© 2006 by Peter Kratz. Jede Verwendung der Texte und der Abbildungen unterliegt dem Urheberrecht.
SPD MPs Andres, Barnett, Pick, Stoeckel...
At first, we didn't want to believe it either: but, in the course of our work on extreme right-wing sects, we have indeed unravelled a thread of German history which had been swept under the carpet. It snakes its way from the SPD through the NSDAP and back to the SPD. It concerns the most radical wing of the NSDAP, which passed its crimes off as religion. It concerns the hitherto blind spot in research on Nazi ideology, Ernst Bergmann, now the object of concerted international attention; and Alfred Rosenberg, about whom little had been brought to light until recently.
* Bergmann as ideological and organisational Head of the Free-Religious in the 20s, 30s, 40s, and the sects' (posthumous) point of reference through the 50s. He held the Aryan to be God.
* Rosenberg as the leading light, acknowledged by all significant ideologists and officials of the Free-Religious. He was chief ideologist of the NSDAP.
The "Free-Religious Unitarian Movement", as this Nazi scene named itself in 1993 in its official organ "Wege ohne Dogma", (and which comprised the Free-Religious and German Unitarian wings of the Nazi Kirchenkampf), has since splintered. Along with the Deutsche Unitarier Religionsgemeinschaft e.V. (DUR), the Bund Freireligioeser Gemeinden Deutschlands KdoeR (BFGD), and the parallel Freie Religionsgemeinschaft Rheinland KdoeR (FRR, a federation of some South-west German parishes which until 1960 were called the "Freie Religionsgemeinschaft Deutschlands", until 1934 the "Verband Freireligioeser Gemeinden"), the Humanistischer Verband Deutschlands e.V. (HVD) has also since 1993 been carrying a torch for the traditions of the Nazi Kirchenkampf. Some of them are members of the International Humanist and Ethic Union (IHEU), others of the International Association for Religious Freedom (iarf).
Alfred, Alfred über alles
The Free-Religious magazine "Wege ohne Dogma" (WOD) appeared in 1992 as the "joint edition of 'Der Humanist' and 'Freie Religion'" and is the official organ of the BFGD and the FRR. The 'Frei Religion' had been the official organ of the FRR since the 20s; the FRR an associate member of the BFGD. The BFGD's paper was in the 20s "Die Geistesfreiheit", in the 30s "Deutsche Glaubenswarte" and then "Deutsches Werden", in the 50s and 60s "Der Freireligioese" and since 1974 "Der Humanist". Only the names changed. In March 1998, in response to our article in the German journal "konkret" about Nazi connections with the Free-Religious, the FRR and the BFGD brought out a special edition of WOD, in which sect officials passionately laid claim to Georg Pick and Carl Peter as their most illustrious forefathers. Pick's son, SPD-MP Eckhart Pick - now Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry for Justice - and his party and MP colleague Doris Barnett - today Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Labour and Social Affairs - simultaneously issued us with an open letter. These have since kept the courts busy. They also confirm the fact that Barnett and Pick stand by the Free-Religious - of which they are also members - without taking any critical stance on the Nazi connections.
The Free-Religious acknowledge Rosenberg's "Mythus" - published in 1930 and for the Nazis the most important book after Hitler's "Mein Kampf" - as the Aryan 'bible'. The NSDAP chief ideologist wrote here everything which the Free-Religious since the foundation of their local parishes in 1844 and the foundation in 1859 of their umbrella organisation, the BFGD, would have upheld: thus opined Peter and Pick in the 30s, repeatedly. In the same vein, the magazine "Freie Religion", led and edited by the FRR leader, Georg Pick, was always full of Rosenberg's blue-prints for an anti-Christian, anti-Semitic religion for the German people, based on "blood and soil". In the 30s and 40s, Pick's rag printed full-page excerpts from Rosenberg's texts, frequently emphasising the Free-Religious concurrence with his ideas. As late as 1995, WOD published a new text, presenting 'Sachsenhain' near the Lower Saxony town Verden an der Aller as a Free-Religious place of pilgrimage. First claimed in 1934 by Rosenberg as an anti-Christian memorial landmark, 'Sachsenhain' had been constructed by the Reichsarbeitsdeinst in 1934/5, and was inaugurated in 1935 as an SS parade ground by Rosenberg, Himmler, and the founder of the SS organisation "Das Ahnenerbe" (Ancestors' Heritage), Walter Darré.
