According to the “official version” of events, Heinrich Himmler first visited the Wewelsburg castle on November 3, 1933 and was immediately impressed by its triangular structure. It is believed that he was searching for a suitable castle in Westphalia in which he could establish an SS leadership school.
Which is kinda strange because Himmler was a Bavarian (he was born in Munich) and was a resident of Berlin. Hence, it would have made far more sense to establish this school near the capital of Bavaria or (more likely), of Germany.
It is a well-established historical fact that Himmler met Karl Maria Wiligut (a future “spiritual architect” of the Wewelsburg Castle) at a conference in Detmold located… 50 kilometers from the castle. An hour-long drive (at most) for the convoy of SS-Reichsfuhrer.
Consequently, it is far more likely that Himmler first visited the Wewelsburg Castle on the same (or the next) day after he met Wiligut and made the lightning-fast decision (carefully lobbied by the members of The Thule Society, no doubt) to task the retired colonel turned esotericist with creating a new religion for the SS.
Any major religion has a “spiritual center” and a “primary shrine/temple” so it made complete sense to Himmler when Wiligut offered the Wewelsburg Castle. In addition to a unique triangular shape (which may or may not have had something to do with the shape of the “Wewelsburg Hill”), Himmler was impressed by the location of the castle – right next to where (as it was then believed) the German tribes defeated (annihilated, actually) Roman legions in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD and thus defended their independence and freedom.
About two months later, in November of 1933, Himmler visited the Wewelsburg Castle for the second time. And officially announced his decision to buy or lease the castle for the SS.
Negotiations turned to be difficult, however, since the Landrat of Büren was unwilling to give up control of the castle (apparently, at that time the SS were not yet that powerful).
So only several months later, the local authorities acquiesced and leased the castle to the SS for the symbolic annual rent of 1 Reichsmark (obviously, all reconstruction costs were to be borne by the lessee).
Heinrich Himmler was born, baptized and raised Catholic so the concept of parochial school (an educational component of a parish church) was familiar and natural to him.
Consequently, it is not surprising at all that decided to immediately establish within the Wewelsburg walls the Reichsführerschule SS (SS Leadership School). Given the nature of the “Wewelsburg object”, it was only natural that this school was mainly intended to ensure a unified ideological training of the SS leadership and would be run by the Rasseamt (Race office) of the SS.
Given the geographical location of the castle that I mentioned earlier, this school was in some way (at least in Himmler’s mind) dedicated to Arminius (Hermann) – a military commander who led the alliance of Germanic tribes at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in AD 9, in which three Roman legions were annihilated (and thus became a symbol of German unity and freedom).
Himmler officially took over the Wewelsburg in a large and solemn ceremony on 22 September 1934. The Völkischer Beobachter, in reporting on the event, while mentioning the Germanic and historic past of the region, emphasized the educational aspects. Apparently Himmler had no desire to share his religious endeavors with anyone outside his closest associates (let alone the German public).
In 1935, Himmler announced that the SS-castle was to be officially called “SS-Schule Haus Wewelsburg” (“SS School, House Wewelsburg”). Its curriculum was to focus on Germanic pre- and early history, folklore studies, etc. as an “equipment for ideological-political training”). In other words, it was envisioned a kind of Nordic academy.
The “Wewelsburg parochial school” was the educational establishment for adults (i.e., a liberal arts college of sorts) and it is natural for a college to get involved in research activities on relevant subjects.
Hence it no surprise at all that the Wewelsburg Castle quickly became an “alternative research center” on Germanic pre- and early history, medieval history, folklore and genealogy, all intended to provide the underpinnings for the racial teachings of the SS. Alternative to Ahnenerbe, of course, which made the castle a “mini-Ahnenerbe” of sorts. Even a vast scientific (and pseudo-scientific) library was established.
Like its “big brother” (Ahnenerbe), Wewelsburg Castle became a prominent center for archeology. In particular, the center for archaeological excavations in the region.
Its activities included study of prehistory and ancient history, study of medieval history and folklife, build-up of the “Library of the Schutzstaffel in Wewelsburg” and strengthening the National Socialist worldview in the village of Wewelsburg.
Educational establishments and research institutes are often used for conducting various kinds of conferences, workshops, meetings, seminars and the like. Hence, it is again no surprise that the Wewelsburg Castle became an isolated (and thus secret) meeting place for the highest ranking SS-officers (including Himmler himself).
But this was only the “official” (overt) side of the Wewelsburg Castle. Almost from the very beginning (i.e. right after it was transferred to the SS), other – secret – activities began to take place on its premises.