HERMANN’S MONUMENT AND THE VALLEY OF THE EAGLES
Detmold, 23 October 1953
The tramway line runs through the woods. And the woods had the magnificent colours of autumn: light brown, dark brown, orange, bright yellow, dark red, blood red, in contrast with patches of everlasting dark green. My face against the window, I gazed at the scenery: on the left side of the road, hills covered with woods — steep slopes, rising directly from the road level; ahead, the ever-changing perspective of a winding valley within a forest; on the right hand side, the breadth of the valley: more wooded expanses leading to wooded hills; the play of the Sun within the branches; then, suddenly, a bright watery surface reflecting the blue sky, the Sun, the upside-down images of the bordering trees, the soft outlines of the bordering hills, the violent reds and browns of which merged, beyond a certain distance, into a glorious golden haze.
And far away, upon the top of the highest hill closing the horizon, — above the wooded slopes in autumn garb; above the marshy expanse, the whole valley, the whole land, — stood something which I, with my bad eyesight, could hardly distinguish in the midst of the luminous haze: a long and sharp-looking thing — like a sword pointing to the sky, — to which my neighbour in the tramway car (doubtless noticing how intensely interested I was in the landscape) drew my attention saying: “That, up there, is Hermann’s monument.”
“Hermann,1 . . .” repeated I, as though speaking to myself, but with apparently such ravishment that half the passengers in the tramway turned around to look at me; “Hermann the Liberator! No better high place could have been found for his likeness!”
The tramway rolled on, — now, full-speed, for we were outside the town. The perspective was different from second to second. We were running further and further away from
1 Also known as Arminius.
the border of the watery mirror. The opposite hills and their upside-down images, rapidly receded into the distance, and new hills appeared, covered with the same many-shaded brown mantel of dying leaves. And the slopes on the left side of the road became gradually less steep and more remote.
But the Monument to the glory of the Liberator still dominated the gorgeous landscape, — firmly rooted as a landmark in the body of the highest hill, and as immobile as the hill itself. It appeared to me as the Symbol of the unchanging German Soul above the stream of history that never flows backwards.
* * *
I completely lost sight of the swamp. The valley broadened. The road turned. Meadows appeared — and houses, here and there; then, more meadows, and woods in the background. The tramway line was nearing the foot of the range at the summit of which I had been shown the Monument. But the latter could no longer be seen. “Things on high can only be looked upon from a distance,” thought I. “And the towering figures of the past can also be, only from far ahead in time, visualised in all their significance. But that is not all: they are, also, great according to the measure of the future that judges them; great to the extent that they have made that future possible, or that they have striven — be it in vain — to bring about that which that future holds beautiful and valuable.”
We reached the last stop: Hiddesen; the place from which one can either take a bus to the top of the hill and to the Monument, or . . . walk up, through the woods. I chose to walk.
I was alone. A group of people who had come in the same tramway car as I, waited for the bus. Following the road that leads uphill, and inhaling, at every step, the fragrance of the forest, I resumed the trend of my thoughts. It was, definitely, better to walk: more inspiring; more in keeping with my mood and purpose, reflected I. I had indeed not come to see things as a tourist — comfortably and superficially, — but to be, as intimately as I could, in communion with my Führer’s Land and people. Then, I thought again of Hermann the Liberator: the Cheruskan Chief who defeated Varus’ legions in year 9 of the Christian era; the man who has spared Germany the tragic fate of Gaul and Britain, i.e., integration into
the decaying Roman, — and thereby, soon, into the early Christian — world, and ultimately, integration into a Western world that has forgotten its Aryan soul.
It was, indeed, something never to have experienced Roman domination; at least, never to have experienced it save on the border of one’s territory, while the other important countries of the West had undergone it completely; to have remained free, proud, warrior-like, during those awful first centuries of the Christian era, during which they had been slaves; to have continued to speak the Germanic tongue, while they had been busy forgetting their Celtic languages and learning Latin; to have remained faithful to the old Nordic religion of the “All-powerful Father-of-Light” and to its manly spirit, while they had been, partly under Roman pressure1 and partly of their own free will, forgetting their traditional faiths and, either paying a lip-homage to the gods of Rome and believing in nothing but the dreary philosophy of all time-servers, or . . . seeking otherworldly consolations in the mystery cults of the Near East and finally in Christianity. It was something, — it was more, far more than most students of history have ever noticed, up till now — to have escaped that repulsive, widespread blood-mixture that was to be the immediate and most disastrous consequence of the new religion of man, wherever the latter was to win the hearts of the people after — thanks to Roman conquest — numbers of foreigners of different races had settled among them as mercenary soldiers, as merchants, soothsayers, courtesans and slaves. It was something to have been spared that — along with early Christianisation and latinisation — while retaining, through constant hostile contact with the Roman world, the priceless feeling of danger, and the healthy readiness to fight every form of foreign authority, (and consequently every form of internationalism). Through that good luck (or mysterious predestination) Germany was never to become like the rest of Europe — even though Christianity was, later, to change the face of her people, outwardly and for a time. Through that good luck, she was, in spite of all, to retain her proud Aryan soul and to prove herself worthy to rule the West. And that good luck she owed to Hermann the Cheruskan. Or was it, on the contrary, that Hermann the Cheruskan had succeeded where
1 The druidic cult was forbidden in Gaul and Britain by order of the Roman Emperor Claudius (41–54 A.D.).
other National leaders — Vercingetorix; Queen Boadicea, — had failed, because the Invisible Powers Who preside over the drama of history had appointed Germany a tremendous and unique destiny? — that destiny, of which Adolf Hitler was so often to speak, nearly two thousand years later, and the fulfillment of which is yet to come?
