Karl Germer autobiographical details — Ordo Templi Orientis — Outer Head of the Order — Aleister Crowley's Successor

Ordo Templi Orientis
Karl Germer
Outer Head of the Order ?
Aleister Crowley's Successor

Ordo Templi Orientis
Outer Head of the Order ?

Karl Germer

        Karl Germer

Karl Germer to Jane Wolfe, April 14, 1941

As for myself, I was arrested by the Belgians the day the Germans marched into Belgium, i.e., May 10th, 1940. As the latter advanced we were transferred to the French authorities on May 14th and held in French Concentration Camps ever since. I have been in the Camps of Le Vijean and just before the Germans advanced there, sent to the Camp of St. Cyprien on the Mediterranean near the Pyrenees of Spanish ill repute, and from there ultimately transferred to the worst Camp in France: Gurs, in the Pyrenees, where conditions were so primitive, so horrible that even very mild descriptions of the actual conditions in the American press shocked and bewildered people over here. And there are still 15,000 men, women and children held there in that Camp alone.

I got out finallyon February 1st, 1941, after a non-quota immigration visa had been anew procured by Cora as long ago as September last, but the French only gave me permission to go to Marseille to see the Consul four months after he had asked me to call urgently for the visa. It's just their complete incapacity for doing anything, for making progress, for organization, that made it impossihlc to obtain the permit before, despite all kinds of urgent steps that were undertaken by Cora, others and myself with the various French authorities and the American Ambassador and Consul. We in the Camps have come to understand thoroughly the basic reasons for the rapid break-up of French resistance both militarily and administratively. Most, 95% of the prisoners in the Camps were Jews, all violently hostile to the Nazis, violently friendly to the French, many offering spontaneously to fight on their sides actively, who have now more or less become hostile to the French, due to the unsanitary conditions in the Camps, the dirt, the ridiculously poor food, causing scurvy, various diseases, the unhealthy water, and their incapacity and unwillingness to improve conditions until at long last attacks in the American Press ­ based on reports smuggled out by devious and dangerous means ­ forced the French to pretend to do something. Believe me, I am glad to be out of that hell. Fortunately, my health and general conditions do not seem to have suffered very much, and that is really a miracle which the French did their best to defeat.

If we had been prisoners of war, if we had been enemies of the French, if we had been young and vigorous, if we had been nothing but men, if we had shown the least sign of revolt on occasion — one could perhaps excuse the French. But most of us were over forty (up to 70), several thousands were women (of whom perhaps 35% over 65 and up to 95 years of age), 10% children and babies. And yet all those atrocities. There is no reasonable excuse or even explanation. No wonder that the death rate was horrible and that the blind sympathy for the French and their cause in those Camps has turned to the complete opposite.


