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Author, film researcher and member of the Swedish Military History Commission.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

SS Ahnenerbe and Sweden

Herman Wirth, the first leader of the SS organization Ahnenerbe, spoke at this medical society in Stockholm in 1935. I recently wrote the first detailed article about this visit.

In late June I decided to relax with some fiction, but I found it hard to treat the book in question as fiction when I realized how much it was about a dimension of the SS that I have a special interest in, and recently wrote about, the Ahnenerbe.

Since I wrote my blog post SS-Division "Schwarze Sonne" I have written an article about some previously unknown details about a lecture in Stockholm by Ahnenerbe leader Herman Wirth. The visit has not been unknown, already back then in 1935 papers wrote about it, but several details were until this summer unknown. Thanks to a recent Norwegian book, Jakten på Germania (The Hunt for Germania), and some research of my own e.g. in the Royal Library in Stockholm, I was able to write that piece, alas yet only in Swedish.

I reckon I may eventually write a proper article about the Stockholm lecture in English too, but I can immediately divulge that the lecture by Wirth was presented by the Manhem Society, a kind of club for both Swedish ultranationalists and national socialists. However, the locale of the meeting is pretty surprising, the main office of the Swedish Society of Medicine - in the very city centre.

Although Wirth's Stockholm speech is missing in Heather Pringle's Ahnenerbe book The Master Plan there are more Swedish aspects in that book that to my mind by now should have caught the attention of Swedish thriller writers. Thus I was a bit disappointed by the new and very hyped novel Strindberg's Star by Jan Wallentin, a Swedish journalist and now also author.

Jan Wallentin has chosen to make up a drama largely taking place in Sweden. A drama largely connected to the Ahnenerbe, but Wallentin has made very little use of the real Swedish aspects of the Ahnenerbe. This confounds me.

Strindberg's Star has some good qualities, I would say that the diving scenes that the book starts with are simply brilliant thriller writing. I also like the way that Wallentin almost plausibly connects Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 with WWI and the "black sun" of the SS.

I think it is no wonder that the book has already been translated into several languages, e.g. German (not yet English AFAIK). Here is a video in German presenting the basic plot of the book:



Sadly, IMHO the author overdid things, mainly by moving away from the realism of the first parts into some kind of new age fantasy of his own. I mean, the novel already had enough esoteric stuff on the pages about the really existing Karl Maria Wiligut and the Ahnenerbe.

Jan Wallentin has a really good point though, about the only known real black sun, the one in the Wewelsburg. Why on earth is so little known about why this symbol was chosen for such a significant spot within the Wewelsburg? Wallentin provides an answer to this riddle but can not be in earnest. His reply is just pure fiction. But why no other black suns before 1946? That is, aside from the one under the Bismarck monument in Hamburg, which is not identical with the Wewelsburg black sun, only similar to it. BTW why the black sun under the Bismarck monument? And who put it there?

Speaking about Nils Strindberg's star I might add that his relative August Strindberg did have a very strong relationship to a symbol, but it was not a star. His tombstone reads "O Crux Ave Spes Unica" (O Cross, Be Greeted, Our Only Hope).

P.S.
There is another modern novel focused on the Black Sun of the SS. The title is simply The Black Sun and it was written some years ago by James Twining. I read it with some satisfaction but must confess that I do not recall much of the plot.

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