Author Mitch Horowitz Says Adolf Hitler was Not an Occultist

And an Alternet reviewer of Horowitz’s new book on occultism says that he’s persuasive on this score:

He convincingly knocks down the trendy idea that the Third Reich was an occult phenomenon. “However tantalizing some may find it to conceive of Hitler as a practitioner of black magic,” Horowitz writes, “it is fantasy.” It turns out Hitler had no more patience for ancient Vedic philosophy or Aryan mysticism than he did for Marxism. He just thought the Indian symbol of karma and rebirth looked good on uniforms.

So if Hitler wasn’t an occultist, then what intellectual lineage was he primarily tapping into?

A Nietzschean version of Darwinism?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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5 Responses to Author Mitch Horowitz Says Adolf Hitler was Not an Occultist

  1. Hitler was a Christian, a Nationalist, a Nationalist, an anti-Communist, and (duh!) an anti-Semite. Those are his intellectual lineages.

    Some Nazis did, in fact, dabble in the Occult, but ‘Dolf wasn’t part of that crowd. However, even those who did never made anything like a real break with Christianity. Richard Steigmann-Gall demonstrates this very convincingly in his book “Holy Reich”.

    Their have always been Christians, including Popes, who have messed around with everything from Astrology to Cabala to Spiritualism, etc.

    Bottom line: the Nazis were Christians.

    As far as Hitler and Nietzsche goes, Ricky Gervais, of all people, really nails this subject:

  2. santitafarella says:


    I wouldn’t disagree with you that Hitler was a syncretist, but I don’t think that the bottom line of his syncretism brings him to Christianity (unless you define Christianity solely in terms of its antisemitism). I agree that the Holocaust would not have been possible save for the history of Christian antisemitism in Europe.

    As for Gervais, that is priceless.


  3. It turns out that Horowitz is a very problematic source on this topic. In particular Horowitz cites Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke to support the claim that Hitler was not an occultist. But Goodrick-Clarke is actually the world premier Nazi-Occult baiter.

    In point of fact, Goodrick-Clarke is almost exclusively known for his book titled “The Occult Roots of Nazism.” In his Preface to the 2004 edition of that book Goodrick-Clarke explicitly states that occultism was the “midwife” of Nazism.

    Goodrick-Clarke is of course completely wrong in his claims that Nazism is “rooted” in the occult. And Horowitz is completely wrong to cite Goodrick-Clarke to defend a position that is the exact opposite of what Goodrick-Clarke actually says.

    Finally, Hitler was not a syncretist. He was a Christian. The kind of Christianity that Hitler adhered to was completely consistent with the “liberal” Protestantism of his time, as Richard Steigmann-Gall shows in his book “Holy Reich”.

    Hitler personally had no interest in and no use whatsoever for occultism. The Nazis who did dabble in the occult were also not syncretists in any meaningful sense of the word, unless we want to say that every Pope who messed around with Astrology or Cabala, etc, was not really a Catholic, but some kind of “syncretist”.

  4. I’m glad you like the Hilter-Nietzsche bit. Gervais really is brilliant there, isn’t he? I mean if there was a Nobel Prize for stand-up comedy he should win just for that one bit.

  5. santitafarella says:


    I’ll check out the book “Holy Reich” that you refer to. As for Gervais, comedy seems to me akin to poetry. Comic genius and poetic genius are near of kin. I agree that fancy and snooty high brow prizes should be given to gifted comics. Comedy is also kin to tragedy.


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