Himmler and his Aryan theories

It was after 1936. Heinrich Himmler, the one man responsible for the murder of over half a million people, had become the Reichsfuhrer and had just founded the Ahnenerbe (Ancestral heritage) department in the Nazi machinery. The purpose of the institution was to promote the glorious Aryan heritage of the German people. He had modeled SS on the Kshatriya Hindu Warrior caste and had been carrying the leather bound Bhagavad Gita in his pocket for guidance, reading it every day night before sleeping. He even considered Hitler the reincarnation of Krishna.

Do you think all this sounds preposterous? It is true. Read on to understand how an evil man manipulated a sacred text convincing himself and many hundreds of people who worked with him.

Having this mystic understanding of the Aryan origin, during his early years, Himmler found a man to check out the soundness of his theory and look around the Himalayas. That man was Ernst Schaffer and his task was to go to the highlands of the Himalayas and find the links to the Central Asian origin of the Aryan race. Schaffer’s destination – Tibet!!

Why Tibet? The Hindus themselves had believed in a place beyond the Himalayas as the abode of Gods and the country was called Vidyadhara. The Tibetans believed in Shambala (a mysterious location in Tibet) where Brahmins once lived and eventually converted to Buddhists to create a perfect land. The Panchem Lamas are considered the reincarnations of the rulers of Shambala. Many people added spice to this concoction. The founder of the theosophical movement Mme Blavatsy was one, who created the ‘great white brotherhood’ and who believed that the Himalayas was the ‘Veil of Isis’ and that the masters of the brotherhood lived in Tibet.

Many years ago, around 1786, British Lawyer William Jones had figured out that Sanskrit was a fine language, better & older than Latin and perfect compared to Greek. Based on this and the Tibetan myths, the German elite decided on accepting the theory of the origin of history in Asia with the languages of India and not the language of the Middle East (i.e. Hebrew as pictured in the Bible). F Shelegel argued that Sanskrit was indeed the language of the nobles and the elite Aryans. He concluded that the noble race from Asia moved to Egypt, the Middle East & Scandinavia. They were the Aryans or Nordics (association to N India & N Europe). It was a youthful race, tall, blond (how that sounded acceptable, I do not know), generous, brave and creative! This was the myth that perpetuated the origins of Nazi Germany. Another version ran thus - An elite priesthood had escaped from the lost continent of Atlantis and fled to the Himalayas, and their successors were the Aryans. Others, too, proposed these Aryans, or Nordics, were descended from godlike men and had once lived in the icy north (Himmler who believed in the ‘varna’ concept of Hinduism chose this story and deputed people to look for Atlantis in Antartica!! Broadly, in the ‘varna’ concept the fair skin was placed above the ‘avarna’ and ‘savarna’ dark skinned types). These were the people Himmler was interested in. Perhaps there were still traces of them in TIbet?

But having decided on their possible links and lineage, what was to be done next? That is where somehow, unfortunately, the Bhagavad Gita came in to enable Heinrich Himmler, the second most powerful; man of Nazi Germany.

Herman Gundert was back from Malabar with firsthand information about his involvement in the Basel Mission. He had done fine work that lives to this day. His daughter Amrie (Born in Kerala) gave birth to Gundert’s grandson Herman Hesse had published some of his fine books with an Indian base (he started getting interested in India & Hinduism around 1895-1900-The interest in Hinduism arose somewhat from his mother’s lack of acceptance of Hinduism, as ardent Christians missionaries). He read the Gita in 1904 and was deeply influenced.

Demian & Sidharta (I have read the latter, not the former – an interesting book) -These Hesse books were the ones that guided German thought and these took the young Himmler’s mind eastward. He was thus led to reading the German translation of Bhagavad Gita and was mesmerized by the Vedic times in India and the ancient caste system, especially the role of Kshatriya’s & Brahmin’s. It was only after this that the Nazi party came into being and soon Himmler joined it. By now he had decided that Christianity was another manifestation of Judaism. He was intent on finding the real roots of the German people and their ancient gods. Perhaps the answers lay in India and beyond the Himalaya’s in Tibet?

To find the links & answers the Ahnenerbe section was created and to fund it they even got a special illuminated bicycle reflector manufactured (Liobl created it and half the revenue was given to Himmler) and made it mandatory for every German bike. But Himmler wanted to make the Ahnenerbe a credible research institute. For this he needed to enlist ambitious scientists, such as Schäfer, to add prestige to the enterprise

Strangely while Hitler believed that the Indians deserved to be ruled by the British, Himmler believed that any condescending comments about Tibetans and Indians be removed from the film that Schaffer produced on his return. He also believed that these ‘dark skinned people’ duly spoilt by the intermixing of fair Aryan’s with lesser people (something he strived later to avoid in Germany – and to keep the nation pure) will one day be subjects of the Reich.

Gunther, another Nazi academic had by then determined that the Nordic people originated from NW Europe, and later moved through Persia to India. They created the Veda in India and mingled with the lesser people. He states finding evidence in the Vedas which lament about the mingling of races and resulting in the creation of the “varna’ caste system. Some traces of this Nordic blood could perhaps be found in Tibet and this was what Schaffer’s & his colleague were to determine.

