NOTE: It is widely believed that the Nazis were heavily involved in neo-Germanic religion (tantamount to diabolism in orthodox Christian circles). This was not really the case. Among the top Nazi leaders, for example, only Himmler and Rudolf Hess ever resigned from their Christian Church affiliations. The God of Hitler was not Satan or Wotan. When Hitler spoke of his own religious conceptions, he spoke entirely in terms of a Christian God (as he understood it). Hitler tolerated and made use of the widespread neo-heathenism in Germany because he thought it provided “unrest” in the populace–unrest that he could direct toward his own ends. “These professors and obscure men who found their Nordic religions corrupt the whole thing for me,” he stated. This is the documented reality of the personal attitude of Hitler toward neo-heathen religion.
The Nazis attempted to institutionalize a new religion based on their own party’s doctrines and given shape by religious and magical pageantry with symbolism drawn from the established churches, but also Imperial Rome and, to a lesser degree, what they knew of the ancient Germanic cult.Many of the leaders of the Nazi hierarchy had unusual beliefs. Hitler merely allowed these leaders to indulge in their passions, as long as they moved his major agenda forward.
The deeper motivating factors for the Nazis’ actions are not rooted in magical or pagan ideas. They are rooted in the hatreds and fears first conjured in the Middle Ages. The obsession with the Jews and the belief that they were agents of evil in the midst of the good Christian folk of Germany, and ultimately responsible for every social, political, and economic ill suffered by the people, is all thoroughly medieval. Such ideas were part and parcel of establishment thinking in the Christian Middle Ages. the only direct root for Nazi enmity toward the Jews is in the medieval Christian hatred of them as “Christ killers.” The only modern addition to this is that the Nazis now augmented the theological argument for the Jews being an “evil race” (an idea introduced by the Christian Church Fathers) with scientific and pseudo-scientific arguments stemming from Darwinism and even Theosophical doctrines. 1
Hitler defended some of his measures by invoking Jesus driving the moneylenders from the Temple…
Adolf Hitler thought highly of the story of the Temple moneylenders, taken from the Gospel according to John. A Christian who never renounced his faith, Hitler praised the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church, marveled at its creation of an unrivaled civilization, and prophesied its continued vigor in the centuries to come. For the moment, I shall merely note that in Mein Kampf (volume 1, chapter 11, page 307),* he mentions Jesus’ actions in the Temple and refers explicitly to the whip (scourge) — Saint John was the only evangelist to provide this detail. This was the kind of Christianity Hitler admired: true Christianity ( loc. cit. ) and apodictic faith (volume 2, chapter 5, page 454). Apodictic, the exact word Hitler used, meaning “expressing essential truth or absolute certainty.”
A Christian who does not deny the dual message of his Bible can also draw on Exodus (21:23—25) to evoke the lex talionis. As we know, it calls on us to exchange an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, but also hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. And as we have seen, Jesus proposed turning the other cheek as an alternative to this ancient tribal formulation. But if we abrogate this Gospel parable and replace it with the vengeful Old Testament prescription, and couple this with the New Testament episode of the Temple moneylenders, the worst of excesses can easily be justified. With such a cargo of sophistries, we could justify Kristallnacht as a modern-day eviction of the moneylenders—let us remember that Jesus reproached them with transacting business and money-changing . . . Then, pursuing the same hysterical line of argument and invoking the lex talionis, the Final Solution becomes the logical response to the National Socialists’ nightmare of the racial and Bolshevik Judaization of Europe . . . Unfortunately, the metaphoric scourge permits the dialectician and the determined theoretician to legitimize the gas chambers. Moreover, Pius XII and the Catholic Church succumbed to the charms of these Hitlerian contradictions from the very beginning. Indeed the church continues to do so, if we accept as an admission of collusion its enduring unwillingness to acknowledge the error implicit in the Vatican’s support for Nazism. I shall return to this later.
Hitler Admired Islam
Hitler—Abu Ali in Arabic — admired the Muslim religion in its very essence, virile, warlike, conquering, and militant. And many of the Muslim faithful subsequently repaid that kindness: there was the pro-Nazi grand mufti of Jerusalem during the Second World War, of course, but there were also the eternally anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist militants who recycled former Nazis into the highest ranks of Middle Eastern military staffs and secret services after the Second World War, who protected, concealed, and cared for many of the Third Reich’s war criminals in their territories — Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Palestine. Not to mention an unbelievable number of conversions of former Reich dignitaries to the religion of the Koran. Pursuant to our examination of the Torah, New Testament, and Koran, let us consider additional contradictions and examples of selective borrowing from the sacred texts as a pretext for evil deeds. The Old Testament prohibits killing but simultaneously condones the annihilation of certain enemies of the Jews. Christian brotherly love is juxtaposed with sanction of violence, when dictated by God’s anger. The Koran, too, is full of inconsistencies. The mixed messages in all three monotheistic books have the potential of leading to monstrous consequences.
