And a Happy New Year from ARPLAN
For Christmas this year ARPLAN presents two brief articles from 1930s Germany, each exploring the celebration of Christmas from a Germanic, völkisch-socialist perspective. The first is a 1935 piece by Jakob Wilhelm Hauer, an academic Indologist and religious expert and the leader of the ‘neopagan’ German Faith Movement (Deutsche Glaubenbewegung, DGB). The second is an earlier, 1930 essay by Alfons Hitzler, a former brewer and industrial worker and the NSDAP Kreisleiter for Plauen, Saxony. In each article the author describes certain ceremonial aspects of the German celebration of Christmas – the Christmas tree, the lighting of candles, the veneration of the ‘child of light’ – with quiet reverence, tying them back not so much to the Christian religious doctrine which they ostensibly represent, but rather to key facets of the Germanic racial tradition and the “German soul.” Despite their authorship, neither article is overtly anti-Christian in tone. Hauer’s DGB was a federation of various paganist and Nordicist organizations, ‘German-believing’ communities (deutschgläubige Gemeinden), and ‘freethinking’ Protestant groups, with their overarching concern being that certain key features of Christian theology and religious practice (most particularly that of the figure of Christ) be divested of their ‘Eastern-Semitic’ character and reincorporated instead into a new faith tradition more suitable to German blood, spirit, and soul; this aspect of the Faith Movement worldview is reflected in the conclusion of Hauer’s article, where the author promises the “deepening” of the celebration of Christmas rather than “the naked renunciation of Christian tradition.” Alfons Hitzler is a somewhat more obscure figure than Hauer, and although his article is more overt in its defense of mainstream Christianity (he specifically criticizes the “anti-Christian preaching” of Social-Democracy), Hitzler did have “Gottgläubige” inclinations – a term used in National Socialist and völkisch circles to describe those who rejected Germany’s established religious denominations without rejecting a general belief in God, Christ, or in some other form of ‘higher power’. Like Hauer, Hitzler also seems to advocate a Christmas celebration oriented around the German Volk rather than any higher concern for humanity’s salvation, a position which places him among the ranks of the more religiously radical segments of the NSDAP. I hope that readers enjoy these articles, and that you all enjoy a safe and happy Christmas season.
Christmas – Yulefest
By Jakob Wilhelm Hauer
Published 21 December, 1935 in
völkisch newspaper Reichswart,1 vol. 16, no.51
Christmas – Yulefest has a special place in the cycle of the year. Yule-solstice, that ancient Indo-Germanic celebration of the victory of light, of the birth of the young sun-god and the new year, requires a ceremony outdoors in the forest or on a quiet hill, where the deep winter night surrounds us or where the soul expands under the tree of light that is the starry sky. It makes sense to decorate with lights a fir tree, one perhaps covered deeply in snow, as a worldly-human response to the shimmering of the eternal stars. Currents of cosmic connectedness pervade our soul. And when we see the solstice fires flaring up over upon the neighboring heights, greeting ours throughout the night, we know that we are one with all of those celebrating among the Volk, and with those kindled hearts who have borne the light of the High Spirit and the love for Volk and German territory through the millennia of our Teutonic-German history. The German youth movement has discovered anew such a ‘Christmas’ [‘Weihnacht’] and has learned these celebrations out of a sense of deep emotion for such realities. These celebrations are among the most treasured memories of our lives. Today they should be the common property of all those who set out to search for something new. But such celebrations outdoors are only for the young, and for a few steadfast old ones. Continue reading