Ahnenerbe (I)

AhnenerbeThere are two common misconceptions about the Ahnenerbe (“Ancestral Heritage”) institute, often (incorrectly) considered one of the most mysterious Nazi organizations.

Some consider it a legitimate scientific research institution. Others claim that this was only a cover for its true purpose – research in the occult and the supernatural forces that could be used for political and especially military purposes. Stills others believe that it was a bit of both.

In reality, it was neither. Ahnenerbe (more precisely, Forschungs- und Lehrgemeinschaft des Ahnenerbe – Research and Teaching Society of the Ancestral Heritage) was the propaganda tool for the SS (mostly) and for the Nazi Party.

Its objective was to find (or manufacture – if nothing could be found) historical evidence that would support outlandish racial claims and beliefs of the Nazi ideology.

While Ahnenerbe “scholars” were rarely guilty of outright fraud (i.e. manufacturing historical proof) they were almost always culpable of totally bogus interpretations of uncovered historical facts (which was even worse than making unsubstantiated racist claims).

There are two ways to conduct legitimate scientific research. You can start with collecting data that you will then structure and analyze trying to come up with a theory that will explain the collected data.

Or you can start with the theory (hypothesis) and then collect and structure data to see whether they prove or disprove your theory.

Ahnenerbe “scholars” did neither. They were given (by their boss Heinrich Himmler) the theory – presented as the Absolute Truth and were required to find the data that would support this theory. Or, more precisely, make the data fit the theory with whatever means necessary. .

That, of course, was neither science nor even a pseudoscience. That was outright scientific fraud. And there was nothing mystical or mysterious about it. Nothing at all.

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