhundertwende (Frankfurt and New York: Campus-Verlag, 1996), pp. 18-19; Kratzsch, Kunstwart und Dürerbund, pp. 15-18; Eley, ”Making a Place in the Nation”; also n. 16 above. Thomas Nipperdey maintains that the rise of alternative beliefs and religions in the wake of the decline of Christianity in Germany was ”keine Wendung gegen die Moderne” [not a rejection of modernity]. (Religion im Umbruch: Deutschland 1870-1918, p. 152) For the later National Socialist period, the term ”autochtonous modernism” has been suggested (Sebastian Graeb- Könneker, Autochtone Modernität [Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1996], pp. 29-37). On the general political and ideological ambivalence of Lebensreform, as exemplified by the celebrated international community of Monte Verità in Ascona (Switzerland), see Martin Green, ”The Asconian Idea in Politics,” in his The Mountain of Truth: The Counterculture Begins; Ascona, 1900-1920 (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1986), pp. 238-53. See also n. 7 above and n. 1 to Chapter 2 below on the imaginative and influential publishing enterprise of Eugen Diederichs.

21 Max Bruns, Aus meinem Blute (Minden/Westfalen: J. C. C. Bruns’ Verlag, n.d.), pp. 70-71. A visual equivalent of those lines by the völkisch artist Fidus was circulated at the great gathering of German youth and Wandervogel groups on the Hoher Meißner in 1913 and became one of the most popular and best-known images in Germany. For a celebration of the artist’s 60th birthday fifteen years later, the architect Arno Reutsch composed a poetic tribute to that image that recalls Bruns’s verses of three decades before: ”Dein Jüngling steigt hinauf/ Zu freier Bergeshöh’,/ Tief unter ihm die Welt./ Durch Wolken hinan,/ Er schaut ins All,/ Die Arme breitet er aus,/ Jauchzend grüßt er die Sonne!” (Quoted by Winfried Mogge, ”’Jauchzend grüßt er die Sonne!’ Fidus und die Jugendbewegung,” in Ute Grund, ed., Unweit von Eden, pp. 20-38, on p. 30). See Online Appendix B, Image Portfolio 2.

22 Julius Hart, Triumph des Lebens (Florence and Leipzig: Eugen Diederichs, 1898), p. 57. The poet Friedrich Lienhard later defined the union of the thrusting vertical and the recumbent horizontal as the fundamental, divine movement of Life, symbolized in many cultures by the figure of the Cross: ”Das Leben besteht aus Stoß und Schoß. Der Strahl der Sonne, der Schoß der Erde, die Befruchtung als Ergebnis: so wiederholt sich im Einzelnen und Ganzen immer wieder der erhabene Vorgang. Jenen Strahl oder Stoß darf man als die Senkrechte bezeichnen; den empfangenden Teil als die Wagerecht: und man hat die Kreuzform als bedeutsames Sinnbild alles Lebendigen. Dieses Sinnbild ist uralt und vielen, weit auseinanderliegenden Völkerschaften gemeinsam.” (Friedrich Lienhard, ”Die Abstammung aus dem Licht: Grundriß einer kosmischen Lebenslehre,” 3, in his Der Meister der Menschheit, 3 vols. [Stuttgart: Greiner und Pfeiffer, 1919-21], vol. 1, p. 156).

23 See Appendix to Part 1: ”The völkisch rejection of Christianity.”

24 Meister Eckeharts Schriften und Predigten: Aus dem Mittelhochdeutschen übersetzt und herausgegeben von Herman Büttner (Leipzig: Eugen Diederichs, 1903), 2 vols., vol.1, p. xiii. For obvious reasons (both his Jewish origins and his universalism), there are few references in the völkisch literature to Spinoza, in whose judgment the religion of the Hebrews had been designed to ”make sure that men should never act of their own volition, but always at another’s behest, and that […] they should at all times acknowledge that they were not their own masters but completely subordinate to another.” (Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (Gebhardt edition, 1925), trans. Samuel Shirley [Leiden; New York; Copenhagen; Cologne: E. J. Brill, 1989], ch. 5, p. 119)

25 Carlson, pp. 28, 116-17, 135-36.

26 Wille’s circle of friends included the Hart brothers, Heinrich and Julius, who were prominent in the literary circles of the time, the anarchists John Henry Mackay and Gustav Landauer, the promising young Jewish poet Ludwig Jacobowski, founder of the avant-garde literary and artistic group Die Kommenden, and Jacobowski’s close friend Rudolf Steiner. In 1920 Wille edited a volume entitled Deutscher Geist und Judenhaß (Berlin: Kultur-Verlag), consisting of testimonies about their attitudes to Jews and anti-Semitism from a wide range of public figures on the Left and the Right, including himself. Most of the testimonies, not least his own, were sharply critical of anti-Semitism.

