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Brownshirt Princess

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Lionel Gossman

Part II. Serving New Gods

5. Marie Adelheid, Prinzessin Reuß-zur Lippe: Society, Ideology, and Politics.1

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  • 1 Curiously, in view of her activities on behalf of the National Socialist regime, there is scant pu (...)
  • 2 It was an idiosyncratic Reuß custom to name all male children Heinrich and number them, regardless (...)
  • 3 Konopath is listed on the website of an amateur English genealogist, along with hundreds of others (...)

1Marie Adelheid Mathilde Karoline Elise Alexe Auguste Albertine, Prinzessin zur Lippe-Biesterfeld (1895-1993), was born into a noble family whose roots can be traced to the twelfth century. On 19 May 1920 she was married to a descendant of a no less distinguished noble house, Heinrich XXXII (known as ”Heino”), Prinz Reuß zu Köstritz, seventeen years her senior. Both the Reuß and the zur Lippe dynasties were connected with various royal houses in Europe, including those of Great Britain and the Netherlands. The marriage lasted less than a year, for the couple divorced on 18 February 1921. Not quite two months later, on 12 April 1921, the Princess was remarried in Bremen – to her former husband’s youngest brother, Heinrich XXXV2 (known as ”Enrico”), Prinz Reuß zu Köstritz. In order for this second marriage to go forward Enrico had had, in turn, on 4 March 1921, to divorce his wife of ten years. A son Heinrich V (19211980), also named Heinrich like all the Reuß male children, was born to the newly wed couple six weeks later and named and numbered according to family tradition. The genealogies do not specify which of the brothers was the father. Within two years the Princess and her second husband had also divorced, and in 1927, in a clear act of defiance signaling her break with traditional aristocratic norms and, as we shall see, her embrace of the Revolutionary Right’s idea of a ”new nobility,” the Princess took as her third husband a commoner named Hanno Konopath (originally Konopacki), a government official, who was a friend of R. Walther Darré – the future National Socialist Agriculture Minister and the advocate of a ”Neuer Adel” or new nobility recruited from the volk – and who was soon to be a close associate of Goebbels in the running of the Nazi propaganda machine.3 That marriage, during which the Princess signed herself simply Marie Adelheid Konopath, again ended in divorce, in 1936. The Princess remained active in extreme right-wing politics and literature, however, until her death in 1993, two years short of her hundredth birthday.

2By the year 1921, when her long poem or collection of poems entitled Gott in mir was published, the threat of revolution in Germany had subsided, the main centers of insurrection – Berlin, Munich, and the Ruhr – having been brought to heel and the short-lived revolutionary regimes in the first two definitively crushed. Though all the German princes had abdicated along with the Kaiser in 1918 and some had even fled their residences, many princely houses appear to have successfully secured their fortunes. Even so, it was still, in 1921, a tumultuous time in Germany, marked by mass strikes and continued worker unrest. In addition, 1921 was the year of the Princess’s divorce, her remarriage to her erstwhile brother-in-law, and the birth of her child. There is thus good reason to suppose that the real historical experience of the author is echoed in the poetic voice of Gott in mir: that of a headstrong, fiercely independent woman, scornful of convention and of the class-determined concerns of most of the people in her milieu; inspired by nebulous but distinctly unorthodox religious ideas; filled with an ardent desire for change and heroic self-sacrifice in the name of vaguely defined high ideals, yet not without a degree of condescending, aristocratic compassion for the weak; not insensitive to the alternating pleas and threats of her family, but determined to live her life according to her own lights. Twenty years later, as we shall see, in the midst of the Second World War, the Princess created in the novel Die Overbroocks (1942) a heroine whose values and outlook are strikingly consistent with those of the speaker in the long poem of 1921. The chief difference between the earlier work and the later one lies in the fact that in 1942, after two tumultuous decades of political engagement and historical action, it was possible to recast the values and worldview, which in 1921 could only be expressed in vague, pseudo-philosophical and religious outpourings, in the form of a narrative with unmistakable historical references. Lyrical and rhapsodic language and form gave way to the language and form of the novel – even though, as will be seen later, the novel itself is still more poetic than strictly realist. After 1945, in the face of the historical collapse of the political project with which she had been wholeheartedly associated, the Princess reverted to the poetic mode of her first published work.

  • 4 See the richly documented work of Stephan Malinowksi, Vom König zum Führer (Berlin: Akademie Verla (...)
  • 5 See Malinowski, ”From King to Führer,” pp. 18-20 on the (illusory) belief in noble circles, which (...)
  • 6 Malinowkski, Vom König zum Führer, p. 541.

3In hindsight, as was argued in Part I, the characteristic features of an extreme right-wing ideology are easily detectable in Gott in mir, and it seems likely that the Princess was either already moving in right-wing circles at the time of its composition or on the verge of doing so. She was by no means the only aristocratic figure to be found in such circles. Dismayed by the failure of their class to respond with conviction and courage to the turmoil that precipitated and followed the end of the Wilhelminian Empire and lacking confidence in the ability of traditional conservative forces to intervene effectively in the political arena, many younger members of the old princely families were drawn – along with the ruined and impoverished petty aristocracy – to radical right-wing ideologies and populist political movements in the 1920s and 1930s.4 Among the socially prominent early supporters of the NSDAP (the National Socialist German Workers’ Party) were two sons of ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II – Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm5 and his younger brother, the Kaiser’s fourth son, August Wilhelm. ”Auwi,” as the latter was known familiarly, was later honored for his services to the Nazi cause by being made a Standartenführer (colonel) in the SA (Sturmabteilung [stormtroopers section], or paramilitary wing of the Party).6 Carl Eduard, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, born in England and educated at Eton, a grandson of Queen Victoria and first cousin of King George V, rose to the rank of Obergruppenführer (general) in the SA, conspicuously attending George V’s funeral in 1936 in his stormtrooper uniform. Prince Bernhard zur Lippe-Biesterfeld, later Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, whose grandfather was a brother of Marie Adelheid’s grandfather, joined the NSDAP in the early 1930s and became a member of the SA and the Reiter-SS.

  • 7 The Prince’s book is a dull, systematically arranged compendium of the ideas of Clauß and Hans F. (...)
  • 8 In the early 1940s Clauß came under a cloud in some Nazi circles for allegedly giving precedence t (...)
  • 9 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, ed. Elke Fröhlich, part I, vol. 2/1, December 1929 May 1931 (Mu (...)

4Closer to home, two members of the Princess’s immediate family were also active on the extreme Right, one on the Reuß and one on the zur Lippe side. Her older brother, Friedrich Wilhelm, Prinz zur Lippe-Biesterfeld (1890-1938), made a reputation for himself in radical right-wing circles as the author of Vom Rassenstil zur Staatsgestalt: Rasse und Politik [From Racial Style to State Structure: Race and Politics] (1928).7 He was also a friend of Ludwig Ferdinand Clauß, a well-known specialist in questions of race and so-called ”Völkerpsychologie,” whose Die nordische Seele [The Nordic Soul] (1923; eight editions by 1940) and Rasse und Seele [Race and Soul] (1926; 18 editions by 1943) were among the most influential literary products of the so-called Nordic Movement, in which the Princess was also soon involved.8 An exact contemporary of the Princess on the Reuß side, from the zu Schleiz branch of the family, Erbprinz (Hereditary Prince) Heinrich XLV (1895-1945), was ”won over completely” to the National Socialist cause by Goebbels, after the latter met him at a dinner party hosted by another friend of the Princess’s, Freifrau (Baroness) Viktoria von Dirksen, an important intermediary between the old nobility and the National Socialists, in May 1930. ”He immediately understood us,” Goebbels reported of his encounter with Reuß. Later Goebbels seems to have put him in charge of programs for the theater.9 At any rate, he was sufficiently prominent in Nazi circles to have been arrested by the Russians in 1945, after which he was never heard from again.

  • 10 and incriminating the Allies. Wer von der Lüge lebt, muss die Wahrheit fürchten was published in t (...)
  • 11 The legitimacy of the zur Lippe-Biesterfeld line had been challenged by the zur Lippe-Weißenfelds (...)
  • 12 Friedrich Christian Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe, Als die goldene Abendsonne: Aus meinen Tagebüchern (...)
  • 13 On the Prince’s education, see his Verdammte Pflicht und Schuldigkeit: Weg und Erlebnis 1914-1933 (...)

5Somewhat more distantly connected to the Princess, but very close to her in underlying motivation, in his unwavering adherence, until his death in 1983, to National Socialist and racist doctrines, and in his use of his literary talents for the propagation of these doctrines well into the post-World War II period,10 was Friedrich Christian, Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe (a rival branch of the House of Lippe11). The prince was drawn to the Nazis in the mid-twenties, served as an aide to Goebbels from 1932 until 1935, campaigned vigorously to enlist the nobility behind Hitler, was sent on a mission to Sweden to drum up support for the regime in 1938, and, as both the text and the photographs in his published diaries testify, stood high in Hitler’s favor as well as in that of his chief at the Ministry of Propaganda. Like the heroine of the Princess’s later novel Die Overbroocks, he had been disillusioned and disgusted by the unheroic abdication and flight of the Kaiser, by the – in his view – even more cowardly abdications of the German princes and their spineless surrender to the revolutionaries of 1918, and finally by the ease with which, according to him, some sections of the old nobility abandoned ancient principles of honor and fidelity and accommodated themselves to the egoistical, materialist values of the despised Weimar Republic. Raised by tutors who combined traditional views of the prerogatives and obligations of the nobility with Frederician Enlightenment ideas about the education of princes and Nietzschean notions of heroic aristocracy, he had come to believe, as had the Princess, that neither the old conservatism nor the elitism of rightwing radicals like Moeller van den Bruck was adequate to the times. If there were ever to be a monarchy in Germany again, he held, it could not bear any resemblance to the old one. ”Hitler,” he noted optimistically in his diaries, ”was in principle for the Monarchy.” ”But not,” he added, ”for the continuation of that which, in his opinion, had failed totally.”12 By the mid-1920s the Prince 69 was convinced that those who still held to the values of the nobility had to break down the old barriers separating them from the common people, reach out to the masses, and ”für die Straße entscheiden” [decide in favor of the street], that is, side with the National Socialists and accept their demagogic methods. Like a substantial fraction of the nobility, he liked to think of his own class as a kind of avant-garde of National Socialism and of the National Socialists as the true heirs of the old nobility.13

  • 14 On the Princess’s presence at Dirksen’s gatherings, see Rüdiger Jungbluth, Die Quandts: Ihr leiser (...)
  • 15 Ludwig Wilser, Die Germanen: Beiträge zur Völkerkunde (Eisenach and Leipzig: Thüringischer Verlags (...)

6I have not been able to ascertain whether the Princess attended the Thursday evening meetings of the National Club hosted in the 1920s by the wealthy Baroness Viktoria von Dirksen at the old Hotel Kaiserhof (Hitler’s headquarters in Berlin as of 1932) and patronized by eminent conservatives. She was, however, a regular, in the late 1920s, at meetings of the Nordic Ring, for which the Baroness provided space in the imposing Palais Dirksen on the Margaretenstraße, after the death in 1928 of her more traditionally conservative husband, Willibald Dirksen.14 These meetings were a forum for the discussion of issues of race and eugenics and for promoting the ”Nordic idea” [Der Nordische Gedanke], the proponents of which held that Occidental culture in general and Germanic culture in particular were a creation of the ”Nordic race,” that this long dominant racial strain in the population had been losing ground rapidly in the new industrial age through an influx of inferior races drawn by employment opportunities in the rapidly expanding cities, and that this trend would have to be reversed or at least arrested if Germany and the Northern countries, and along with them the entire culture of the West, were not to follow France, Spain, and Italy (where the Nordic element of the population had already shrunk catastrophically) into decline.15

  • 16 On Harden’s ”neoconservative” politics, see Walther Rathenau-Maximilian Harden Briefwechsel 1897-1 (...)
  • 17 Walther Rathenau, Gesamtausgabe, vol. 2, ”Hauptwerke und Gespräche,” ed. Hans-Dieter Hellige and E (...)
  • 18 An intense, intimate, homoerotic friendship between Rathenau and the völkisch ideologue Wilhelm Sc (...)

7The Nordic idea – essentially a special version of the obsession of the age with ”decadence” – was widespread in the German middle and upper middle classes in the early decades of the twentieth century. As early as December 1907, for instance, Walther Rathenau – the son of the director of the AEG (Allgemeine Elektrische Gesellschaft), one of the most progressive industrial enterprises in Germany, the future Foreign Minister of the Weimar Republic, and a Jew (he was assassinated in 1922 by nationalist, anti-Semitic fanatics, who were memorialized after Hitler came to power) – announced in the magazine Zukunft [Future], the editor of which, Maximilian Harden, was also Jewish,16 that if it was not to suffer drastic decline, Germany would have to reinforce the Nordic element in its population culturally and biologically. Six years later, on the eve of the First World War, Rathenau, himself a competent scientist and gifted business manager, repeated his call for such a ”Vernördlichung” [northernizing] or ”Nordifikation” of the nation in his Zur Mechanik des Geistes [On the Mechanics of the Spirit] (1913), a long meditation on the decline of culture in an age of increasing rationalization and utilitarianism.17 The high value Rathenau placed on the ”Nordic” involved an implicit, often explicit antithesis, in his prewar writings, of ”Nordic” or ”Western” and ”Oriental,” of ”Aryan” and ”non-Aryan,” of ”blond” and ”dark” races, of ”men motivated by courage” [Mutmenschen] and ”men motivated by fear” [Furchtmenschen], of ”soul” and ”intellect.” These antithetical pairs in Rathenau’s work correspond to others that were popular at the time, such as ”culture” and ”civilization” or Werner Sombart’s ”heroes” [Helden] and ”tradesmen” [Händler]. Given this style of thinking in antitheses, it was virtually inevitable that anti-Semitism would become an inseparable component of the Nordic idea. The ”Oriental,” urban, ”wandering” Jew, subservient to his tyrannical God and pursuing only his own selfish gain was the obvious foil for the true-hearted, free-spirited, courageous Nordic peasant or farmer rooted in his soil and his community. Even the somewhat less despised and hated Jew of the Old Testament, leading a nomadic existence in boundless, featureless deserts was seen as the polar opposite of the sedentary man of the North in his rolling green pasturelands and fertile, well-tilled fields.18

  • 19 The relation of National Socialism to religion and of the various religious churches and sects – b (...)

