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Heinrich Himmler Views Ancient Germanic Rune Markings in a Palatinate Quarry (1935)
Heinrich Himmler was an advocate of racial myths, occultism, and esoteric ideas. He founded, for example, the German Ancestral Heritage Association [Deutsches Ahnenerbe e.V.], a group that engaged in pseudo-scientific research projects on the descent and characteristics of the “Aryan race.” Himmler also regarded his SS as an ancient Germanic clan, and endowed it with a series of pagan or pseudo-medieval symbols and rituals. This photograph shows Himmler (center), SS Colonel [Standartenführer] Weisthor (at right, above Himmler), and others at a quarry in the Palatinate. At the time, Weisthor was head of the department of early pre-history and early history at the Main Office of Race and Settlement (RuSHA); he was also considered an expert on ancient German runes. Weisthor, whose real name was Karl Maria Wiligut, was later unmasked as a charlatan and an escapee from a mental hospital. He was expelled from the SS in 1939.