27 Quoted from the Prospectus by Karin Bruns in Handbuch literarisch-kultureller Vereine, Gruppen und Bünde 1825-1933, ed. Wulf Wülfing, K. Bruns, Rolf Parr (Stuttgart and Weimar: J. B. Metzler, 1998), p. 163.

28 Wolfgang Kirchbach, Ziele und Aufgaben des Giordano Bruno-Bund (Schmargendorf bei Berlin: Verlag Renaissance - Otto Lehmann, 1905), pp. 3-7.

29 Quoted in Gerhard Kratzsch, Kunstwart und Dürerbund, p. 93.

30 http://www2.uni-jena.de/biologie/ehh/forum/ausstellungen/monistenbund.htm On Haeckel’s enormous influence, see Nipperdey, Religion im Umbruch, pp. 126-27; on the Monisten-Bund and Ostwald’s sermons, ibid., pp. 135-36.

31 Jacobowski, the founder of Die Kommenden, was Jewish. The membership included Leo Frobenius, the anthropologist; Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy; the poet and critic Wolfgang Kirchbach, a close friend of Avenarius; the Jewish expressionist poetess Else Lasker-Schüler; the anarchist Erich Mühsam (also Jewish), murdered by the Nazis in 1933; and the self-proclaimed ”anti-modern” composer Hans Pfitzner, subsequently a supporter of National Socialism. The aim of the Neue Gemeinschaft, as stated in its brochure, was to ”embrace everything that concerns and excites the life and thought of modern, intellectually free men and women struggling to define a new view of the world, [...] to achieve a new, authentic culture for humanity.” (Quoted by Karin Bruns in Handbuch literarisch-kultureller Vereine, Gruppen und Bünde 1825-1933, p. 358) Its members included Wilhelm Bölsche, one of the founders of the Giordano Bruno-Bund; Adolf Damaschke, the champion of ”Bodenreform” [land reform]; Gustav Landauer, the Jewish anarcho-socialist who, as a member of the short-lived Munich revolutionary government, was murdered by the Counter-revolutionaries in 1919; Hugo Höppener (Fidus), the völkisch artist and future Nazi; Martin Buber, the Jewish philosopher and theologian; and Magnus Hirschfeld, the physician, sexologist, and champion of homosexual rights, who was also Jewish.
In 1912, those elected to the governing board of the Dürer-Bund ranged from left-leaning or liberal (the Social Democratic theorist and politician Eduard Bernstein; the neo-Kantian philosopher Paul Natorp; the writer Ricarda Huch) to right-wing and nationalist or völkisch (Henry Thode, a fierce critic of the French influence on German painting and the trend toward Impressionism, represented by the Jewishborn Max Liebermann; Wilhelm Schäfer, a popular writer of short stories, later a supporter of National Socialism; the architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg, an enemy both of pompous imperial neo-baroque and of international modernism, and a champion of a revived, racially determined vernacular style; Wilhelm Schwaner, author of the Germanen-Bibel), with most members of the board somewhere in between (e.g. the artist Max Klinger, the architect Heinrich Tesserow, the composers Max Reger and Anton Webern, the historians Friedrich Meinecke and Karl Lamprecht.) It included a few Jews (the politican Bernstein and the painter Liebermann) and at least two particularly virulent anti-Semites: Adolf Bartels, a supporter of the German Christian movement, a leading champion of Heimatkunst [art, architecture, literature, and music rooted in native soil and popular tradition], the author of Geschichte der deutschen Literatur [1901-1902], Heinrich Heine: Auch ein Denkmal [1906], and Judentum und deutsche Literatur, [1912], all of which denounce the corrupting ”Jewish influence” on German literature, and the recipient, in 1942, of the NSDAP’s Gold Medal; and Arthur Bonus, another supporter of a Germanic Christianity and the author of Von Stöcker zu Naumann: Ein Wort zur Germanisierung des Christentums [1896] and Deutscher Glaube [1897]. (See Kratzsch, Kunstwart und Dürerbund, pp. 467-68)
The membership of the Verdhandi – or Werdandi-Bund, founded in 1907 to combat international modernism and foster a German style in art and architecture (it took its name from Verhandi, one of the Norns or Fates of Nordic mythology), was more decidedly völkisch-nationalist and anti-Semitic (Bartels; the artist Franz Stassen, a close friend of the Wagners; the architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg; the poet Börries von Münchhausen; the art critic Henry Thode) but even it also included the Jewish graphic artist Hermann Struck (Rolf Parr, ”Werdandi-Bund (Berlin),” in Handbuch literarisch-kultureller Vereine, Gruppen und Bünde 1825-1933, pp. 485-95) and Heinrich Vogeler was among the signers of the Bund’’s original Aufruf or statement of purpose in 1908. (Janos Frecot, ”Der Werdandibund,” in Burkhard Bergius, Janos Frecot and Dieter Radicke, eds., Architektur, Stadt und Politik. Julius Posener zum 75. Geburtstag [Giessen: Ananabas Verlag, 1979], Werkbund Archiv Jahrbuch 4, pp. 37-46).