Thus thinking, I continued walking uphill — higher and higher, — through the woods. I took a shortcut, which a man I had met had shown me, and came to a place from which I could behold a whole portion of the surrounding country: hills covered with woods in autumn colours as far as my eyes could see, and Detmold in the midst of them; the Teutoburg Forest, — a part of Germany’s living royal mantle, in all its splendour. And for the thousandth time I marvelled at the fact that, in spite of every successive invader’s destructiveness, Germany has remained a land of forests.
In the place where I stood, very many trees had been felled — doubtless by “them,” the victors of 1945, the persecutors of all I admire. The sight of the devastation made me at once vividly aware of the presence of the Allies, — still! — and I recalled in my mind the words which Hermann had spoken of the Romans, nearly two thousand years before: “As long as the enemy defies us on German soil, hatred is our law, and our duty: vengeance!” The stumps of the felled trees all round me seemed to call for vengeance. I remembered the atrocious days — 1946 — when I had been told, in England, that, here in the “British Zone” alone, ten thousand trees were being felled every day. And I renewed my old curse with as much passion as then: “May three of those who were glad at the news of the Allies’ victory, die, for every tree felled in Germany since the Capitulation!” A beautiful fir tree, which happened to have been spared, stood a few yards in front of me, among the mossy stumps, proud and green against the reddening background of the further forest. I gazed at it with love, and felt that I had done the right thing in repeating my curse against the victors of the Second World War.
But already between the stumps themselves, one could see, here, the young, dark, ever-green branches of a new conifer, there, the brown and red shades of some other growing tree, experiencing its first or second autumn: the miracle of
inexhaustible Life. At their sight, I remembered the brand new houses and rebuilt factories in the vicinity of still ruined areas; the miracle of Germany’s invincible will to live. And I felt tears well up to my eyes.
The forest, however, became thicker as I walked on, — to the left, along the road that I had reached, as I had been told I would. I knew the Monument was at the top of the hill, but I could not see it. Nor could I any longer see the landscape of undulating hills, and Detmold in the distance: the trees on my left hid it from me entirely. I could see nothing but trees — now, practically all conifers — and the play of light and shade, and, occasionally, of an exceptionally bright ray of sunshine, within their dark branches; and the bright blue sky above. And I knew I was in the Teutoburg Forest, — a hallowed region within the hallowed Land. And I felt myself on sacred ground.
I was glad to be alone. What I really would have liked to meet at the turning of the road, would have been a group of handsome Hitler youths, singing on their way. But for that I had come too late, — or too early. Now, it was much better to be alone than to meet such people as would not have been, according to me, visiting Hermann’s Monument in the right spirit. To be alone with the forest, and the still Soul of the Forest; with that intense, slow and irresistible tree-life which — it is said — frightened the Romans in this one land that stood up against them victoriously; alone with the feeling of Germany’s eternity — for that powerful Tree-life is nothing else. And I reflected, as I followed the road, deeper and deeper into the holy shade and peace, breathing the fragrance of the evergreens: “Indeed, like ancient India, where the Aryan Doctrine of detached Violence was first laid down in written words by seers racially akin to her people, Germany was and remains a land of forests, not merely materially, but also in a subtler sense. The everlastingness of her people lies, like that of the woods, in their stubborn, semi-conscious faithfulness to their kind and to their soil. The ancient Aryans in India invented the Caste System, or reorganised it upon a rational, racialist basis. The Germans brought forth the National Socialist State, in accordance with that selfsame wisdom of Blood and Soil, which they have, throughout their history, striven to express. But what creatures have lived up to that wisdom from the beginning
of the world, more rigourously than trees? The wisdom of Blood and Soil is, before all, the immemorial, blind wisdom of Roots and Sap: absolute obedience to the most elementary laws of Life. It is the wisdom of Roots and Sap transferred to the human plane, nay, given to the natural aristocracy of mankind as the secret of the Way to visible and tangible Godhead. Adolf Hitler’s whole inspiring teaching could be expressed in such a commandment as: “Be like unto the trees of the forest!” — in full awareness, with all your heart, will, and intelligence, as faithful to the Law of Blood and Soil as they. “Be faithful to the Land of your kind, and keep the blood of your kind pure; and, just as unfailingly as every tree shows the signs of its own variety, let the Aryan virtues shine in yourselves and in your descendants! And you will be a Nation of supermen, ruling the earth . . .”
