Ironies and Paradoxes in History and Legend:
Savitri Devi on her Last Book
A Selection from her Correspondence and Interviews
Edited by R.G. Fowler
Illustration: The stele of the Assyrian Emperor Esarhaddon depicting the defeated Pharaoh Tarhaka.
One measure of a writer’s or a book’s originality is if one can imagine a given work, or something close to it, being written by someone else. By this standard, Savitri Devi is a true original. Nobody else could have written The Lightning and the Sun or Long-Whiskers and the Two-Legged Goddess. Nobody else could even have imagined them. If Savitri had not written them, nothing even remotely like them ever would have existed.
Savitri Devi’s last book, Ironies et paradoxes de l’histoire et de la légende (Ironies and Paradoxes in History and Legend) surely belongs to this category, which makes it all the more poignant that the book was never completed and the fate of its manuscript (some one-and-a-half chapters) is unknown. The manuscript may, of course, come to light. (Less than one year ago, the Archive received word that three of Savitri’s unpublished manuscripts had been preserved by a friend in France.)
What follows is a selection of tantalizing passages from Savitri’s interviews and correspondence on Ironies and Paradoxes, the book that might have been.
We wish to thank Matt Koehl and Martin Kerr, for providing copies of Savitri’s letters to them, and M.L. and Kevin Alfred Strom for providing copies of Savitri’s letters to Professor L. and Revilo P. Oliver, respectively.
From a letter to Professor L.
New Delhi, 17 May 1978
. . . it is a fact that as I grow old (73 in September) I put up with this climate less and less. Anyhow a day will come when all will be ended—Blessed day! But I should like to finish my Tyrtaios first (thanks, by the way, thanks over and over again for the papers about his work) and write my Ironies et paradoxes (in French or English, I don’t know yet). About the ironies of history (Clara Hitler dying of cancer in December 1907 and sighing—“My poor dear Adolf! What will he possibly do in life with no diplomas, no job, nobody to help him!” Adolf—then 18 years old—had come from his miserable life in Vienna for a time, to be at his mother’s side.)
Could anybody have told her: “He? He’ll march through History as a God—Thousands will love him, kill and die, and be tortured for his sake—Millions will hate him—But He is one of the greatest Ones”? And could she have believed it?
History has such ironies. No more now, but my [one word is illegible—Ed.] thanks. 9:15 in the morning and the air already burning—unbearable.
Interviews, New Delhi, November 1978
(And Time Rolls On: The Savitri Devi Interviews, pp. 75-7, 107-11)
I’m thinking now of writing another book. I don’t know if it will be in French or in English. If it’s in French it will be called, probably, Ironies et paradoxes, about the ironical and paradoxical in certain events of history or in certain lives of people and things like that.
For instance, one paradox is the birth of Goebbels. His father was absolutely against us, a staunch Catholic of Rheydt, Rheinland, and in Goebbels’ diaries, you get this phrase, “Krach mit Vater” [quarrel with father] every two lines when he’s young. He didn’t like him at all. And then Goebbels met Adolf Hitler, and his father liked him even less. Anyhow, his father is one of the greatest benefactors of the Hitler movement without meaning to. And I want to show that so many people do things without meaning to. And sometimes against what they should do.
For instance, Nebuchadnezzar, who stormed Jerusalem in 586 BC and took the Jews all in captivity in Babylon. Of course Cyrus let them go back, those who wanted to go back, in 538 BC. But they didn’t all go back. Some stayed in Babylon. Now Nebuchadnezzar, of course, who took them there, thought he was doing a great harm to them. He was destroying the Jewish nation.
In reality, he was doing a great favor to them because they were an agricultural people and a warlike people in those days. They were not great bankers or anything of the kind. The banking of antiquity was in the hands of the Babylonians. We have records of Babylonian banks of nine hundred years. Babylon was under the Kassite dynasty, an Aryan dynasty, that lasted until 1,080 BC. And I must say that the Jews who stayed in Babylon received favor there. They finished by no longer being prisoners. They could go about. They learnt their banking there. That’s where they learnt their capacity in banking that they used for centuries later on. Nebuchadnezzar was one of their benefactors. One of the greatest ones.