32 There is no English equivalent of the term ”völkisch.” Since the late nineteenth century it has been used, in German, to describe what properly belongs to the volk, the community constituted by race and tradition. It signals opposition to the ”bourgeois,” liberal, constitutional state, to international trade, industry and finance, to urban and cosmopolitan lifestyles, to democracy, to ”international” Jewry and foreign influences on culture and the arts generally, as well as to international socialism and even, often enough, to the Roman Catholic Church on account of its roots in the Jewish Old Testament and its universalist message. In a text of 1928, by Alfred Conn, the author of books with titles like Rasse statt Heilsplan [Race instead of Redemption] and Das eddische Weltbild: Mythos statt Geschichte [The Worldview of the Edda: Myth instead of History], both published in 1934, it is defined as follows: ”Völkisch kommt vom Volk und bedeutet den Willen, in arteigenen oder, anders ausgedrückt, blutbedingten Formen zu leben. Arteigen leben heißt völkisch sein […]. Völkisch sein ist eine Sache des Blutes.” [Völkisch comes from volk, or folk, and signifies the will to live in forms proper to one’s own kind or kin, in other words, in forms determined by blood. To be völkisch is to live in ways proper to one’s own kin. Being völkisch is a matter of blood.] (Quoted in Uwe Puschner, ”Weltanschauung und Religion,” p. 7). George L. Mosse’s nuanced account of ”Volkish” in his Germans and Jews: The Right, the Left, and the Search for a Third Force’ in Pre-Nazi Germany (New York: Howard Fertig, 1970) remains invaluable.

33 Quoted in Dieter Fricke, ”Der ’Deutschbund’,” in Handbuch zur Völkischen Bewegung 1871-1918,″ p. 329, from Was ist und was will der Deutschbund, Lange’s address at the opening meeting, 18 October 1894.

34 Ekkehard Hieronymus in Handbuch zur Völkischen Bewegung 1871-1918, p. 136, citing the Regularium Fratrum Ordinis Novi Templi. The term ”ario-heroic” alludes to the Aryan basis of the heroic world-view. See also on the Ordo Novi Templi: Friedrich-Wilhelm Haack, Wotans Wiederkehr: Blut-, Boden- und Rasse-Religion (Munich: Claudius Verlag, 1981), pp. 37-47.

35 Quoted in Michael Bönisch, ”Die ’Hammer’-Bewegung,” in Handbuch zur Völkischen Bewegung 1871-1918, p. 352.

36 Runen, no. 7 (21 July 1918); Rudolf von Sebottendorf, Bevor Hitler kam (Munich, 1934), pp. 57-60; both quoted in Markus Osterrieder, ”Völkische ’Niebelungei’: Das Wiederaufleben der ’Nibelungenströmung’ in der deutschen Kultur des 19. Jahrhunderts,” Erziehungskunst, 2002, 66: 3-10 (also http://www.celtoslavica.de/bibliothek/nibelungelei.html

37 Göring, Heß, Himmler, Rosenberg, Julius Streicher, and other leading figures in the NSDAP, though not Hitler himself, were members of the Thule Society. (Friedrich-Wilhelm Haack, Wotans Wiederkehr, pp. 7-8). In the 1920s ever more such societies continued to be founded (see sample lists in Haack, Wotans Wiederkehr, pp. 48-49), such as the Edda-Gesellschaft (1925) of Rudolf John Gorsleben, a member of both the Ordo Novi Templi and the Thule Gesellschaft, the author of the anti-Semitic (and anti-Christian) Die Überwindung des Judentums in uns und außer uns [The Overcoming of Judaism in us and outside of us] (1920), and the publisher and editor of a periodical successively named Deutsche Freiheit, Arische Freiheit, and – after it became the organ of the Edda-Gesellschaft – Hagal (after the rune of that name, to which Gorsleben ascribed occult properties). Gorsleben’s translation of the Edda, which he presented as a kind of Bible of Nordic-Germanic religion, ethics, and customs appeared in 1920 and went through many subsequent editions (1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1930, 1933, 1935, 1940). The Princess was probably one of its many readers; the Edda figures explicitly in her later fictional writing as just such a source book of wisdom and ethical example. On Gorsleben, see Nicholas Goodrick- Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism: The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany 1890-1935 (Wellingborough, Northhants.: The Aquarian Press, 1985), pp. 155-60.