I took a narrower road leading upwards, to my right, and walked into ever-thickening shade. I sometimes wondered whether I was on the proper track: the way seemed endless. But it mattered little, thought I: I was, anyhow, going towards the top of the hill; I would find my way, if I had made a mistake . . . Then, suddenly, the path became steeper. The further slope, to which it led, was covered with trees other than conifers. And the rays of the Sun, falling directly upon the path, made the profusion of dying leaves above and on each side of it appear in a riot of intense yellow, rich gold and brown, and violent red. The trunks shone like polished columns in the shimmering light. I felt elated; in a mood to sing. Spontaneously, — as though nothing could, better than that, exteriorise my loving awareness of the holy potency of the Soil; of joyous, stubborn, tree-like youth, that no weapons can kill and that no money than buy, — I intoned the conquering Song; the Song of expansion of the Sons of the Forest in the four directions:
“. . . From the Meuse unto the Memel,
from the Etch up to the Baltic Sea,
Germany, Germany above all,
above all in the world.”1
1 “Won der Maas bis an der Memel,
von der Etch his an dem Belt,
Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
über alles in der Welt . . . !”
And as the last words sprang from me like a spell of pride, hope and revenge, I suddenly saw, right at the top of the road, against a background of glorious light, the Monument bearing the colossal bronze statue of Hermann the Liberator.
* * *
For a while, I stood still in the middle of the road, my right arm outstretched in the direction of the Statue. “Heil dem Befreier!” uttered I at last, aloud and solemnly; “Heil dem Feinde des fremden Roms; des schon verfallenen Roms; der internationalen Weltmacht!” And as I shouted those words, I could not but also think of Him who, in our times, fought against every international power: our Hitler. Nobody could hear me, save, perhaps, the spirits of the Forest. It mattered little. It was, even — apparently — better so. For had anybody been present, I surely would not have spoken.
I paused for a second or two, conscious that I was doing something that had its meaning in the slow ripening of thought and its place in time, and that had to be done. And again, unable to separate in my heart and mind the victorious Chief of two thousand years ago and the One of today whom the coalesced anti-German and anti-Aryan forces of the world have vanquished for a while, but not subdued; broken — also for a while — but not destroyed; reduced to silence — for the last eight years, and for who knows how long more — but not hindered in the invisible Realm where his new rising (not as German Reichschancellor, this time, but as the pan-Aryan Leader and World Saviour) is steadily being prepared, I added: “Heil dem Volksführer and Kriegsführer — gestern, heute, morgen; für immer!”
The German tongue came to me naturally, as though it had been mine, — or as though it were the language of a future Western world, to which I already belonged.
High above the treetops, its face to the West, its right arm raised, sword in hand, to the sky, the colossal likeness of the Liberator stood in the sunshine. I could see only the back of it; and that too had a meaning in that series of magical gestures that I was, knowingly or half-knowingly, accomplishing. I felt — I, one of the first Aryans of the outer world (and perhaps even the first) who had accepted Germany’s leadership without reservations, —
as though I were following the everlasting embodiment of the German warlord; following him in a new Drang nach Westen, in the footsteps of the Frankish tribes that broke the power of decaying Rome; following him, in anticipation of a future awakened Aryandom, united under Germany’s leadership against the new Money power: the Jew-ridden U.S.A., worse than Rome ever was.
And I was elated at that feeling.
* * *
Keeping to the same road, I now turned to my right, and then again to my left. The road went round the summit of the hill, at the topmost of which stood the Monument. Lifting my head, I could now see the bronze warrior’s manly profile under the winged helmet; the strained muscles of the outstretched arm bearing the sword; the resolute forward step of the feet, in their defiant stand. I knew — for having read it on postcards, — that the Monument is fifty-four metres high, the statue alone, twenty-seven, and the sword, seven. But those precise measurements did not interest me (save perhaps for the fact that the sum of the figures, taken in their absolute value in each of the two first numbers, is nine — the sacred number nine of the Nordic religion! — and that the third measurement is seven, another sacred number in nearly all the religions of the world. I just wondered whether Ernst von Bandel, the builder of the Monument, gave it these mystic proportions intentionally or by accident. “If it be by accident, then it is all the more remarkable,” thought I). What really interested me, — what filled me with enthusiasm, — was the meaning of the Liberator’s statue, there upon the highest hilltop, above the forest landscape. In my eyes at least, the bronze likeness of the Warrior personified the spirit of joyous defiance; the aggressive pride of a young, strong, healthy, beautiful Nation, jealous of her freedom and conscious of her invincibility.
I recalled the classical words of Hermann the Cheruskan: “As long as the enemy defies us upon German soil, hatred is our law, and our one duty: revenge!” “My elder and nobler brother,” thought I; “you who possessed the divine power of the Sword — the final power, which I have not, — how I understand you! How I feel nearer to you than to those who, even though some
of them be my superiors, who suffered for the Aryan Cause and whom I respect, lack that simple, innocent barbarity that adorns you!” And I recalled the inscription upon the symbolical Sword in the bronze hero’s hand: Bismarck’s famous words: “Deutsche Einigkeit: meine Stärke; meine Stärke: Deutschland’s Macht,” — “German unity is my strength; in my strength lies Germany’s power.” “Ein Volk; ein Reich; ein Führer,” reflected I, quoting within my heart the modern slogan; the motto of unity and power which is that of the Third Reich and will remain that of the Greater German Reich to come. “Adolf Hitler has spoken, and lived, and acted, in Bismarck’s spirit and in the spirit of Hermann the Liberator — in the spirit of all those who, in the course of history, embodied the Soul of eternal Germany. The great difference, however, between him and them, is that he embodied the German Soul absolutely, in full consciousness of the laws that have made it the higher Self of Western Aryandom.” And I remembered also the Führer’s words, uttered in one of his early speeches, years before the Seizure of Power1: “God has, in His mercy, given us a wonderful gift: the hatred of our enemies, whom we, in our turn, hate with all our hearts . . .” And I marvelled at the identity of the spirit animating the two leaders at each end of Germany’s up till now recorded, history: the liberator of German soil, and the liberator of German soil and of the German Soul — nay, of the Aryan Soul, to the extent the Aryans of the world are prepared to accept his message and follow him and his faithful ones. Identity of spirit in their negative no less than in their positive attitude. “Both are entirely free from Christian hypocrisy and from that silly superstition concerning the ‘love of man’ that Christianity has left in so many hearts that have rejected its other tenets,” concluded I.
