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6 The Nazi Campaign against Occultism

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Chapter Summary

The hard-line anti-occultist faction within the Nazi movement was concentrated in the SD, the Sicherheitsdienst or 'security service' of the SS under Reinhard Heydrich. For much of the 1930s, SD research on occultism was handled by the same staff who oversaw the anti-masonic campaign. Nazi attitudes toward free masonry revealed dynamics remarkably similar to those regarding occultism. Placing the Nazi campaign against occultism into historical context means taking the parameters of SD Gegnerforschung seriously and exploring how the factors influenced perceptions of anthroposophy. The notion of a vast ideological gap separating anthroposophists from the German national community derived from the SD's self-declared role as guardian of the authentic Nazi worldview. Anthroposophist projects represented a confluence of esoteric worldviews with alternative endeavors in education, nutrition, health care, agriculture, and other areas of life reform. The hope of anthroposophist accommodation with the Third Reich remained unfulfilled.

Keywords: anthroposophy; German national community; Nazi movement; occultism; Reinhard Heydrich; Third Reich



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