Saturday, July 05, 2003
About 10f Hitler's library is housed at the Library of Congress; there is definite evidence of his abiding interest in spirituality and the occult
Given Hitler's legendary disdain for organized religion in general and Christianity in particular, I didn't expect him to have devoted much time to the teachings of Christ, let alone to have marked this quintessential Christian virtue ["Love your neighbor as you would love yourself"]. Had this in fact been made by the pencil of Hitler's younger sister, Paula, who occasionally visited her brother at the Berghof and remained a devout Catholic until her dying day? Might some other Berghof guest have responded to this holy Scripture? He also owned Walt Whitman's personal first edition of Leaves of Grass.
Possibly -- but though most of the spiritually oriented books in the Hitler Library were gifts sent to the Führer by distant admirers, several, like Worte Christi, were obviously well read, and some contained marginalia in Hitler's hand that suggested a serious exploration of spiritual matters. If Hitler was as deeply engaged with spiritual issues as his books and their marginalia suggest, then what was the purpose of this pursuit?
Langer based his assessment not only on Hitler's repeated references to "divine providence," both in speeches and in private conversations, but also on reports from some of Hitler's most intimate associates that Hitler truly believed he was "predestined" for greatness and inspired by "divine powers." After the war Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, one of Hitler's chief military advisers, seemed to confirm the Langer thesis. "Looking back," he said, "I am inclined to think he was literally obsessed with the idea of some miraculous salvation, that he clung to it like a drowning man to a straw."
The Predictions of Nostradamus belongs to a cache of occult books that Hitler acquired in the early 1920s and that were discovered in the private quarters of his Berlin bunker by Colonel Albert Aronson in May of 1945.
Most scholars dismiss the notion that Hitler seriously entertained the ideas of these [Nordic] cults, but the marginalia in several of his books confirm at least an intellectual engagement in the substance of Weimar-era occultism. The Brown collection contains books by such figures as Adamant Rohm, a "magnetopathic doctor" from Wiesbaden; Carl Ludwig Schleich, a Berlin physician who pioneered the use of local anesthesia; and Joseph Anton Schneiderfranken, who wrote numerous books on reincarnation and otherworldly phenomena under the pseudonym Bô Yin Râ.
One of the most heavily marked books is Magic: History, Theory and Practice (1923), by Ernst Schertel. When I typed the author's name into one Internet search engine, I scored eight hits, including sites on Satanism, eroticism, sadomasochism, and flagellation. When I typed his name into Google, I scored twenty-six hits, including sites on parapsychology, astrology, and diverse sexual practices. According to a Web site for Germany's sadomasochistic community, Schertel wrote numerous books on flagellation and eroticism, and was "a central figure" in the German nudist movement of the 1920s and 1930s.
Hitler's copy of Magic bears a handwritten dedication from Schertel, scrawled on the title page in pencil. A 170-page softcover in large format, the book has been thoroughly read, and its margins scored repeatedly. I found a particularly thick pencil line beside the passage "He who does not carry demonic seeds within him will never give birth to a new world."
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Reno's expanded Nevada Museum of Art opened with a show of "Diego Rivera and 20th Century Mexican Art" -- though you have to get there by tomorrow to see the 14 Frida Kahlo paintings
But it's the rest you probably haven't seen anyway.
The rest of the exhibit runs through September 21.
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Shopping malls now being retrofitted as multi-use zones -- pre-fab "villages" to save tax revenues
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1984 for real
Anna Funder's Stasiland: True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall: review
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Canadian Douglas H Glover's short story collection Bad News of the Heart: short glowing review
From the neat reissue house Dalkey, see link at left.
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Friday, July 04, 2003
R.I.P. Barry White
From a giggle to a ... presence, in 2 decades. At least for me.
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Wednesday, July 02, 2003
New American death rituals
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Sunday, June 29, 2003
Getting Mother's Body by Suzan-Lori Parks: review
Sounds like a good summer read.
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R.I.P. Katharine Hepburn
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