And I halted a while to let my eyes rest upon the gorgeous surrounding scenery: ranges and ranges of wooded hills, one behind the other — brown, and yellowish brown and reddish brown, with patches of dark green (and an occasional cluster of houses with brick-red roofs) — as far as my eyes could see; ranges of wooded hills gradually becoming more hazy, until the violet-bluish-grey outlines of the last one faded away into the distant violet-bluish-grey mist into which merged both earth
1 Speech in Düsseldorf on the 15th of June, 1926.
and sky; and the glorious Orb, high above, in the resplendent blue infinity, shedding its rays of heat and light over those immense reddening waves of forest, and over the distant towns and villages. And, some hundred or two-hundred yards behind me, I felt the presence of the proud and lonely bronze colossus: a personification of that proud and lovely Land; the mouthpiece of its unbending will to freedom; the expression of its perennial dream of power.
I smiled to the land in brown autumn garb that stretched before me: “Germany, thou art so beautiful!” thought I; “as beautiful as two thousand years ago. And thy people have hardly changed — only, perhaps, become more conscious under constant hostile pressure from the East and from the West. Oh, why did I not come before?”
I imagined myself here, during the great days, meeting a group of B.D.M. girls1 and gathering them around me (with the permission of their leader) and telling them with enthusiasm something of my impressions of the holy Teutoburg Forest and of Hermann’s Monument. And an ineffable sadness — the old, well-known feeling of inexpiable guilt — filled me once more at the thought of my wasted life. And a tear rolled down my cheek.
The glorious forest landscape unfolded itself before me from a different angle as I walked on. The fir trees, that covered the slope at the top of which I stood, now came right up to the border of the road, and I could, on my right, see nothing but them and the play of golden sunrays within their dark, cool, fragrant shade, — while on my left, I beheld Hermann’s colossus face to face. A few steps more, however, and I was leaving the fir tree wood behind me, and again looking directly over the valley and further hills and distant blue horizon . . .
I gazed at the bronze Figure, symbol of Germany’s resistance to that Rome of the days of Augustus, which was no longer an Aryan power; symbol of Germany’s century-long struggle against all forms of international money-rule; symbol of our renewed resistance to all non-Aryan influences that have managed to exert themselves upon the West through Rome . . . And I gazed at the sunlit forest land. And I felt for the “spiritual
1 Girls of the “Bund deutschen Mädchen,” — the female counterpart of the “Hitler Youth.”
home” extending all round me and smiling to me, the same retrospective yearning — the same desperate devotion that can never do enough to make good for past omissions, — as I had, nearly five years before, on the threshold of captivity. And I gave expression to it within my heart, in the selfsame words as then: “Germany, in former years, I did not know myself how much I loved thee!”
* * *
I walked on and, leaving for a while the Monument itself behind me, reached the broad asphalted motor road and, finally, the entrance of the little park at the end of which the Monument stands. I followed the alley between the unavoidable luxury tea room and the postcard and “souvenir” stalls and, turning to my left, walked straight up to the impressive stone structure that bears the hero’s likeness, and up the winding staircase inside the massive arched pedestal, to the stone balcony that runs around the top of the latter.
There, I marvelled once more at the choice of the place where the colossal Statue of the Liberator was set up to tower above the surrounding country. The same view of endless wooded hills as I had admired from the road below, stretched before me. One only dominated it, now, from yet a little higher. The names of the towns, large and small, in the direction of which one successively looked, were written upon the stone parapet: Herford; Lage; Detmold; Paderborn . . . etc. And there was wind. It was hot — unusually hot — in the sunshine; but cold as soon as one stepped into the shade.
I could not see the Statue: I was too close to it. I felt as though I were — along with the other people on the balcony — like a detail in the structure of its pedestal. I was, in fact, as every one of them, a will striving for the freedom and greatness of this Land — Hermann’s; Bismarck’s; Adolf Hitler’s; — a detail in the invisible collective power structure at the back of Germany’s onward march. I was that, whatever may be my nationality. For in the invisible, there are but anonymous forces directed towards this or that end.
