spear of longinus

English Version

The Esoteric Nazism of Hitler

“Archaeology is the search for fact, not truth. If it’s the truth you’re interested in, Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class is right down the hall.”

With these words from the movie Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, which you have to keep in mind, let’s start with an in-depth study of Hitler’s ideology: the esoteric Nazism and the research of the Holy Grail and the Spear of Longinus. According to the Nazi ideology, these objects would have given great power to the German army, leading the Aryan race to conquer the world.

However, how much the Führer and his right-hand man Himmler relied on magical powers to win the war, is actually irrelevant to what really happened. We don’t know if there’s any truth behind their beliefs and if that research was related to a true interest in finding these objects. We’ll limit ourselves in telling some facts related to the research of these mystical powerful objects without passing them off as the truth.

Indiana Jones against the Nazis of Hitler

The common thread of this in-depth study is the figure of the most famous archaeologist that the world of cinema has ever known: Professor Henry Jones Junior, but he prefers to be called Indiana Jones.

Spielberg has deceived entire generations of young students who, since their first day in class, had to accept the hard truth that real archaeology is far from the one pictured by Professor Jones. But there’s one thing that the director and his character didn’t lie about: the obsession of the Nazis (the antagonists par excellence in Indiana Jones’ movies) towards legendary objects related to religion.

The Holy Grail, the cup that would have given immense power to Hitler

In Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, the Nazis were in search of the Holy Grail, which was the cup used by Christ during the Last Supper and consequently used by Joseph of Arimathea to collect the blood of Christ from the cross. Professor Jones was able to find the holy grail before the enemies and showed his intelligence through the way he chose the right cup, which was the most modest one, hidden among other chalices covered in gold and precious gems. The Nazis instead drank from the wrong cup: they were blinded by the glory and power that hides under the yarning gold, and from that you can understand the absence of humbleness. This is what happened on the big screen.

In real life, there was an Indiana Jones, he was an historian and medieval researcher, engaged in the search of artifacts such as the Holy Grail. His name was Otto Rahn, and he didn’t fight the Nazis: he was an SS officer, Himmler tasked him with finding the Holy Grail.

Otto Rahn, seeker of the Grail

The myth of Parsifal, the only knight worthy of seeing the Holy Grail

Otto Rahn was passionate about medieval epic poems and, just like Himmler, he knew well the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. He focused on the figure of Parsifal, King Arthur’s knight who found the Holy Grail. According to the legend, the Holy Grail was kept on the top of Monsalvato, in a hermitage where the pure of heart spent their life drawing strength from sacred objects that were kept there. The Spear of Longinus was also among these objects, but we’ll talk about this later.

At this point, it’s important to clarify that, even though the beneficiary of the power of the objects would have been the Führer, the obsessive research was a work of Himmler (SS chief and second most powerful man in Germany) and Otto Rahn.

Apparition of the Grail on the Round Table in a XV century painting
Parsifal wielding the Spear of Longinus in Richard Wagner’s Parsifal. Drawing made by Arnaldo Dell’Ira, about 1930

The crusade against the Cathars, the hint of the Holy Grail on Monsalvato

After having passed the scrutiny of medieval history, Rahn managed to locate Monsalvato in France. The crusade against the Cathars (1209-1229) gave a hint to the researcher.

The Cathars were persecuted by the crusaders under the pope’s command, they perched on the fortress of Mòntsegur, in order to escape from the violent rage of the knights. Montsegur is known as the place where, on the 16th of March 1244, the Cathars were burned alive by the Crusaders. The strong familiarity between the “Mòntsegur” of the Cathars and the “Monsalvato” of Parsifal made Rahn think that it was the Grail’s last time it was seen before disappearing into thin air. The research started in 1929 without any results. When Rahn returned to Germany in 1933, he wrote a report of his adventures in France, entitled “The Crusade against the Grail” which had some success right away.

Mòntsegur (France)
The Spear of Longinus, an object passed down from Constantine to Charlemagne, up to Hitler

There was another object that Hitler wanted, which has already been mentioned: The Spear of Longinus, which, according to the legend, wounded Jesus Christ’s side. In the Indiana Jones’ movies there is no reference to the Spear. Probably because, unlike the other objects such as the Holy Grail and the Ark of The Covenant, Hitler actually managed to obtain it.

SImone Martini’s Crucifixion, the Spear that wounded Jesus’ side can be seen on the left

In the Gospels of Matthew (27:49,50) and John (20:33-35), there’s an episode about the Spear: it belonged to Gaius Cassius Longinus, an almost-blind commander of a Roman century. He was the one who stabbed Jesus Christ’s side with his spear, whose blood, by dripping on the spear, arrived in Longinus’s eyes and he instantly regained his sight.

The Spear became a sacred object, and according to written sources, it was brought from Jerusalem to Constantinople to Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, alongside other relics that belonged to Jesus Christ.

Longinus depicted on a mosaic of the XV century, preserved in Chio

The Spear was kept in the Byzantine courts for many centuries up until it changed hands from Charlemagne to Otto I, and it was used as the symbol of the Holy Roman Empire, then it passed to Henry IV of Bavaria and the emperor Charles IV. On 12 March 1938, Hitler was conquering Austria, and the Spear, which was part of the Habsburg treasures was about to change its owner. Hitler, after invading Austria, brought all the royal treasury to Nuremberg.

13 October 1938: the Spear left the Austrian capital transported on an armored train and was protected by a special corps of the SS. It was put inside the church of Saint Catherine, alongside the royal treasure of the Hasburg. The legend says that the Spear was brought to Germany to manifest its amazing powers. In reality, the Spear arrived in Germany because it belonged to a country that was invaded. Hitler probably saw the Spear as the symbol of the continuity of Otto I’s Empire. When the war ended, the Spear returned to Austria and is now preserved inside the Hofborg Museum of Vienna.

Scientific Analysis of the Spear and its real origins

Obviously, according to the study of this finding, it wasn’t a miraculous spear. But we can appreciate the historic value: the item has been dated around the VIII Century AD. The manufacture is of Carolingian origins. The spear, broken into two points, has a triple wrapping in iron, silver, and gold.

The silver band dates to the II Century AD, but the engraving on it belongs to the Henry IV of Bavaria, who lived between 1084 and 1105. The golden sheath is from the XIV Century, and it was in Charles IV’s possession, who got “Lancea et Clavus Domini” engraved on it.

The Spear of Longinus, kept in the Hofburg Museum of Vienna

In conclusion, we don’t know if it is true that the Nazis relied on the power of these objects and if they believed they could have brought the Arian race on top of the world. But the facts tell us that the Nazis, ridiculed and mocked in Indiana Jones’ movies, committed crimes that left a bloody imprint on history. And they have done it without any help from divine and powerful objects, but only guided by the hate generated by the human mind.

Testo inglese tradotto dall’articolo: Il nazismo esoterico di Hitler