Another one was Titus. He destroyed Jerusalem completely in the year 70. And Hadrian destroyed what was left of it in 135, after two risings. Well, they had so many risings under the Romans—we normally read of two—but there were a good one hundred fifty risings or more. Instead of keeping the Jews in Palestine where they were, these two anti-Jewish Roman emperors made slaves of some of them and sent them all over the Roman Empire, in the slave markets. They took others and dispersed them. They forbade any Jew to remain in Jerusalem. There were a few in Palestine. They persecuted them too. The result was that the Jews were strewn all over the world instead of being in one stronghold in Palestine.
And what would’ve happened if they had been in Palestine was this: in the seventh century the wave of Islam would have taken them over. There would be no Jews left in the world. They would all be Mohammedans. Except perhaps a few, one little sect, but the wave of Islam was so powerful, it took over the whole of Christian North Africa. North Africa was Christian. It became Mohammedan overnight, except for the tiny sect of the Copts that are still alive. The Jews would’ve been the same. There would be no Jewish question at all in the world.
But they were not in Palestine. That’s the trouble. Thanks to their enemies, Titus and Hadrian, they were all over the place in Europe. They were in Italy. They were in Germany. They were I don’t know where. They had followed the Roman legions, as contractors, of course. They were the best contractors of the Roman legions in Germany and elsewhere. And that is the service these two typically anti-Jewish emperors rendered to them. To those Roman emperors we owe the fact that we have the Jews everywhere.
This is the kind of book I want to write. I think it will be interesting if I manage to write it. It’s getting ripe in me, slowly, slowly, slowly. It might take two or three years more.
Robert Ambelain on Christianity
[I wish to recommend three books by Robert Ambelain.1] They were lent to me by this French lady. They are extraordinary, and they are all the more convincing in that the man is not a Jew. He’s an Aryan, but he’s pro-Jew. He’s a very good Hebrew scholar. He knows Hebrew as I know French or English or Greek. And he is an historian. And a high graded Freemason, on top of that. What really gets up his nose is the antagonism between Christianity, especially Medieval Christianity, and the Jews. He says that, “May his blood fall on us and on our children,” was an interpolation. “The Jews never said that. Why were they persecuted for saying that when they never said it?” Personally, I don’t care if they said it or not. To me, it is quite immaterial.
To him, the person of Jesus is the son of a Jewish anti-Roman agitator, and he was himself an anti-Roman agitator and nothing else. No teacher of any sort of religion. Just an anti-Roman who was condemned to death by the Romans on the cross. Well, it’s perfectly true that if he were really condemned by the Jews, according to Jewish law, on the charge of blasphemy for calling himself God, he would not have been crucified. He would’ve been stoned. The Jewish custom was stoning, lapidation, and not crucifixion. Of course he never called himself God. He always said, “the Father and I,” “There are things I do not know but the Father knows.”
But even if he had called himself God and he were condemned by the Jews for blasphemy, he was crucified by the Romans. He was condemned by the Romans, not for calling himself God but for saying that he was “King of the Jews” and for resistance activities. He was a Jewish maquisard [guerilla fighter]. According to Ambelain, his father also and his grandfather also. His grandfather Ezekias was supposed to have been crucified under Herod.
Now according to Ambelain, Paul was no insignificant little Jew. He was one-fourth Jewish and three-fourths Idumean, that is to say, Arab, of the dynasty of the Herods. He was the grandson of Herod the Great by his mother Cypros. And he was neither in the Arab gang nor in the Jewish. He was circumcised. He had himself circumcised when he was aged. That is to say, he was not circumcised as a baby. He had no place among the Jews, and Jews didn’t like him. They did not like neophytes who come when they are older and for perhaps non-religious reasons. So he tried to found a sect of his own. According to Ambelain, he took the person of that Jewish agitator and made him into a mystic figure, added to him all the characteristics of the age-old vegetation gods, Mithra, Osiris, Adonis, and others. The disciples of Jesus already had spread the rumor that he was resurrected, so half the job was done. He only had to say, “Yes, he was resurrected, and he rose up from the dead for the salvation of the world.” He made him into a world figure, when in reality he wasn’t even a Jewish figure. And by his doing that, he spread an influence of Jewry on the whole world. You have a perfect Aryan girl, a German named Ruth or named Sarah, or you have an Englishman named David. You have an Englishman, Isaac Newton, called Isaac. What is all that? What is that stuff? You have a man called Johannes. Johannes is Jokannan in the Hebrew. Jokannan is John. The whole thing has changed.