38 Quoted from Das Reich der Erfüllung: Flugschriften zur Begründung einer neuen Weltanschauung, ed. Julius and Heinrich Hart, numbers 1 and 2 (Leipzig, 1901) and Julius Hart, Der Neue Gott (Leipzig 1900), in Rolf Kauffeldt, ”Die Idee eines ’Neuen Bundes’ (Gustav Landauer),” in Manfred Frank, Gott im Exil: Vorlesungen über die Neue Mythologie, 2. Teil (Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, 1988), pp. 131-79, at pp. 139-40.

39 Uwe Puschner, ”Weltanschauung und Religion,” section 4, quoting from Karl Themel, Der religiöse Gehalt der völkischen Bewegung und ihre Stellung zur Kirche (Berlin, 1926).

40 Max Robert Gerstenhauer, Was ist Deutsch-Christentum? 2nd edn. (Berlin-Schlachtensee, 1930), quoted in Puschner, ”Weltanschauung und Religion.”

41 Paul de Lagarde, ”Über das Verhältnis des deutschen Staates zu Theologie, Kirche und Religion” (1873), in Deutsche Schriften, ed. Wilhelm Rössle (Jena: Eugen Diederichs Verlag, 1944; 1st edn. 1878), pp. 94-156, on pp. 141, 156. See also ”Über die gegenwärtige Lage des deutschen Reichs” (1875): ”As religion makes an exclusive claim to rule and the fatherland – as distinct from the state – may rightfully make the same claim, conflict between the two can be avoided only by striving […] to achieve a national religion, in which the interests of religion are wedded to those of the fatherland.” (ibid., p. 216)

42 W. Maasddorff, Die Religion und die Philosophie der Zukunft, 2nd edn. (Lorch-Württemberg: Karl Röhm, 1914; the Foreword is dated 1902), pp. 34-35.

43 Schwaner, cited in Der Kunstwart, XXVI, 2nd issue for August 1913, p. 263.

44 Joachim Kurd Niedlich, Deutsche Religion als Voraussetzung deutscher Wiedergeburt (Leipzig, 1921). The titles of some other works by this author (see the entry on him by Matthias Wolfes in Biographisches-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon) are indicative of the direction of his thought: Das Mythenbuch: Die Germanische Mythen- und Märchenwelt als Quelle deutscher Weltanschauung [The Book of Myth: The World of Germanic Myth and Folktale as Source of the German Worldview] (Leipzig, 1921; 2nd edn. 1923; 3rd edn. 1927]; Jahwe oder Jesus? Die Quelle unserer Entartung [Jahwe or Jesus? The Origin of our Degeneration] (Leipzig 1921; 2nd edn. 1925). See also Puschner, ”Weltanschauung und Religion,” sec. 7-15.

45 Ottmar Hegemann, ”Das Recht des Kristentums,” Heimdall, Zeitschrift für Deutschtum und Altdeutschtum (1915), 20: 100, quoted in Puschner, ”Weltanschauung und Religion,” Sec. 8.

46 ”Unsere Ziele,” Das Geistchristentum: Monatschrift zur Vollendung der Reformation durch Wiederherstellung der reinen Heilandslehre, 1932, 5: 329, quoted in Rainer Flasche, ”Vom deutschen Kaiserreich zum Dritten Reich: Nationalreligiöse Bewegungen in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts in Deutschland,” Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft, 1993, 1 (2): 28-49, on p. 43. Dinter’s insistence on the need for a new religious foundation for the New Germany was to lead to his expulsion from the Nazi Party (which he had joined at its founding and for which he held card no. 5) when, as efforts were being made to find an accommodation with the established Churches, it proved inopportune.

47 Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century, trans. Vivian Bird (Torrance, CA: Noontide Press, 1982; orig. German, 1930), pp. 383, 387.

