A young de-frocked priest with a pathological hatred of Jews, an ageing occultist who saw ancient runic secrets hidden throughout the German countryside—who could imagine they would both cause the loss of millions of lives by 1945? Lans von Liebenfels and Guido von List were both ‘feaux’ German aristocrats and occultists who wrote reams of rubbish about the Jews of the pan Germanic region and the ‘lost’ noble history of pagan Germany.
Guido von List (Wikipedia, German archives)
Lanz von Liebenfels
Von List lived in Vienna for much of his life and was famed among occult circles. He drew devotees from across Europe and England. Figures of importance in secret societies often convened in Vienna for meetings and rituals staged by von List. The one time he came under public scrutiny he drew ire for attempting a major black magic ritual, the creation of a ‘succubus’ or ‘moon child’. The succubus, a female demon feared (or perhaps favored) for sexual attacks on men during the dead of night.
Succubus or female demon as drawn by Pier Luiga Bondanza for World
of Warcraft. Female demons are popular with fantasy artists!
Mediaval carving of a succubus
The word got out somehow but history does not record whether he succeeded or failed—could a centenarian moon child succubus be living in Vienna today? List had to leave town after that. Liebenfels stayed on and published his strange magazine “Ostara” a bizarre mix of anti-jewish racial rants, railings against The Church and claims of racial superiority of the ‘Aryans.’
There were many oddball sources of the wave of this Aryan pride, Germanic nation building, anti-Semitic vitriol long before List and Liebenfels. The great composer Wagner was rabidly anti-Semitic. His English son in law, Houston Stewart Chamberlain wrote at length about the superiority of the German race and it was French author Joseph Gobineau who coined the term Aryan and first introduced the idea of a German ‘Master race.”
The almost hundred year phenomenon of this mix of national pride, a sense of Germanic destiny and racial superiority found its nadir in the person of one man—Adolf Hitler. There is little doubt that the young Hitler, as a destitute artist in Vienna, came into the sphere of influence of Leibenfels and perhaps List. There is a wealth of supporting information, but none of it links together into a coherent string of events that can be followed—which is why I wrote “The Watch” a novel about the occult origins of the Nazi party. The book traces the rise of Hitler from Vienna to Berlin, and draws in the lives of those forever connected to him by the great canvass of history that was World War II. In researching the book I spent 15 years reading from “Mein Kampf” to “A Genius for War,” from the “Bhagavad Gita” to “The Runes Workbook.”
We will forever attempt to fathom the madness that was the German nation under Nazism, both in fact and fiction. “The Watch” draws in heroes, villains, generals and politicians, not to mention witches, warlocks and the pure evil of demons such as Heinrich Himmler—and there is far more fact in the ‘novel’ than any reader will know.