Friday, 2023-02-10

Hitler’s Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich by Eric Kurlander

A dense and scholarly works about the occult roots of the Nazi ideology, and the different strands of “border science”[1] and supersitions like astrology running in confused streams through the regime.

A chilling detail is that while the Nazis subscribed to the scientific idea of races (it was considered a science at the time), the inner circle did not view Jewish people are a separate race. They were apart from humanity, unhuman rather than subhuman, and their very presence corrupted the purity of all humans. Thus their extermination was warranted as a matter of humanity’s survival. According to Kurlander this explains the seemingly irrationality of devoting so much resources to the Final Solution as the Second World War drew to its close.

Another thing that struck me was the prevalence of “non-scientific” beliefs among many Germans and even more Nazis. The language of science was there but the beliefs were unscientific. This is close to today’s antivaxx sentiments where “skepticism” is really just pre-ordained conclusions.

[1] The author uses this term as a direct translation of the German Grenzwissenschaft, as opposed to the English term “fringe science”. The term is still in German use