Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pictures from Our Honeymoon in Germany: Wewelsburg

Over the next few weeks I'll post some of the pictures Alison Beightol and I took while on our honeymoon to Germany in mid-November.  However, let me explain in advance for anyone who notices a preponderance of Nazi-related photographs.  Alison and I are avid World War II/Cold War history buffs, and this period of history figures prominently in our books (see Alison's portrayal of Reinhard Heydrich as a vampire in Blood Beginnings and my upcoming series of novels detailing officers from the OSS battling Nazi occultism).  So it was only natural that on this trip we saw many locations linked to the people and events associated with Nazi Germany. 

One of the places we visited was Wewelsburg Castle in Westphalia in the northwest, the location chosen by Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler to be the center of the SS occult activities.  The castle was constructed in the early 17th century but eventually fell into disrepair in the 18th and 19th centuries.  In 1924, Wewelsburg became the property of the local district, which turned it into a cultural center and began renovations that fell off after a few years.  Himmler leased the castle in 1934 with the intention of converting into a center of SS ideology and research.  One of the fields of research that was followed was the occult. 

The focal point of the castle's occult studies was the North Tower.  On the ground level (just inside the doorway) is the Obergruppenfuhrersall, which referred to the original twelve highest ranking SS officers (obergruppenfuhrers). The Obergruppenfuhrersall contains the Black Sun, a dark green sun wheel built into the marble floor.  Himmler envisioned this tower as the center of his SS and Germanic empire. This room also gave credence to the unsubstantiated legend that Himmler was hoping to develop his a Grail castle with his own dark version of the Knights of the Round Table.   In the basement is the Vault, a former cistern that was converted into some type of commemoration room with a sunken center; twelve pedestals, each with its own wall niche, placed around the perimeter wall; and the Black Sun centered in the ceiling.  Himmler never divulged what the Vault would be used for (which is great, because now I can make up what I want for my novels).

This is the Vault.  You can see the sunken floor and some of the pedestals between the paintings (the paintings were added by the museum to detract from the eerie aspects of the room).  The reason this picture is so poor is because I had to take it covertly because photography is not allowed in this portion of the castle.

 This is one of the original twelve chairs emblazoned with SS runes from the Obergruppenfuhrersall.

 And this is a close-up of the SS runes.

 Next stop: Berlin.

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