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Monday, March 9, 2009

Old World Order

“He who does not carry demonic seeds within him will never give birth to a new world.”
- Adolph Hitler

PROVIDENCE The vault at the John Hay Library at Brown University is not exactly Hitler’s bunker, but it is below ground and could endure a bomb blast. It’s big. It’s locked. And inside, one finds something fascinating.

No, the Führer’s not in there, but his books are — lots of them. They’ve been there for 30 years. And inside one of them, a book on the occult, is a passage marked for special attention in Hitler’s own hand that is chilling even today.

But few know of this trove, much less look at it.

“We treat this collection the way we do every other collection,” says Samuel Streit, the library’s director of special collections. “We’ve never hidden it. They’re in our online catalog. We don’t have flashing lights saying, ‘Hitler’s library.’ But they’re there like anything else.”

Included in the collection is a book by Friederich Nietzsche, the German philosopher whose writings, some say, provided a basis for Hitler’s fervent nationalism and belief in Aryan supremacy. What you don’t find in Brown’s Hitler collection, Streit says, are fresh insights into his mind or character.

“There is nothing in anything that we have here that would contradict what is generally known about Hitler. He doesn’t say anything about, ‘Jews are good people.’ There is no refutation for anything he stood for.”

But there is unsettling substantiation. One notable subject represented in Brown’s Hitler library is the occult. And the most requested book in the collection is Magic: History, Theory and Practice (1923) by Ernst Schertel. This book, as with some others, Hitler had marked.

“Like footprints in the sand,” Ryback writes of those notes in the margin, “they do not necessarily reveal the purpose of the journey, but they do allow us to see where his attention caught and lingered, where it rushed ahead, where a question was raised or an impression formed. In these books one finds Hitler’s pencil repeatedly drawn to passages related to the connection between the scientific and the spiritual, between the material and the immaterial.”

Hitler marked the margins of his books with vertical lines beside paragraphs or sentences he thought important. And one marked sentence in Magic is quite chilling, given Hitler’s history:

“He who does not carry demonic seeds within him will never give birth to a new world.”


Anadæ Effro said...

Thanks for posting this piece from THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, Todd. this casts more light on why weird fiction father, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, dubbed the New England Gent by his coterie of literati friends, whose dying words were, "I AM Providence!", chose to rename Brown University Miskatonic University, harbourer of the dread Book Of the Names of the Dead Gods, the Necronomicon. Who can guess what else they've got locked away?

A voracious reader,
Anadæ Effro ( :-)}

FilmNoir23 said...

Excellent! YES!!!

I know they house a number of other interesting works there...what specifically were you thinking of?

Anonymous said...

good stuff, todd

Rhode Island is, of course, the Isle of Cecil Rhodes

"Providence" is the word these, uh, people use to make it sound like they're referring to God, when in fact they're referring to their own "god"

Providence came up in my recent post "South Loop Wine & Spirits" for its occult/mob connections with New Bedford, MA and Chicago, in the Ill state of Noise

i've been to Providence . . . the whole place could be called Miskatonic U


cheers, ray