8The anti-Semitic potential of the Nordic idea was reinforced by the claim of most of its adherents, that it also had a religious component and that religion was crucial to a people’s life and culture. Germany – and with it the culture of the Occident as a whole – would be saved, it was argued, not only by revitalizing the Nordic racial strain in the nation but by renewing the original religion of the Nordic peoples and eliminating ”oriental” faiths foreign to the Nordic race and Nordic ”blood.” To some, as noted in Part I, this meant building on supposed racially inherited, pre-Christian beliefs, to others, considerably more numerous, removing the ”foreign” (i.e. Judaic) element from Christianity and retaining only that part of it that was held to be the natural religion of Aryan Germans, indeed – on the basis of Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s assertion that the people of Galilee were Aryans and that Jesus was therefore not of Jewish stock – an Aryan creation. The new-old Savior of some champions of the Nordic idea was Wodan (or Wotan or Odin) or Wodan’s son Baldur, of others a heroic, virile, Aryan warrior-Christ.19 Needless to say, salvation was envisaged as this-worldly – the flourishing of the living volk and the self-empowerment of the living individual; not as otherworldly, the redemption of the sinner.

  • 20 On Ploetz, see Becker, Zur Geschichte der Rassenhygiene, pp. 58-136.
  • 21 Quoted in Becker, p. 83.
  • 22 Quoted in Puschner, Die völkische Bewegung im wilhelminischen Kaiserreich, p. 177.
  • 23 Quoted in Becker, p. 113. It should be noted that race theory did not necessarily imply anti-Semit (...)

9A previous version of the Nordic Ring had been founded as a secret society, the Ring der Norda, as early as 1907 by the eugenicist Alfred Ploetz (1860-1940), who claimed to be a socialist but also believed in the superiority of the Nordic or Germanic race. In the 1880s he had organized a society called Pacifica, the aim of which was to establish a community of men and women of pure Germanic descent on socialist principles in the American West, and to that end, in 1891, he and his wife had tried out life in a commune in Iowa based on the ideas of the mid-nineteenth-century French utopian socialist Etienne Cabet (Voyage en Icarie, 1842). The object of this early Nordic Ring – refounded in 1910 as Nordischer Ring – was to save the Nordic or Germanic race (the two terms were still interchangeable for Ploetz at this time) from the depredations of modern urban and industrial society and to promote what in Germany is usually referred to as ”Racial Hygiene” – that is, population policies favorable to maintaining the strength of the race.20 In a 1911 pamphlet entitled Unser Weg [Our Road], Ploetz defined his and his associates’ goal as the implementation of a ”nordisch-germanische Rassenhygiene.”21 When the Nordic Ring was expanded the following year into an athletic club and renamed Bogenklub München [Munich Archery Club], Ploetz made clear to his friend, the well known and highly successful writer Gerhart Hauptmann, that the goals of the organization had not changed. The archery club was ”more than a sports club,” he told Hauptmann. It was ”a shoot from which a true program of eugenics [rassenhygienische Betätigung] would grow.”22 In the revolutionary aftermath of the 1918 defeat, the Archery Club was in turn reconstituted as Deutscher Widar-Bund [German Widar Association], the aim of which was still ”die Pflege deutschen Menschentums” [the fostering of the German human type]. The basic racialist orientation of the old Nordischer Ring was thus retained, with a more explicit but still relatively contained anti-Semitic strain, in the Widar-Bund.23 By the early 1920s, however, these earlier formations appear to have broken up so that the Nordischer Ring established in 1926 and supported financially by Viktoria von Dirksen (and probably by the Princess also) represented a new association rather than a direct continuation of Ploetz’s earlier one.

  • 24 Peter Kratz, Die Götter des New Age, p. 307; Becker, p. 84. On Konopath- Konopacki, Walter Laqueur (...)
  • 25 Ist Rasse Schicksal?, p. 4.
  • 26 According to Winifred Wagner, the Princess ran ”a Nordic exchange for jobseekers, people in need o (...)
  • 27 Volkmar Weiss, ”Die Vorgeschichte des arischen Ahnenpasses,” Part III, Genealogie, 2000, 50: 615-2 (...)

10Along with Hanno Konopath, the government official with radical right-wing sympathies whom she married the following year, the Princess appears to have been one of the founding members of the new Nordischer Ring.24 (Others included Professor Hans F. K. Günther, known as ”race Günther,” and the architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg, an early critic of the pompous historicism of the late Wilhelminian period and champion of a simpler vernacular building style, who had become a fierce opponent of Bauhaus modernism and internationalism). The author of a pamphlet entitled Ist Rasse Schicksal? Grundgedanken der völkischen Bewegung [Is Race Destiny? Fundamental Principles of the Völkisch Movement], which was published in 1926 by the Munich-based Lehmann-Verlag, a notorious breeding-ground of right-wing writers and ideologies,25 Konopath was fully committed to the Nordic idea and its goal of Aufnordung or reinforcing the component of Nordic blood in the general German population. Thus in 1928 – again probably in collaboration with the Princess26 – he set up a so-called Nordische Vermittlungsstelle [Nordic Exchange] with the aim of bringing together pure-blooded Nordic youths and maidens. Notices were placed in right-wing periodicals such as Die Sonne, Volk und Rasse, and Deutschlands Erneuerung offering assistance to Nordic men and women who had not succeeded in finding a biologically appropriate mate. In the same year, acting on behalf of the Werkbund für deutsches Volkstum und Rassenforschung [Working Association for German Popular Culture and Race Research] and the Jungnordischer Bund [Young Nordic Alliance], Konopath encouraged a racially motivated interest in family genealogical tables by instituting a public competition for the best Ahnentafel or family tree. The drawing up of such genealogies had been strongly urged on his readers and followers by Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels, one of Hitler’s Viennese mentors and a major voice in German racist circles. In the aristocratic camp, the new racial stringency had found expression in the so-called Edda (Eisernes Buch des deutschen Adels deutscher Art), a new registry of noble families from which any family having admitted more than one Semite or non-European person since the year 1800 was explicitly excluded.27

  • 28 On the Münchner Post article, see Georg Franz-Willing, Die Hitler-Bewegung 1925 bis 1934 (Preussis (...)

11In 1931 Lehmann issued a second edition of Konopath’s Ist Rasse Schicksal?, which doubtless led to his being recognized by the Social Democratic Münchner Post as ”the well known ’Rassenforscher’ [race researcher], Chief Councilor R. Hanns [sic] Konopath” in a satirical article entitled ”Neue Scherze des Rassenclowns” [The Latest Jokes and Tricks of the Race Clown].28 His racist credentials can only have been further enhanced when, through the Nordischer Ring, he organized a celebration to mark the hundredth anniversary of the death of Arthur de Gobineau, usually considered the founder of modern racism, in Berlin on 13 October, 1932. Major National Socialist Party figures like Wilhelm Frick and R.Walther Darré took part in this event.

  • 29 On the Gobineau celebration, see Hans-Jürgen Lutzhöft, Der Nordische Gedanke in Deutschland 1920-1 (...)

12Meanwhile, as a NSDAP official, Konopath turned out numerous articles for the weekly Nationalsozialistische Partei-Korrespondenz with titles like ”Wir haben die jüdische Kunst satt” [We Have had Enough of Jewish Art].29 He also contributed regularly to the extreme rightwing monthly Die Sonne [The Sun], the subtitle of which was Monatsschrift für nordische Weltanschauung und Lebensgestaltung [Monthly Magazine for Promoting the Nordic Worldview and Way of Life].

  • 30 Becker, p. 85, quoting from Die Sonne, 1930, 7: 376. Such celebrations were no longer unusual. The (...)

13An article in this journal gives an account of one of the more picturesque activities of the Nordischer Ring. It describes a Wagnerian celebration of the summer solstice at the Bismarckwarte on the Müggelberg in the south-eastern suburbs of Berlin on 21-22 June 1930, on the occasion of the Nordic Thing (Assembly or Thing) there, in which 600-700 people took part. At a signal from an old Nordic luder horn the doors of the tower swung slowly open, we are told, and eight handsome Nordic maidens, led by Frau Konopath – i.e. the Princess – emerged, their blond tresses untied, carrying fiery torches. With measured steps, to the accompaniment of music, they descended the stairs and circled the high woodpile, before setting it alight. As the flames leaped high into the night sky, the peace of the Thing was proclaimed. Pathfinders lit their torches from the burning woodpile and placed themselves around the tower. After a brief blessing of the fire and another sounding of the horn, the principal speaker came out of the tower and delivered the poetic address in praise of Fire to great effect. The summer solstice song, ”Rising Flame,” was then sung in unison. The ”beautifully orchestrated” celebration ended, according to the article in Die Sonne with the intoning of the old-Nordic Brunnhilde ballad by a choir and soloist, by praise of fire and leaping over it, and by singing in which all present participated.30

  • 31 Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Teil 1, vol. 2/1, p. 155 (13 April 1930).
  • 32 Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (London: Odham’s Press, 1952), p. 126. Bullock gave 1928 (...)
  • 33 ”Leiter der Abteilung für Rasse und Kultur,” cited in Georg Franz-Willing, Die Hitler-Bewegung 192 (...)

14Like his friend R. Walther Darré, Konopath may have hesitated for a time to join the NSDAP, despite strong sympathy with much of its agenda, because of what he perceived as its predominantly urban focus and the mainly urban character of its support base. A conversation with Goebbels in April 1930 seems to have overcome whatever residual reservations he may have had, however,31 for by the end of that year he had been appointed to a leading position in the branch of the Party organization that was charged, under Constantin Hierl, with building up the cadres of the future state. (Another branch, under Gregor Strasser, was charged with the work of undermining the existing state). While Darré was chosen to head the section on Agriculture and Hans Frank, the future Governor-General of Poland, the section on Legal Matters, Konopath was made head of a new section on Race and Culture32 – apparently on instructions from Hitler himself, who thereby passed over the more obvious candidacy of Alfred Rosenberg in favor of a relatively unknown newcomer.33

15In 1931 Konopath was listed as the Party’s Reichsleiter für Kulturfragen and in that capacity, along with Göring and Goebbels, preceded Hitler as a speaker at the NSDAP Gauparteitag in Chemnitz on June 7, 1931. In June 1932, once again along with Goebbels, he addressed a meeting of NSDAP Gauleiters in Munich, this time as head of the Party’s Abteilung Film und Rundfunk [Department of Film and Radio]. In the National Socialist Yearbook for 1932 he was still listed as ”Chief of the Department of Race and Culture,” but in June of that year he was removed from his post ”wegen einer Privatangelegenheit” [because of an affair in his personal life] – possibly a sexual indiscretion that may also have led to the Princess’s divorcing him in 1936. He was then appointed Director of the Reichslotterie, a position he still held in 1938.

  • 34 Florian Cebulla, ”Die Rundfunkpolitik des Stahlhelms, 1930-1933,” Rundfunk und Geschichte, 1999, 2 (...)
  • 35 On Konopath’s role in the founding of the Deutsche Christen movement, see Hans Buchheim, Glaubensk (...)

16Evidently, after joining the Party, Konopath fulfilled multiple functions in its operations, even if he never attained the notoriety of a Goebbels or a Rosenberg. As head of the Film and Radio Section, for instance, he was given responsibility for imposing the National Socialist Party agenda on a pressure-group, the Reichsverband deutscher Rundfunkteilnehmer, that had been set up in 1930 by the Stahlhelm veterans’ association and other right wing conservatives for the purpose of influencing the character and selection of radio programs.34 Probably his most important Party assignment was to mediate, as head of the Department of Race and Culture, among a number of rival and quarrelsome Protestant Christian groups strongly sympathetic to National Socialism and bring them into a single umbrella organization, through which the NSDAP could better exploit their support, while at the same time maintaining its proclaimed ”neutrality” in confessional matters and not becoming embroiled in the disputes (mostly revolving around degrees of racism and anti-Semitism) that divided them. Thus in 1931-32 he was instrumental in bringing into being the Glaubensbewegung deutscher Christen [German Christians Movement], the aim of which was to purge Christianity of its Judaic elements and the members of which were permitted by the Party to present themselves at the Prussian Church elections in 1932 as Evangelische Nationalsozialisten – i.e. as implicitly sanctioned by the Party notwithstanding the latter’s frequently announced policy of religious neutrality. Though Konopath’s own sympathies lay with the neo-pagan movements grouped together in 1933 in Wilhelm Hauer’s non-Christian Arbeitsgemeinschaft der deutschen Glaubensbewegung [Working Community of the German Faith Movement], he served briefly, from February to May 1932, as President of the new Glaubensbewegung deutscher Christen.35

  • 36 Slightly different figures are given by Gary D. Stark, Entrepreneurs of Ideology: Neoconservative (...)
  • 37 Excerpt in English translation in Heinz-Georg Marten, ”Racism, Social Darwinism, Anti-Semitism and (...)
  • 38 Hans F. K. Günther, Deutsche Köpfe nordischer Rasse: 50 Abbildungen mit Geleitworten von Prof. Dr. (...)
  • 39 Günther apparently saw no advantage, however, in mixing European and non-European races. The ”Hith (...)

17The inspirer of the Konopaths’ Nordischer Ring and the couple’s intellectual mentor was the specialist in race studies, Professor Hans F. K. Günther. Günther’s earliest major work, Ritter, Tod und Teufel: Der Heldische Gedanke [The Knight, Death, and the Devil: The Heroic Idea], published in Munich the year before the Princess’s 1921 poem, combined the völkisch tradition of nationalist neopaganism with biological racism in a mix that appears to have proved popular, for there were new editions of this work in 1924, 1928, 1935 and 1937. Günther’s masterwork, however, was his Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes [Ethnogeny of the German People] which went through no fewer than sixteen editions between 1922 and the Nazi take-over in 1933 and of which 124,000 copies had been printed by 1943. (A shorter popular version, published in 1929, had been printed in 272,000 copies by 1943, bringing the total to 396,000.36) In this work, as in others, such as Rassenkunde Europas (1925; Engl. translation: The Racial Elements of European History, London, 1927), Adel und Rasse [Aristocracy and Race] (1926), Der nordische Gedanke unter den Deutschen [The Nordic Idea among the Germans] (1925), Führeradel durch Sippenpflege [An Aristocracy of Leaders through the Cultivation of Good Stock] (1936) Günther developed the idea that of the various European races he had identified – the ”Nordic,” ”Falic,” ”Eastern,” ”Western,” ”Dinaric,” and ”East Baltic,” each of which had its particular qualities and defects – the Nordic, still predominant only in the area of Lower Saxony (which surrounds the ”free Hanseatic city of Bremen” and on the edge of which the Principality of Lippe is located), was the most dynamic, enterprising, and adventurous, ”characterized by outstanding will-power, judgment, cool realism, truthfulness on a man to-man basis, chivalry, and justice.”37 A race of conquerors, it had pushed South and West at the time of the great migrations, extending its influence over the whole of Germany, Austria, Northern Italy, and large parts of France and Spain. From it emerged the Aechean Greeks of the heroic age and the still surviving ruling castes of many European countries. Inevitably, however, it had been overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of the races it had conquered and with which it ultimately intermarried. Even in most regions of Germany it had become only part of the racial stock of the population; people of pure Nordic race were a small minority. In the modern world it was under mortal threat from a series of new developments – urbanization and industrialization, the flight from the land, a burgeoning industrial proletariat made up of immigrants of other races whose fertility was favored by the social welfare policies of the modern state. And yet everyone agreed that even though the Nordic element had become a drastically reduced part of the German population, it was still the most ”authentically German” [echt deutsch] part of it.38 Günther conceded that mixtures were not always to be avoided. The Nordic (predominantly North German) component, characterized by adventurousness and risk-taking, could usefully be balanced by the Falic (predominantly Rhenish) component, for instance, the chief characteristics of which were perseverance, defiant firmness, and reliability. He also noted that certain types of creativity might be fostered by the inner tension that arose when the admixture in a mostly Nordic individual of another racial element caused the (light) Nordic strain in that individual to struggle against the other (darker) strain.39

  • 40 Dr. Gustav Paul, Grundzüge der Rassen- und Raumgeschichte des deutschen Volkes (Munich: J. S. Lehm (...)