After the spreading of Christianity, after the acceptance of Christianity as a state religion by the Roman emperors after Constantine, it seems that then the gospels as we know them today were written. They hadn’t got the same ones. There is no manuscript of any gospel except one or two, what they call the Apocrypha. And even then, there’s no manuscript contemporary of Christ in the world. The first ones are of the fourth century AD. Those we have, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (well, in reality, there were other names), date from the fourth century AD. The gospels that the Christians used to use before that date, they were taken back to Constantinople by order of Constantine. In packets of fifty. And packets of fifty of the new ones were given to them, the new ones we have today.
And there are queer things in them. For instance, in the gospel according to Matthew, Christ was born under Herod. Herod died in the year 4 BC. Therefore, he was born before 4 BC. Maybe 5 or 6 or 7 BC. According to Luke, he was born under the magistrateship of the Roman Quirinius. Quirinius ruled Palestine before Pilate, that is to say, in about 6 AD. That is to say, if Jesus were born in 4 BC. he would be at least ten years old. Which is the right date of birth? Why does one say this and one say that? Anyhow, this Ambelain has picked the gospels right through, the canonical ones and the apocryphal ones that have survived in Coptic translation, in Slavonic translation, Ethiopian translation, in all sorts of translations. He has gone through them all. And it has given a figure of Jesus that is not at all the classical one.
The Jews are the ones behind the institution of Christianity. I’m quite sure of that. It was a means to emasculate the race. There is a contradiction between the principles of Christianity and warrior behavior. They can’t go together. If you have to love your enemy like yourself, you can’t fight. And the first Christians did not fight for the Romans. But there was a compromise. When Constantine wanted Christianity to be the state religion, he said, “Call the bishops.” The bishops said, “All right, we accept it, but we have to accept to fight for you. It will no longer be an offense to fight for the Roman Empire.” That was a compromise, an unhealthy compromise. All compromises are unhealthy. You can’t have them, can’t have them.
The gentle Jesus of the Christians, the classic gentle Jesus never existed. I believe in Ambelain’s theory. The real Jesus was a Jew fighting for his own race, a very respectable man. I have nothing against him. I much prefer him to the classical image of Jesus, in fact. He didn’t want the salvation of the whole world. He wanted his country to be out of the Roman Empire. I understand that. I quite understand his struggle. But that struggle doesn’t interest mankind. It interests the Jews. And the Jews found out, of course, that the best way to put him onto mankind was to give him sort of a mystical personality, a personality of peace and what mankind wanted, and to assimilate his qualities with the qualities of the already existing gods.
Now 1,400 years BC, there was a religion, existing still in Christ’s days, the religion of Mithra, the Iranian god. In fact, in the very words that are attributed to Christ at the moment of the consecration of the bread and wine, “He who does not eat my flesh and drink my blood has no eternal life,” we have the exact replica in the cult of Mithra fourteen hundred years before: “He who does not eat my flesh and drink my blood has no eternal life.” And this was discovered by Tertullian, the Christian father of the Latin church in the second century. And Tertullian, of course, found an explanation. He had to find an explanation. How is it that Christ and Mithra speak the same language? He said, “Oh, no, that’s not the fact. Christ is right, but the devil put these words into the cult of Mithra fourteen hundred years before out of mockery of what was going to be one day Christianity.” The devil did it. That’s an explanation. It’s no explanation in my eyes, anyhow. In reality, it’s the Christians who took these words and applied them to their own master. Without that, their own master wouldn’t be a god. He would just be a human being. And the crucifixion would have a quite different meaning. Crucifixion: he was condemned for rebellion against the Romans, that’s all. The Christians made him into a sacrificial scapegoat. He was taking on the sins of the world.