48 J. W. Hauer, ”Die Anthroposophie als Weg zum Geist,” Die Tat, 12, no. 11, February, 1921, pp. 800-24, on pp. 802-03.

49 Carlson, p. 28; Rudolf Steiner, ”Form-Creating Forces” (a lecture given in Berlin, 20 June 1912), in Earthly and Cosmic Man (Blauvelt, NY: Spiritual Science Library, 1986), p. 172. As early as 1919, ”Steiner and the adherents of anthroposophy were regarded as enemies in nationalist and national socialist circles.” Thus Dietrich Eckart, the right-wing nationalist poet who was a mentor to Hitler in his early Munich days, criticized the founding of an anthroposophic Waldorf school in Stuttgart and described Steiner as a Jew in his popular anti-Semitic weekly Auf gut Deutsch in 1919. Hitler himself attacked Steiner in the Völkischer Beobachter, the Nazi Party newspaper (15 March 1921), as a leading figure in the ”destruction of the normal spiritual constitution of peoples.” Supporters of Ludendorff disrupted a Steiner lecture in Munich in 1922. A Nazi Party report on anthroposophy, dated May 1936, presented Steiner’s movement as philo-Semitic, sympathetic to Communism, linked to freemasonry, and critical of the notion of a deep connection between a people and a race. ”It condemns the racial and the völkisch to the low sphere of the primitive, and treats them as instincts that have to be overcome by spirit.” A further report, drawn up by the Nazi philosopher Alfred Bäumler in 1938 noted Steiner’s high regard for ”the Jew Ludwig Jacobowski”; see Uwe Werner, Anthroposophen in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus (1933-1945) (Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1999), pp. 7-8. On Steiner’s opposition to racism and attacks on him by the National Socialists, see also René Freund, Braune Magie? Okkultismus, New Age und Nationalsozialismus (Vienna: Picus-Verlag, 1995), pp. 21-23.

50 In demanding a ”modern” religion, the publisher Diederichs and many of his authors had a ”German” religion in mind. (Justus H. Ulbricht, ”’Theologia deutsch’,” pp. 167-68) As formulated by the ”more moderate wing” of the movement on 16 May 1933, the guiding principles of the Deutsche Christen [German Christians], ”recognize[ed] the difference between peoples and races as a God-given order for this world” and therefore rejected the whole idea of missionary work. ”True” Christianity – i.e. Christianity purged of all Judaic (and Roman) influences – was for Aryans only. (Full document in Peter Matheson, ed., The Third Reich and the Christian Churches [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1981], pp. 21-23).

51 Thomas Westerich, Orplid das heilige Land: Das Mysterium der Reinheit (Stade: Zwei Welten Verlag, 1922), p. 12, quoted in Puschner, ”Weltanschauung und Religion,” sec. 9. In the same vein, Artur Dinter: ”Race and religion are one.” (Die Sünde wider das Blut, [Leipzig: Wolfverlag, 1918], Afterword to 1st, 2nd and 3rd eds., quoted by Puschner, ibid.) See also Günter Hartung, ”Artur Dinter, der Erfolgautor des frühen deutschen Faschismus,” in The Attractions of Fascism: Traditionen und Traditionssuche des deutschen Faschismus, ed. Günter Hartung (Halle a.d. Saale: Martin-Luther-Universität/ Wissenschaftliche Beiträge, 1988), pp. 55-83, at p. 62.

52 Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, trans. John Lees, 2 vols. (London and New York: John Lane, 1911; 1st edn. 1910; orig. German 1899), vol. 2, pp. 45-50.

53 Wilhelm Schwaner, Germanen-Bibel, 2nd edn. enlarged, 2 vols. (Berlin-Schlachtensee; Volkserzieher-Verlag, 1904-05), vol. 1, p. viii. Ferdinand Avenarius went further, proclaiming the Unconscious the dwelling place of ”Volk und Rasse.” but also of ”das Gemeinsame allen Menschentums” [what is common to all mankind], and warning against xenophobic rejection of everything alien. (”Hodler in unsrer Kunst,” Kunstwart, 1918, 31: 129-32, on p. 129).

54 J. Wilhelm Hauer, Deutsche Gottschau: Grundzüge eines deutschen Glaubens, 4th edn. (Stuttgart: Kutbrod Verlag, 1935; 1st edn. 1934), p. 240.