18Nevertheless, the greatest danger facing the German people, in Günther’s view (and in the view, as we saw, of many of his contemporaries), was still the diminution of the Nordic element in its racial composition: ”Entnordung” [denordification]. To Günther this was synonymous with the adulteration and deterioration of the race as a whole. The goal of all concerned with the revival of Germany must therefore be Aufnordung [renordification] – preserving and reinvigorating the Nordic strain in the population. In the words of another writer, who claimed to have demonstrated ”scientifically” that the Nordic strain had once been much stronger in South Germany than it was currently, ”the greatest reserve capital of natural strength seems today to have been stored up in the Lower Saxon stock and so the last hopes of a regeneration of our people out of the true German spirit are firmly attached […] to that stock.”40

  • 41 Kleine Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes, pp. 145-46.
  • 42 Peter Kratz, Die Götter des New Age, pp. 305-06.

19Günther distinguished his goal of Aufnordung from the general goal of Aufartung embraced by one of the pioneers of race policies, Alfred Grotjahn (Soziale Pathologie, Berlin, 1912). Grotjahn, Günther recalled, had enjoined the supporters of the Nordic movement to give up their specifically Nordic project in favor of a broader movement to improve the general racial quality of the German population as a whole. In so doing, Günther objected, Grotjahn showed that, however much he may have been interested in promoting the racial health [Erbgesundheit] of the population, he had not given much thought to the spiritual and Marie psychological aspects of race [rassenseelische Richtung]. General racial health is a goal that any population may pursue, whatever its race. What distinguishes the Nordic movement, however, is that it is concerned precisely with the ”rassenseelische Richtung des Deutschtums” [the spiritual and psychological aspects of racial development in the Germanic peoples and cultures], i.e. with preserving and reinforcing the specifically Nordic element – and its accompanying spiritual and psychological qualities – in the German people and its culture. This cannot be State policy, Günther conceded, since engaging in an effort to promote a particular race would violate the State’s necessary neutrality with respect to the races represented in the population.41 Consequently Aufnordung has to be a voluntary project, undertaken by the Nordic people themselves and by Germans convinced of the special qualities of the Nordic race. As a private initiative, the Nordischer Ring was thus fully justified by the acknowledged scholarly leader of the Nordic movement, along with the other activities, such as the Nordic Exchange, through which the Konopaths hoped to influence people and to reinvigorate the Nordic strain in the German population. Günther, moreover, traveled around the country giving talks in support of both the Nordischer Ring and the related Nordische Gesellschaft.42

  • 43 See especially Lutzhöft, Der nordische Gedanke; Geoffrey G. Field, ”Nordic Racism,” Journal of the (...)

20In the Germany of the 1920s and 1930s Günther was by no means the only champion of the Nordic idea with scholarly credentials.43 Others included, to mention only a few, Gustav Kossinna, an internationally admired professor of archaeology at Berlin University, as well as his students and followers – Otto Höfler, Gustav Neckel, Bernhard Kummer – all of whom occupied university chairs and sympathized with or were co-opted by the National Socialist movement; Rudolf John Gorsleben, translator of the Edda (1922), founder of the Edda Gesellschaft (1925), and editor-publisher of the periodical Deutsche Freiheit (subtitled Monatsschrift für arische Gottes- und Welterkenntnis [Monthly Journal for Aryan Understanding of God and the World], later renamed Arische Freiheit [Aryan Freedom]); the Berlin University Professor Ludwig Ferdinand Clauß, already mentioned as a friend of the Princess’s brother; the political philosopher Carl Schmitt; and the Dutch-born scholar of ancient history, archaeology and linguistics, Herman Wirth – the friend, mentor, and protégé of both the Princess and her publisher Roselius – who had settled in Germany in 1924 and joined the NSDAP in 1925.

19. Publicity announcement by Eugen Diederichs Verlag, Jena, of a forthcoming series devoted to Nordic sagas and literary texts as manifestations of the “essential, inherent strengths of German being,” April, 1933.

  • 44 A Prospectus bearing the title ”Nordisch-Germanisches Kulturerbe” and illustrated by a stone carvi (...)
  • 45 One woman scholar argued that philosophy itself is racially determined. Since ”blood” determines t (...)
  • 46 Joachim Fest, The Face of the Third Reich, trans. Michael Bullock (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson (...)
  • 47 The history of the neo-pagan groups active in the early decades of the nineteenth century is extre (...)
  • 48 On Hauer, see pp. 16, 44-45 and Chapter 1, note 3. Hauer later complained that radical elements in (...)
  • 49 That view had been expressed forcefully in the Prince’s address to the reader in Vom Rassenstil zu (...)

21In 1921 the publisher Diederichs, another faithful patron of Wirth, launched a series of old ”Nordic” texts, under the general title Thule: Altnordische Dichtung und Prosa, that comprised 24 volumes by the time it was completed in 193844 (fig. 19). A number of women scholars also lent their support to the new ideas, writing – like the Princess herself – on themes such as the ”Nordic woman,” ”Nordic philosophy,” and ”Nordic religion.”45 In the Party leadership Heinrich Himmler and Alfred Rosenberg were especially haunted by the threat of ”downfall and destruction” that, as the historian Joachim Fest put it, hung over ”Germanness, the priceless sediment in the bowl of Nordic blood.”46 The development of the powerful anti-Christian, neo-pagan element in the Nordic movement, already perceptible in the Princess’s poem of 1921, owed much to the Nordische Glaubensbewegung [Nordic Faith Movement],47 established shortly after the Ring, in 1927, and subsequently absorbed, along with Ludwig Fahrenkrog’s Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft (founded 1913) into the Arbeitsgemeinschaft deutscher Glaubensbewegung [Working Community of the German Faith Movement], an alliance of organizations with similar aims, led by the scholar of linguistics and former student of the celebrated Basler Mission, Jakob Wilhelm Hauer.48 The Princess’s brother, Friedrich Wilhelm, Prinz zur Lippe, was especially well known as a strong supporter of ”Nordic” religion and an opponent of Christianity. At a July 1933 meeting of various völkisch religious organizations, convoked by Hauer in the hope of persuading them to agree on a common platform and join in a common organization, the Prince was identified as one of the ”Nordics” – along with the artist Ludwig Fahrenkrog of the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft, Wilhelm Kusserow of the Nordisch-religiöse Arbeitsgemeinschaft, Otto Sigfrid Reuter of the Deutschgläubige Gemeinschaft, and the Princess’s husband Konopath – who objected strongly to a proposal to divide the new organization into two branches, a Christian and a Germanic. There should be no place, according to Friedrich Wilhelm, in the new organization for Christianity in any form. ”Wir wollen uns freimachen von der inneren Bindung zur Kirche.”49 No doubt the Prince subscribed to the views laid out in a 1933 position paper of the Nordisch-religiöse Arbeitsgemeinschaft, to wit:

  • 50 Quoted in Buchheim, Glaubenskrise, p. 170.

Christianity in any form is a dangerous gate through which we are invaded by Asiatic influences, the Jews, and Marxism. National Socialism sows the seed of a healthy racial feeling in the hearts of the German people, but it does not engage in struggle against Asiatic, Judeo-Marxist Christianity. If we do not succeed in rooting out this poisonous weed, down to the last fiber, National Socialism itself will succumb to it. All struggle and sacrifice would be in vain, and perhaps the last chance of a breakthrough for the German people lost, unless our movement takes up and carries forward the struggle at the point where National Socialism these days abandons it.50

  • 51 See Ulrich Nanko, Die deutsche Glaubensbewegung: Eine historische und soziologische Untersuchung, (...)

22The attempt to make a place for a völkisch form of Christianity in the organization did not succeed and the Prince later lectured on ”Rasse und Glaube” [Race and Faith] at a 1934 meeting of Hauer’s Deutsche Glaubensbewegung, at which he shared the platform with Fahrenkrog. His talk was such a success that he gave it at other gatherings designed to drum up support for Hauer’s movement.51

  • 52 Michael H. Kater, ”Die Artamenen – Völkische Jugend in der Weimarer Republik,” Historische Zeitsch (...)
  • 53 On the Artamans – mostly young, lower middle-class men and women from the cities, aged between 17 (...)
  • 54 To Darré, the old Lebensreform movement’s attempts to cure the ills of society through changes in (...)
  • 55 Darré also appears to have been replaced at this time as the editor of Odal: Monatsschrift fur Blu (...)

23Among the promoters of the ”Nordic idea,” the Princess appears to have been particularly close to R. Walther Darré (1895-1953), also a member of the Nordic Ring. A specialist in animal breeding by training and profession, the Argentinian-born Darré is now remembered chiefly as the leading exponent of the ideology of ”Blood and Soil” in the NSDAP. Like his long time friend Heinrich Himmler (until they quarreled over policy issues in the late 1930s), Darré had been a member, as a young man, of the Artamans, an anti-urban, anti-Slavic, and anti-Semitic youth group, founded in 1924. Influenced by standard Lebensreform ideas, such as physical culture, the cult of fellowship, the need for Bodenreform [land reform], and a return to nature, the Artamans had a two-pronged program: 1) to bring about a return to the land, the root and foundation of the German people, as the essential means of regenerating the nation and curing it of corrupt cosmopolitan capitalism and greedy, self-centered individualism, and 2) to bring about the triumph of the ”Nordic instinct” in the relentless struggle – as they saw it – between ”Nordisches Blut und unnordisches” [Nordic and un-Nordic blood]. (The group had a special section devoted to race studies and a program for promoting and encouraging marriages among the best representatives of the Nordic race).52 A small-circulation magazine put out by the movement for a few years conveyed these two related goals in its title: Blut und Boden: Monatsschrift für wurzelhaftes Bauerntum, für deutsche Wesensart und die nationale Freiheit [Blood and Soil: a Monthly Magazine for the Promotion of a Peasantry rooted in its own Land, of native Germanness, and of National Freedom]. Most of the Artamans, including Darré and Himmler in their early years, offered their services as workers on the land, especially in Eastern Germany, where they aimed to protect German soil and German stock from foreign, in particular Slavic encroachments in the form of Polish summer workers hired by the landowners of Silesia and Mecklenburg.53 (The movement is evoked admiringly, as will be seen shortly, in the Princess’s 1942 novel, in the shape of two young male characters who come unexpectedly to the aid of the heroine after she has recovered her dead husband’s family farm in Lower Saxony and who become role models for her twin sons). Darré did not join the NSDAP until 1930, his hesitation being probably due to what he may have perceived as a misfit between the Party’s heavily urban base and his own radically anti-urban ideology.54 But in March of that year he succeeded in having his agrarian program – aimed at promoting a return to the land and preserving traditional family holdings – adopted by the Party leadership. He then conducted a vigorous political campaign in rural areas and won the support of the German farmers for the NSDAP. For this he was rewarded in 1933 with the post of Reichsminister for Food and Agriculture, a post he held until 1942, when he was forced to step down, his inflexible commitment to restoring individual peasants’ or small farmers’ holdings in the German lands having been found not only to have failed to produce the desired results but to be incompatible, grounded as it was in the idea of the peasant’s rootedness in his native soil, with the ”Drang nach Osten” and the plans of his sometime friend Himmler to repopulate the conquered territories in the East with sturdy German farmer-warriors.55

  • 56 Munich: J. F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1929. New editions of this book appeared in 1933, 1934, 1935, 1937, (...)
  • 57 R. Walther Darré, Neuordnung unseres Denkens (Reichsbauernstadt Goslar: Verlag Blut und Boden, 194 (...)
  • 58 See in particular his popular Neuadel aus Blut und Boden (Munich and Berlin: J. F. Lehmanns Verlag (...)
  • 59 ”Innere Kolonisation” (dated April 1926) in R. Walther Darré, Erkenntnisse und Werden: Aufsätze au (...)
  • 60 The Odal rune was also the sign favored by the Germanic neopagan movements of the early twentieth (...)
  • 61 Janet Biehl, ”’Ecology’ and the Modernization of Fascism in the German Ultraright,” Ökologie und K (...)
  • 62 ”Ein Bahnbrecher rassischen Denkens: Zum 125. Geburtstag Gobineaus,” Odal, July, 10: 535-38. To vo (...)

24As could be expected, Darré was a strong advocate of strict racial policies. Along with Himmler, he was one of the editors of the magazine Volk und Rasse. The return of the people to the land was inseparable, for him, from the preservation of the Nordic race. Das Bauerntum als Lebensquelle der Nordischen Rasse [The Peasantry as the Life Source of the Nordic Race] was the title he gave to one of his earliest books (1929).56The community of our people [Volksgemeinschaft] is a community of blood,” he declared in a later work; ”the institutions of our national life are nothing; the blood of our people is everything.” Race and blood are the basis of community. Humanitarian ideas only estrange people from ”Life”: ”Against the ideas of 1789, the ideas of liberty, equality, and fraternity, […] and the life-destroying deification of Reason, […] we set the Law of our Blood. We envisage the future of our people as built on the foundation of the blood inherited from our forefathers.”57 This did not entail support of the old nobility. Darré advocated using the breeding techniques he had learned as a student of agriculture to build a new German aristocracy from native peasant stock, since the existing aristocracy, tainted by elements of alien blood, lacked real legitimacy, in his view, and had demonstrated its moral bankruptcy in 1918.58 The race question was also relevant, he claimed, to the resettling of the population on the land. Thus he did not advocate indiscriminate resettling to resolve the problem of ”an uprooted, urban German population” [eines entwurzelten, städtischen Deutschtums]. That, he warned, would result in a disastrous ”total denordification of the German people” [eine totale Entnordung des deutschen Volkes].59 Consistently with his membership in the Nordic Ring and his earlier association with the Artamanen, he took the title of the monthly journal he launched in 1932 – Odal: Monatsschrift für Blut und Boden [Odal: Monthly Magazine for Blood and Soil] – from the Odal rune, the sign of an old Norse and Northern German legal bond between family or tribe and land.60 The Princess – his ”little sister,” as he called her61 – was Darré’s chief editorial assistant in running this journal. She also contributed articles to it in which she expressed no less vehemently than he her contempt for the ”hoffnungslose Allerwelts-Gleichmacherei” [hopeless making everybody everywhere equal] that had ”resulted from a centuries old false doctrine” and her conviction that ”blood, not books,” determines character and level of culture. ”We are what we are,” she proclaimed, ”thanks to our fathers and mothers.”62

  • 63 Peter Kratz, Die Götter des New Age, p. 307.
  • 64 Malinowski, Vom König zum Führer, pp. 520-27.
  • 65 It may not be coincidental that a short pamphlet by the Princess entitled Entscheidungsstunde der (...)
  • 66 On the marginalizing of old völkisch groups and organizations, see Hubert Cancik, ’”Neuheiden’ und (...)

