Otto Rahn

Otto Wilhelm Rahn ( Michelstadt , Germany , 18 February as as 1904 – Söll , Austria , 13 March as as 1939 ) was a writer German fan esotericism , history and medievalism. Member of the National Socialist Party and Obersturmführer of the SS , his figure is associated with the esoteric beliefs of the Nazi occultism widely diffused in this military body. 1


He was born and raised in a middle-class family. Under the influence of his father, a judge in the city of Mainz, he started law studies, although he also liked music and was a good pianist. During four years (from 1922 to 1926) he was enrolled in the law schools of Giessen , Freiburg and Heidelberg . He also attended classes in Germanic philology and history, disciplines he interpreted from an esoteric and völkisch vision, according to the National Socialist philosophy prevailing in Germany at the time.

He had a special interest in Catharism , conveyed by his religion teacher at the Institute of Giessen , the Baron of Gail. He was also fascinated by the medieval legends of Parsifal , the Arthurian cycle and the Holy Grail .

His attraction to the Cathar culture led him to develop his doctoral thesis around the Cathar-Albigensian heresy and to travel through France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland between 1928 and 1932. He settled in the village of Lavelanet ( Languedoc , France) in 1929 To explore the ruins of Montsegur and the caves near the mountain. He wrote two works inspired by his trip, Crusade against the Grail and The court of Lucifer . These books influenced later authors linked to (or inspired by) medieval esotericism such as Trevor Ravenscroftl, Peter Berling or Jean-Michel Angebert, and advocates of National Socialist and Germanic mysticism such as Nigel Pennick.

Otto Rahn died on March 13, 1939, frozen on the top of the Wilden Kaiser (Austria), probably in a ritual suicide that he assimilated to the cathartic endura .

Heinrich Himmler went to Montserrat after the death of Rahn, October 23, 1940, looking for there the Grail and taking with him the work of Rahn The court of Lucifer , book that ordered to distribute gratuitously among the officers of high graduation of the body.

Service in the SS and death

Rahn wrote two books relating Montségur and the Cathars with the Holy Grail: Kreuzzug gegen den Grial in 1933 and Luzifers Hofgesind in 1937. After the publication of his first book, his work caught the eye Of Heinrich Himmler , who was equally fascinated by the occult and had begun his search for the south of France.

Rahn joined the SS as Unteroffizier , becoming a formal member in 1936. It was not easy for him to belong to the SS. Time later it was explained to him by a friend of the following form:

“A man needs to eat, what did you expect him to do? Tell him no to Himmler 2

Openly homosexual, he frequented anti-Nazi circles and having lost the favor enjoyed by the SS when he did not find the Grail, added to that he was accused and condemned after an altercation under the effects of alcohol 3 , for which he was forced to swear to abstain from the Alcohol for two years, deprived of his rank and reassigned as guardian of the Dachau concentration camp for three months, in 1937. What he saw and experienced there, plunged him into a chronic depression; In this state he wrote to a friend:

“It is no longer possible to live in the country that has become my home. I can not sleep and eat. It’s like a nightmare on my pose” 4

Because of this resigned to belong to the SS on February 28, 1939, 5 “for reasons so serious that can only be communicated orally , ” Henrich Himmler responded with a simple “Yes”, but as SS could not leave Without consequences. 6 This point is well discussed by historians, it is believed that the Gestapo began a campaign against him, in which he was offered the choice of suicide, being accused of homosexual and the possibility of having Jewish ancestors. 7

Be that as it may, on March 13, 1939, near the anniversary of the fall of Montségur , he climbed the mountains near Söll ( Kufstein , Tyrol ) in Austria. He was found dead frozen, lying face down looking towards the mountains, next to him were two medicine boats, 8 an empty one and the other one in the middle, that could contain some type of poison.

The 35-year-old historian was buried in Kufstein, where he remained until the end of the War that was transferred to Darmstadt. For unknown reasons, there was never a death certificate. The following year appeared an obituary in the Volkische Beobachter, signed by Karl Wolff to whom Otto Rahn had directed its letter of resignation of the SS:

“In the midst of a snowstorm in the mountains , this March, SS Obersturmfuhrer , Otto Rahn, died tragically. We feel the death of our partner, a decent SS and writer of remarkable historical research.” Referring to Fig.

Many have been the stories that have been told of the possibility that he did not really die that day and survived the war, but according to the investigations, they are really nothing more than speculations.


  • Kreuzberg gegen den Gral. Die Geschichte der Albigenser (Broschiert) (in German), 1934, ISBN 3-934291-27-9 ; ISBN 978-3-934291-27-0 .
  • Croisade contre le Graal: Grandeur et Chute des Albigeois (Broché) (French translation), 1934, ISBN 2-86714-184-2 ; ISBN 978-2-86714-184-3 .
  • Crusade Against the Grail: The Struggle between the Cathars, the Templars, and the Church of Rome , 1934/2006, ISBN 1-59477-135-9 ; ISBN 978-1-59477-135-4 .
  • Luzifers Hofgesind, eine Reise zu den guten Geistern Europas (His book on Luciferism) 1937, ISBN 3-934291-19-8 ; ISBN 978-3-934291-19-5 .