I looked at those other people on the balcony — my collaborators in the invisible Realm (at least I hoped so). I would
have liked to speak to them but had no opportunity of doing so, and was too absorbed in my thoughts to take the trouble of finding one out. I would have liked to tell them how intensely moved I was at the idea of being in this place. But I felt they probably would not believe me. And yet . . . Who could tell? Had not hundreds already given me the most touching marks of confidence after talking to me for a quarter of an hour? — or less? After all, it was not more unusual for a foreigner to feel as I did at the foot of Hermann’s statue, than it had been to have visited Obersalzberg or Landsberg am Lech in the spirit in which I had. What was unusual was that a foreigner should at all feel as I did in connection with the privileged Nation — Hermann’s; Bismarck’s; and Adolf Hitler’s, — and sincerely look upon it as the holy Land of the West.
I slowly walked downstairs. And, wishing to see the statue properly, I took my seat right in front of it, on the stone bench bordering the lower terrace on the western side of the Monument. I read the inscription in honour of Ernst von Bandel, the architect of the latter — an inscription upon a bronze commemorative tablet bearing in relief the architect’s likeness, and the date the Monument was inaugurated: 1875. “Four years after the end of the war with France,” thought I; “Oh, had this war also been a victorious one! How everything would be different from that which we now see! — how different would be the conditions of life, the preoccupations of the people, their attitude to the recent past; the whole atmosphere one breathes in Germany! There are men and women — even in this land — who want ‘no more wars.’ I have no right to criticise them; no right to speak in their presence, when they have, during this last war, suffered and lost all they had for the sake of my ideals, while I was (although much against my will) in safety, six thousand miles away . . . Still . . . That craving for peace is foreign to me. I could understand peace after a victorious war: peace in order to make good for one’s losses and to consolidate one’s conquests. But lasting peace after a disaster? Renunciation of the will to avenge one’s comrades? Acceptance of one’s losses and humiliation as a fait accompli? Never! The very idea of such a peace is unbearable!”
I looked up to the statue of Hermann the Liberator and
once more recalled the old, warlike words: “As long as the enemy defies us on German soil, hatred is our law, and our duty: revenge!” Then, picking out a picture postcard of the Monument, which I had bought in Detmold, I wrote the historic sentence upon it, put it into an envelope, and addressed the latter to Herr B. in Hanover. Of all people, surely the old German Heathen would understand my feelings — and share them.
“Hatred is our law . . .” As I wrote these words, however, others — their exact opposite — came to my memory as the distant echo of an entirely different world; words of the greatest of all Exponents of that world’s professed wisdom, and of one of the most consistent seekers of peace — of real inner peace — who ever lived: the Buddha: “If hatred answers hatred, then when is hatred to cease?” And I smiled bitterly at the contrast between the sincerity and logic of the One who put that well-known question, and the tremendous amount of hypocrisy of most of those who have been quoting it for the last two thousand five hundred years. And within my heart, I gave the Blessed One (or those who speak in his name) my own answer — our answer — at least in perfect sincerity: “When is hatred to cease? Never! Who wants it to cease, anyhow? Nobody — apart from a handful of real lovers of peace. (And these seek peace within themselves and leave the world to its fate.) The world lives under the law of struggle, which implies, in all but a leading minority of fighters who act in absolute detachment, love and hatred: the inseparable opposites. Hatred will continue anyhow. Why try to stop it? Let the inexorable Wheel of Action and Reaction, — of victory and defeat, of revenge and of further revenge, ad infinitum, — roll its flaming course, crushing today us, tomorrow, our enemies, then, again us, then, again them! To us, who are a fighting lot — Barbarians; jungle animals, and glad and proud to be such ones, — to us, who find peace dull, this is better than to renounce the law of the jungle. What would we be living for now, after 1945, if we had not that one great hope of enduring long enough to see the irresistible Wheel roll on; nay, that hope of being granted the opportunity of pushing it on, ourselves, a little faster, over the fallen bodies of the hypocrites who preach peace to us . . .”
Those hypocrites — not Buddhists, not Jains, but Christians, for Christianity (the denial of violence without the denial of life, and the denial of violence merely towards human beings, far less logical than Buddhism or Jainism) is the pacifist faith of the West, — those hypocrites, I say, had, in 1945, a wonderful opportunity of showing us, if they cared to, the excellence of that which they so readily preach. They could have put to practice both the wisdom of their Master, Jesus, and the older wisdom of the Enlightened One. They could have loved us — “their enemies”; — and they could have thought: “Indeed, if hatred answers hatred, when will hatred stop?” and not answered the hatred even of the least detached among us. Instead of treating us as they did (far worse than we treated our enemies), they could have let us go, uninjured and free, and done all they could not to add new acts of violence to ours. Who knows? Perhaps would they have, then, forced the old Wheel to stand still, and given the world something hardly believable: after millenniums, the victory of the spirit of Peace. It was, anyhow, their job to take that generous step: we were no longer in power; and, Jesus Christ, — their master, not ours, — has asked all his true followers to return good for evil. But they have not done that; not even tried. They gave us, instead, that series of infamous trials, and all the horrors, tortures, imprisonments, executions, that one knows. They missed their one golden opportunity of applying the principles, and of living up to the so-called “values,” which they were supposed to be defending; the opportunity of showing the world — and first, of showing us — how wonderful those “values” are. Now, it is too late. We cannot be expected, next time, or any other time, when victory favours us, to give a practical demonstration of principles in which we do not believe. So, let the Wheel of Action and Reaction roll on crushing every second generation! We intend to answer hatred with hatred, revengefulness with greater revengefulness. We are quite satisfied with the law of the jungle, and have no craving for peace whatsoever, in this life or in another, if there be another — or others. All we want is to seize power once more — it matters little how, and when, — and to avenge those of us whom the believers in the “values” which we deny have killed in the name of the “rights of man”; to avenge every single one
of them ten thousandfold!