From a letter to Martin Kerr
New Delhi, 15 May 1979
I have started writing a new book—don’t know yet whether it will be in English or in French. But have not got beyond the first pages . . . because of the heat. It is about Ironies and Paradoxes of history. One of the “stories” will be about Clara Hitler—our Fuhrer’s mother—in desperation upon her death bed (1907) at the idea, “What will my poor Adolf do in life, without a job, without any diploma fit to get him one?” He was then eighteen years old and had come from Vienna, to be with her.
From a letter to Professor L.
New Delhi, 7 June 1979
I would like before I die to finish my Tyrtaios the Athenian (I thank you for the papers you sent me long ago) and the new book I began this year: Ironies et paradoxes—de l’histoire et de la légende. A great part of it will be devoted to the distortions of history, both in ancient monuments, such as King Esarhaddon’s stele of Nahr el-Kalb in Syria, and in our own days (the history of the World War especially). Legend—which should never contradict history—is also sometimes falsified. And in this connection I shall speak of Robert Ambelain’s lengthy researches laid down in his books: Jésus, ou le mortal secret des Templiers—La vie secrete de Saint Paul—Les lourds secrets du Golgotha in which the whole Christian legend is shown—documents in hand—as a shameless hoax. (The hoax of the first century—as tremendous as that of the Twentieth, by Arthur Butz.)
I’ll speak also of the irony of certain facts, inter alia, that of well known enemies of the Jews such as Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and the Roman Emperors Titus and later Hadrian appearing when well considered as their benefactors (without meaning to be of course). It’s in Babylon, the great banking center of Antiquity (one has records of Babylonian banks that lasted eight and nine hundred years!) that the crude farmers and warriors of Israel became initiated to the handling of money on a grand scale—that which was to give power to their descendants to this day. And had Titus and later Hadrian not uprooted them from Palestine and dispersed them all over the Roman empire, there would have been no “Jewish problem” ever: the wave of Islam, in early seventh century AD would have taken over the Jews as well as the Christians of the near East, and the descendants of these would now be feeling themselves “Mohammedans” for centuries (as do those of all the Christians of north Africa, Egypt (save a handful of Copts) and Syria (save a handful of Maronites). But Titus and later Hadrian helped Jewish consciousness to survive, by sending the Jews (or most of them) out of the reach of Islam to come. Naturally they could not foretell its coming and its role.
From a letter to Professor Revilo P. Oliver
New Delhi, 11 July 1979
Do you know Robert Ambelain’s books? Jésus, ou le mortel secret des Templiers, La vie secrete de Saint Paul, and Les Lourds secrets du Golgotha. They were edited [published] at Robert Laffont’s—6 place Saint-Sulpice, 75006 PARIS—in the collection “Les Enigmes de l’Univers” [The Mysteries of the Universe].
Robert Ambelain is a scholar, knowing Hebrew (as well as Greek and Latin, of course) and a student of the Kabbala. The arguments he puts forth in favor of his thesis—his Truth about the historical person of Jesus, which he says is a secret known to the highest dignitaries of the Church—are very convincing, to me at least. He proves—or tries to prove—that the “Christ” of the Gospels is a pure concoction of “Saint” Paul, while the real Jesus was the son of Judah of Gamala and, like his father (and grandfather Ezekias), an offspring of the family of David and a “freedom fighter,” in fact the Leader of the Jewish resistance against the Romans, in Ambelain’s words, “un maquisard Juif” [a Jewish guerilla].
If so, this would be an extra reason for my having nothing to do with him. The Romans were Aryans like myself and tolerant in matters of religion, as all people of Antiquity, save the blessed Jews.
From a letter to Professor L.
New Delhi, 16 July 1979
I have begun another book that I shall (probably) call Ironies et paradoxes de l’Histoire et de la legende. I have begun the second chapter about “Lies in History” beginning with the many mendacious inscriptions of Rameses II in the thirteenth century BC and the famous blatantly mendacious Stele put up by Esarhaddon, King of Assyria (seventh century BC) at Nahr el-Kalb in Syria, (Tarhaka of Egypt is depicted there on all fours, licking the conqueror’s mantle rim, while in reality the two men never as much as met.2 [Tarhaka fled to Napata (Sudan) when Esharaddon was not yet in Upper Egypt!]) But the Assyrian King wished to “impress” the Syrians he had conquered with his invincible strength and prowess (War propaganda!). You have I presume heard of the recent books about more recent “war propaganda”—Arthur Butz’s The Hoax of the Twentieth Century and Thies Christopherson’s The Auschwitz Lie (with a preface by Manfred Roeder) I can send you the latter booklet if you have not already got it from the library of the N.S.W.P.P. (National Socialist White People’s Party, U.S.A.).