55 From document in Matheson, ed., The Third Reich and the Christian Churches, p. 23.

56 Quoted in Matheson, ed., The Third Reich and the Christian Churches, p. 6.

57 Quoted in Matheson, The Third Reich and the Christian Churches, pp. 39-40, 81-82. In the period after World War II some Germanic religious groups denied that the importance they had attached to race had had anything to do with the destructive racism of the National Socialists. According to a text published by the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft after the end of World War II, Ludwig Fahrenkrog, founder of the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft, and Otto Sigfrid Reuter, founder of the Deutscher Orden and the Deutsch-religiöse Gemeinschaft, had failed to unite their organizations because they could not agree on the participation of Ernst Wachler, the director of the open air ”Harzer Bergtheater,” which Wachler placed at the GGG’s disposal for its annual summer Thing or General Assembly and at which he also put on Fahrenkrog’s Nordic myth-inspired dramatic spectacles. Though a champion of a Nordic-Germanic religion, an advocate of Aufnordung (restoring the Nordic racial component in the German people), and an early supporter of the National Socialists, Wachler had a Jewish grandparent. Reuter refused to participate with him in a proposed ”Thing” to be held by the GGG and the DRG in common in 1914, since, ”as a German-Jewish man, Dr. Wachler did not meet the conditions of our agreement [to hold a ’Thing’ in common]. […] You wrote that we planned to be ’among our own kind’,” Ernst Hunkel, a leading member of Reuter’s organization, told Fahrenkrog, ”and yet you propose as one of the main speakers Dr. Wachler, who is personally quite honorable but […] not ’of our kind.’” The implication is that Fahrenkrog gave up the opportunity to collaborate with Reuter because he was not willing to sacrifice Wachler and was therefore not a racist. It is admitted that a provision was subsequently introduced requiring proof of pure German ancestry as a condition of membership in the GGG. An extract from Fahrenkrog’s Das deutsche Buch (an account of his spiritual itinerary), published as Die Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft (Berlin-Steglitz: Verlag Kraft und Schönheit, n.d. [probably 1921]; Kleine Germanenhefte 6) states: ”We require blood, just as we require the experience of God in us; i.e., as befits a community of German faith: race and religion!” (p. 6) Likewise the opening clause of the GGG’s ”profession of faith” in the same booklet: ”I solemnly declare that I am of German ancestry and, to the best of my knowledge and in good conscience, free of the blood of a non-Aryan race. I also swear to keep my blood pure through an appropriate marriage and to raise my children in this spirit.” (p. 11) This clause was apparently adapted from the 1911 membership form of Reuter’s Deutsch-religiöse Gemeinschaft which required the incoming member to swear that he or she was ”to the best of my knowledge free of the blood of any Semitic or dark-skinned race.” (See Uwe Puschner, Die völkische Bewegung im wilhelminischen Kaiserreich, p. 236). It is claimed, however, that this provision was never dogmatically enforced and that Fahrenkrog stuck by Wachler even as anti-Jewish measures grew in intensity. Fahrenkrog is quoted as maintaining through the 1930s that the GGG was neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Christian, that it was non-political and that it sought only toleration of all creeds and all religious groups. (See http://www.germanische-glaubens-gemeinschaft.de/gggundns.htm [February 2009]).

58 Following Lagarde (Deutsche Schriften, pp. 140-42), it was generally agreed that a national faith could not be created by fiat but had to grow organically from the German spirit. Thus, for instance, Fahrenkrog: ”A German faith can come into being only through the German spirit. But who are we? We are the spirit and the religious aspiration of our ancestors and forefathers by way of Eckehart and Goethe down to the present day.” Fahrenkrog went on to cite Eckhart, Böhme, Angelus Silesius, Kant, Goethe, Lagarde, and Hartmann in support of the view that an indwelling, an experience, a knowledge of ”God in us” is the defining characteristic of the Germans as distinct from other peoples. (Die Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft, pp. 4-5) On the threshold of the Nazi era, the theme was developed by Alfred Rosenberg in The Myth of the Twentieth Century (trans. Vivian Bird [Torrance, CA: The Noontide Press, 1982], p. 153).

59 Chamberlain, Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, vol. 1, pp. 221-23, 246-47. In the year Chamberlain’s book appeared, the journal Heimdall wrote of ”the Aryan Jesus Christ, the son of a Germanic-Roman official” and presented the Bible as appealing for ”pure blood and a higher race.” (1901, no. 2, p. 45; see René Freund, Braune Magie, p. 27). Heimdall described itself as Monatsschrift für deutsche Art, Zeitschrift für reines Deutschtum und All-Deutschtum [Monthly magazine for Germanic Kin, Journal for pure Germandom and All-Germandom]. Heimdall was the Norse God of light, the watchman of the Gods, and ”the whitest-skinned of all the Gods” (Encyclopedia Britannica). Hitler himself asserted that ”Christus war ein Arier.” [Christ was an Aryan] (Tischgespräch, quoted in Friedrich-Wilhelm Haack, Wotans Wiederkehr, p. 61)

60 See Appendix to Part I, ”The Völkisch rejection of Christianity.”

61 Klaus Jeziorkowski, ”Empor ins Licht: Gnostizismus und Licht-Symbolik in Deutschland um 1900,” in his Eine Iphigenie rauchend: Aufsätze und Feuilletons zur deutschen Tradition (Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, 1987), pp. 152-80; Ernst Osterkamp, Lucifer: Stationen eines Motivs (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1979), pp. 226-27; Flasche, ”Vom Deutschen Kaiserreich zum Dritten Reich,” p. 44; Siewert, ”Germanische Religion und neugermanisches Heidentum,” p. 135; Hartung, ”Artur Dinter, der Erfolgaustor des frühen deutschen Faschismus,” pp. 64-65.