25Holding the position of ”Arbeitsleiterin für Frauenkultur” [Director of Women’s Education and Culture] under Darré as ”Reichsbauernführer” [Leader of the Reich Farmers],63 the Princess was one of the Blut und Boden theorist’s earliest and most loyal devotees. Rebellious and independentminded as she was, she could not but respond favorably both to his high regard for the Nordic woman, whom he represented, following Günther, as an equal partner of her husband, in contrast to the subordinate role allegedly assigned to women by ”Oriental” or Semitic peoples, and to his idea of a ”new nobility.” In fact, her association with Darré may well have encouraged the Princess to complete the revolt against her caste that she had begun a decade earlier – for Darré’s plan for a new peasant or farmers’ aristocracy to replace a nobility he considered corrupt and besmirched by alien blood, was understandably not well received in most noble families, including those that had rallied to National Socialism.64 In general, Darré’s influence may well have played an important role in turning the vague longings and aspirations, still couched in Gott in mir in mystical and religious terms, into adherence to a particular political program. Both the Princess and her husband Konopath joined the NSDAP in the late Spring of 1930, around the time that Darré joined.65 Thereafter the Princess appears to have chosen to define herself as a loyal Party member. At some point this must have entailed some downplaying of her earlier association with the völkisch religious movements and sects that had in all likelihood inspired Gott in mir. For once the National Socialists had attained power, these quarrelsome and competing movements, which had helped in some measure to prepare the way for the Party’s success, quickly came to be viewed as eccentric, divisive, disorderly, and inconvenient, equally incompatible with the image of a dynamic, forward-looking, united nation that the Nazis were trying to promote and with the hegemonic ambitions of the National Socialist Party and its ideology. In contrast, establishing solid relations with the long-standing national Churches – which were understandably extremely hostile to the sects, in particular to the openly anti-Christian ones – was seen as tactically indispensable to promoting the ends of the regime. The sects were therefore deliberately marginalized or in some cases banned altogether as the Party sought to rid itself of its more unruly elements and get itself seen as a Party of order, national tradition, and national unity.66 After the collapse of the Nazi regime in 1945, however, the Princess reverted to her early enthusiasm for völkisch politics and religion.

  • 67 R. Walther Darré, Erkenntnisse und Werden: Aufsätze aus der Zeit der Machtergreifung, ed. Marie Ad (...)

26In the 1930s and early 1940s, the Princess did her utmost to propagate Darré’s views about the fundamental role of blood and soil. The key to the Nordic idea, she wrote in the foreword to a volume of Darré’s essays and articles that she collected and edited in 1940 – most of them taken from the extreme right-wing journals Deutschlands Erneuerung and Die Sonne, the organ of the Artaman movement – lies in recognizing ”the issue of race and breeding, on the one hand, and the significance of the peasantry, on the other, as the dual basis of everything that happens in the areas of politics, economics, and culture.”67 Above all, as we shall see, her novel Die Overbroocks was a grand celebration of Darré’s ideas.

***

  • 68 Helene Bechstein, the wife of the piano-manufacturer, and Elsa Bruckmann, the wife of the Munich p (...)
  • 69 Werner Mases, Adolf Hitler: Eine Biographie (Munich and Berlin: Herbig Verlag, 1978; orig. Munich: (...)
  • 70 After drinking a little too much at one of the Baroness’s evening gatherings, it seems, the wealth (...)
  • 71 Entry in von Levetzow’s diary for 20 November 1930. (Gerhard Granier, Magnus von Levetzow: Seeoffi (...)

After joining the Party in May 1930, the Princess and her husband appear to have been quickly caught up in the social activities of the Nazi leadership. They continued to frequent the salon of Viktoria von Dirksen, one of a number of wealthy women who had become infatuated with Hitler in the 1920s and had supported him financially.68 The stepmother of Herbert von Dirksen – who later served as Ambassador to Tokyo, Moscow, and London – Dirksen was known to have contributed handsomely to the NSDAP, and to have served, as one source put it, ”as an intermediary between the National Socialists and the old courtiers,” thereby earning for herself the sobriquet ”Mother of the Movement.” According to the same source, ”Hitler, Goebbels, Helldorff, and the other accomplices held their weekly meetings at her home,” while her brother, the science-fiction writer Karl August von Laffert, attended her receptions ”in the full splendor of his SS uniform.” Even after President von Hindenburg banned the SA, the men ”used to arrive [at Frau von Dirksen’s] in full uniform under long capes.”It seems that both she and her youngest daughter wore a large diamond swastika ”pinned conspicuously on their bosoms.”69 It may even have been at the Baroness’s that the Princess first met Konopath, just as in 1930 it was through the Baroness and her royal guest, Prince Auwi, that Magda Quandt, the recently divorced wife of one of the richest men in Germany, is said to have met her future second husband Goebbels.70 At all events, ”the two Konopaths” were named among the guests at a late evening reception (”from 11 until 2 in the morning”) at Freifrau von Dirksen’s in November 1930, at which the other guests were Göring and a couple of his relatives, Goebbels, Baroness Marie von Tiele-Winckler, Prince Auwi and his son Prince Alexander, the banker von der Heyd, the head of the Mannesmann steel tubing works Erich Niemann with his wife, and Admiral Magnus von Levetzov, later appointed chief of police in Berlin after the Nazis came to power.71

  • 72 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, Part 1, vol. 2/1, p. 183 (25 June 1930).

Goebbels for his part tells in his diaries of a dinner party at the Görings’ a few months earlier (June 1930), at which the guests included, besides himself, ”Frau Schultze, Frick, the Konopaths, Epp, and a director of the UFA [the powerful German film company Universum Film AG].”72 In Nazi terms, this was top rank company indeed. Wilhelm Frick had just been named Education Minister in the coalition government, which included National Socialists, of the state of Thuringia, and had immediately appointed Hans F. K. Günther to a professorship at Jena (over the objections of the faculty), issued an ”Ordinance against Negro Culture” (1 April 1930) which purported to rid Thuringia of all ”immoral and foreign racial elements in the arts,” dissolved the state school of architecture in Weimar, headed at the time by the moderate Otto Bartning – the Bauhaus having already been forced by pressure from petty-bourgeois artisans to relocate in Dessau – and appointed the architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg, a close friend of R. Wilhelm Darré, whose Blood and Soil ideology he shared, to head a new ”united school” combining painting and architecture with the applied arts. Frick went on, after 1933, to become Hitler’s Minister of the Interior, one of the drafters of the Nuremberg Laws, and the controller of concentration camps. He was sentenced to death at the Nuremberg trials and hanged two weeks later.

  • 73 Reinhard Merker, Die bildenden Künste im Nationalsozialismus (Cologne: DuMont, 1983), pp. 84-87, 9 (...)
  • 74 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, Part 1, vol. 2/1, p. 175 (11 June 1930). The foreword to the fi (...)

27Frick’s protégé, Schultze-Naumburg, whose wife was at the dinner (subsequently she separated from her husband and married Frick), had long been an advocate of a return both to the land and to a traditional building style appropriate to the German countryside, and had become a vehement critic of the ”rootless,” ”urban,” international style in modern architecture. He was the author of a book entitled Kunst und Rasse [Art and Race] (Munich 1928) and of numerous articles asserting the racial basis of art, including a pamphlet entitled Kunst aus Blut und Boden (1934), in which he maintained that Blood and Soil are the two sources from which the creative powers of man emerge. While the blood of the German people is a mixture of ”nordisch, ”dinarisch, ”ostisch,” and ”westisch,” he declared, referring to the races identified by his friend Günther, the most precious of these is the Nordic strain, to which, according to Schultze Naumburg (once again following Günther), the art of Greek antiquity also owes its strength and purity. The first act of the new head of Frick’s Vereinigte Weimarer Kunstlehranstalten was to fire 29 teachers from the schools, mostly because they were associated with Bauhaus style. He then proceeded to have 70 works of art, including paintings by Dix, Feininger, Kandinsky, Klee, Kokoschka, Franz Marc, and Nolde removed from the Weimar Schlossmuseum as representative of ”eastern or otherwise racially inferior subhumanity” and to have Oskar Schlemmer’s murals in the old Van de Velde building that had housed Gropius’s school painted over.73 Goebbels had already glowingly recounted a visit in June 1930 to Schultze-Naumburg’s famous country estate at Saaleck, where he met Hans Günther, ”der Rassenforscher,” and was ”shown around the entire house by Frau Konopath.” Darré and Günther were regular members of Schultze-Naumburg’s Saaleck-Kreis and her role as cicerone makes it seem likely that the Princess was also.74 Only a month before the visit described by Goebbels, Hitler himself, accompanied by Rudolf Heß, had met at Burg Saaleck with the Princess’s mentor, Darré, no doubt to discuss the latter’s agrarian program for the Party.

  • 75 Sebastian Haffner, Failure of a Revolution: Germany 1918-1919, pp. 175, 192-93. On Epp and on the (...)

28The Epp at the Göring’s dinner party was Franz Xaver, Ritter von Epp, a veteran of the genocidal war against the Herero people in South-West Africa in 1904-1906, as well as of the First World War, and the founder of the Freikorps-Epp in 1919, which the Majority Socialist government of Ebert used to put down the Bavarian Workers’ Councils Republic or Räterepublik in Munich in 1919 and to eradicate Left-Wing Socialist and Communist resistance in the Ruhr in 1920. Both operations were carried out with unparalleled ferocity. In Munich, it has been said, ”a ’white terror’ ensued such as no German city, not even Berlin, had yet experienced. For a whole week the conquerors were at liberty to shoot at will, and everyone ’suspected of Spartacism’ [i.e. left socialism, anarchism, or communism] – in effect Munich’s entire working-class population – was outlawed.” One conservative eye-witness described how ’”Spartacists’ were dragged out of wine-bars or railway trains and shot on the spot.” Gustav Landauer, the well-known anarchist intellectual, friend of the Hart brothers, and translator of the medieval mystic Meister Eckhart, who had been appointed Minister of Education in the first Bavarian Workers’ Councils government, was brutally murdered. During the suppression of the Communists in the Ruhr the following year, one member of the Freikorps-Epp wrote in a letter: ”If I were to write you everything, you would say these are lies. No mercy is shown. We shoot even the wounded. The enthusiasm is marvelous. […] Anyone who falls into our hands gets first the gun butt and then the bullet…We also shot dead instantly ten Red Cross nurses each of whom was carrying a pistol. We shot at these abominations with joy. […] We were much more humane toward the French on the battlefield.”75 Epp joined the NSDAP in 1928, raised enough money, with the help of Röhm, to turn the Völkischer Beobachter into a National Socialist newspaper, was soon elected as a National Socialist member of the Reichstag, and after the National Socialists took power was appointed Governor (Reichskommissar) of Bavaria by Frick.

  • 76 According to Brigitte Hamann (Winifred Wagner: A Life at the Heart of Hitler’s Bayreuth, p. 121), (...)
  • 77 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, Part 1, vol. 2/1 [December 1929-May 1931] (Munich: K. G. Saur, (...)

29This, then, was the distinguished company the Princess kept during the 1930s.76 Goebbels himself seems to have been on easy terms with the Konopaths. In one diary entry he tells of ”going to the Konopaths for coffee” and from there, with the Görings and Dirksens to see ”The Merry Widow.”77

  • 78 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, Part 1, vol. 2/1 [December 1929-May 1931], p. 155 (13 April 193 (...)
  • 79 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, Part 1, vol. 2/1, p. 307 (20 December 1930). Claus-E. Bärsch no (...)
  • 80 See Malinowski, Vom König zum Führer, p. 396 on a debate, as early as 1926, between Friedrich Wilh (...)
  • 81 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, Part 1, vol. 2/2 (Munich: K. G. Saur, 2004), p. 112 (30 Septemb (...)
  • 82 Ibid., pp. 132-33 (25 October 1931).
  • 83 Arnd Krüger, ”Breeding, Rearing and Preparing the Aryan Body,” in J. A. Mangan, ed., Shaping the S (...)

30Everything did not go smoothly, of course. Besides the usual rivalries among the leading members of the Party – Goebbels confides to his diary at one point that Konopath is trying to wrest control of film propaganda from him – there was a more significant disagreement over what Goebbels who, as Propaganda Minister, had to be concerned about ideological inflexibility and potential divisiveness, termed Konopath’s ”Rassenmaterialismus” [racial materialism]. From the beginning, Goebbels had judged Konopath ”intellektuell zu sehr vorbelastet” [intellectually too full of preconceived ideas], that is, not sufficiently attuned to tactics.78 By the end of 1930, the two had had a heated discussion about the racial issue, at which, according to Goebbels, Konopath ”had to give in.” ”We can’t allow him too much room for his obsession with race,” Goebbels noted in his diary.79 But the disagreement clearly persisted, reflecting a divergence of views on the subject of race, within the Party, between tacticians like Goebbels and strict ideologues, and among Nazi sympathizers between those, such as the psychologist Carl Jung, for whom National Socialism was above all an awakening of the German nation, and those for whom it was above all a matter of physically eliminating foreign (i.e. Jewish, Slavic and other ”inferior”) elements and creating a physically perfect Nordic type. In his insistence on biology and animal-like breeding, Konopath probably had the support of a faction that included his wife, the Princess, along with her brother Friedrich Wilhelm Prinz zur Lippe-Biesterfeld, his own friend Darré, and Himmler, who had been a student of animal breeding like Darré.80 A full year later Goebbels describes a scene at which he ”polemisierte heftig gegen diesen Rassenmaterialismus” [argued heatedly against this racial materialism], and hints that Konopath’s Nordischer Ring might have to be disbanded.81 Barely a month afterwards a meeting took place in Goebbels’ office at which, Konopath having again defended his ”blond race materialism, […] we flew at each other.” The matter will have to be pursued further, Goebbels notes in his diary: ”Konopath’s arrogance has to be broken. He needs to rethink things. But I doubt that he is capable of that.”82 This disagreement between Goebbels and Konopath about the way to conduct ”race propaganda,” as Goebbels called it, probably reflects unease in Nazi leadership circles about the program of Aufnordung, which was resented by Germans, especially those from the southern areas of the country – to say nothing of the Propaganda Minister himself – whose physical appearance did not match the blond ideal.83

  • 84 On the conflict between Goebbels and Rosenberg over modern art, see Hildegard Brenner, Die Kunstpo (...)