Mind you, I once believed the lie. But that did not in the least shake my National Socialist faith. I just could not have cared less. As a fact, as long as men so shamelessly treat living Nature—have slaughterhouses, experiments on live creatures, the fish industry—think of the poor seals in Canada! I refuse to sympathize with human victims of man’s cruelty or violence save when these happen to be my own brothers in faith (other Aryans believing in our values).
From a letter to Matt Koehl
New Delhi, 2 August 1979
I am now—slowly—writing another book: Ironies and Paradoxes of History and Legend (or something like that). But I have not gone yet beyond Chapter 1, “History and Legend,” and I am starting Chapter 2 on “The Lies of History” (a lot to say, for lies begin with old records—i.e., with Antiquity. Nothing new under the Sun.)
It will take time to write because I am now half blind (cataract) and getting old. I’d like to finish it before I die, but do not know whether I shall or not. I’ll soon be full 74, going in for 75 (born in 1905).
From a letter to Professor L.
New Delhi, 15 November 1979
I have yet to wait for my operation says the eye specialist—whom I am to see again in a fortnight or so. I do wish I have as much luck as you, concerning my poor eyes—which cause me difficulty in writing my next book about Ironies et paradoxes de l’histoire et de la légende. Up till now I could only write 1½ chapters on account of the strain. I can just follow the lines with my left eye. But can hardly see what I am writing.
From a National Socialist White People’s Party Activity Report
New Delhi, Postmarked 30 July 1980
My one activity, i.e. writing my new book (on Ironies and Paradoxes in History and Legend) has unfortunately been completely suppressed for nearly a year on account of my increasingly poor eyesight (both eyes suffering from cataracts; one from glaucoma in addition to that). The right eye operated—a very expensive operation—over 400 US dollars; all I had managed to save in months for it. The other eye has to be operated also but I can’t tell when. I cannot yet get used to the glasses given me and can hardly read even with an enormous magnifying glass and write without seeing what I am writing.
From a letter to Matt Koehl
New Delhi, 25 November 1980
The French scholar Robert Ambelain wrote a few books that, according to me, every conscious Aryan racialist should know about. (And it matters little if Ambelain himself is pro-Jew, provided his arguments are sound.)
He believes Jesus—the deified man set up as an object of worship to the world—was in reality the eldest son of Juda of Gamala, son of Ezekias, son of a whole series of other “Zealots,” Jewish freedom fighters against the Romans, all of them descendants of David, son of Jesse. According to him, Jesus was crucified for acts of violence (terrorism) against the Aryan masters of the land of Judea and Galilee, no spiritual leader whatsoever. The “spiritual” side of the movement was John the Baptists’ department—as it had been his father’s (Zachariah’s) department in the days of Juda of Gamala (who was killed during the rising of the year 6 AD).
It is—still according to Ambelain—Paul—Saul (who is not of Tarsus, but an Idumean of Herod’s family converted to Judaism) who interpreted or attempted to interpret the Zealot movement in his own way and make it palatable to the non-Jews of the Near East also (the followers of the religions of salvation such as that of Mithra, most popular at the time, third and fourth centuries AD, among the Roman legions).
Ambelain’s books (in French):
1) Jésus, ou le mortel secret des Templiers
2) La vie secrete de Saint Paul
3) Les lourds secrets du Golgotha
Editions R. Laffont—6 place Saint-Sulpice, 75006 PARIS
Do get them if you can. They are interesting to the highest point.
From a letter to Matt Koehl
Alix, par Lozanne, France, 7 May 1982
Did you ever hear of that erudite Frenchman Robert Ambelain?
