Chapter13: Archaeology in the Third Reich

Along with the funding toward research and development of military applications, the Nazis spent an inordinate amount of resources toward archeology and other historical research. In 1935, the Reichsführer of the SS, Heinrich Himmler founded the “Ahnenerbe” or “The Ancestral Heritage Research and Teaching Society.” The Ahnenerbe was not a simple academic society but worked hand in hand with the German military and Thule Society members as a research wing with the mandate of discovering ancient Aryan technologies, as well as reconstructing the history of the ancient Aryans based on archeological evidence, biological evidence, historical evidence, etc. The Ahnenerbe sent teams of the world’s leading archaeologists all over the globe in search of ancient Aryan artifacts. From expeditions around the world traces of the ancient Aryans were found.

The three main objectives of the Ahnenerbe were first to prove the hypothesis of the existence of the lost master-race of Aryans and evidence of their advanced technologies in remote regions of the world. Their second objective was to verify the locations of the sunken lands of Atlantis and “Northern Atlantis” or Thule. Their third objective was to verify through scientific evidence the Welteislehre or the “World Ice Theory” which was a principal based on the slightly eccentric ideas of Hans Hörbiger. The Nazis focused primarily on the aspect of the Welteislehre that the Deluge and the subsequent flooding of Atlantis and Thule were caused by the rapid melting of the polar ice at the end of the last ice age.

Upon Hitler’s rise to power Germany was a respected centre of Archeology. Archeological digs and expeditions to ancient ruins were performed around the world by German scientist before the Nazis came to power. Edmund Kiss, who became a high ranking member of the SS, in the 1920s wrote his first books on Aryan archeology and ancient mysticism. In his book entitled The Last Queen of Atlantis (Die letzte Königin von Atlantis) he equated the mythical northern land Thule to the origins of human civilization. According to Kiss “The inhabitants of Northern Atlantis were led by their leader Baldur Wieborg, a native of the mythical Thule who migrated all across the world”. He later described the return journey of the Nordic Thulians to their mythical homeland in The Swans of Thule.

In 1928 Kiss made a journey to the ruins at Tiwanaku in Bolivia. He was one of the first to suggest that the builders of Tiwanaku were far older than the “academically accepted” date of 200 AD. After his exoneration at the Nuremburg Trials Edmund Kiss wrote, La Puerta del Sol and the Doctrine of Tiahuanacu Ice Universal Hörbiger published in 1937, he suggested that the ruins were built by prehistoric Nordic Thulians before the end of the last ice age. He also tied his theory to the Welteislehre of Hörbiger. In South America, German Archeologists uncovered elongated skulls with racial characteristics consistent with the Aryan race and came to the conclusion that the advanced peoples of ancient South America were seeded by the ancient Aryans. Their objectives in South America were two fold, on one side they were establishing archeological links to the ancient Aryans in South America, and on the other side they established a permanent presence in South America by building secret underground bases.

Likewise, predating the rise of the Nazis, the foreign affairs ministry financed an archaeological institute in Cairo that was used as a base to conduct scientific research. German scholars had made important contributions to Egyptology such as Adolf Ermans help in deciphering the grammar of Egyptian writing, Heinrich Schäfer discovering paradigms in the understanding of Egyptian art, and Ludwig Borchardt uncovering of the bust of Nefertiti, which shows her distinctly Aryan features. In this pre-Nazi era, many American Egyptologists received their training in Germany, including James Henry Breasted, who ironically some regard as an inspiration for the Indiana Jones character created by Jewish film maker Steven Spielberg in later years to defame Nazi Archaeology.

When the Nazis took over Germany they inherited the Cairo office of the German Archaeological Institute. The Cairo office operated until the war started in 1939. Until that time the Nazis used it as a base to advance their interests in the Middle East and North Africa under the leadership of first commander Erwin Rommel. Germany had a number of interests in the area, including talking to Arab leaders who opposed Jewish settlement in Israel. Yet Hitler was particularly interested in Egyptology vetoing the return of the bust of Nefertiti to Cairo. The head of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo was an established Egyptologist by the name of Hermann Junker. He was deeply involved in National Socialism and a member of the Nazi party. During the time of Nazi rule he conducted digs in the Cairo-Memphis area and Nubia. But, he spent the majority of his time excavating at the Great Pyramids at Giza.

Most notable of the many expeditions of The Ahnenerbe were the missions to Tibet and Antarctica, which were undertaken simultaneously in 1938 through 1939. Five members of Heinrich Himmler’s Waffen-SS passed via the ancient, arched gate that led to the holy city of Lhasa in 1938. The Nazi mission to Tibet was to find and then to maintain contact with the Aryan civilization of Shambhala and learn of their advanced technology. The mission to New Swabia, Antarctica was lead by Alfred Ritscher and was primarily organized to establish a German naval base which would be inaccessible to the technologically inferior allies, though some claim that this base was established within an ancient passageway into the hollow earth caverns of Agartha. In later years speculations by misguided authors allowed for the legend of Shambhala and Agartha to became confused with each other, with some speculating that Shambhala was actually the capitol city of Agartha, which by all historic accounts is preposterous. This allowed for the further defamation of the Nazi’s as authors in later years conceived of the mission to Tibet to be a mission to seek Agartha rather than Shambhala.

Professional zoologist, Ernst Schäfer led the expedition to Tibet in search of remnants of Aryan physiognomy in the racial traits of the Tibetans. Himmler was fascinated by Asian mysticism and its relation to the ancient Aryans and therefore wished to send such an expedition under the auspices of the Ahnenerbe. Himmler accepted the expedition to be organized on the condition that all its members become SS and to ascertain whether the Tibetans were descended from the ancient Aryans. Furthermore, climate and geography research was to be undertaken in the support of the World Ice Theory.  The official plan of the expedition included research on the landforms, climate, geography, and culture of the region,and contacting the local authorities for the establishment of representation in the country.

Yet the primary reasoning behind the expedition was to determine whether the Tibetans were a remnant of the Aryan race and to ascertain whether the city of Shambhala actually exited. The taking of cranial measurements and the making of facial casts of local people by anthropologist Bruno Beger was physical evidence utilized to prove that the Tibetans shared racial traits with the Aryans. The group of five researchers intended to contact the Regent of Tibet and visit the sacred cities of Lhasa and Shigatse. When they returned to Germany, they brought back a complete edition of the Tibetan sacred text the Kangyur (108 volumes), examples of Mandala, other ancient texts, and one alleged document regarding the ancient Aryans. It is said that they had ascertained that the Tibetans had in fact been in contact with the sacred city of Shambhala, but the location where it would materialize was never the same. Tibetan Mandalas depict Shambhala as a disc shaped city which in fact existed above the clouds in the sky far above the earth.

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