Schaffer spent three years on this trail, starting out in 1939 and returning from Tibet in 1942 with anthropologic data, specimens, huge amounts of photographs and movie films and some animals (Tibetan dogs for Himmler & Hitler - Hitler’s gift died enroute). At the end all this effort culminated in a propaganda documentary called ‘Geheimnins Tibet’, which amongst other things Tibetan in content, was a swipe at the British for imposing alien forms of government over India’s ancient civilization.. According to Schaffer, the original Tibetan warrior race was corrupted by Lamaism (weakened by religion- In reality the warrior race of the 6th century Tibet became Buddhist by the 8th century and eventually renounced their warrior ways & settled into a peaceful life). Sadly for Nazis other than seeing some tall Tibetans, taking a number of measurements and seeing Swastika’s on home & temple walls, the group achieved little to establish a firm link (many others talk about another ulterior motive for the mission - that Schaffer was to spy, meddle and turn Tibetan thought against the British like Lawrence did with the Arabs) .

Let us now look at the other Hindu symbol that the Nazi’s used, the swastika. The word “Swastika” comes from the Sanskrit svastika - “su” meaning “good,” “asti” meaning “to be,” and “ka” as a suffix. It’s called Swastika when the limbs are bent towards the right, and Suavastika when they are turned to the left. It is believed that the first represents Lord Ganesha, while the second represents goddess Kali. According to other schools of thought, the first stands for the sun, for light and life; the second stands for night and destruction. Madame Blavatsky first saw the significance of the symbol, and incorporated it into the seal of the Theosophical Society to signify the harmony of universal movement. However, there is another explanation of the left- and right-handed swastikas: the left-handed (clockwise-turning) symbol represents the migration of the ancient Aryan Race from its homeland at the North Pole, while the right-handed (counter-clockwise-turning) symbol - the one used by the Nazis - represents the destiny of the Aryans to return to their spiritual centre at the South Pole as I described previously. According to the occult historian Francis King, when Hitler called for suggestions for a banner, all of the submissions included a swastika. The one Hitler finally chose had been designed by Dr Friedrich Krohn, a dentist from Sternberg. However, the design incorporated a clockwise-turning swastika, symbolizing good fortune, harmony and spirituality. Hitler decided to reverse the design, making the swastika counter-clockwise, symbolizing evil and black magic. Here again, there is the problem of defining what is a right-and left-handed swastika

The Bhagavad Gita had been much talked about in the West. It was admired by Aldous Huxley, Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, Herman Hesse and many others. Himmler was led into it even further by Hauer’s version and explanations. Himmler once said “I marvel at the wisdom of the founders of Indian religions.” Himmler a believer of astrology & occult, apparently told his personal masseur Felix Kersten that he always carried with him a copy of the Bhagavad Gita because it relieved him of guilt about implementing the final solution; he felt that like the warrior Arjuna in that he was simply doing his duty without attachment to his actions. He also quoted the sentence that meant – It is decreed that whenever men lose respect for law & truth, and the world is given over to injustice, I will be born anew. That he believed was Krishna, reincarnated as Hitler!! Himmler also said the Kshatriya’s had conquered India, so that is what we must be (Devil’s disciples – Read). Summarizing, Himmler's attraction to the Gita was that it allowed him to separate his duty from his actions and thus ease the burden of the Final Solution
Strangely the people of real & even more recent Aryan origin in Germany at that time were amongst the 26000 or so Sindhi (Sinti) and Roma Gypsies who had moved to Europe from the Indian Sindh areas (they started out in the 11th century with the Ottoman armies). The Gypsies of pure blood were to put in an open zoo and the others were castrated according to Himmler’s plan. However Bormnan & the other Nazi elite did not agree and all the Gypsies were doomed (Rosenbaum). Himmler ordered the deportation of Gypsies and part-Gypsies to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Berger kept a low profile for more than a decade till law caught up. Wienert, Krause and Geer who accompanied Scahffer quietly slipped back into academic life. Himmler apparently committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill while in British custody in May 1945. Schaffer died after a long tenure as an academic in 1992.

The whole story has many interesting tidbits. Bruno Berger, a member of the Schafer party met S C Bose in Calcutta (again in Berlin in 1941). Stalin had during that period remarked that it was ridiculous for a few 100 Englishmen to dominate India. Hitler suggested then that - Russia will be our India.

Himmler was a horrible man misguided by the evil in his mind and one who sought to hide behind misquoted sentences from noble scriptures and occult myths.

How sad the course of history is sometimes, two people who read the Gita and who died by it were the noble Gandhi & the evil Himmler, look at how they understood the same scripture so utterly & completely differently!!

Himmler’s Crusade – Christopher Hale
Heinrich Himmler - Roger Manvell, Heinrich Fraenkel
The Charlemagne Pursuit – Steve Berry (provides a fictional account of the Ahnenerbe search in the Antartic about the Atlantis myth)
Gitapic – courtesy Gitamrta.com
Oppenheimer & Gita
Gita, Guru, Ekta and Ecevit..


