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Karl Maria Wiligut
Karl Maria Wiligut was born in Vienna on December 10, 1866, son of Franz Karl Wiligut, Budapest in 1838 both his father and granfather were army officer in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire; he was baptised as a Roman Catholic in Vienna. When he was 14 years old, he entered the Kadettenschule in Vienna Breitensee. In December 1884, he joined the 99th Infantry Regiment in Mostar, Herzegovina, now in the republic of Bosnia . In 1888, he was promoted to second lieutenant, four years later to lieutenant, to captain in 1903 and to major in 1913. In 1906 he married Malwine Leuts von Treuenringen from Bozen, now in Italy, with whom he had two daughters. A twin brother of one of the girls died as an infant. In 1889, he joined a lodge of the fraternal order “Schlaraffia", which draws inspiration for it's rituals and titles from the germanic Middle-Eve, where he had the initiatic name "Lobesam" ("worth of praise"); he was later raised to the degrees of "Knight" and "Chancellor". During World War I, Wiligut served in different regiments at the southern (Italian) and eastern (Russian) fronts . On 1 August 1917, he reached the rank of colonel. In May 1918, he was assigned to the command of a convalescents' camp near Lemberg , being finally released from service on the 1st of January 1919. After his retirement Wiligut moved to Salzburg and had the chance to dedicate himself more deeply to his esoteric studies, but, on the 29th of November 1924, Wiligut was, against his will, taken to a local mental institution where he stayed until the beginning of 1927 (Mund, 1982), on grounds of "tracing his descendance back from Wotan" and, more in general, because of his cosmological and religious views (for report see: Mund, 1982).
In 1932, moved alone from Austria to Germany, residing in Munich. He nevertheless remained in touch with several esotericists and correspondents, among them Ernst Rüdiger and members of the Order of the New Templars.
Wiligut's time in Germany
Wiligut in Germany first settled near Munich, in the suburb of Bogenhausen, staying in touch with circles and friends who shared his views and interests, until he finally met Reichsführer-SS Himmler in September 1933 at a conference of the Nordische Gesellschaft,and joined the SS (under the pseudonym "Karl Maria Weisthor") ; He was made head of the Department for Pre- and Early History, a section of the SS Race and Settlement Main Office (RuSHA). In April 1934 he was promoted to the rank of Standartenführer (colonel), and then made head of Section VIII (Archives) for RuSHA in October 1934. In November 1934 reached the rank of Oberführer (lieutenant-brigadier). In Spring 1935 Wiligut was transferred to Berlin to serve on Himmler's personal staff. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadeführer in September 1936.
Towards the end
In November 1938, Himmler learnt of of Wiligut's earlier recovery in a mental institution. In February Wiligut was notified that his retirement request on grounds of old age and health problems had been accepted . The official release was dated August 28, 1939. Wiligut later moved to Aufkirchen in 1939, to Goslar in 1940, and near the Wörthersee, in Carintia, now Austria, in 1943. After the end of the war he was assigned to a refugee camp in St. Johann near Velden . Then was given permission to move to Salzburg, from where he went back to Germany in Arolsen in Hesse, where he died on 3 January 1946. On his gravestone you can read "UNSER LEBEN GEHT DAHIN WIE EIN GESCHWÄTZ" ("our life goes away like idle chatter").
Wiligut had already written and published poetry, but his first book to be printed was : “Seyfrieds Runen”, in 1903 with the Schlarraffia initiatic name of “Lobesam”; the book contains poems about the legends of Rabenstein at Znaim on the Austrian-Moravian border. 'Neun Gebote Gots, followed, in 1908; in this book Wiligut for the first time writes his claims of being the hair of an ancient heritage and knowledge of the german tradition that he calls Irminism (“Irminenreligion”) ;
Wiligut founded the postwar newspaper Der Eiserne Besen (the Iron Broom)
During the 1920s, Wiligut composed thirty-eight verses in a sort of old germanic language, the “Halgaritha Sprueche” (Halgarita Charms) which according to some sources, might have been originally more then one thousand, condensing Wiligut's teachings, along with other esoteric elements, in a cryptic form;
In 1933 the “Edda Gesellschaft” published a detailed description of a seal that Wiligut claimed to have belonged to his family tradition and, from 1934, articles that he signed “Jarl Widar” about runes, poetry and other occult subjects.
Wiligut is also credited, although evidences are missing, for the design of the SS ring and the refurbishing in an esoteric, germanic fashion of the Wewelsburg Castle headquarter of the Schutz-Staffeln (SS).
Wiligut's teachings are within the stream of Ariosophy and esotericism of his time, but also bear characters of their own. He described the strife, in an ancient mythical Germany, between true positive “Irminists”, followers of Krist, and evil “Wotanists”. The fight went on for centuries. During this confrontation an Irminist prophet called Baldur-Chrestos was crucified (although he managed to escape) by the Wotanists in Goslar, Germany where he said the original Bible was written. Wiligut claimed to be the heir of an age-old Irminist tradition, and delivered a peculiar set of runes, along with seals and symbols which allowed one to decipher the “hidden”, “true” Germanic knowledge and lore, even developing a kind of expansion which allowed the initiate to extract long sentences from words using the name of his runes. In Wewelsburg Wiligut officiated collective and individual rites for the SS members and families. Recently, Wiligut's teachings and life enjoyed new popularity, mainly within right-wing circles and music bands, and in the contemporary völkisch movement.
- Wiligut, Karl Maria (2001). The Secret King: Karl Maria Wiligut, Himmler's Lord of the Runes. Dominion. ISBN 1-885972-21-0.
- Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (2003). The Occult Roots of National Socialism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology. Gardners Books. ISBN 1-86064-973-4.; originally published as Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (1992). The Occult Roots of National Socialism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology; The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890-1935. New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-3060-4.
- Michael Moynihan, Stephen Flowers (eds.),The Secret King, Maria Wiligut, Himmler's Lord of the Runes (2005).
- Rudolf J. Mund, Der Rasputin Himmlers, Wien 1982
- Lange, Hans-Jürgen (1998). Weisthor - Karl-Maria Wiligut - Himmlers Rasputin und seine Erben (in German).