Thus was, for a long time, the trend of my thoughts, as I sat on that stone bench, facing the statue of Hermann the Liberator. Then, — as I had on my way up through the woods — I pondered over the historical meaning of the Cheruskan Chief.
“It is the future that creates the past, strange as this may sound,” reflected I. “It is the future that gives the past its importance; that makes it appear, in every successive generation’s eyes, in that particular light in which it is seen. Hermann the Liberator is great, historically, because that which he liberated — Germany — proved itself to be, to this day, of enormous worth. Even those chiefs who were finally defeated and could not, like he, spare their people centuries of Roman domination with all its consequences — Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni; Vercingetorix, — have a name in history for having embodied the early collective consciousness of nations that were, in course of time, destined to play a great part in the evolution of the world. Their people, even though they have lost their old language; even though they have, as in the case of the French, to a great extent lost their old blood, still honour them as national heroes. And they too have monuments erected to their glory. Hermann the Cheruskan, however, has not merely a stone memorial in Germany and a name in history. The living force which he embodied two thousand years ago — Germanism, — found its expression many times since then, and is today a liming force; a force to which the greatest European of all times — Adolf Hitler; another German, — has given a new impetus along with a broadened significance. Had Germany not remained, essentially, that which she already was, in Hermann’s time and doubtless before: — the kernel of militant Aryan mankind in the West, desperately struggling not merely against “her enemies,” but against every new power threatening in turn the existence of higher humanity in its blood and soul (in its soul through its blood) — it would matter little, today, whether Hermann had beaten Varus or whether the reverse had taken place. His actual victory over the legions in the year 9, and the fact that it definitely broke the Roman impetus and saved Germany’s independence, might have been, at the most, a matter of pride
for the Germans themselves. It would not have been an event of far-reaching historical potency. It. would not have been the victory of Aryan blood-purity and have had, as such, a lasting importance for the whole world. As things stand, it has made possible the lasting existence of that Germany whose mission it has been to fight, in the course of centuries, all manner of artificial internationalism, both political and spiritual. It is indeed the event that put Germany on the glorious way she was to tread for all times to come; the event, the distant and culminating consequence of which was to be, in our times, the birth of Adolf Hitler’s new, fully conscious Germany, leader of the new world of our dreams.
That is what Hermann means, objectively. That is also what he means to us.
* * *
Reluctantly, I got up, and walked back, through the park, to the road along which I had first come.
As I wandered in the shade of the high trees, right at the other end of the place, unable to tear myself away from the surroundings, I noticed a small and quite simple memorial: rough blocks of stone piled up upon one another and cemented together. I read the inscription upon the bronze tablet inserted into the rock: “To the Iron Chancellor, those who revere him.” And I felt a thrill of enthusiasm lift me above myself at the awareness of that tremendous Reality: Germany, in the everlastingness of her strength; in Hermann; in Henry the First; in Frederick the Great; in Bismarck — in all the great makers of the Reich throughout the centuries; in Him Who is the Founder of the Third Reich and more than that: Adolf Hitler; one blood; one spirit; one goal; and that goal: the domination of the best; the dream of dying Alexander, whom I had worshipped in my childhood and in my youth!
I am not a German; that may be. But few people among those who stop before the small memorial of irregular pieces of rock, and read the words: “To the Iron Chancellor . . .” are as moved as I was, even if they be Germans. Few are as genuinely glad at the idea of the presence of that memorial in the vicinity of the one dedicated to the Liberator of old. As much as if
not more than that of the splendour of the forest itself; as much as if not more than that of the majesty of the hills, did the sight of those few stones cemented together bring tears into my eyes — the sight of those stones symbolising the different German States blended together, through the favour of the heavenly Powers and through Otto von Bismarck’s untiring will and lifelong efforts, into one Reich.
I recalled the Iron Chancellor’s words engraved upon the Sword of the Cheruskan hero: “Deutsche Einigkeit: meine Stärke; meine Stärke: Deutschlands Macht,” and the famous slogan: “Ein Volk; ein; Reich; ein Führer!” which I know so well. And once more I was intensely aware of the meaning of my pilgrimage.
I am not a German; that may be. But that Nordic blood — the best blood in the West — in which lies the secret of Germany’s greatness, is, partly at least, also mine. The dream of purified, regenerated Aryandom, united under the rule of Adolf Hitler’s people, is certainly mine. Once more I marvelled at the patient workings of the unseen Powers of Light, evolving a new Europe and a new Aryan world out of the present-day chaos; and at Germany’s predestined part in that great creation; and at the fact that I had come — before time — and opened the pilgrim road to the millions of future ages who will, (at last!) understand the mystery of earthly salvation, and visit, in reverent gratitude, Hermann’s Land and Bismarck’s, because it is also Nietzsche’s and Adolf Hitler’s — as I today.
