Heinrich Himmler is one of the central characters in Part Two of my upcoming novel, The Atlantis Deception. I thought I would take a moment to acquaint potential readers with a little background to this infamous individual.
Reichsführer Himmler is widely recognised amongst historians as the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior, he oversaw the affairs of all internal and external police forces as well as the German security forces; security forces that included the feared units of the SS and the Gestapo. He is known to have been fiercely protective of his involvement in developing the SS; taking great pride in helping to design and approve the black uniform and distinctive lightning strike insignia.
Himmler infamously presided over the holocaust and as the figurehead of the atrocity attracted sole responsibility for coordinating the deaths of over 10 million “enemies” of Germany. Indeed, after visiting one of his numerous concentration camps, he took the decision to implement the use of gas chambers. The idea being it would prove a more cost effective and efficient method of execution when compared with bullets. Himmler was one of the most dangerous and influential men in the Third Reich; it was a shame that his cowardly suicide robbed the West of its chance to put him on trial in Nurnberg.
Himmler’s corpse in Allied custody after his suicide by poison, 1945
There is however, a little more to Heinrich Himmler than the cold and calculating war criminal history has grown to despise. He kept a series of diaries from the age of 10, diaries perhaps evidencing metal illness, illness manifesting itself in a fear and subsequent hate for all ‘foreign’ outsiders. The hate jumps from the pages and was something he carried from childhood to adulthood before finding acceptance in the confines of the Nazi Party; an environment where it blossomed into something almost inhuman and consumed him. The diary entries make it clear that, although Hitler and other leading lights within the Party could certainly be considered active racists, some of them can be considered almost left wing when compared to Himmler.
The Reichsführer was certainly not shy of this fact and indeed it is well known he thrived on his reputation as a racist in the extremist sense of the word. What is less well known is how Himmler sought to justify his stance using archaeology. Armed with a huge budget, he commissioned a variety of archaeological and anthropological projects throughout the world, each of them designed to unearth evidence of how the people he considered as Untermensch, or sub-human, genetically pollute the world.
To understand Himmler, one has to understand the world within which he lived and unfortunately thrived within. It is well documented that Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party can be traced back to the Munich chapter of a small organisation known as the Thule Society. Founded sometime around 1910, the core belief of its members pertained to the conviction that the Germanic based Aryan race were the direct descendants of the survivors of the Atlantean Apocalypse. However, once the Thule Society had served its purpose in providing Hitler with a public platform, he, perhaps wisely, rejected this core principle; choosing merely to incorporate and adopt the Society’s recognisable swastika logo into his new regime.
History records that Heinrich Himmler did not actually have any direct links to the Thule Society, yet nonetheless he was fascinated with the alleged Aryan link to Atlantis. He believed as descendants of a civilisation mythology leads us to believe was far superior to anything else existing at that time; it followed that those with Aryan blood should also be considered as superior to those around them. In his eyes the world was contaminated and continuing to be contaminated by ‘sub human’ societies. These Untermensch were diluting the blood line and he believed knowingly interbreeding with his beloved Aryans; the sole aim being to steal their ‘superior’ genetics.
Paranoia set it and concerned this interbreeding was effectively wiping out the Aryan race, he decided to take a stand on behalf of what he perceived to be ancestors. His dark hair and weasel-like features not deterring him from the belief he was of Aryan descent.
As a result, through a combination of these misguided fanatical beliefs and his supreme position of power in the Third Reich, Himmler instigated, what he saw as a programme of justified genocide.
Himmler was convinced his standpoint was right, but he wasn’t stupid. He realised that eventually the rest of the high command, and indeed Germany in general, would eventually require proof of this Aryan link to Atlantis and the conspiracy to eradicate it. Once the war was over, whatever the outcome, both he and Hitler must have been aware a time might arrive when they’d have to justify their use of concentration camps; as well as the many other atrocities that were committed in their names.
Therefore, in 1935, with the consent of the Fuhrer, Himmler established the Ahnenerbe, the ancestral heritage branch of the SS.
Emblem of the Ahnenerbe
Under his direct command, the unit was primarily tasked with investigating the Aryan bloodline and over the next few years, undertook numerous projects designed to uncover the supremacist proof that Himmler so craved. Although carrying out much of their work in Europe, Himmler famously funded expeditions into Tibet and the Andes. It was in the former locale the team is alleged to have struck lucky. Although the find was never made public, amongst a number of ancient texts, it is believed the expedition leader, Ernst Schafer, presented Himmler with at least one document pertaining to the origin of the Aryan race. Unfortunately, from the point of view of archaeology, the end of the war followed soon afterwards and with Himmler’s suicide, the funding and the trail ended there.
Ernst Schäfer in Tibet, 1938
So what did Schafer find? Evidence of a lost civilisation; a sunken kingdom; proof that the Aryan race was in fact related to Atlantis? Whatever it was, if indeed it ever existed, and depending upon what it actually said, Himmler must have either destroyed it or locked it away. Maybe locked away in the hope of a successful defection at the end of the war. A defection allowing him to one day return to his quest and trumpet the truth to the world.
History, unfortunately for Reichsführer Himmler, had other ideas.