31It may also be connected with Goebbels’s effort, which often enough led to conflict with other high Party officials, notably Rosenberg and his Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur, to present an image of National Socialist culture that was modern, dynamic, turned toward the future, rather than nostalgic for a lost past. Hence his attacks on what he termed ”National Kitsch,” his efforts to preserve a place for twentieth-century German artists in the Nazi Pantheon, and his opposition to doctrines that might provoke division or challenge the ideological hegemony of the Party.84 Thus Schultze-Naumburg ultimately fell out of favor, along with other völkisch ideologues and religious leaders whose views and organizations came to be considered not only damaging to national unity and the authority of the Party (which was more effectively upheld by good relations with the established Churches), but backward-looking and out of tune with the ”new” Germany of autobahns, airships, and the ”People’s Car.”

32Throughout the thirties and during the War years the Princess served the National Socialist regime and the National Socialist ideology in every way she could – as a minor player in the National Socialist administration and above all as a writer, through her advice books for young ”Nordic” women, her editions of the essays and aphorisms of her friend and mentor Darré, and not least her fictional writing, which was clearly intended to educate her readers and inspire them to serve the regime as devotedly as she.

  • 85 Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 2003).

33The 1934 tract, Nordische Frau und Nordischer Glaube (new editions in 1935 and 1938), and the novel, Die Overbroocks, published in Berlin in 1942, offer an epitome of the Princess’s mature thought along with a remarkable insight into the mentality and values of a dedicated National Socialist, who also appears to have been an unusually independent-minded woman – into the ”Nazi Conscience,” to borrow the title of Claudia Koonz’s recent book.85 For that reason they will receive special consideration here. Whereas in 1921, the Princess’s ideas and feelings could be presented only in the abstract, philosophico-religious terms of the poem Gott in mir, by 1935 they could be articulated in more developed and practical political terms, thanks to her association with ideologists like Darré, Günther, and her husband Konopath and to her own involvement with the NSDAP. By 1942, after two decades of political action and nine momentous years of National Socialist government, it had become possible for her to represent these same ideas through the characters, actions, and concrete historical conditions required by the literary genre of the realist novel. The fundamental themes of Gott in mir, Nordische Frau und Nordischer Glaube, and Die Overbroocks remain, however, recognizably the same, as the following summary accounts of the tract and the novel should demonstrate.

Notes

1 Curiously, in view of her activities on behalf of the National Socialist regime, there is scant published information about the Princess. She is not mentioned in the standard books on women under National Socialism (e.g. Rita Thalmann [1982], Florence Hervé [1983], Georg Tidl [1984], Renate Wiggershaus [1984], Angelika Ebbinghaus [1987]).

2 It was an idiosyncratic Reuß custom to name all male children Heinrich and number them, regardless of whether they were sovereign princes or not, in chronological order of their birth within a particular century. Thus, Heinrich XXIII (b. 1878) was the son of Heinrich VII (b. 1825) and elder brother of Heinrich XXXV (b. 1887), yet uncle/father of Heinrich V, Marie Adelheid’s son (b. 1921).

3 Konopath is listed on the website of an amateur English genealogist, along with hundreds of others, as a descendant of William the Conqueror. It is not clear, however, what credence if any should be given to this claim or whether Konopath himself ever made it. He did contribute a short article, entitled ”Adel, eine politische Forderung” [Nobility: A Political Necessity], to the Deutsches Adelsblatt, 1924, 42: 328-29, probably in the same spirit as his friend Darré’s Neuadel aus Blut und Boden of 1930.

4 See the richly documented work of Stephan Malinowksi, Vom König zum Führer (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2003). Malinowski demonstrates that the attraction of the nobility to a different Right from that of traditional conservatism dates back to the Imperial period itself and to associations like the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft [German Colonial Society] and the Deutsche Adelsgenossenschaft [League of German Nobles] (pp. 175-97). The former was unavoidably racist; Malinowski notes (pp. 214-19) that the nobility was disproportionately represented in the brutal genocidal campaign against the Hereros in South-West Africa. The latter, founded in 1874, was anti-Semitic from the start but became ”biologically” racist after 1918. A short summary of Malinowski’s main findings is available in English: ”From King to Führer: The German aristocracy and the Nazi movement,” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute of London, 2005, vol. 27, pp. 5-28; on the close links between the Nazis and the nobility, see pp. 21-26. On ”Rebellinnen” (women rebels) in the nobility, of whom the most celebrated is doubtless Franziska von Reventlow, see Monika Wienfort,”Adelige Frauen in Deutschland 1890-1939,” in Adel und Moderne, ed. Eckart Conze and Monika Weinfort (Cologne; Weimar; Vienna: Böhlau, 2004), pp. 197-203. Rebellious and adventurous, mostly upper-class women, ranging from Nancy Cunard, Gertrude Bell, and Hermynia Zur Mühlen to Magda Goebbels and the Mitfords, seem to have been a feature of the age. Of approximately 150 members of princely families who had joined the NSDAP by the end of 1934, 30% were women, whereas women made up only 5-8% of the general membership of the Party. (Werner Bräuninger, Hitlers Kontrahenten in der NSDAP 1921-1945 [Munich: F. A. Herbig Verlagsbuchhandlung, 2004], p. 123)

5 See Malinowski, ”From King to Führer,” pp. 18-20 on the (illusory) belief in noble circles, which the Nazis never actively discouraged, that the restoration of a reformed monarchy and nobility might yet be the end result of Hitler’s rise to power. On Crown Prince Wilhelm’s relation to National Socialism, see Klaus W. Jonas, Der Kronprinz Wilhelm (Frankfurt a.M.: Heinrich Scheffler Verlag, 1962), pp. 222-79. In 1940 Wilhelm sent Hitler a telegram congratulating him on the ”genial Führung” that in barely five weeks had resulted in the capitulation of Belgium and Holland and the driving of the ”ruins of the English expeditionary force into the sea” (reproduced in Jonas, p. 224).

6 Malinowkski, Vom König zum Führer, p. 541.

7 The Prince’s book is a dull, systematically arranged compendium of the ideas of Clauß and Hans F. K. Günther. Its basic thesis is that a people’s ”common will is racially determined.” (p. 4) According to one source, eighteen members of the House of Lippe joined the NSDAP. (Jonathan Petropoulos, Royals and the Reich: the Princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany [New York: Oxford University Press, 2000], p. 100).

8 In the early 1940s Clauß came under a cloud in some Nazi circles for allegedly giving precedence to ”Geist” [spirit] or ”Seele” [soul or psyche]) over ”Blut” [blood]. One participant in a discussion at the Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question in March 1941 objected that ”Clauß professes the view that an individual’s physical racial configuration is no more than the expression of that individual’s spiritual being, […] that spirit and soul determine physical form.” Though Clauß denied that this was his position, the discovery that Margarete Landé, his assistant over many years and allegedly his lover, had been a full-blooded Jewish woman, whom he had protected and hidden and whom he refused to give up, sealed his disgrace. (Leon Poliakov and Josef Wulf, Das Dritte Reich und seine Diener: Dokumente [Berlin- Grünewald: Arani-Verlag, 1959], pp. 413-15) Clauß himself apparently claimed in his defense that he had kept Landé on, in accordance with his so-called mimetic method of studying other races, in order to study her racial characteristics as a living object, so to speak, just as he had lived as a Bedouin with Bedouins when preparing his 1933 study of that people. According to a recent scholar, Clauß ”did not intend any kind of racial (or other) equality between Aryans and Jews. He claimed to be the founder of the NS race-psychology and in a letter to the dean of the Berlin philosophy department […] stated that his books are rightly esteemed anti-Semitic. His ’Rassenseelenkunde’ was an important variety of National Socialist racism and not an alternative. Clauß never argued or acted against National Socialism. He delivered his inaugural lecture at Berlin University in a brownshirt and during the war he worked for the secret service of the SS.” (Horst Jünginger, ”Sigrid Hunke: Europe’s New Religion and its Old Stereotypes” [1998] at http://homepages.unituebingen.de/gerd.simon/hunke.htm)

9 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, ed. Elke Fröhlich, part I, vol. 2/1, December 1929 May 1931 (Munich: K. G. Saur, 2005), p. 159 (19 May 1930) and p. 333 (26 January 1931). On Viktoria von Dirksen’s salon as a meeting place of monarchist nobility and Nazis, see Malinowski, Vom König zum Führer, pp. 554-55; Fritz Günther von Tschirschky, Erinnerungen eines Hochverräters (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1972), pp. 130-31.

10 and incriminating the Allies. Wer von der Lüge lebt, muss die Wahrheit fürchten was published in the ”Gelbe Reihe” of a small extreme right-wing publisher, ATB Die Büchermacher, in 1976 (see http://www.books-hotopic.de/GELBE_REIHE/gelbe_reihe.html); War Hitler ein Diktator?, written in 1977, appeared in 1994 in vol. 86 of the neo-Nazi journal Kritik: Die Stimme des Volkes, which also regularly published work by the Princess. (An English translation of this text can be found at http://www.wintersonnenwende.com/scriptorium/english/archives/dictator/dictator00.html)

11 The legitimacy of the zur Lippe-Biesterfeld line had been challenged by the zur Lippe-Weißenfelds while the Schaumburg-Lippe line had challenged the legitimacy of both, alleging marriages to women of less than sufficiently noble birth in the early years of the nineteenth century. This had led to a protracted succession struggle over the principality of Lippe lasting from 1895 until 1905 and supposedly involving the Kaiser himself. See Helmut Reichold, Der Streit um die Thronfolge im Fürstentum Lippe 1895-1905 (Münster i.W.: Aschendorffsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1967).

12 Friedrich Christian Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe, Als die goldene Abendsonne: Aus meinen Tagebüchern der Jahre 1933-1937 (Wiesbaden: Limes-Verlag, 1971), p. 73, fn. 1; cf. Graf zu Solms-Laubach, ”Der Adel ist tot – es lebe der Adel” in Wo war der Adel?, ed. Friedrich Christian Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe (Berlin: Zentral Verlag, 1934), p. 8: ”The German nobility miserably missed its last opportunity to demonstrate its right to exist. Exceptions here only prove the rule. The question the people puts to you today is harsh and clear: Where were you noble gentlemen when Germany was in its last throes? [...] Where did you fight, and what sacrifices did you make? You thought of yourselves and how you could save your skins. You thought of yourselves and of the welfare of your families. Maybe you lamented the wretchedness of the people, maybe it distressed you, but you did nothing! Nothing! And you still dare today to claim a leadership role?”

13 On the Prince’s education, see his Verdammte Pflicht und Schuldigkeit: Weg und Erlebnis 1914-1933 (Leoni am Starnberger See: Druffel-Verlag, 1966), especially pp. 21-23, 42-43, 77, 79; on his disillusionment with the nobility, ibid., pp. 72-74, 131-33 (”The nobility as such lost its justification for existing in my eyes when it failed to fight for the preservation of the monarchy after 1918. And it truly gave up when it immediately came to terms with the Marxist-controlled social order of the Weimar Republic” [p. 131]); on the nobility’s need to transform itself and on his own first encounter with and attraction to National Socialism, pp. 114-23, 126-36. For photographs of the Prince and his family with Hitler and Goebbels, see his published diaries, Als die goldene Abendsonne: Aus meinen Tagebüchern der Jahre 1933-1937. See also Malinowski, Vom König zum Führer, pp. 439, 551; Malinowski quotes (”From King to Führer,” pp. 25-26) from a noble contributor to Wo war der Adel? (1934), the collection of texts edited by the Prince: ”From the start, National Socialism was the sole legitimate heir of the entire past tradition of the nobility; the forefathers we have revered all our lives continued to act in and through it.” (p. 584). In the same spirit, Friedrich von Bülow in an after-dinner speech to the Bülow family association in 1935: ”Upon blood and soil the Führer is building his Reich. We have understood blood selection for seven centuries and have built our bloodstream on an age-old race and culture. […] All the great ideals which the Führer has established for the German people originate from the deepest treasure chambers of the German aristocracy. Thus in its very foundations the German aristocracy is akin both in nature and origin to National Socialism.” […] Likewise Wolf Heinrich, Graf von Helldorff, S.A. Leader of Berlin, then Police Chief of Berlin: ”A new aristoracy is forming under National Socialism. If the old aristocracy stands aside from the great aristocratic popular movement fate will overrun it; in that case, it would be better if it resolved now to renounce its worthless patents of nobility.” (”Adel und Nationalsozialismus,” in Das neue Deutschland, October 1935, p. 11, quoted in David Schoenbaum, Hitler’s Social Revolution: Class and Status in Nazi Germany 1933-1939 (New York. W.W. Norton, 1980), p. 70.

14 On the Princess’s presence at Dirksen’s gatherings, see Rüdiger Jungbluth, Die Quandts: Ihr leiser Aufstieg zur mächtigsten Wirtschaftsdynastie Deutschlands (Frankfurt a.M. and New York: Campus Verlag, 2002), p. 108; Anja Klabunde, Magda Goebbels, trans. Shaun Whiteside (London: Little Brown, 2001; orig. German 1999), p. 111.

15 Ludwig Wilser, Die Germanen: Beiträge zur Völkerkunde (Eisenach and Leipzig: Thüringischer Verlags-Anstalt, 1903) sums up the findings of late nineteenth-century scholarship on the supposed origins of culture among the Nordic peoples. For the erosion of the Nordic strain in the German population Hans F. K. Günther, the leading exponent of the Nordic idea in the 1920s through the 1940s, offers a variety of reasons: emigration of the most enterprising and adventurous; migration from the land to the cities, where intermarriage with racially less dynamic immigrant races, attracted by employment opportunities in factories and in petty commerce had become common; self-imposed limits on the number of children in Nordic families in response to the heavy tax burden they have to bear, as the most successful element in the population, in order to fund social welfare programs for the poor; corresponding rapid population increase in the inferior proletarian population as a result of those very welfare programs; heavy loss of life in the predominantly Nordic officer class in the wars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and so on. (Kleine Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes [Munich and Berlin: F. J. Lehmanns Verlag, 1943; 1st edn. 1929], pp. 125-37) The idea that the superior, aristocratic race is constantly under threat from the teeming animal-like masses of the inferior races was common currency in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and is almost certainly a mirror image of upper-class fear of the expanding urban proletariat. In articles in his journal Ostara in 1906 and 1912, the Viennese Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels claimed that this idea was the true, hidden content of all the great religious myths, including those of the Old and New Testaments; see Peter Emil Becker, Zur Geschichte der Rassenhygiene: Wege ins Dritte Reich (Stuttgart and New York: Georg Thieme Verlag, 1988), pp. 341-49. See also on the fear – and the alleged causes – of racial and national decline, Uwe Puschner, Die völkische Bewegung im wilhelminischen Kaiserreich, pp. 115-23.