Rosenberg as philosophical forefather
The Free-Religious leader Carl Peter who published the Free-Religious magazines "Die Geistesfreiheit" and "Deutsche Glaubenswarte" and who is still unreservedly esteemed up to today had already in December 1933 in his text, "Der Bund freireligioeser Gemeinden Deutschlands. Eine Gemeinschaft der Deutschglaeubigen", included Rosenberg in his list of prominent philosophical forefathers of the Free-Religious. "Reknowned writers and representatives of German faith" - so the back-cover blurb in Peter's pamphlet - include Bergmann; the NSDAP member and voelkisch racist 'religious' teacher of Pick, Arthur Drews - the latter still held in high esteem by WOD; the NSDAP MP Ernst Graf zu Reventlow; the SS member Wilhelm Hauer - the co-leader with Reventlow of the Nazi 'German Faith Movement' and (like Bergmann) at times Chairman of the BFGD; the future leader of the SS 'Ahnenerbe' Hermann Wirth; and Alfred Rosenberg. "We have proof one hundred times over since 1844 and, furthermore, innumerable parliamentary protocols since 1859, that the BFGD has always followed the line first drawn up by its founding fathers", wrote Peter emphatically in his 1933 pamphlet. Since 1953 through to the present day, the Free-Religious sect's centre in Palatinate - whose most prominent member is Doris Barnett, SPD-MP - is named after Carl Peter. The continuity is unbroken.
In Loyalty to National-Socialism
In 1934, Pick's magazine "Freie Religion" quoted some of Rosenberg's thoughts from the "Mythus" and commented that: "an immeasurable virtue of Rosenberg's work lies in the fact that he puts the magnificent heroic figure, Meister Eckhart, back in the right light". Georg Pick was so very much taken with this heroic figure of the Middle Age's German mystic Meister Eckhart (who had his best time 600 years after his death during the Nazi period) that he named his son after him: the SPD Secretary of State Eckhart Pick, so driven by his paternal Super-Ego - the latter for Georg Pick personified by Hitler, according to his book "Die Religion der freien Deutschen" (1937) - that he is fighting several cases against BIFFF... to stop us writing that "the Free-Religious' roots are in National-Socialism". In 1934 "Freie Religion" published: "The German, including those who are fighting for the life of our Union of Parishes, is able in the Third Reich to happily invest his hopes in a future of religious freedom: on condition that he be prepared to unfold to its full effectiveness the basic instinct of his thoughts, his feelings, his will: for, as Alfred Rosenberg expressed it: 'To be at one with oneself, that is what Meister Eckhart strove for. And for this, we also strive.'" Those "happy hopes for the future of religious freedom" were however no prerogative of Jewish people; the few within Free-Religious ranks were expelled. The 'Aryanisation' of the Free-Religious was propagated primarily by Georg Pick himself, a man still held in esteem today. A reform of parish statutes in 1935 made the persecution of Jews a duty: "The Parish Committees dutifully undertake to lead their parishes in loyalty to the National Socialist state, to its laws and to its aims".
In 1940 Pick wrote in "Freie Religion" of his friend, the National-Socialist Eckhart expert, Hermann Schwarz - apparently, like Rosenberg, a clairvoyant, and also published by Pick in "Freie Religion": "Schwarz is in this respect a close associate of Alfred Rosenberg, whose 'Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts' was praised in the article written on the occasion of Rosenberg being awarded the National Prize: 'Rosenberg's 'Myth' has afforded innumerable German people a new vision; it has opened the eyes of their Nordic blood'".
Blood and Soil
The "Freie Religion" left no doubts about Free-Religious orientation when it published the following in 1934, under the heading "Blood and Soil Religion": "For that religion always grows and blossoms out of the blood relations of the nation's soul is proven by history. And what is right in this respect for the Chinese or for Jews is worthless to the German Volk, a member of the Indo-Germanic family of Voelker and races". The racist Arthur Drews - still published today by the Secretary of State's, Eckhart Pick's , local sect, the Free-Religious Parish of Mainz, and propogated by the WOD, press successor to the 'Freie Religion' - opined: "Essential and original religion of German blood can persist in the face of other types of sensibilities", Jews and Christians - as alien types - should therefore get out of Germany.
After extolling "the virtues of the SS" in 1937, the "Freie Religion" concurred with Rosenberg's new text "Protestantische Rompilger" (Protestant Pilgrims to Rome), in which Rosenberg had "with irrefutable proofs and to devastating effect" proven that the anti-Nazi Protestant "Bekennende Kirche" was "betraying Luther".
