There is a theory (a conspiracy theory, actually) that there was another “layer of snow” that contributed significantly to the development of Hitler’s murderous anti-Semitism. And thus to the “Holocaust Avalanche” mercilessly unleashed by the Führer in the summer of 1941.
This layer (of a religious nature) was provided by a very charismatic and very mysterious individual – a Catholic priest, a talented journalist and a rabid anti-Semite Father Bernhard Stempfle.
Bernhard Stempfle was born in 1882 in a very catholic Munich (the capital of a very Catholic Bavaria). At the age of 22 he entered the Catholic priesthood and then joined an obscure Hieronymite order (the Order of the Poor Hermits of Saint Jerome) in Italy.
A very strange decision indeed, because the Hieronymites were a cloistered (“enclosed”) religious community which by definition had a solemn vows with a strict separation from the affairs of the external world.
They lived in a monastery according to the Rule of Saint Augustine (standard for cloistered Catholic orders), though the inspiration and model of their lives is the 5th-century hermit and biblical scholar Saint Jerome (who was the first to translate the Holy Bible into Latin). This translation (commonly known as Vulgate) is still the official Latin text of the Bible (i.e. authorized by the Holy Roman Catholic Church).
The Order of the Poor Hermits of Saint Jerome was founded near Toledo in Spain in the 14th century (it was officially recognized by Pope Gregory XI in 1373), but soon established a branch in Italy. And it was exactly that branch that young Stempfle entered.
For reasons that are still a mystery, because was anything but a hermit. Actually, he was quite the opposite as during the next few years he began essentially a full-time career of a journalist. He wrote for the Corriere della Sera (one of the leading Italian newspapers) and various other German and Italian publications.
Following the outbreak of the Great War, he returned to Munich (apparently leaving the order, but not the priesthood), performed pastoral work at the university, and established close contacts with Reform Catholic elements (i.e., elements that opposed political Catholicism, and politicians it regarded as too willing to make unacceptable compromises with the Jews and “atheistic” socialists).
In 1919, he first began publishing in Münchener Beobachter, where he wrote relentlessly on the destructive influence of Jewish atheism and on the moral acceptability and necessity of ruthless persecution of Jews, (including pogroms).
In his opinion, this was necessary to defend the Church Catholic faith and institutions of the Holy Roman Catholic Church from the “Jewish threat” (that existed only in his imagination) following examples provided throughout the centuries by anti-Semitic leaders within the hierarchy of the Church.
In 1918 Münchener Beobachter was acquired by the Thule Society and, in August 1919, was renamed Völkischer Beobachter. There were rumors that Father Stempfle joined the Thule Society; however, I find it highly unlikely, because being a Catholic anti-Semite is one thing and joining the occult (and thus fundamentally un-Christian) society is quite another.
In December of 1920, then heavily indebted newspaper was acquired by the NSDAP (with the funds provided by Reichswehr) and became the official newspaper of the Nazi Party. In 1921, Adolf Hitler, who had taken full control of the NSDAP earlier that year, acquired all shares in the company, making him the sole owner of the publication.
As Father Stempfle continued to write for the Völkischer Beobachter, this is how he most likely got acquainted with Adolf Hitler. He got attention of the latter because by that time Stempfle was already the prominent journalistic figure within the broader anti-Semitic movement in Catholic Bavaria.
So prominent, in fact that he was the target of Social Democratic satire and portrayed as the “anti-Semitic bishop” of the Bavarian city of Miesbach (he subsequently became the editor-in-chief of the anti-Semitic daily Miesbacher Anzeiger).
What “clicked” between him and Adolf Hitler, was a mystery – and will remain a mystery, because both took their common secret to their graves. But it did – and Father Stempfle became a regular confidant of Hitler and thus (most likely) become privy to some of deepest (and possibly darkest) secrets of the latter.
And, of course, a member of Hitler’s inner circle, joining Hitler “at his corner table at the Café Heck”, and advising him on religious (and possibly other) issues. Hitler trusted Stempfle so much that he employed him to proofread (and, if necessary, edit), his Manifesto – Mein Kampf.
Multiple eyewitnesses (and many historians) claim that Stempfle went much further than that and actually authored some of the passages (content) of the “Nazi Bible”. Most likely related to Catholicism and Christianity and General, but possibly a few of the anti-Semitic ones as well.
The conspiracy in question claims to explain what exactly “clicked” between Adolf Hitler and Father Stempfle. According to this theory, during his stay in Italy, the latter got the attention of and came in contact with an informal group of radical Catholic anti-Semites in the Vatican (Roman Curia, to be more precise). Murderously radical.
And subsequently became sort of an informal liaison between this group and Adolf Hitler.