The Vatican admired Adolf Hitler.
The love-marriage between the Catholic Church and Nazism cannot be denied. Instances — and they are not minor ones — abound. Their complicity did not reside in unspoken approval, explicit omissions, or calculations made on the basis of partisan positions. The facts are clear to anyone who approaches the issue by interrogating history: it was not a marriage of reason, determined by concern for the survival of the church, but a shared loathing of the same implacable enemies: Jews and Communists — most often packaged together in the same grab bag labeled Judeo-Bolshevism. From the birth of National Socialism to the extrusion of the Third Reich’s war criminals after the regime’s collapse to the church’s silence on these questions ever since, the domain of Christ’s heir Saint Peter was also that of Adolf Hitler and his henchmen, German Nazis and French fascists, collaborators of the Nazis, Vichyites, fascist militias, and other war criminals. Even today, it is still impossible to consult the Vatican’s archives on the subject. The facts, then. The Catholic Church approved the rearmament of Germany in the 1930s, which was of course contrary to the spirit of the Versailles Treaty but also to a part of Jesus’ teachings, particularly those celebrating peace, mildness, love of one’s neighbor. The Catholic Church signed a concordat with Adolf Hitler as soon as the chancellor took office in 1933. The Catholic Church held its tongue over the boycott of Jewish businesses, remained silent over the proclamation of the Nurem-berg racial laws in 1935, and was equally silent over Kristallnacht in 1938. The Catholic Church provided the Nazis with its genealogical records, which told them who in Germany was Christian, and therefore non-Jewish. (On the other hand, the Catholic Church did invoke the principle of “pastoral secrecy” in order not to communicate the names of Jews converted to Christ’s religion or married to Christians.) The Catholic Church supported, defended, and aided the pro-Nazi Ustachi regime of Ante Pavelic in Croatia. The Catholic Church gave its absolution to France’s collaborationist Vichy regime in 1940. The Catholic Church, although fully aware of the policy of extermination set in motion in 1942, did not condemn it in private or in public, and never ordered any priest or bishop to condemn the criminal regime in the hearing of his flock. The Allied armies liberated Europe, reached Berchtesgaden, discovered Auschwitz. What did the Vatican do? It continued to support the defeated regime. The Catholic Church, in the person of Cardinal Bertram, ordered a requiem Mass in memory of Adolf Hitler. The Catholic Church was mute and showed no disapproval at the discovery of the mass graves, the gas chambers, and the death camps. Even better, the Catholic Church did for the Nazis (shorn of their Führer) what it had never done for a single Jew or victim of National Socialism: it set up a network designed to smuggle war criminals out of Europe. The Catholic Church used the Vatican, delivered papers stamped with its visas to fugitive Nazis, established a chain of European monasteries that served as hiding places for dignitaries of the ruined Reich. The Catholic Church promoted into its hierarchy people who had performed important tasks for the Hitler regime. And the Catholic Church will never apologize for any of these things, particularly since it has acknowledged none of them.
If there is ever to be repentance, we shall probably have to wait four centuries for it, the time it took for a pope to acknowledge the church’s error in the Galileo affair. Chiefly because the doctrine of papal infallibility proclaimed at the first Vatican Council in 1869—70 ( Pastor Aeternas) forbids challenging the church — for when the supreme pontiff speaks or makes a decision he does so not as a man capable of being wrong but as the representative of God on earth, constantly inspired by the Holy Spirit — the famous doctrine of “saving grace.” Are we to conclude from all this that the Holy Spirit is fundamentally Nazi? While the church remained silent on the Nazi question during and after the war, it missed no chance to act against Communists. Where Marxism is concerned, the Vatican has given proof of a commitment, a militancy, and a vigor better ex-pended in fighting and discrediting the Nazi Reich. Faithful to church tradition (which, through the grace of Pius IX and Pius X, condemned human rights as contrary to the teachings of the church), Pius XII, the pope so famously well-disposed toward National Socialism, excommunicated the Communists of the whole world en masse in 1949. He asserted collusion between the Jews and Bolshevism as one of the reasons for his decision. To recapitulate: no run-of-the-mill National Socialist, no Nazi of elevated rank or member of the Reich’s staff was ever excommunicated. No group was ever excluded from the church for preaching and practicing racism or anti-Semitism or operating gas chambers. Adolf Hitler was not excommunicated, and Mein Kampf was never put on the Index. We should not forget that after 1924, the date Hitler’s book appeared, the famous Index Librorum Prohibitorium added to its list — alongside Pierre Larousse, guilty of the Grand Dictionnaire Universel (!) — Henri Bergson, André Gide, Simone de Beauvoir, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Adolf Hitler never appeared on it.