That was a nice article. I never knew about the Gita connection to Himmler. It is indeed sad that people were able justify such evil actions using Gita! How was he able to justify this to himself? Heights of hypocracy!

Destination Infinity
Faiz said…
I appreciate the time you have spent on the topic.
I like to remember Himmler as the second mass murderer of Jews and not as the second most powerful of Nazi Germany. He used a holy text as Gita to justify his actions leading to holocaust. What a man can do about the race he is born in to as he has no control on it. I believe that one should not be treated based on their race, color, beauty, gender or any such thing on which he/she doesn't had a choice to make, but the deeds that they do with the intelligence they possess, is what we should judge people on.
The same way sacred texts such as Gita, Bible or Quran should not be blamed for the way people interpret them. Nazis might have misinterpreted Gita,fundamentalists may have misused Quran or the concept of Jihad but that is not a reason good enough to blame Hinduism or Islam. Most of the time people forget this fact conveniently to support their interests.
Raghu Menon said…
I agree completely with Faiz. The religion - whichever it is - does not promote in any way and form of fundamentalist thoughts.
Maddy said…
Thanks Destination Infinity, Faiz & Raghu..

Faiz, you have out it across so nicely..If you look through history you will find that many a war was fought only due to the carrying out of precisely what you say should not be done..how fickle is the human mind!!
mpulztracker said…
Could you name any reference for the Himmler-Gita connection you talk about?
It is interesting considering that Himmler and Hitler considered Indians as Untermenschen (lower race)..
Maddy said…
Thanks mpluztracker

The first person confirmation comes from his personal masseur Felix Kersten. It is also confirmed in virtually every biography and book that covers Himmler. You can find it stated in books by Padfiled, Manvell & Franekel, the Christopher Hale book referred to.

The Kersten memoirs, 1940-1945 By Felix Kersten ( pgs 142, 155)
Heinrich Himmler By Roger Manvell, Heinrich Fraenkel ( pg 182)

Yes, you are right, as I mentioned, the 20th century Indians were not considered as Aryans, but a tainted version..

Himmler considered Gita & the Vedas true 'Aryan' books.
Happy Kitten said…
... it proves yet again that religious texts can be quoted and misquoted.. used and misused as one deems...

If one’s religion has not taught you to love every human being then it has taught you nothing…

But then I pray history does not repeat itself and that we do not end up with another Hitler… even otherwise what is the use of History if we refuse to learn from it?
Kamini said…
This is fascinating stuff - thanks for all the effort you have put into researching and writing it. I had no idea about the Himmler-Gita connection.
Rishi said…
Well, this fine piece of work is a clear example for people who try to create their own ideologies, without clearly understanding the content of the sacred indian scriptures. Himmler made a mess out of it and things didn't end up the way he wanted them to.
Yes, lord Krishna did say not to worry about the final outcome and to carry on with one's own karma, but he never mingled karma with such heinous acts of adharma. One, should never misinterpret these sacred lines of Bhagwat Gita.
parag said…
please send me all the available proofs of Himmlers connection with Hinduism and Buddhism
parag said…
also send same about Alfred Rosenberg
Maddy said…
parag - suggest buy or go to a library which has the books listed under references.
Hi Maddy,

Many of the claims by Felix Kersten are later proved false. It will not be a surprise if the "Himmler read Bhagavad Gita" is also a false statement.

So, please go through some other materials regarding this. For example,

In "Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey

A preliminary reply by Dr. Koenraad Elst to Ms. Meera Nanda"

Maddy said…
Thanks Kuzhiyam..

Kersten is not the only person who has stated that Himmler had a small leather bound Gita with him. It is recorded by many contemporaries. So it is clear that he possessed a book and that he read it, possibly the German translation.

The point that we need to make from this is how he interpreted it. I will certainly study the link you forwarded me.

Annie said…
Wow, I was reading Paul Celan's "Todesfuge" ,wen I came across Himmler, and then dis! Im fascinated!
Annie said…
Wow, I was reading Paul Celan's "Todesfuge" wen I chanced upon Himmler , & then this! Its so fascinating! Love The Gita!!!
hp said…
A leather bound Gita?!!!

The implications are staggering.
And not in a good way.
Maddy said…
thanks hp
yes, that is right, he was seldom seen without his morocan leather bound gita.
in fact even today a number of leather bound gita's are available, even on amazon, published by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and so on.
During the 40's-60's the Gita versions that lasted regular use and as testified by many Indian writers were always leather bound!!!
hp said…
Now that this is said, let us discriminate a bit.

Leather from a cow who died a natural death is in no way the equivalent of leather from a cow slaughtered by supposed "humane" modern methods, much less demonic kosher slaughter.

Maddy said…
thanks, but beside the point.
never seen leather sold with origin details like the animal type or death reasons..
and moroccan leather which was used for expensive binding in those times would never carry such details anyway...
but that was not the topic here..
Anonymous said…
Gita is good, but Yoga Vasishtha is a better but complex version of Gita. It is the Gita of Ramayana, very underrated book. Vasishta answering 32,000 questions of Rama. It has mind blowing metaphysics.