16 On Harden’s ”neoconservative” politics, see Walther Rathenau-Maximilian Harden Briefwechsel 1897-1920, ed. Hans-Dieter Hellige (Munich: Gotthold Müller; Heidelberg: Lambert Schneider, 1983; vol. 4 of Walther Rathenau, Gesamtausgabe), Introduction, pp. 111-23. On the basis of oral testimony by former Chancellor Heinrich Brüning, Robert G. L. Waite claims that Rathenau, ironically, had been a strong supporter of the Freikorps (by whose members he was murdered), raised large sums of money for them, and even donated funds from his own pocket. (Vanguard of Nazism, pp. 219-20)

17 Walther Rathenau, Gesamtausgabe, vol. 2, ”Hauptwerke und Gespräche,” ed. Hans-Dieter Hellige and Ernst Schulin (Munich: Gotthold Müller; Heidelberg: Lambert Schneider, 1977), p. 288. Cf. this passage from his Aphorismen (1902): ”The epitome of the history of the world, of the history of mankind, is the tragedy of the Aryan race. A blond and marvelous people arises in the north. In overflowing fertility it sends wave upon wave into the southern world. Each migration becomes a conquest, each conquest a source of character and civilization. But with the increasing population of the world the waves of the dark peoples flow ever nearer, the circle of mankind grows narrower. At last a triumph for the south; an oriental religion takes possession of the northern lands. They defend themselves by preserving the ancient ethic of courage. And finally the worst danger of all: industrial civilization gains control of the world, and with it arises the power of fear, of brains and of cunning, embodied in democracy and capital.” (Quoted in Harry Graf Kessler, Walther Rathenau: His Life and Work [New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1930], pp. 36-37) On the extensive literature spawned in Germany by the enthusiasm for Nordic race and culture and promoted by major publishers and publishing houses like Eugen Diederichs, Julius F. Lehmann, and the Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt of Hamburg, see Gary D. Stark, Entrepreneurs of Ideology: Neoconservative Publishers in Germany, 1890-1933 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982), pp. 190-93.

18 An intense, intimate, homoerotic friendship between Rathenau and the völkisch ideologue Wilhelm Schwaner, co-founder of the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft, compiler of the Germanen-Bibel¸ and editor of the völkisch-oriented Volkserzieher (to which Rathenau took out a subscription), has rightly occasioned much commentary. (See Peter Berglar, ”Exkurs: Walther Rathenau und Wilhelm Schwaner,” in his Walther Rathenau: Ein Leben zwischen Philosophie und Politik [Graz; Vienna; Cologne: Verlag Styria, 1987], pp. 266-71; Wolfgang Brenner, Walther Rathenau: Deutscher und Jude [Munich and Zurich: Piper, 2005], pp. 336-41; Udo Leuschner, ”Walther Rathenau: Ein Dissident seiner Klasse, seiner Rasse und seines Geschlechts,” in his Zur Geschichte des deutschen Liberalismus [http://www.udo-leuschner.de/liberalismus/liberalismus0.htm.]) An illustration in Leuschner’s article shows the letterhead in Schwaner’s letters to Rathenau decorated with swastikas (already well established as a völkisch symbol) and inscribed with the motto: ”Treu leben, todtrotzend kämpfen, lachend sterben.” [Be true in life, struggle in defiance of death, die with laughter on your lips.] It is unlikely that Rathenau was offended. He himself had declared in his ”Address to the Youth of Germany” (An Deutschlands Jugend, Berlin, 1918): ”I am a German of Jewish descent. My people is the German people, my fatherland is Germany, my religion that Germanic faith which is above all religions.” (Quoted in Waite, Vanguard of Nazism, p. 219)

19 The relation of National Socialism to religion and of the various religious churches and sects – both Christian and pagan – to National Socialism is extraordinarily complex and has been the object of much investigation: e.g. Hans Buchheim, Glaubenskrise im Dritten Reich: Drei Kapitel nationalsozialistischer Religionspolitik (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1953); Ernst Christian Helmreich, The German Churches under Hitler (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1979); Peter Matheson, ed., The Third Reich and the Christian Churches (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1981) – a collection of documents with brief commentaries; Hubert Cancik, ed., Religionsund Geistesgeschichte der Weimarer Republik (Düsseldorf: Patmos Verlag, 1982); Doris Bergen, Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996); Heinz Eduard Tödt, Komplizen, Opfer und Gegner des Hitlerregimes: Zur inneren Geschichte’ von protestantischer Theologie und Kirche im Dritten Reich (Gütersloh: Chr. Kaiser-Güterslöher Verlagshaus, 1997); Richardt Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity 1919-1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Karla Poewe, New Religions and the Nazis (New York and London: Routledge, 2006). Some Christians wanted to create a new syncretism that would preserve a Christian core while excluding the Judaic component of traditional Christianity and integrating elements of the allegedly old Nordic religions; others wanted to exclude the Judaic element but vehemently opposed neo-paganism; some of those to whom race was the defining element of humanity and history wished to revive pagan cults; others (including Hitler himself in Mein Kampf) derided these cults as Romantic Germanentümelei [Germanomania]. One of the leading exponents of the Nordic Idea, Professor Hans F. K. Günther, insisted that his focus was on planning scientifically for the future, not reviving early Germanic culture and customs – a task ”impossible in itself” and capable only of ”producing nonsense.” ”The Nordic movement has nothing to do with Romanticism or looking back or trying to revive what has become history; it is about looking forward, about restoring to the German people that seed of Nordic race, on the continuation of which its ’German-ness’ depends.” (Kleine Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes, p. 142)

20 On Ploetz, see Becker, Zur Geschichte der Rassenhygiene, pp. 58-136.

21 Quoted in Becker, p. 83.

22 Quoted in Puschner, Die völkische Bewegung im wilhelminischen Kaiserreich, p. 177.

23 Quoted in Becker, p. 113. It should be noted that race theory did not necessarily imply anti-Semitism, even though it usually was anti-Semitic in fact. The young Martin Buber and others in his ”cultural Zionist” circle (as distinct from the followers of the more pragmatic Herzl) aimed to create a culture expressive of the Jewish ”race.” Equally, it did not necessarily have as its objective racial purity. (Günther, for instance, acknowledged that only a tiny fraction of the German population was of pure Nordic race). Its basic principle was that the racial element was of primary importance in culture and history. It also claimed that specific races had specific characteristics, some of which public policy might seek, through ”Rassenhygiene,” to nurture in the general population, while others were reduced or eliminated. Even Clauß at least professed the view, adapted from Herder’s conception of individual peoples, that each race has a value of its own (”Jede Rasse stellt in sich selbst einen Höchstwert dar”) and a value system of its own, by which alone it can be judged (”Jede Rasse trägt ihre Wertordnung und ihren Wertmaßstab in sich selbst und darf nicht mit dem Maßstab irgendeiner anderen Rasse gemessen werden. Es ist sinnwidrig und unwissenschaftlich, die mittelländische Rasse mit den Augen der nordischen Rasse zu sehen. […] Vielleicht kennt Gott eine Rangordnung der Rassen, wir nicht” [Every race carries its own system of values and standards in itself and may not be judged by the standards of another race. It is absurd and unscientific to view the Mediterranean race with the eyes of the Nordic race. […] Perhaps God has a hierarchy of races. We do not]). Rejecting criticism of his work in the Vatican Osservatore Romano, Clauß insisted that it implied no scale of superior and inferior races. (Rasse und Seele: Eine Einführung in den Sinn der leiblichen Gestalt [Munich and Berlin: J. F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1943; orig. 1926], p. 16) In his celebrated collection of poems, Juda (1900), which was illustrated by the Jewish artist E. M. Lilien (see my article in Princeton University Library Chronicle, 2004, 66: 11-78), Börries von Münchhausen, a future anti-Semitic NSDAP member, actually sang the praises, not, to be sure, of contemporary Jews, but of the ancient warlike Hebrew people, which conformed to his idea of a heroic race. It was even argued that, in so far as racial improvement was a desideratum, it might in some cases be more effectively achieved by judicious mixing of races than by attempts to preserve what racial purity remained. Ploetz, for instance, held in his early years that the Jewish race had some desirable characteristics and that the German race might benefit from some infusion of Jewish blood. His anti-Semitism became virulent only after the NSDAP came to power (a development he explicitly welcomed) and showered honors on him. (Becker, pp. 86-87) Later so-called race scholars [Rassenforscher], like Clauß and Günther, made the point that the Jews are a people, not a race, and that like other peoples, including the Germans, they are the product of specific racial mixing; see, for instance, Kleine Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes, pp. 12, 55-57.

24 Peter Kratz, Die Götter des New Age, p. 307; Becker, p. 84. On Konopath- Konopacki, Walter Laqueur notes that in certain extreme right-wing branches of the Wandervogel movement a preponderance of members ”of mixed Slavonic blood” had disquieted some native Germans: ”For the Nordic purists it must have been disconcerting to find that many, perhaps most of their spokesmen had names that had not been in use either in Valhalla or in Midgard.” In a note he adds: ”Among those favoring the Nordic orientation of the youth movement of the Reich, names like Luntowski, Konopacki-Konopath or Pudelko were frequent.” (Young Germany: A History of the German Youth Movement [New York: Basic Books, 1962], pp. 91-92 and note) On individuals of mixed nationality as prophets of nationalistic creeds, see Emil Franzel, Das Reich der Braunen Jakobiner (Munich: J. Pfeiffer, 1964), pp. 25-26.

25 Ist Rasse Schicksal?, p. 4.

26 According to Winifred Wagner, the Princess ran ”a Nordic exchange for jobseekers, people in need of rest and recreation, those seeking marriage partners, etc., etc.” (Quoted in Brigitte Hamann, Winifred Wagner: A Life at the Heart of Hitler’s Bayreuth, trans. Alan Bauce [London: Granta Books, 2005; orig. German 2002], p. 121).

27 Volkmar Weiss, ”Die Vorgeschichte des arischen Ahnenpasses,” Part III, Genealogie, 2000, 50: 615-27 (also available at http://www.v-weiss.de/publ7-pass.html-3); on Lanz von Liebenfels’s encouragement of family genealogical trees, see Becker, p. 351; on the Edda, see Malinowski, ”From King to Führer,” pp. 10-13. Competitions were commonly advertised in racist publications; e.g. a competition for photographs of ”the best male and female head of Nordic race, to be illustrated frontally and in profile,” for which the Werkbund für deutsche Volkstums- und Rassenforschung offered a first prize of 500 Marks, a second prize of 100 Marks and 10 prizes of copies of Hans Günther’s Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes (Volk und Rasse, 1926, 2: 116-17).

28 On the Münchner Post article, see Georg Franz-Willing, Die Hitler-Bewegung 1925 bis 1934 (Preussisch Oldendorf: Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft, 2001), p. 252.

29 On the Gobineau celebration, see Hans-Jürgen Lutzhöft, Der Nordische Gedanke in Deutschland 1920-1940, p. 65. On Konopath’s contributions to the NPK, see Florian Odenwald, Der nazistische Kampf gegen das Undeutsche’ in Theater und Film 1920-1945 (Munich: Münchner Universitätsschriften Theaterwissenschaft, vol. 8, 2006), p. 51.

30 Becker, p. 85, quoting from Die Sonne, 1930, 7: 376. Such celebrations were no longer unusual. The Sera-Circle around the publisher Eugen Diederichs had begun organizing similar festivities on a hilltop near Jena before the First World War. For an eye-witness description, see http://www.eiwatz.de/_1589148299_277014168_61542248_61542248.html. By the mid-1930s, under the National Socialists, they had become part of the education of German schoolchildren; see the outline of a celebration of the summer solstice in a handbook for public schools reproduced and analysed in Christa Kamenetsky, Children’s Literature in Hitler’s Germany: The Cultural Policy of National Socialism (Athens, Ohio and London: Ohio University Press, 1984), pp. 218-33.

31 Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Teil 1, vol. 2/1, p. 155 (13 April 1930).

32 Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (London: Odham’s Press, 1952), p. 126. Bullock gave 1928 as the date of Konopath’s appointment, but more recent writers have revised that date. See note 35 below.

33 ”Leiter der Abteilung für Rasse und Kultur,” cited in Georg Franz-Willing, Die Hitler-Bewegung 1925 bis 1934, p. 227. On Hitler’s choice of Konopath, ”an unknown outsider, who had as yet contributed nothing,” see Reinhard Bollmus, Das Amt Rosenberg und seine Gegner (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1970), pp. 34-36; Lionel Richard, Le Nazisme et la culture (Brussels: Editions Complexe, 2006), p. 95. On Konopath’s positions in the Party, see also Hitler: Reden, Schriften, Anordnungen, Februar 1925 bis Januar 1933, vol. 4, pt. 1 (October 1930-June 1931), ed. Constantin Goschler (Munich: K. G. Saur, 1994), p. 403, note 1 and vol. 5, pt. 1 (April 1932-September 1932), ed. Klaus A. Lankheit (Munich: K. G. Saur, 1996), p. 201.

34 Florian Cebulla, ”Die Rundfunkpolitik des Stahlhelms, 1930-1933,” Rundfunk und Geschichte, 1999, 25: 101-07.

35 On Konopath’s role in the founding of the Deutsche Christen movement, see Hans Buchheim, Glaubenskrise im Dritten Reich, pp. 75, 77; Klaus Scholder, The Churches and the Third Reich, vol. 1: ”Preliminary History and the Time of Illusions 1918-1934,” trans. John Bowden (London: S.C.M. Press, 1987 [orig. German, 1977]), pp. 205-07; Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon, art. ”Wilhelm Kube (1887-1943); Kurt Meier, Die Deutschen Christen: Das Bild einer Bewegung im Kirchenkampf des Dritten Reiches (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1964), pp. 11-13, 315, n. 38. On the movement itself and on the politics and ideology of the various factions within the German Protestant Church (Evangelische Kirche) see Doris Bergen, Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich. Konopath survived the war and seems to have gotten off lightly. In 1952, he was living in Hamburg and submitted a design for a new European flag to the Hamburg-based Europa-Union-Deutschland in response to the interest shown by the Council of Europe in such a flag. Konopath’s design – a circle of 15 four-pointed gold stars against a blue background, remarkably similar to today’s European Union flag of 12 five-pointed stars – apparently reached the desk of Paul-Henri Spaak, the President of the Council, but was dropped as soon as the designer’s past became known. A signed copy has been preserved in the Council Archives and can be viewed by searching under ’Konopath’ at http://www.ena.lu/; see also Le Point, 20 October 2005, p. 413, and Markus Kutter, ”Europa zeigt Flagge,” at http://markuskutter.ch/print/europa6_print.htm.

36 Slightly different figures are given by Gary D. Stark, Entrepreneurs of Ideology: Neoconservative Publishers in German, 1890-1933, p. 242. Figures here are taken from the 1943 edition of the popular version, Kleine Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes, and from the advertisement in that work for other works by Günther. Ludwig Ferdinand Clauß’s Rasse und Seele was also a publishing success, going through 18 editions and selling 122,000 copies between 1927 and 1943.

37 Excerpt in English translation in Heinz-Georg Marten, ”Racism, Social Darwinism, Anti-Semitism and Aryan Supremacy,” in J. A. Mangan, ed., Shaping the Superman: Fascist Body as Political Icon (London and Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1999), pp. 23-41, on p. 30.