Hitler admired the Vatican.
A widely held notion that fails to stand up to the most rudimentary analysis, still less to a reading of the texts, represents Hitler as a pagan fascinated by Nordic cults, a lover of Wagnerian horned helmets, of Valhalla and of generous-breasted Valkyrie, an antichrist, the very antithesis of Christian. Apart from evoking the difficulty of being at once atheist and pagan — denying the existence of God or gods while at the same time believing in them — to believe this means that we must ignore Hitler’s writings ( Mein Kampf), his political action (the Reich’s failure to persecute the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church, as opposed, for example, to its treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses), and the Führer’s private confidences (his published conversations with Albert Speer), in which he consistently and unambiguously expressed his admiration for Christianity. Was it an atheist Führer who decided to stamp the words Gott mit uns on the belt buckles of the Reich’s soldiers? Do people know that the slogan comes from the scriptures? Notably from Deuteronomy, one of the books of the Torah, which says, “For the Lord thy God is he that goeth with you” (Deuteronomy 20:4). These words were lifted from the speech Yahweh addressed to the Jews leaving to fight their enemies, the Egyptians, to whom God held out the promise of unspecified extermination (Deuteronomy 20:13). Was it an atheist Führer who ordered all schoolchildren in the National Socialist Reich to begin their day with a prayer to Jesus? Not to God, which might have made a deist of Hitler, but to Jesus, which explicitly labels him a Christian. The same supposedly atheist Führer asked Goering and Goebbels, in the presence of Albert Speer who recorded the conversation, to remain within the bosom of the Catholic Church, as he himself would until his dying day.
Christianity and National Socialism: points in common.
The understanding between Hitler and Pius XII went far beyond personal compatibility. The two doctrines shared more than one point of convergence. The infallibility of the pope, who we should remember was also a head of state, could not have been displeasing to a Führer also convinced of his infallibility. The possibility of building an empire, a civilization, a culture with a supreme guide invested with full powers — like Constantine and several Christian emperors who succeeded him—was something that fascinated Hitler during the writing of his book. The Christian eradication of everything redolent of paganism? The destruction of altars and temples? The book burnings (remember that Paul recommended them)? The persecution of all who opposed the new faith? All excellent things, Hitler concluded.
The Führer admired the theocratic evolution of Christianity. He wrote ( Mein Kampf, volume 2, chapter 5, page 454) that it was only by virtue of “passionate intolerance” for pagan altars that an”apodictic faith” could grow up — Hitler’s term for “unshakable faith.” He marveled at the church’s determination to give up nothing, even and especially in the face of science when it contradicted certain of its positions or took its dogma to task (page 459); the flexibility of the church, for which Hitler predicted a future well beyond what people might imagine (page 459); the permanence of the venerable institution (volume 1, chapter 3, page 115) despite the occasionally deplorable behavior of clergy (which did nothing to affect overall church policy). In all this, Hitler asked his readers to “take lessons from the Catholic Church” (page 459, but also pages 114-20). What is the “true Christianity” Hitler mentions in Mein Kampf (volume 1, chapter 11, page 307)? That of the “great founder of the new doctrine”: Jesus, the same Jesus to whom children in the schools of the Third Reich prayed. But which Jesus? Not the one who turned the other cheek, no, but the angry Jesus who ejected the moneylenders from the Temple with a whip. Hitler specifically mentioned this passage from John in his argument. Also, let us not forget what sort of people this most Christian whip served to drive out: unbelievers, non-Christians, vendors, merchants, money-changers—in short, Jews, the unspoken key word in this complicity between Reich and Vatican. John’s Gospel (2:14) does not invalidate Hitler’s philo-Christian and anti-Semitic reading; indeed, it makes it possible. Particularly if we take note of the many passages in the N e w Testament consigning the Jews to hellfire. The Jews were a race of deicides. Here lies the key to this fatal partnership: they use religion, said Hitler, in order to do business; they are, he adds, the enemies of any kind of humanity; he goes on to specify that it was the Jews who created Bolshevism. Let everyone make up his own mind. But to Hitler himself things were clear: “to the political leader, the religious ideas and institutions of his people must remain inviolable” (page 116). So the gas chambers could be operated in the name of Saint John.