“From the dream of regenerate Aryandom, to National Socialism. And from National Socialism to the understanding and love of eternal Germany,” — the history of my personal evolution could be summed up in those words, thought I. Who can tell how far it foreshadows the history of a ruling Aryan minority, willingly and selflessly living in the service of the new Greater German Reich?
* * *
I wanted to visit the old seat of the Cult of Light: the Externsteine, some fifteen kilometres from Hermann’s Monument. I had intended to go there on foot. But it was now too late: I could no longer reach the place before sunset.
It was getting cold. I went and had a cup of coffee at the luxury café at the entrance of the Park, just to remain for another half an hour on the top of the hill, without having to sit outdoors. There, someone told me that a group of visitors were about to go to the Externsteine in a car, and that, if I cared to take advantage of the opportunity, I was welcome. I gladly accepted.
“But we are not going there directly,” explained the driver. “We intend to stop on our way at Berlebeck, and to see the Valley of the Eagles. I hope you don’t mind; we shall be in front of the Externsteine before sunset, anyhow.”
I must admit that it was the first time in my life that I heard of the existence of the “Valley of the Eagles.” I had not the foggiest idea of what that could he. On the other hand, I did not want to show my ignorance by asking. “Of course I don’t mind,” replied I, simply. “On the contrary; I’ll be happy to see that also.”
I took my seat by the side of the driver. The car rolled downhill, along the broad asphalted road. Above the slopes covered with forest in autumn glory, the Sun gleamed, still fairly high, in the bright, pure sky.
We reached Berlebeck about two hours before sunset. We got out of the car, walked half way up a small hill, entered a place, — an open, flat ground, entirely cut off from the road, — in which one could see, at distances of twelve or fifteen yards from one another, the impressive forms of a whole row of birds of prey: eagles of different types, and at least one vulture. The birds, of which one caught, on entering, a glance from behind, were perching upon stands, perfectly immobile. (So much so that, at first sight, I wondered whether they were alive or just stuffed.) The ground looked over a beautiful valley, covered with woods on both sides: the Valley of the Eagles. There was, in the whole landscape, something solemn, proud and sad. And the eagles that dominated it merely stressed that main impression. Of remarkable size, all of them, and immobile as they were, they looked like eagles’ ghosts haunting these magnificent lonely hills; — ghosts, gathered in a soundless and motionless, mysterious semicircle, for some purpose unknown to men.
A long ground floor structure ran along one side of the
open space-on the right side, as one entered. As I walked past, I noticed cages therein. Did these — or other — eagles spend the greatest part of their lives in cages? At first, knowing nothing of the rules of the famous Adlerwarte, I thought they did. And I suddenly remembered my mother’s reference to the poor eagles of the Lyons zoological Park, in the one letter she had sent me while I was in Werl, obviously with the intention of making me feel that my destiny could after all have been worse “You will come out in three years’ time if not before. Think of the captive eagles in the Park. They will never be free again.” I had surely never thought of captive animals with such vivid understanding and sympathy as since I had myself become a prisoner. And that letter had only made me more aware of the horror of all cages, be they for birds or quadrupeds. The cages I now saw were at least fairly large, compared with those in the Lyons Park. Still . . . “Poor eagles!” thought I.
But then, the man in charge of the place gave us a few words of explanation. I heard from him, to my delight, that one of the birds was free — flying in the sunshine, somewhere above those lovely wooded hills. But he would come back: the eagles always did after a “holiday,” the length of which varied between a few hours and six weeks. He would, of his own free will, come back to his cage — where he knew he would be fed — when weary of the hardships and risks of an independent and adventurous life. Then, and then only, another eagle would he released . . . until he would come back in his turn, and give a third one a chance to open his wings and hunt, according to his nature. (Never are two released at a time, the man told us; for in that case, they would fight to the finish, each one deeming himself the king of the region with exclusive hunting rights.)
In other words, these captive eagles now looking over the valley, tied by one foot with a strong leather ribbon some ten or twelve yards long, were all granted in turn unlimited leave on parole! And the remaining ones stood as a guarantee for every one that was released . . .
The keeper walked up to the last one, at the end of the broad semicircle. The eagle flapped his wings, as though he were pleased to see the man. He did not actually try to fly:
he knew, apparently, that he was tied by one leg. Even when the man offered him his arm as a perching stand (after putting on a thick leather glove and a wristband, to protect himself against the sharp claws) the bird did not care to leave his place. He was, eventually, in a sombre mood. Thinking of freedom above the hilltops, and longing for his next leave? Who knows?
The man gave us a few words of explanation about the eagle’s size, habits, place of origin, etc. . . . and passed to the next one. That other bird flew immediately onto the wrist that was, offered him, and even allowed the man to stroke his feathers. But he did not open his beak. The man, after speaking of him for a few minutes, walked on, showing us every inmate of his Adlerwarte, one by one. At last, he came to the place where I was standing, and halted before a beautiful big greyish-brown eagle, that was perching hardly two yards away from me. I had already noticed and admired the creature of majesty, so similar to the likenesses one sees of the traditional “German Eagle” that he appeared to me as a living symbol of the Reich: a sort of supernatural, immortal, sacred Bird, in whom the life of my Führer’s people is forever mysteriously reflected.