38 Hans F. K. Günther, Deutsche Köpfe nordischer Rasse: 50 Abbildungen mit Geleitworten von Prof. Dr. Eugen Fischer und Dr. Hans F. K. Günther (Munich: J. F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1927), Introduction; cf. Ida H. Schlender, Germanische Mythologie: Religion und Leben unserer Urväter, 4th edn. (Dresden: Alexander Köhler, 1925; later editions 1934, 1937), p. 109: ”The basic principles of the North Germans emerge clearly for us from the Hávamál [a collection of wise saying from the Edda, most recently translated into English as ”The Words of Odin the High One”—L.G.]: savvy, reserve, and courage in every situation.” Other works by this popular author include Was lehren Religion und Leben unserer Urväter der Jetztzeit? (Dresden, 1920) [What do the Religion and Life of our Ancestors Teach us Today?] and Germanische Mythologie: Zum Selbststudium und zum Gebrauch an höheren Lehranstalten [Germanic Mythology: For Self-Study and Use in Higher Education Establishments] (Dresden, 1904 and 1912).

39 Günther apparently saw no advantage, however, in mixing European and non-European races. The ”Hither-Asiatic” or ”Near-Eastern” race in particular, the dominant strain among Jews and increasingly prominent among Greeks of the later period, was characterized by strongly negative features, such as ”cunning,” ”crafty calculation,” ”treachery,” and ”corruptibility.” (‛Like a Greek God…,’ translated by Vivian Bird from Hans F. Günther’s Lebensgeschichte des hellenischen Volkes,” Northern World [Calcutta], 1961, 6, i: 5-16).

40 Dr. Gustav Paul, Grundzüge der Rassen- und Raumgeschichte des deutschen Volkes (Munich: J. S. Lehmanns Verlag, 1935), cited from the 4th edition, 1943, p. 208.

41 Kleine Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes, pp. 145-46.

42 Peter Kratz, Die Götter des New Age, pp. 305-06.

43 See especially Lutzhöft, Der nordische Gedanke; Geoffrey G. Field, ”Nordic Racism,” Journal of the History of Ideas, 1977, 38: 523-40; and Bernard Mees, ”Germanische Sturmflut: From the Old Norse Twilight to the Fascist New Dawn,” Studia Neophiloligica, 2006, 78: 184-98. Scholarly legitimation was eagerly sought by racist propagandists. Professors figure prominently on the editorial boards of two of the most rabidly racist and right-wing journals of the 1920s, for instance: Volk und Rasse (1926-1944) and Deutschlands Erneuerung (1917-1944), both published by the radical right-wing press of J. S. Lehmann in Munich.

44 A Prospectus bearing the title ”Nordisch-Germanisches Kulturerbe” and illustrated by a stone carving of runic letters and a warrior on horseback was issued by the Diederichs Verlag in April 1933. The announcement read: ”What would be a better place to start promoting awareness of the innermost strengths of German being than the Nordic-Germanic literary monuments from which the unbroken strength of German being speaks so powerfully. The books that bring those times closer to us thus arouse a new view of life and have a special role to play in our time.” (Fig. 19)

45 One woman scholar argued that philosophy itself is racially determined. Since ”blood” determines the entire character of a community and links its members in an undying ”bloodstream,” no general philosophy of the nature and being of ”Man” is possible. While ”Man” may be distinguished from the animal realm by general characteristics, ”it is very questionable that this general condition of Menschsein [being human] is the most essential thing about a human being, i.e. constitutes his or her ultimate metaphysical definition, for the ultimate metaphysical definition of a human lies in his/her bond to his/her community and in his/her obligation toward his/her blood.” Hence, ”the philosophy of the future, if there is to be one, must be a philosophy of blood. Every philosophy will have value and meaning only for human beings of the same blood community […] and that means that the philosophy of blood will be accessible to us only in its particular form of Nordic blood.” (Dr. Erika Emmerich, ”Die Philosophie des Blutes,” Nationalsozialistisches Bildungswesen, 1937, pp. 389-90, repr. in Das Dritte Reich und seine Diener, p. 287) In an article in the Süddeutsche Monatshefte for 1933-34, Franziska von Porembsky, picking up from Günther, notes that Nordic women are less immediately attractive than others, come to maturity later, and are not submissive but strong and fiercely independent, all of which makes them less desirable to men formed by modern urban culture and contributes to the dangerous decline of the Nordic element in the German population. (”Die nordische Frau, nach Günther,” repr. in Das Dritte Reich und seine Diener, pp. 407-08).

46 Joachim Fest, The Face of the Third Reich, trans. Michael Bullock (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1970; orig, German, 1963), p. 167.

47 The history of the neo-pagan groups active in the early decades of the nineteenth century is extremely complex and hard to reconstruct. Most appear to have had memberships in the hundreds or low thousands at best. Even so, or because of that, they were beset by inner tensions, broke up and reformed frequently, and competed with one another. The Nordische Glaubensbewegung was itself a splinter group that had seceded around 1927, under the leadership of Wilhelm Kusserow, from Otto Sigfrid Reuter’s Deutsch-gläubige Bewegung (originally known as Deutsch-religiöse Gemeinschaft) – which in turn alternately competed and collaborated with Ludwig Fahrenkrog’s contemporary, similarly inclined Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft (founded in 1913). (See note 57, Chapter 1 above). It then incorporated the Nordungen, another, probably slightly larger neo-pagan group and in 1931 it joined with the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft to form the Nordisch-religiöse Arbeitsgemeinschaft [Nordic-Religious Working Association]. In 1933 this group in turn merged with Reuter’s organization in Hauer’s Arbeitsgemeinschaft deutscher Glaubensbewegung [Working Association of the German Faith Movement]. In 1934, however, when Hauer restructured the loosely bound Arbeitsgemeinschaft deutscher Glaubensbewegung into the more tight-knit Deutsche Glaubensbewegung, the Nordische Glaubensbewegung refused to co-operate and withdrew from the association, alleging that Hauer’s new organization was too eclectic and insufficiently committed to specifically Nordic religious and racial goals. These had been summarized in the first number of the journal Nordungen (1932): ”We commit to struggle until the essential character of the North German race asserts itself and becomes once again pure in our people and in all areas of interest to it. […] We have a strong sense that Baldur-Sigfrid still lives today in the best of our people; his sun-like, liberating nature is our highest goal and the object of the longing of us all.” (Quoted in Buchheim, Glaubenskrise, p. 169) On disputes about the Nordic idea within the völkisch and National Socialist camps, see Christopher M. Hutton, Race and the Third Reich: Linguistics, Racial Anthropology and Genetics in the Dialectic of ’Volk’ (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005), ch. 7-10.

48 On Hauer, see pp. 16, 44-45 and Chapter 1, note 3. Hauer later complained that radical elements in the Deutsche Glaubensbewegung had introduced a polemical, aggressive, and hate-filled tone that was foreign to his intentions and had subordinated his interest in fostering religion in the German people to a purely political agenda. In 1936 he was obliged by then SS Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich to step down from the leadership of the movement he himself had founded. (See especially Buchheim, Glaubenskrise, pp. 194-95).

49 That view had been expressed forcefully in the Prince’s address to the reader in Vom Rassenstil zur Staatsgestalt (Berlin-Neu Finkenkrug: H. Paetel, 1928): ”Do you not want to read the signs of the times? Or are you no longer capable of understanding them? Do you not hear the call for liberation from the suffocating alien ways all around us, the voice appealing for a Nordic form of faith, a faith in which Jesus is not experienced in the oriental mode as a passive, humble sufferer, but as a heroic champion in the Nordic manner, leading the way and answering to none but his conscience. To his conscience – not to the God who lords it over all my energies and to reach whom a mediator is required, but to the God that dwells within me. […] The Nordic soul in the German people is struggling to win freedom from alien ways and to establish its own Nordic form of faith so that the deepest moral energies of Nordic being will be freed to create Nordic forms in every domain.” (p. 126)

50 Quoted in Buchheim, Glaubenskrise, p. 170.

51 See Ulrich Nanko, Die deutsche Glaubensbewegung: Eine historische und soziologische Untersuchung, pp. 143, 237-38. It seems not unlikely, however, that both the Prince and Konopath sided with Kusserow when the latter withdrew from Hauer’s Deutsche Glaubensbewegung and reconstituted the Nordische Glaubensbewegung in 1934. (See Chapter 5, note 47). The Princess’s pamphlet Nordische Frau und Nordischer Glaube appeared in that same year as the second of the publications of the Nordische Glaubensbewegung.

52 Michael H. Kater, ”Die Artamenen – Völkische Jugend in der Weimarer Republik,” Historische Zeitschrift, 1971, 213: 577-638, at pp. 600, 626.

53 On the Artamans – mostly young, lower middle-class men and women from the cities, aged between 17 and 30, whose numbers rose from 100, working on six farms, in 1924, when the movement was founded, to 2000, working on 300 farms in 1929 and 70,000 by 1932 – see Michael H. Kater, ”Die Artamanen – Völkische Jugend in der Weimarer Republik,” and Volkmar Weiss, ”Die Vorgeschichte des arischen Ahnenpasses,” Part III, Genealogie, 2000, 50: 615-27. The name ”Artaman” derives from that of the Indian sun-god, Artam, deemed by the Artamans to be the true deity of the Aryans. It may also have been intended to evoke the Hoher Armanen-Orden [Order of the Heirs of the Sun-King], the elitist association created in 1911 by the Viennese-born völkisch publicist Guido von List (1848-1918). The Viennese völkisch movements (headed by List and Lanz von Liebenfels) were motivated almost as much by fear and hatred of the ”inferior” Slavs as by anti-Semitism. See Nicholas Goodrich-Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism: The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany 1890-1935, pp. 7-16.

54 To Darré, the old Lebensreform movement’s attempts to cure the ills of society through changes in lifestyle were mere romantic tinkering that left basic structures intact. His own ”back to the land” ideology was far more radical, in rhetoric at least. ”In Germany today,” he wrote in 1932, ”we are still at the stage of peasant romanticism, i.e. we have already become an urban people aware that its downfall is certain once its peasantry has been destroyed. And as always in history, so too today, recipes for curing the evil are recommended. But these are the products of urban intellectualism and the urban intellectuals for the most part fail to understand that they are circling around symptoms instead of attacking the evil at its roots. It was thought that the evil could be checked through allotments and individual houses with gardens, through small settlements and peasant romanticism, through vegetarianism and nudism, guitars and bare feet, and no one noticed the diabolical smirk of capitalism, which it suits very well for people to settle comfortably […] into its system with their allotments and […] garden cities.” (Quoted in Hermann Bausinger, ”Zwischen Grün und Braun: Volkstumsideologie und Heimatpflege nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg,” in Hubert Cancik, ed., Religions- und Geistesgeschichte der Weimarer Republik, pp. 215-29, at p. 225).

55 Darré also appears to have been replaced at this time as the editor of Odal: Monatsschrift fur Blut und Boden, the journal he had founded in 1932. As of July 1942 (vol. 11, no. 7), his name disappears from both the front cover and from the contents page, where it had regularly figured until then. In addition, he was ousted from leadership of RuSHA (Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt) [Race and Settlement Office], which he himself had founded in 1931. (See Frederic Reider, The Order of the SS [Tucson, AZ: Aztex Corporation, n.d.; translated from L’Ordre SS, Paris: Editions de la Pensée moderne, 1975], pp. 141-45. This mysterious publication is probably the work of an extreme right-wing writer and should be used with caution.)

56 Munich: J. F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1929. New editions of this book appeared in 1933, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1940, and 1942. On the literature dealing with the alleged threat to racial vigor and integrity from urbanization, see Uwe Puschner, Die völkische Bewegung im wilhelminischen Kaiserreich, pp. 115-19 et passim. Glorification of the German peasantry had already become a commonplace of anti-liberal völkisch ideology by 1900 when the culturally avant-garde Leipzig firm of Eugen Diederichs published Der Bauer in der deutschen Vergangenheit by Adolf Bartels – subsequently an honorary member of the NSDAP and the recipient of several honors from it (e.g. the ”Adlerschild” in 1937, the Gold Medal of the Hitler Youth in 1942; see Stephen Nyole Fuller, The Nazis’ Literary Grandfather: Adolf Bartels and Cultural Extremism, 1871-1945 [New York: Peter Lang, 1996], pp. 175-81).

57 R. Walther Darré, Neuordnung unseres Denkens (Reichsbauernstadt Goslar: Verlag Blut und Boden, 1940), pp. 11, 56. This was an extremely popular work apparently. The copy in Princeton’s Firestone Library comes from the 157-167,000 printing of the 1940 edition and there were further editions in 1941 and 1942.

58 See in particular his popular Neuadel aus Blut und Boden (Munich and Berlin: J. F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1930), pp. 12-13. In Adel und Rasse (Munich: J.F. Lehmann, 1926) Günther had already claimed that a pure Nordic peasant’s daughter was superior to the daughter of a non-Nordic king (pp. 82-86), and earlier still, Julius Langbehn, the author of the celebrated and wildly popular Rembrandt als Erzieher, had claimed in a book allegedly written in 1887 that ”no one is more aristocratic than the authentic peasant; and the Low German never renounces the peasant in himself even when he becomes a nobleman and a king.” (Julius Langbehn, ”Niederdeutsches,” Volk und Rasse, 1926, 1: 257-62, at p. 257; extracted from the posthumously published Niederdeutsches: Ein Beitrag zur Völkerpsychologie, ed. Benedikt Momme Nissen [Buchenbach-Baden: Felsen Verlag, 1926]) On Darré, see Clifford R. Lovin, ”Blut und Boden: The Ideological Basis of the Nazi Agricultural Program,” Journal of the History of Ideas (1967), 28: 279-88; Anna Bramwell, Blood and Soil: Richard Walther Darré and Hitler’s ’Green Party’ (Bourne End, Bucks.: Kensal Press, 1985); and the entry in Robert Wistrich, Who’s Who in Nazi Germany (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1982), pp. 36-37.

59 ”Innere Kolonisation” (dated April 1926) in R. Walther Darré, Erkenntnisse und Werden: Aufsätze aus der Zeit der Machtergreifung, ed. Marie Adelheid Reußzur Lippe, 2nd edn. (Goslar: Verlag Blut und Boden, 1940), pp. 18-46. Inevitably Darré, to whom the German was above all sedentary, rooted in his native soil, found himself opposed to his sometime friend Himmler, who came to view the German as a conqueror, a Viking. The conflict with Himmler resulted, as noted earlier, in Darré’s fall from favor in 1942. (See Anna Bramwell, Blood and Soil, pp. 129-35 et passim).

