On November 6th, 1935, about a year after officially taking over the Wewelsburg Castle, Heinrich Himmler… closed the castle to visitors. For good. Four years later, in 1939, he imposed a strict ban on all publications about the Wewelsburg Castle.
It means – loud and clear – that something top secret was going on in the castle. So secret in fact that beyond the semi-official cover story propagated by the SS, we have no idea what was going on there – in other words, what were Himmler’s actual plans for the castle and what exactly was done there on his orders.
There is some evidence that in addition to “normal” scientific research, another kind of research was conducted in Wewelsburg Castle. Research on paranormal, supernatural, occult subjects – Germanic mysticism, ancestor cult, runic magic, racial doctrines (which was actually pseudo-science) and other subjects of an esoteric nature.
Heinrich Himmler was big on ancient, medieval and other symbolism hence it is only natural that redesign of the castle by the SS referred to certain characters in the legends of the Grail: for example, one of the arranged study rooms was named Gral (“Grail”).
Other rooms were named König Artus (“King Arthur”), König Heinrich (“King Henry”), Heinrich der Löwe (“Henry the Lion”), Widukind, Christoph Kolumbus (“Christopher Columbus”), Arier (“Aryan”), Jahrlauf (“course of the seasons”), Runen (“runes”), Westfalen (“Westphalia”), Deutscher Orden (“Teutonic Order”), Reichsführerzimmer (“Room of the Empires Leader(s)”; “Reichsführer-SS”, or “the Reich’s Leader of the SS” was Himmler’s title).
There were also rooms named Fridericus (probably in reference to Frederick II of Prussia), Tolle Christian (probably referring to Christian the Younger of Brunswick, Bishop of Halberstadt), and Deutsche Sprache (“German language”).
Oak (the sacred tree of the Nazis) was used to panel and furnish these rooms, though (according to contemporary witnesses) only sparingly. All interior decoration of the castle was shaped by an SS sensibility in art and culture; the preferred elements of design were based on runes, swastikas (no surprise here), and Deutschen Sinnzeichen (traditional German symbols).
Tableware, decorated with runes and Germanic symbols of salvation, was manufactured specifically for Wewelsburg castle (by the SS-owned and operated Allach factory, no doubt), and Himmler’s private collection of weapons was housed in the castle as well.
From 1939, the castle was also furnished with miscellaneous objects of art, including prehistoric objects (discovered and delivered by Ahnenerbe), objects of past historical eras, and works of “politically correct” contemporary sculptors and painters (i.e. the ones in line with the aesthetics of National Socialism and the SS).
In 1938, Himmler ordered the return of all honorary “death’s head rings” (Totenkopfringe) of dead SS-men and officers. They were to be stored in a chest in the castle. This was to symbolize the ongoing membership of the deceased in the SS-Order. However, the whereabouts of the approximately 11,500 rings after the Second World War are unknown.
Although in 1938 Himmler declared his intention to conduct annual meetings (“spring conferences”) of SS generals of the highest ranks (Gruppenführer and Obergruppenfuhrer); only one such meeting (officially) took place.
It was held not in spring, but in summer – from 12 to 15 June 1941, in other words, it ended exactly one week before the beginning of Operation Barbarossa. It was attended by the highest ranking SS generals, who either took part in planning the SS operations in the Soviet Union (i.e. Einsatzgruppen activities) or who were to take part in these operations (ditto)
The official meeting’s purpose was the “ideological preparation of the attendant SS leaders for the campaign against Judeo-Bolshevism”, but no record of what was said or done during the meeting survived.
It is believed that various SS ceremonies (designed by no other than Karl Maria Wiligut) were conducted in the Wewelsburg Castle – baptism (of sorts), marriage, swearing in. etc. However, no specific records of these ceremonies have ever been found.
However, Himmler’s plans included making it the “center of the new world” (“Zentrum der neuen Welt”) following the “final victory” have been uncovered (although whether these were the final plans or only some kind of a “preliminary proposal” is not clear and the real purpose of the project is not known).
These plans called for (among other things), the installation of an 18-meter-high wall in the shape of a three-quarter circle, 860 m in diameter with 18 towers. It was supposed to include the actual castle area and to be centered on the North Tower of the castle was planned.
Inside of this castle area buildings were planned for the exclusive purposes of the Reichsführung-SS (Reich Leadership-SS). The main road of this “SS village” was to have a diameter of 1270 m and also to be centered on the North Tower of the castle with a diameter of 1270 m. This road was to be connected with three radial roads and gates with the castle area.
The residential area was to be placed in the northwest, the center of the village in the north, and the SS-barracks in the west of the castle area; between the barracks and village a villa colony for higher SS-leaders; in the southwest farmsteads.
In the architectural plans from 1941, the estate had the shape of a spear pointing towards the north (the castle itself had the form of a spearhead). The plans also included a “Hall of the High Court of the SS” (Saal des Hohen Gerichtes der SS), streets, parkways, magnificent buildings, a dam with a power plant, freeway accesses and even its own airport.
It was estimated that it would take over 20 years to complete this radical reconstruction of the Wewelsburg area. The estate was to be a center of the “species-appropriate religion” (artgemäße Religion) and a representative estate for the SS-Führerkorps (SS leader corps).
The entire village of Wewelsburg and adjacent villages were to disappear. The population was to be resettled. The valley was to be flooded. 250 million Reichsmark were budgeted for the estate (most likely, a severe understatement).
Whether these grandiose plans were to be implemented or not, we do not know. We only know that something top secret and very mysterious was planned and done in the actual Mittelpunkt der Welt.
In the North Tower of the Wewelsburg Castle.