62 Quoted from Niekisch, Entscheidung (Berlin, 1930), in Michael Pittwald, Ernst Niekisch: Völkischer Sozialismus, nationale Revolution, deutsches Endimperium (Cologne: PapyRossa Verlag, 2002), p. 143. Niekisch was a leading representative of what is sometimes called the ”Left of the Right,” the author of a book attacking Hitler, and the editor, until he was banned from publishing and then imprisoned, of a journal entitled Widerstand [Resistance]. His differences with Hitler, which allowed him to appear as an opponent of National Socialism, did not prevent him from sharing much common ground with the National Socialists, including their anti-Semitism. See Ernst Niekisch, Widerstand: ausgewählte Aufsätze, ed. Uwe Sauermann (Krefeld: Sinus-Verlag, 1982).

63 ”Wir Volkserzieher nennen uns Gottsucher; wir anerkennen ein Gotteswesen, das alles durchdringt als das schaffende, erhaltende und regulierende Prinzip, aber wir suchen es nicht über den Wolken, sondern in uns selbst.″ (Quoted in Schnurbein, ″Die Suche nach einer ’arteigenen’ Religion in ’germanisch’ – und ’deutschgläubigen’ Gruppen,″ in Handbuch zur Völkischen Bewegung1871-1918, pp. 172-85, on p. 179). In similar vein, Guido von List had claimed that the racially pure, free-spirited, heroic, Northern, Ario-Germanic man has no need of written law [für den armanisch und rassisch fühlenden Ario-Germanen bedarf es […] des geschriebenen […] Gesetzes nicht], for the law, like the divine itself, is alive in him [denn das Natur-Gesetz ist […] lebendig in ihm]. The Southern, Mediterranean races, in contrast, require the written laws and sanctions of an external, tyrant-God. (Contribution to Das Eheproblem im Spiegel unserer Zeit, ed. Ferdinand Freiherr von Paungarten [Munich: Ernst Reinhardt Verlag, 1913], pp. 59-65) On the indwelling of the divine as a recurrent feature of new ″German″ [i.e. non-Judaic] religions, see also Hieronimus, ″Zur Religiosität der völkischen Bewegung,″ pp. 168-69, and Puschner, ″Weltanschauung und Religion,″ sec. 11.

64 Wilhelm Schwaner, Germanen-Bibel, vol. 1, pp. xxxi-xxxii. The likely source of this text is Schmitt’s 18-page booklet, Katechismus der Religion des Geistes (Budapest: Heisler, 1914); Eberhardt-Humanus in Wilhelm Schwaner, Germanen-Bibel, vol. 1, p. xxxi.

65 Ludwig Fahrenkrog, ″Germanen-Tempel,″ Volkserzieher, 11 (1907), 42–43, and 12 (1908), 41–42, 77–78, 171–72, quoted in Hieronymus, ″Zur Religiosität der völkischen Bewegung,″ 168–69. Geschichte meines Glaubens (Halle a.d. Saale: Gebauer-Schwetschke, 1906; 2nd edn. Leipzig: Hartung, 1926).