With the headline "Church inaugurated by Alfred Rosenberg", Pick announced a victory over Christendom. A secular and empty church building "had been inaugurated by Reichsleiter Rosenberg as a National-Socialist ceremonial site". In 1941, Pick prophesied the demise of Christendom in the course of its confrontation with National-Socialism and the irrepressible rise of his own anti-Semitic and anti-Christian "Free Religion": "What National-Socialism strives for in politics, we strive for in religion" (Pick). Thus, since 1992 until the present, WOD as the official organ of the Free-Religious, has been pumped full of texts by, and references to, this major Free-Religious ideologist, Georg Pick, who died in 1972.
Rosenberg's Colleagues as Free Religious Authors
One of Rosenberg's closest associates, Eberhard Achterberg, wrote in the 70s and 80s for the Free-Religious magazine "Der Humanist". Achterberg was former "Hauptschriftleiter" (Chief Editor) of Rosenberg's "Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte" and Head of the department "Judentum und Freimaurerei" in Rosenberg's NSDAP-"Dienststelle des Beauftragte des Fuehrers fuer due Ueberwachung der gesamten geistigen und weltanschaulichen Schulung und Erziehung der NSDAP (Head of the Department for Jewry and Freemasonry in Rosenberg's 'The Fuehrer's Commissioner's Office for the Supervision of the Total Spiritual and Philosophical Instruction and Education of the NSDAP').
The "NS-Monatshefte" author and SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Lothar Stengel-von-Rutkowski also wrote in the 80s for "Der Humanist". A further two 'NS-Monatshefte' authors and important figures in the post-war Nazi scene, Herbert Boehme und Herbert Grabert, were among those Rosenberg-followers gathered together by Achterberg in 1947 in the 'Free-Religious Unitarian' local sect in Rheinhessen, which had in the 20s and 30s been an associate member of Pick's FRD/FRR, and which renamed itself "Deutsche Unitarier Religionsgemeinschaft e.V." (DUR) in 1950. The DUR joined with the Free-Religious as the "Deutschen Volksbund fuer Geistesfreiheit" , which since 1992 goes under the name "Dachverband freier Weltanschauungsgemeinschaften" (DFW). Achterberg was elected supreme 'theological' leader of the DUR as late as 1982 - Rosenberg's admirers are as hand in glove with one another today as they were in the 30s.
One part of the Free-Religious scene has since 1993 absorbed the Humanistischer Verband Deutschlands (HVD), whose main base is Berlin, and whose most prominent members are the Secretary of State of the Mayor in Office and Berlin's European Commissioner, Gerd Wartenberg (SPD); and the former FDP regional Committee Chairman, Wolfgang Lueder. The east-German hope of the FDP, MP Cornelia Piper, from Sachsen-Anhalt, is also a member of the HVD and former HVD Secretary General at national level.
The HVD-group of North-Rhine-Westphalia is at its strongest in the area around Dortmund, already in the 20s a BFGD stronghold, and in the 30s and 40s a stronghold of Carl Peter's and Ernst Bergmann's BFGD-successor organisation "Gemeinschaft Deusche Volksreligion" (GDV). Peter and Bergmann defined the GDV statutorily in 1939: "It needs hardly be emphasised, that for we Deutschreligioese (German Faith-Religious), National-Socialism is the new faith in which we firmly believe." The GDV had numerous local parishes in the Dortmund area, whose events were listed each month in the Free-Religious magazine "Deutsches Werden". When, in November 1945, Peter turned the GVD back into the BFGD, under his leadership, the Dortmund crowd was there, under the name Freigeistige Landesgemeinschaft North-Rhine-Westphalia. After leaving the BFGD and becoming associate member of the HVD, they are now called the HVD North-Rhine-Westphalia, under the leadership of SPD MP Rolf Stoeckel (Dortmund-Unna), also currently treasurer of the HVD.
As co-initiators of the Berlin exhibition about the Free-Religious in 1998/9, "Kein Jenseits ist, kein Aufersteh'n", the HVD upheld the latter's traditions. In the exhibition and the catalogue - both produced by Prenzlauer Berg's Cultural Office and edited by an HVD Committee member - Georg Pick and Carl Peter were acknowledged as forefathers and the bibliography published in 1974 by the Nazi, Karl Becker, 'Freigeistige Bibliographie', was proclaimed as the only "true bibliography of free-spirited philosophy", which reliably reflects the Free-Religious' cultural heritage. In the 70s, Becker led the "Freigeistige Landesgemeinschaft Wuerttemberg", then an associate member of the BFGD and now the HVD-group in Wuerttemberg. Becker's book portrays Alfred Rosenberg as a "free-spirited" or "free-thinking" forefather and dedicates a whole chapter to Rosenberg's "Mythus".