Wars, fascisms, and other pursuits
The partnership of Christianity and Nazism is not an accident of history, a regret-table and isolated mistake along the wayside, but the fulfillment of a two-thousand-year-old logic. From Paul of Tarsus, who justified fire and the sword in turning a private sect into a religion contaminating the empire and the world, to the Vatican’s twentieth-century justification of the nuclear deterrent, the line has endured. Thou shalt not kill . . . except from time to time … and when the church tells you to.
Augustine, a saint by trade, dedicated all his talent to justifying the worst in the church: slavery, war, capital punishment, etc. Blessed are the meek? The peacemakers? Augustine is no more enthusiastic than Hitler about this side of Christianity, too soft, not virile or warlike enough, squeamish about bloodshed—the feminine face of religion. He offered the church the concepts it lacked to justify punitive expeditions and massacres. These things the Jews had practiced to acquire their land, on a limited geographical scale, but the Christians drew from that local action inspiration for action across the face of the globe, for their goal was converting the world itself. The chosen people generated catastrophes that were first of all local. Universal Christianity created universal up-heavals. Once it triumphed, every continent became a battlefield. With the church’s blessing, Augustine, bishop of Hippo, sanctioned just persecution in a letter (185). A choice formulation, which he presents in contrast to unjust persecution! What differentiates the good corpse from the bad? Flaying of victims—when is it defensible and when is it indefensible? All persecution by the church was good, because motivated by love; while persecution directed against the church was indefensible, because inspired by cruelty. We should relish the rhetoric and talent for sophistry of Saint Augustine, who preferred his Jesus to brandish the whip and not to suffer it at the hands of the Roman soldiery. Which brings us to the concept of just war, itself formulated by the same church father, a man who decidedly never shrank from brutality, vice, or perversion. As the heir of the ancient pagan fable — Greek as it happened—Christianity recycled trial by ordeal. In a war, the victor was designated by God; so too, therefore, was the vanquished. By deciding in the conflict between winners and losers, God designates the true and the false, good and bad, legitimate and illegitimate. Magical thinking, to say the least.
To understand more about the relationship between the Vatican, Christianity and National Socialism, see:
*The page numbers cited correspond to the paperback edition of Mein Kampf, American translation by Ralph Manheim, published by Mariner Books, a division of Houghton Mifflin.
- See Stephen E. Flowers, Lords of the Left-Hand Path: Forbidden Practices and Spiritual Heresies, Chapter 7, pp. 209-232. Also see: The Secret King: The Myth and reality of Nazi Occultism: “In Mein Kampf and elsewhere Hitler repeatedly and enthusiastically ridiculed the whole idea of “neo-Germanic ideology.” He never resigned from the Church (as did Alfred Rosenberg, Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Hess, and several other high-ranking officials) and in fact created the legal and political relationship between Church and State which remains in effect in Germany to this day. The original party program, the “Twenty-Five Points of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party,” mandated that Germany was a Christian nation, and made Christianity the official religion (regardless of denomination).To characterize National Socialism as being fundamentally “anti-Christian” is therefore misleading. Hitler’s political movement emerged out of the wider German social conditions of the early 20th century, and as such it was affected by all the complex cultural traits generally prevalent in that period in the Western world. This included significant, but not dominant, doses of paganism and some ideas popularly thought of as being “occult.” Pagans and so-called Gottgläubigen (those with faith in a deity) proliferated in Germany to a certain degree, not unlike other “New Religions” that were similarly gestating in Europe, England, and America, and which were typically based either on indigenous pagan or more exotic Eastern—and, in the case of ceremonial occultists like Aleister Crowley, even Egyptian –models, often intertwined with Freemasonry.If we were to catalog the most fundamental spiritual currents present during the Third Reich, however, we would have to rank Christianity at the top. A reading of Mein Kampf reveals hundreds of references to the Christian religion and the Bible, yet there is almost no mention of Germanic mythology. This is not to discount a certain influence from the pagan factions of the völkisch movement among various National Socialists at all levels of the Party. However, no organized effort to revive the worship of the Germanic gods in an official or public way ever emerged. The most influential “anti-Christian” trend among National Socialists is connected to the official resignation (Austrit) from the established church denominations by some Nazi leaders. There were also government officials who were explicitly anti-Christian, but this need not have had anything in particular to do with paganism, occultism, or Satanism.” ( pp. 30-31)