If not, try to acquire, at any cost and by any means, his books on the origins of Christianity, publisher Robert Laffont, 6 place Saint-Sulpice, 75006 Paris. Those I possess are in New Delhi, with my friend (our friend Mlle. H—). I have re-ordered them here in France but up till now only got one: Les lourds secrets du Golgotha. The two others, written in the seventies, are: Jésus, ou le mortel secret des Templiers and La vie secrete de Saint Paul, and. There is a fourth one in the same series (“Les Enigmes de l’Univers” [The Mysteries of the Universe]) whose title I do not know, but which must be as passionately interesting as the three just mentioned.
Ambelain is—as far as I can tell—no Jew whatsoever but neither is he any of us—anything but. He is—like my long-deceased Aunt Nora, my mother’s elder sister, an admirer of the Jews, but not for the same reason as she. In her eyes they were “God’s own people” destined to rule the world from Jerusalem after the second coming of Jesus and the Last Judgment. This was to her “Bible truth” and I, as a child, was to read to her a chapter of the old and a chapter of the New Testament, and not make any comments of my own—not “discuss with my Maker.” The result was that she made me hate this precious “God’s own people” and their “Jealous God” along with them. Ambelain just likes the monotheistic idea and is moved by the Jewish struggle against Rome. While I am on the Roman side decidedly, he goes and dedicates one of his books “To the dead of Masada”—the last spot of Jewish resistance (in 73 AD), i.e., three years after the fall of Jerusalem (and there are more risings even after that, the last under Emperor Hadrian (132 AD which ended in 135).
But that has naught to do with Ambelain’s scholarship and informative genuineness.
To him Jesus (Yeshuah) is the eldest son of Judah of Gamala, son of Ezekias, and like he, a leader of Jewish resistance against Rome, no spiritual leader of mankind at all. Nazareth did not exist until the 8th century AD. And Joseph is a convenient myth, to push into oblivion Jesus’ real father, at a time when Paul’s type of Christianity had conquered the Roman State. The Gospels accepted today were all written in the 4th and 5th centuries AD.
Paul, says Ambelaim—and he proves it—though a perfect Semite, was no Jew, but a member of the large Herodian stock—a grandson of Herod “the Great” and one who acquired his “Roman Citizenship” through that pro-Roman Idumean family. He made up his (successful) brand of Christianity out of bits and pieces from various older mystery creeds of the near East (and Ambelain proves that also!).
According to Ambelain, Jesus and Juda of Gamala (or Galilee) and [Jesus’] grandfather are all genuine descendants of David, the 11th century BC king of the Jews, claiming against Rome freedom for Palestine and restoration to power of the dynasty of David. The Crucifixion, just one among many executions of “résistants”—political opponents to their rule, and the “Resurrection”—the appearing before Jesus’s followers of . . . his twin brother (Thomas, in Hebrew taoma, plural taomim, means “twin”).
And there are many more things explained in those scholarly books by one well-versed in Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin, Greek, and History of the Near East and of Rome and Greece.
It took 400 years to make the decadent mixed people of the Empire to pin their faith in a genuine Jewish “maquisard,” interested only in his own people, and take him to be “the Lamb of God sacrificing himself for the sins of mankind.” The Jews themselves were much too cunning to believe the story. So were the genuine Greeks (see how the Athenians laughed at Saul-Paul, Chapter 17, Acts of the Apostles). So were the proud and beautiful people of North Europe. They were forced into it and kept throughout history the uncomfortable feeling of inner contradiction—to this day. Read Gustav Frenssen’s Der Glaube der Nordmark [Faith of the Northland].
I am glad the hard core of our faith—the most thoughtful among us—have always been untouched by the hoax, personally already living in the coming Hitler order.
What an uplifting feeling!
1 Robert Ambelain, Jésus, ou le mortel secret des Templiers [Jesus, or The Fatal Secret of the Templars] (Paris: R. Laffont, 1970), La vie secrete de Saint Paul [The Secret Life of Saint Paul] (Paris: R. Laffont, 1971), and Les lourds secrets du Golgotha [The Heavy Secrets of Golgotha] (Paris: R. Laffont, 1974).
2 Savitri has confused the Nahr el-Kelb stela, which does not portray Tarhaka, with a stela from Zinjirli, which does depict him, and which is in the Pergamun Museum in Berlin.