In 1998, when we drew public attention to these issues, the East-German socialist PDS declared its unreserved solidarity with the exhibition, for which the PDS Cultural Councillor in Berlin City District Prenzlauer Berg, Burkhard Kleinert, was responsible. Clearly, the HVD-membership of Thomas Flierl, Councillor for Public Works in the Berlin City District Mitte and sympathetic to the PDS, played a role in these developments. Flierl was Kleinert's predecessor, then on the PDS faction committee in the Berlin Parliament, and today an influential voice on the issue of reconstruction of Berlin's historical centre. Flierl is thus probably the most influential PDS politician in Berlin. In its magazine "diesseits", which also rallied for Stoeckel and for the exhibition, the HVD promotes itself, referring to the PDS MP Maritta Boettcher, who once had an ABM (support programme for the unemployed) post with the HVD; and they lay claim also to the disabled PDS MP Ilja Seifert (Saxony), because he was looked after by someone doing his "civil service" - (an alternative for the conscientious objectors to military conscription) - at the HVD.
A HVD-Chief-Ideologist in the Rosenberg Tradition
Meanwhile, the incredibly extreme right-wing sect preacher, Hubertus Mynarek, otherwise considered to be a total crank, has become the HVD's chief ideologist. The ex-Catholic became involved in the 70s with the German Unitarians, mocked in the press as the "Unit-Arier" - the "united Aryans". His contribution to their youth education programme was his confused and partly racist book, "Orientierung im Dasein", itself oriented explicitly to the Rosenberg fan, SS member and leader of the German Faith Movement, Wilhelm Hauer. Hauer's own 1934 work "Deutsche Gottschau" was lifted from Rosenberg's "Mythus", and thus an obvious tribute. In the 80s and 90s, Mynarek moved to the Free-Religious and since 1997 writes prolifically for the HVD rag, "diesseits".
In "diesseits", we learn on the one hand that the HVD magazine is also the organ of the "Freie Humanisten Niedersachsen" (FHN). As the "Freireligioese Landesgemeinschaft Niedersachsen" and under the leadership of the old- and neo-Nazi, refuter of Auschwitz, Dietrich Bronder, the FHN was part of the BFGD and is the HVD's favoured candidate for official regional union in Lower Saxony. On the other hand, we learn that the grey-haired eminence of the SPD parliamentary group and today's Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs, Gerd Andres (Hannover), is a member of the FHN. The close relationship between Andres and Barnett was obvious to insiders in the past already; and is a simple explanation of how Barnett, after serving only one legislative period, was promoted to Chair of one of the most important parliamentary committees.
"diesseits" editorial member, Juergen Gerdes, also Bronder's successor as Secretary-General of the FHN, in the 80s wrote alongside Rosenberg fans Achterberg and Mynarek for the series of texts "homo humanus", to which Bronder, for eg., also contributed. "homo humanus" was published by the "Eekboom Gesellschaft", whose "honorary member", Lothar Stengel-von Rutkowski, is a former contributor to Rosenberg's and Achterberg's "Nationalsozialistischen Monatshefte" and former SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer - the same clique, time and again, as in the 30s.
In 1986, the currently prolific "diesseits" author, Mynarek, was portrayed in the Protestant weekly newspaper "Deutsches Allgemeines Sonntagsblatt" under the head-line, "In the Blood and Soil Tradition". Sub-heading: "It is difficult to avoid racism". In the same year, Mynarek published his major work, "Oekologische Religion", which was repeatedly treated to positive reviews by the HVD's "diesseits" - (also, incidentally, in the edition featuring an interview with Christa Mueller, wife and prompter of the recent SPD Chairman, Oskar Lafontaine). The book, "Oekologische Religion" reaches its climax with the assertion that Mynarek's supporters - namely, today, the HVD - stand one rung higher on the evolutionary ladder than normal people; and that his philosophical opponents are "evolutionary strays", destined to be annihilated in the struggle for survival. This is the classical ideology of a superior race in the National-Socialist tradition.
It was on account of these theories that the then SPD Chairman in Bonn, Jochen Dieckmann, (today's SPD Minister for Justice of North-Rhine-Westphalia), demanded in unison with us in 1987 "the immediate cancellation of the Mynarek event" in Bonn's Volkhochschule (local adult education centre) and supported our protest against the recurred Mynarek lectures.
But the HVD currently
Mynarek's theses. And in co-operation with the HVD, the famous Berlin
education centre "Urania" invites Mynarek in May 1999 for lectures.
issues are wider spread in today's society as you might guess.
(March 1999)See also some documents concerning the Free-Religious,
...back to English texts (list of content)
zur Übersicht: Faschismus "religiös"