Thank you for the additional information on Rahn. I don't believe anyone is seeking to deny that Rahn was a functionary of the Nazi regime, merely speculating as to the extent of his commitment to it, given that he ultimately fell foul of the authorities, and given also the suspicious nature of his death. These factors alone, give one cause to question just how much of a Nazi he was by that stage. And of course his posthumous reinstatement into the SS would have been completely beyond his power to influence, one way or the other. We simply don't know his state of mind at the time of his death, hence his allegiances at that time can be legitimately questioned. And because Rahn died in 1939, before the full horrors of the regime he once served manifested themselves, he was never able to judge his own actions in the 1930s with the benefit of hindsight, or be judged at trial as others were post-1945, and hence we are left with an incomplete picture of this person that is open to speculation.
Having said that, I'm sure that the revival of interest in Rahn's writings in recent years may well have led some to gloss over his Nazi connections, or seek to explain them in as sympathetic a manner as possible, and I wouldn't wish to do that either, any more than I would wish to condemn Rahn as a red in tooth and claw Nazi. My guess, and it is only that, would be that he was somewhat more enamoured with the Nazi regime, at least in the early days, than modern day Cathar revivalists might wish, but perhaps less so than his detractors would suggest. I'd imagine that this was something of a grey area for him, as it must have been for many at that time. One of things about totalitarian regimes is that, other than for a handful of exceptionally brave people, most of those who have the misfortune to live under them find it easier to go along to get along, or even just to stay alive, regardless of their personal beliefs about it. It's easy to condemn such ambivalence about something we now know to be evil with the benefit of hindsight, but we don't know how we would act, faced with similar circumstances, and whether we too would have fallen prey to normal human weakness and meekly submitted. It would be in that sort of context that I would seek to judge Otto Rahn.
Richard, let's get this out of way, I bloody would have fallen prey to human weakness although I doubt I would meekly submitted. Not only that but empathising with human weakness is not a justification for Mass Murder and membership into the Nazi -Regime / Third Reich. Some people actually loved their membership in Third Reich - they were the embodiment of the Nazi Ideal - they loved the power and they created the forces that led to the extermination of Millions of innocent people most notably the Jewish population. As for Otto Rahn his part was active and he had quite a role in it as the evidence below provides a more fleshed out review of Otto's life as a Nazi.
You know what I don't want to become, Richard is one of those people that couldn't smell the dead bodies of the people from the German concentration camps down the road from their villages.
When the allies moved in and asked those villages how could they not know. The answer was simple - they didn't want to know - they looked the other way and pretented it wasn't happening and they couldn't do anything about it. IMHO one of the best things the allies did was collect the villagers and Nazi officers to dig the graves and to handle the bodies so they could grasp the impact of what they had done. They had dehumanised populations with their blindness, typewriters, repugnant philosophies/ideologies and orders and that was the only way they could possibly even begin to understand the direct link to what they had done.
Not only was Otto a member of the Reichsverband deutscher Schriftsteller he actively sought membership in the propaganda arm and became a servant of the third Reich he was also part of RUSHA which set the guidelines for the extermination of parts of the population what we now know as the HOLOCAUST.
December 1933: 15.12.33 Rahn's contribution to WOLFGANG FROMMEL's radio series: "Vom Schicksal des deutschen Geisters" is transmitted, titled: 'Freund Humanus. Sum 130 Todestag von Johann Gottfried Herder." Rahn writes in a ltetter to Frommel that he should send a copy of his book("Dritten Humanismus") to WILFRID BADE, a senior member of the Propaganda Ministry and writer of various political tomes such as "Die SA eorbert Berlin", 1933; Goebbels and Horst Wessel Biographies, 1933&1936 etc., whom Rahn had met during a business lunch. "He could be very important for you work"
Around this time GABRIELLE WINCKLER-DECHEND who is working in Wiligut/Weisthors office, reads "Kreuzzug.." and brings it to Weithor's attention who speaks to Himmler about him. Arranges frlat and all he needs to live. KARL MARIA WILLIGUT, since 1934 member of SS under pseudonum, WEISTHOR. Head of RAI II in "Rasse-und Siedlungshauptamt' and eventually a Brigadefuehrer (Brigadier-General) in the personal staff of the Reichsfuehrer SS.
Otto Rahn works for Weisthor in RUSHA, the Race and Settlement HQ.
Just in case people don't know what RUSHA under the NAZI regime was.
SS-Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt
The RuSHA was under the administration of the SS
Formed c.1931-May 8, 1945
Minister responsible-Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, (1931-1945)
The Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt-SS (English: SS Race and Settlement Main Office), (RuSHA), was the organization responsible for "safeguarding the racial 'purity' of the SS" within Nazi Germany.
Some of the 14 defendants in the RuSHA Trial at Nuremberg read the indictments against them in July 1947.
See also: Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany
By 1937 more than 300 SS men had been expelled from the Schutzstaffel for contravening Nazi race laws, although an order later stated that they could remain if they were already married and could satisfy racial criteria. In November 1940, Himmler reinstated all SS personnel expelled under the marriage laws, provided they met racial requirements of the NSDAP.
Following the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the RuSHA worked in partnership with VOMI in the "germanization" of captured territory, monitoring of settler welfare, and the plantation of ethnic Germans in areas designated for settlement by the SS, particularly in occupied Ukraine.
The RuSHA was also an advisory and executive office for all questions of racial selection. Racial examinations were performed by Rasse und Siedlungs (RUS) leaders or their racial examiners (German: Eignungspruefer) in connection with:
Cases where sexual intercourse had occurred between Eastern European POWs or workers and Germans
Children born to Eastern European workers
Classification of people of German descent
Selection of enemy nationals, particularly Poles and Slovakians, for slave labour and Germanization
Kidnapping of children suitable for Germanization
The persecution and liquidation of Jews
The RuSHA also employed Josef Mengele for a short time from November 1940 to early 1941, in Department II of its Family Office, where he was responsible for "care of genetic health" and "genetic health tests".
EDIT TO ADD: When I first read and understood what the Eugenics programme really was I realised under that system I would have been one of the first heads on the chopping block.
Under that system of government my Bi-racial profile would have meant I was a genetic abhorrence and I would have been exterminated. There is the quite literally the confronting fact that an entire nation could exterminate people based solely on their genetics via bizarre racial profiling and it didn't happen that long ago 60years max. So when you suggest Richard "It's easy to condemn such ambivalence about something we now know to be evil with the benefit of hindsight, but we don't know how we would act, faced with similar circumstances, and whether we too would have fallen prey to normal human weakness and meekly submitted. It would be in that sort of context that I would seek to judge Otto Rahn."
the truth is I would have been dead if I was faced with "similar circumstances," so that is the context with which I judge and have judged Richard and would hope that I would not go meekly into any gas chamber and that I would fight - even if it is only a forum, even if it just is to fight the apologia & revisionist history on one Nazi SS author.