Indology and "the disastrous ideology of the 'pure Aryan race'"

George Thompson gthomgt at COMCAST.NET
Tue Jan 9 22:35:17 UTC 2007

Dear List,

With regard to the question of evidence, which I too think is obligatory 
if not required, perhaps it will be of some interest to illustrate what 
I would take to be fairly good evidence of complicity with, or at least 
consent to, "the disastrous ideology of the 'pure Aryan race'" which we 
have been discussing.

The example that I offer comes not from an Indologist, let me say, but 
nevertheless from a well-known classicist and historian, Franz Altheim.

When I was a graduate student at the Univ. of California at Berkeley, I 
frequently visited the library's room where little-used or duplicate 
books were withdrawn from circulation and offered for sale.  That is how 
I acquired many valuable books and papers, like H. Oldenberg's Rgveda 
Noten, vol 1, as well as his "Zur Geschichte der altindischen Prosa."   
I also acquired Altheim's *Die Krise der Alten Welt im 3. Jahrhundert n. 
zw. und ihre Ursachen: Bildteil von E. Trautmann-Nehring: Dritter Band: 
Goetter und Kaiser* 1943.

This book was a curiosity which sat on the library's sale shelf for many 
months.  It seems that no one was willing to touch it.  As a result, 
every few months its price was cut in half, so that I eventually bought 
it for one dollar.

The book was published by "Ahnenerbe-Stiftung Verlag, Berlin-Dahlem, 
1943" -- a rather ominous title, given the date of publication.  But 
what makes this book good evidence of complicity or consent is that it 
was preceded by the following Gleitwort:

"Ein Volk lebt so lange gluecklich in Gegenwart und Zukunft, als es sich 
seiner Vergangenheit und der Groesse seiner Ahnen bewisst ist."  Signed 
by Heinrich Himmler, Reichsfuehrer.

Was it common that books published in Germany during the war years would 
have had a Gleitwort from the likes of Himmler?  Is there any evidence 
that any Indological books published in Germany from that period may 
have had such a stamp of approval?

Best wishes,

George Thompson

JN wrote:

> dear jan houben,
> would it be possible for you to please come up with the evidence you 
> have  been asked for?
> respectfully,
> jn

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