66 ″Ist aber Gott in allem und also nicht nur in mir, dann bin ich auch der Andere. Ist aber Gott in mir, dann ist auch sein Gesetz in mir, dann bedarf es weder eines geschriebenen Gesetzes noch eines Mittlers, dann gibt es für mich keine andere Erlösung als die durch mich selber. Meine neugewonnene Weltanschauung kurz in drei Sätze gefasst – Gott in uns, das Gesetz in uns und die Selbsterlösung – fand ich bald darauf.″ (Quoted in the 1997 Hamburg University Master’s thesis of Daniel Junker, self-published as Gott in uns! Die Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte völkischer Religiosität in der Weimarer Republik [Hamburg: Verlag Daniel Junker, 2002], p. 39, http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_id=53833) Cf. Wilhelm Hauer, ″We who hold the German Faith are convinced that men, and especially the Germans, have the capacity for religious independence, since it is true that everyone has an immediate relation to God, is, in fact, in the depths of his heart one with the eternal Ground of the world. That is why we reject the whole conception of mediation, whether through a sacred person, a sacred book, or a sacred rite.″ (″An Alien or a German Faith?″ – a lecture given to an audience of ten thousand at the Berlin Sportpalast in April 1933 – in Germany’s New Religion: The German Faith Movement, trans. T. S. K. Scott-Craig and R. E. Davies [London: George Allen & Unwin, 1937], pp. 36-70, on pp. 47-48) The absence of Spinoza from the religious literature promoting ″Gott in uns″ is striking; the epigraph of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, taken from I John 4. 13, reads ″Hereby we know that we dwell in God and He in us, because He has given us of his Spirit.” Spinoza also provides ample support for the claim by the advocates of a German völkisch religion that the Mosaic law applies only to the ancient Hebrews and was designed specifically for a primitive, unruly, and basically unspiritual people as well as for the charge that the chief motivation for observance of the law in Judaism is hope of reward and fear of punishment. (See Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, pp. 54-55, 84, 88, 91-92, 118-19).

67 See http://www.germanische-glaubens-gemeinschaft.de/bekenntnis.htm.

68 Die Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft (Berlin-Steglitz: Verlag Kraft und Schönheit, n.d.). See fig. 17.

69 On Bonus, see Rainer Flasche, ″Vom deutschen Kaiserreich zum Dritten Reich: Nationalreligiöse Bewegungen in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts in Deutschland,″ pp. 39-40; on Diederichs, see Justus H. Ulbricht, ″’Theologia deutsch’,″ pp. 167-68; on Eckart, see Claus-E. Bärsch, Die politische Religion des Nationalsozialismus (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1998), pp. 58-63; on Mathilde von Ludendorff, see Hieronimus, ″Zur Religiosität der völkischen Bewegung,″ pp, 172-73; on Hauer, see J. Wilhelm Hauer, Deutsche Gottschau: Grundzüge eines deutschen Glaubens, p. 78; on Krannhals, see Hieronimus, ″Zur Religiosität der völkischen Bewegung,″ p. 159 and Flasche, ″Vom deutschen Kaiserreich zum Dritten Reich: Nationalreligiöse Bewegungen in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts in Deutschland,″ pp. 45-46, citing Krannhals’s Religion als Sinnerfüllung des Lebens (1933); on Rosenberg, see Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century, pp. 130-33, and Clemens Vollnhals, ″Völkisches Christentum oder deutscher Glaube: Deutsche Christen und Deutsche Glaubensgemeinschaft,″ Revue d’Allemagne, 2000, 32: 205-17, on pp. 212-13.

70 Peter Matheson, ed., The Third Reich and the Christian Churches, p. 40.

Table des illustrations

Légende 12. Ludwig Fahrenkrog. Vignette in his Baldur (1908)
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/416/img-1.jpg
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Légende 13. Ludwig Fahrenkrog. ″Baldur, Sonne, Geist des Alls,″ in his Baldur (1908)
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/416/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 239k
Légende 14. Fidus (Hugo Höppener). Header in Julius Hart, Triumph des Lebens (1898).
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/416/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 117k
Légende 15. Wolfgang Kirchbach, cover of Ziele und Aufgabe des Giordano Bruno-Bundes (1905).
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/416/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 93k
Légende 16. Cover of Wilhelm Schwaner, Germanen-Bibel (1905) The oak tree, standing alone in the center of the landscape and solidly rooted in the earth, serves here as a sym¬bol of the strength of Germanic faith and its rootedness in the native soil. (The oak was the tree preferred by the God Thor.) Readers might have been reminded of Caspar David Friedrich’s iconic ″Einsamer Baum″ (Lonely Tree) of 1822, now in the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Friedrich’s tree, though blasted, stands firm in the center of his painting, an emblem of German tenacity and resilience.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/416/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 126k
Légende 17. Cover of pamphlet extracted from Ludwig Fahrenkrog’s Das Deutsche Buch to promote the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft (1921).
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/416/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 192k
Légende 18. Rear cover of pamphlet from Fahrenkrog’s Das Deutsche Buch (1921), with advertisements for illustrated postcards of wise sayings from the Edda, for rubber stampsof the swastika, ″the ancient sign of the Aryans and particularly the Germans,″which ″every German by blood should have imprinted on writing paper, postcards, etc.,″ and for the journal Kraft und Schönheit, in case the reader and friends are interested in learning about body culture and Lebensreform.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/416/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 219k

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