60 The Odal rune was also the sign favored by the Germanic neopagan movements of the early twentieth century. It was subsequently adopted by the ethnic Germans in the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division, by the Afrikaner Student Federation in South Africa, and by the contemporary neo-Nazi ”British National Party.” An extensive literature invoked Odal during the Nazi period; see, for instance, Otto Behaghel, Odal (Munich: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch- Historische Abteilung, 1935, Heft 80), and Johann von Leers, Odal: Das Lebensgesetz eines ewigen Deutschlands [Odal: the Vital Law of an Eternal Germany] (Goslar: Blut und Boden Verlag, 1935). Von Leers, a regular contributor to Darré’s Odal, was the Nazi scholar to whom Huizinga, in a famous incident, refused the hospitality of the University of Leiden, on the grounds that he had knowingly contravened historical evidence in asserting the historical reality of the medieval tales of ritual murder of Christian children by Jews. (See William Otterspeer, ”Huizinga before the Abyss: The von Leers incident at the University of Leiden, April 1933,” trans. with introduction and afterword by Lionel Gossman, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 1997, 27: 385-444).

61 Janet Biehl, ”’Ecology’ and the Modernization of Fascism in the German Ultraright,” Ökologie und Kapitalismus Seminarreader, pp. 91-119,(on p. 109) (http://jd-jlrlp.de/themen/13-oeko-und-atompolitik/53-oekologie-und-kapitalismus-sept2006.html); see also Janet Biehl and Peter Staudenmeaier, Ecofascism: Lessons from The German Experience (Edinburgh and San Francisco: AKL Press, 1995) and Bramwell, Blood and Soil, p. 47. According to Petropoulos (Royals and the Reich, pp. 266-67)), Prince Ernst zur Lippe, another member of the Princess’s family was working as Darré’s assistant (not, however, her brother, as claimed; the Princess’s brother Ernst fell in the early days of World War I).

62 ”Ein Bahnbrecher rassischen Denkens: Zum 125. Geburtstag Gobineaus,” Odal, July, 10: 535-38. To vol. 10 (1941) alone, in addition to the Gobineau article, the Princess contributed a short story (”Dunkle Gewalten,” issue no. 4 [April], pp. 329-32) and a column under the rubric ”Zucht und Sitte” on the way democracy had undermined the peasant character of Swiss society (”Ein Bauernvolk als Opfer der Demokratie,” issue no. 12 [December], p. 863).

63 Peter Kratz, Die Götter des New Age, p. 307.

64 Malinowski, Vom König zum Führer, pp. 520-27.

65 It may not be coincidental that a short pamphlet by the Princess entitled Entscheidungsstunde der nordischen Frau [Moment of Decision for the Nordic Woman] appeared in 1930 (Berlin-Köpenick: Flugschriftenreihe der Nordungen, 5).

66 On the marginalizing of old völkisch groups and organizations, see Hubert Cancik, ’”Neuheiden’ und totaler Staat,” in Hubert Cancik, ed., Religions- und Geistesgeschichte der Weimarer Republik, pp. 176-212; Uwe Puschner, Die völkische Bewegung im wilhelminischen Kaiserreich, pp. 10-12; Friedrich-Wilhelm Haack, Wotans Wiederkehr, pp. 12-13. On different attitudes to Hauer’s Deutsche Glaubensbewegung in NSDAP leadership circles, some demanding outright prohibition, others toleration, see Buchheim, Glaubenskrise, p. 193. For a study of a single exemplary case, see Michel Fabréguet, ”Arthur Dinter, théologien, biologiste et politique (1876-1948), Revue d’Allemagne, 2000, 32: 233-44. Dinter, one of the earliest supporters of Hitler, was expelled from the Party in 1928 because of his anti-Catholic zeal and his insistence that the New Germany required a Germanic religious foundation – independent not only of the established Catholic and Lutheran Churches but, in the end, also of the Party, for which Dinter expected it to provide a religious underpinning. The old youth organizations, whose disaffection from ”bourgeois” conventions and vague aspirations toward a new order based on comradeship had helped prepare the ground for National Socialism, were similarly suppressed in favor of the Hitler Youth after 1933. Youth leaders who failed to make the transition might find themselves in a concentration camp. (See Hans Siemsen, Hitler Youth, trans. Trevor and Phyllis Blewitt [London: Lindsay Drummond, 1940], especially pp. 195-210). After 1945, some völkisch religious cults used their partial or total prohibition by the NSDAP and the humiliation or punishment suffered by a few individual leaders as evidence that they were not guilty of the crimes of the Hitler regime. See the website of the Germanische Glaubensgemeinschaft http://www.germanische-glaubens-gemeinschaft.de under the heading ”GGG und NS” for some disingenuous arguments in this vein.

67 R. Walther Darré, Erkenntnisse und Werden: Aufsätze aus der Zeit der Machtergreifung, ed. Marie Adelheid Reuß-zur Lippe, 2nd edn. (Goslar: Verlag Blut und Boden, 1940), p. 7.

68 Helene Bechstein, the wife of the piano-manufacturer, and Elsa Bruckmann, the wife of the Munich publisher, are two other well-known female supporters of Hitler. In concert with their spouses, who, for business reasons perhaps, preferred to remain in the background, they provided money and helped to groom him for his leadership role. (See Joachim Köhler, Wagner’s Hitler: The Prophet and his Disciple, trans. Ronald Taylor [Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000], pp. 157-60). In the brief family history with which Herbert von Dirksen prefaced his memoirs, written in English in the late 1940s, the former ambassador managed to make no mention of his stepmother; see his Moscow, Tokyo, London: Twenty Years of German Foreign Policy (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1952).

69 Werner Mases, Adolf Hitler: Eine Biographie (Munich and Berlin: Herbig Verlag, 1978; orig. Munich: Bechtle Verlag, 1971), p. 311; Henry Picker, Hitlers Tischgespräche im Führerhauptquartier (Stuttgart: Seewald, 1977; 1st edn. 1963), pp. 91-92, editorial note; James Pool and Suzanne Pool, Who Financed Hitler: The Secret Funding of Hitler’s Rise to Power 1919-1933 (New York: Dials Press, 1978), p. 422; Klaus W. Jonas, Der Kronprinz Wilhelm, pp. 222-23; Bella Fromm, Blood and Banquets: A Berlin Social Diary (New York: Carol Publishing Group, 1990; orig. London, 1943), pp. 59-60 (entry for 19 October 1932). Fromm adds, however (entry for 15 December 1933), that at a gala opera performance at La Scala in Milan in 1933, Hitler was annoyed to find Frau von Dirksen in the box next to his: ”Hitler is said to be sick and tired of finding himself so frequently next to ’that old hag’” (p. 143). As a staunch monarchist, whose support for the NSDAP was related to her hope that it would bring about a restoration of the monarchy, Dirksen had probably outlived her usefulness to Hitler

70 After drinking a little too much at one of the Baroness’s evening gatherings, it seems, the wealthy and attractive young divorcee – Magda Friedländer at the time of her marriage to Quandt, her surname being that of the Jewish man who had married her single mother and by whom she had asked to be adopted – confessed that she found her life intolerable and was bored to death, whereupon Auwi urged her to attend a National Socialist Party meeting. Goebbels was a speaker at that meeting at the Berlin Sportpalast, and Magda Quandt was immediately seduced by his eloquence. The next day she joined the Party. Soon she was contributing financially to it and by the fall of the year she had met and charmed Hitler himself. The following year she and Goebbels married. See Anja Klabunde, Magda Goebbels, pp. 113-14; Rüdiger Jungbluth, Die Quandts, pp. 108-09. Bella Fromm gives a slightly different account. According to her, Goebbels had been hired as tutor to Magda’s son, the young Harald Quandt. Magda occasionally accompanied him to Party meetings and persuaded Quandt to donate money to the NSDAP as the only reliable bulwark against Communism. (Blood and Banquets, pp. 65-66) Fromm does not question that Dirksen and Magda Goebbels were friends.

71 Entry in von Levetzow’s diary for 20 November 1930. (Gerhard Granier, Magnus von Levetzow: Seeoffizier, Monarchist und Wegbereiter Hitlers [Boppard a. R.: Harald Boldt Verlag, 1982], pp. 194, 293) An intermediary between the former Kaiser and the National Socialists, von Leventzov fell out of favor with the latter in 1935 when, as Berlin chief of police, he intervened against mobs attacking Jewish-owned cafés.

72 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, Part 1, vol. 2/1, p. 183 (25 June 1930).

73 Reinhard Merker, Die bildenden Künste im Nationalsozialismus (Cologne: DuMont, 1983), pp. 84-87, 91-93; Barbara Miller Lane, Architecture and Politics in Gemany 1918-1945 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1968), pp. 156-57; Franz-Willing, Die Hitler-Bewegung, p. 185; Reinhard Bollmus, Das Amt Rosenberg und seine Gegner, pp. 33-34.

74 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, Part 1, vol. 2/1, p. 175 (11 June 1930). The foreword to the first edition of Günther’s Kleine Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes is dated ”Saaleck bei Bad Kösen, im Herbst 1928”). Saaleck had long been a showpiece of the vernacular style in architecture that ”progressive” architects in the early 1900s favored in place of the pompous eclecticism of the time. It was featured in a major, profusely illustrated article, ”Mein Landhaus in Saaleck” by Schultze-Naumburg himself, in the journal Dekorative Kunst, 1906, 14: 11-27.

75 Sebastian Haffner, Failure of a Revolution: Germany 1918-1919, pp. 175, 192-93. On Epp and on the ”White Terror” in Munich, see also the rich documentation in Robert G. L. Waite, Vanguard of Nazism, pp. 85-93.

76 According to Brigitte Hamann (Winifred Wagner: A Life at the Heart of Hitler’s Bayreuth, p. 121), the ”Konopackis” were also friends of Siegfried and Winifred Wagner, possibly through the artist Franz Stassen, an old friend of Siegfried’s and a member, according to Hamann, of the Konopaths’ Nordic Ring. The close relation of the Wagners to Hitler himself is well known.

77 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, Part 1, vol. 2/1 [December 1929-May 1931] (Munich: K. G. Saur, 2005), pp. 183 (25 June 1930), 175 (11 June 1930), 250 (29 September 1930).

78 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, Part 1, vol. 2/1 [December 1929-May 1931], p. 155 (13 April 1930). The NSDAP’s intolerance of rival and potentially divisive ideological groups is illustrated by a semi-official statement issued by the NS Press Bureau on 27 November 1933, in the aftermath of the Deutsche Christen group’s claim to be the religion of National Socialism: ”National Socialism,” it was stated, ”is the outlook of the whole volk; consequently anything that claims to be National Socialist must be able to claim that it is valid for the whole Volk.” (Quoted in Buchheim, Glaubenskrise, p. 134)

79 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, Part 1, vol. 2/1, p. 307 (20 December 1930). Claus-E. Bärsch notes that Goebbels rarely resorts to ”biological arguments in the spirit of Social Darwinism. So too in his contributions to Die Zweite Revolution (1926) and Wege ins Dritte Reich (1927), he does not go on about the nature of race. He appears not to have been interested in either eugenics or euthanasia. And [for rather obvious reasons, in view of his own physical handicap – L.G.] he does not enthuse about the blond superman or Old Germanic grandeur.” (Die politische Religion des Nationalsozialismus [Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1998], p. 110)

80 See Malinowski, Vom König zum Führer, p. 396 on a debate, as early as 1926, between Friedrich Wilhelm and Gottfried von Bismarck-Kniephof on the question whether ”die Vermehrung der rassisch Wertvollen” and the ”Reinhaltung des Blutes” were to be achieved solely by ”züchterische Maßnahmen” or whether the broader ”Kampf um die rassische Seele” should take precedence. On Himmler’s views, see Felix Kersten’s record of one of his conversations with him: ”He always maintained the theory that men could be bred just as successfully as animals and that a race of men could be created possessing the highest spiritual, intellectual and physical qualities. It was only necessary to face the problem seriously, above all to make a start without being put off by the violent prejudices which men had had ingrained in them from their upbringing and in particular from the teaching of the Church.” (The Kersten Memoirs 1940-1945, pp. 78-79 [18-19 January 1941])

81 Die Tagebücher von Josef Goebbels, Part 1, vol. 2/2 (Munich: K. G. Saur, 2004), p. 112 (30 September 1931).

82 Ibid., pp. 132-33 (25 October 1931).

83 Arnd Krüger, ”Breeding, Rearing and Preparing the Aryan Body,” in J. A. Mangan, ed., Shaping the Superman, pp. 42-68, n. 25. Against Konopath’s crude ”blond racialism” (Rosenberg also insisted that Nordic blood is always manifested as blond hair and blue eyes) Goebbels maintained that ”race lies in a person’s being and that external characteristics are mostly unreliable” (Tagebücher, pp. 132-33; 25 October 1931). Goebbels’ ”anti-materialist” position was shared by others, and not only by some prominent figures in the traditional völkisch movement, such as Friedrich Lienhard [1865-1929], Theodor Fritsch [1852-1933], and Albrecht Wirth [1866-1936] – who did not possess the much touted physical features of the noble Aryan – but by no less an authority than Paul de Lagarde himself, according to whom ”das Deutschtum liegt nicht im Geblüte, sondern im Gemüte” (Uwe Puschner, Die völkische Bewegung im wilhelminischen Kaiserreich, pp. 71-76, 124-31; Lagarde quoted p. 124). H. Stewart Chamberlain, while rejecting Lagarde’s point that ”German-ness does not lie in the blood,” nonetheless warned against judging race by external physical characteristics such as blue eyes, fair hair, and shape of the skull (Foundations of the XIXth Century, vol. 1, pp. 520-42). In Arthur Dinter’s hugely popular anti-Semitic novel Die Sünde wider das Blut (1918) the half-Jewish woman who seduces the hero into marrying her and corrupting his ”blood” is blond and blue-eyed. Many in the rank and file of the Party also had misgivings about blond hair and blue eyes as indispensable signs of German-ness. The Frankfurter Zeitung for 1 June 1937, reported that a certain ”SS Chief Group Leader Jeckeln attacked the ’blond craze’ at a Party meeting: Blond hair and blue eyes by themselves, he said, were not convincing proof that one belongs to the Nordic race” (quoted by George L. Mosse, Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich [New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1978; orig. 1966], p. 43). On disagreements on the question of race within the National Socialist Party, see Christopher M. Hutton, Race and the Third Reich, pp. 3-4 and chapters 7-10.

84 On the conflict between Goebbels and Rosenberg over modern art, see Hildegard Brenner, Die Kunstpolitik des Nationalsozialismus (Reinbeck bei Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuchverlag, 1963), pp. 65-83; Barbara Miller Lane, Architecture and Politics in Germany 1918-1945, pp. 175-84; Peter Paret, An Artist against the Third Reich: Ernst Barlach 1933-1938 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 17-19, 62, 64, 72 et passim. On Goebbels’ attack on ”National Kitsch” (ashtrays with the legend ”Germany awake!”, cigarette cases with Hitler’s portrait, etc.), see Franz-Willing, Die Hitler-Bewegung, p. 185.

85 Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 2003).

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Légende 19. Publicity announcement by Eugen Diederichs Verlag, Jena, of a forthcoming series devoted to Nordic sagas and literary texts as manifestations of the “essential, inherent strengths of German being,” April, 1933.
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