The man called the eagle. The latter opened his wings as wide as he could and flapped them several times, as though trying to fly, and turned his head aside and upwards, and gazed intently at his keeper. With his dark wings outstretched, his head and beak seen in profile, the imperial Bird looked more heraldic, more unreal and full of meaning, than ever. I could not help letting out a cry of admiration: “The beauty! — the living Reich’s Eagle! I am glad I came! . . .”
“You are right: one could imagine him on a flag, or printed in a book,” said one of the people present.
The keeper put out his leather-armoured wrist, and the bird flew a yard or two and seated himself upon it. Then, he stretched forth his head, opened his beak, and touched the man’s face, as though he were trying to kiss him. It was moving to see the confidence these birds of prey all seemed to have in their keeper. The man spoke to the eagle as to a child: “That’s all right! Now, tell us something; don’t be afraid!” . . . But the eagle was contented merely with opening his beak two or three
times more, — as though he really had something to say, — without, however, uttering a sound.
The man spoke to the visitors: “This is the sort of eagle that is to be found in our German mountains; the one we know the best, — living model of our Reich’s Eagle. And you see: like we, he wants to speak, at least to his friends. But he does not. He merely opens his beak and quickly shuts it again feeling, — probably, — that it is useless to say anything. Indeed, what can he say, poor Reich’s Eagle, now that all he thinks is banned, all he loves, condemned, all he would say, (if he were free) forbidden?”
The people who had come with me in the car smiled at the bitter, and all-too-appropriate joke. I looked over the Valley — the beautiful wooded valley above which the eagles seemed to be posted like sentries; waiting. And for the millionth time, I thought: “Yes; banned, condemned, forbidden, all we love and all we stand for. Until when? Until when? When will the symbolical Reich’s Eagle again open his immortal wings, and take his flight, unhindered, over artificial boundaries, carrying the wreath of glory in the midst of which stands the holy Wheel of the Sun? When shall we again see that picture — the Eagle with the Swastika, — upon all the official buildings, official papers, and State uniforms of the German Reich . . . and upon buildings and official documents in conquered lands?” And at the idea of the lost war, — and, perhaps, also of my own useless life, — tears came to my eyes.
The man showed us eight or nine more specimens of different varieties of birds of prey of the eagle family. “This one is the largest we possess,” said he, stopping at the end of the row, before a huge dark-grey feathered creature; “a very rare sample, originally coming from Tibet. Opening of the wings: two metres eighty. This bird was presented to our collection by the Russians. Notice his eyes: red, white and black; — and in the proper order, which is more: first a red circle; then a white one; and then, black in the middle! It is perhaps because he wears these colours, that the Russians would not have him any longer . . . But we are glad to have him, aren’t we?”
The Sun was gradually going down.
Before we left the place, we all thanked our guide most
heartily. I expressed a request — a silly one, maybe, but a sincere one: “May I,” asked I, “take the beautiful Reich’s Eagle upon my wrist — just for a while, and after wearing the leather glove, naturally?”
The man looked at me half-astonished and half-amused. A child could have asked such a thing as that, and I, . . . well, . . . anyone could see that I was well over forty, not to say nearing fifty. But the man understood that, if he said “yes,” I was quite likely to try to put my suggestion to practice. And then, who would prevent the whole group from wanting to imitate me?1
“I would not advise you to!” replied the eagle-keeper. But I judged that a few words explaining my apparently strange reactions were not out of place:
“No creature has ever harmed me,” said I. “They feel I love them and don’t fear them. Once, at the Calcutta Zoo, I thrust my whole arm into the tigers’ cage, and stroked a beautiful big tiger. He looked at me, then half-shut his phosphorescent eyes, and merely rubbed himself against the bars of his prison, purring like an enormous cat. I feel that the Reich’s Eagle could not but treat me as well as, if not better than, the royal Bengal Tiger did.”
The man, and the people with whom I had come, were all extremely interested in this tiger episode (which, by the way, is perfectly true). I wonder how far they caught the meaning I intended to give my words. The keeper of the eagles seemed to understand me. Who knows whether even he really did or not? It matters little, anyhow.
The car was soon rolling along the road to the Externsteine. In my mind, I was recalling the sight of the Valley of the captive Eagles, and the sight of the Statue of Hermann the Liberator, — at the top of the hills looking over the whole Teutoburg Forest and the whole of Germany, — and the sight of the memorial “to the Iron Chancellor” which I had seen in the Park. And I was thinking: “May the spirit of the Cheruskan Chief.
1 On the 7th of July, 1954, as I visited the Adlerwarte for the second time, not in a group, but in the company of an English friend, the keeper of the eagles was kind enough to allow her and me to take the bird upon our wrists.
which is also that of Bismarck, maker of the Second Reich, and that of Adolf Hitler, and ours, once more free the German Eagle, and fill him, in his conquering flight above obsolete frontiers, with the divine warlike joy of long ago and of yesterday and of always — the joy of the born-to-rule, in their endless onward march in the four directions!”