outline by KARL GERMER

The record of the author's seven months imprisonment in Nazi Concentration Camps, "COLUMBIA HOUSE", and "ESTERWEGEN" (the latter in the "Moor" at the Dutch frontier.) Personality of author: 51 years old; good education; University studies at Grenoble and Sorbonne. Has lived and traveled for 20 years in most European countries, North America, North Africa. 4 years' war record as adjutant and machine gun officer: Belgium, France, Russia, Serbia. Highest war decorations. Police Prisons: After return from England, author was arrested Feb. 2, 1935 in Leipzig while visiting relative without any reason given. Handcuffed and transferred to station. For 10 days in Berlin pol prison in same cell with lowest criminals. Gestapo (Secret State Police) Feb. 11 first hearing. 5 hours' cross questioning, yet no definite charge made. Reason for arrest given. Feb. 18 at last: for being in touch with high grade Freemasons abroad. Gestapo methods. Brutalities. Thence taken to: "Columbia House" the Berlin Concentration Camp. Atmosphere of terror. Atrocious treatment. Methods. Solitary confinement. Life in cell. No reading permit for 4 1/2 months! S.S. guards and their mentality. Once for six weeks not let out into the open air. Work in Architect's office. For 6 weeks I had permit to work there; this gave me exceptional freedom and chance to see the run of the prison, get into personal contact with all the prisoners and S.S. guards and officers. Permitted me to get deeper insight. Contact with many prominent people who were imprisoned. In Strict Solitary Confinement. From April 10 to July 7. Cruelty of the treatment. Punishment, because my wife had sent me a cable from New York with reply prepaid, and I had filled out the blank and sent it to Gestapo for censure. (I was forbidden to attempt to communicate with anybody outside Germany.) Rigorous Arrest. 8 days on water and bread on hard boards, because I had dared to complain about S.S. guard. April 30; I am accused of having secret net of agents all over Germany. To have factory for false passports. Etc. etc. Sodomites and Transvestites at Columbia House, arrested wholesale after the Rohm Putsch. JULY 7th, INTERVENTION OF AMERICAN CONSUL, thereafter transferred to Esterwegen Camp in the "Moor", the bogs near the Dutch frontier. One of the worst of the worst Camps in Nazi Germany. Transportation there in prison vans. Handcuffed; three days' journey. Reception at Esterwagen. Unbelievable terror. 1200 prisoners there. The "Scheiss-Kuhle," work there the worst in the whole Camp. I am detailed to it with a gang of 5 (amongst them Dr. Leber, the Socialist member of the Reichstag, a wealthy "race pollutor", and a "witness of Jehovah". I was included for "obstinately refusing to tell the truth," i.e. for denying that I was a Mason (which I am not!). Epilogue. I see the American Consul in Berlin. My Escape from Germany into Belgium. The book has 60-65,000 words and is written in English

New York, October 4, 1948

I have lived in London, England, from 190(0) to 1904; I was the representative for Alfred Herbert Ltd., Coventry, Berlin Branch, from 1912 to 1914, representing them in Eastern Germany and West Russia; during that period I visited England again.
I came to London again in 1929 on my way from New York and travelled to London repeatedly between 1929 and 1932. When the Nazis took over in Germany I went to London and lived there from 1933 to 1934, all the time preparing my departure for the U.S.A. to rejoin my American wife, but I failed to get my U.S. immigration visa in time.
The Home Office refused to extend my temporary visa and I returned to Germany at the end of 1934. (From February 5, 1935 to August 1935 I was in a Nazi Concentration Camp.) I escaped from Germany in October 1935, and entered England on a Belgian refugee passport at Harwich (if I remember correctly) at the end of November 1935. I obtained a temporary visa which was extended from 3 to 3 months; until at the end of November 1936 I was asked to leave England. I had not been able to earn any money because regulations did not allow me to do so. I was in a desperate plight. Friends who knew that I spoke English fluently persuaded me not to return to Belgium which was too close to the German frontier and people had been known to have been kidnapped by Nazi agents, and the Nazis had been searching for me because I had written a book against them. They suggested that I go to Ireland which they said was a "Free State" where I could easily begin activities in the machinery line.
I decided to do this and I think I arrived in Dublin on Dec. 1, 1936. I quickly made contact with a leading machinery firm who were eager to put my expert knowledge into their services; I was very successful there, in fact after 4 weeks they financed the purchase of a car which I paid off within a few months.
Around Easter 1936 there was a need for me to make a business trip in the interest of the machines which I handled to Belgium. I decided to use the opportunity to regularise my stay in Ireland and obtain a permanent visa. I went to the French Consul in Dublin and asked for a visa. When he saw my Belgian refugee passport (the only document I had) he said it was impossible to give me a visa; He would have to apply for this in writing to Paris, and this would take three to four weeks. My business did not permit such a delay. When he saw my predicament, he came outside his office and said: I have spoken to you in my official capacity, now let me talk to you as a person. There is a way for you to cross the channel over the Easter holidays by going to London and buy a week-end ticket; this allows you to set foot at Boulogne (or was it Calais?) without any visa.
This sounded simple, and I followed his advice. When I got to London I bought a return ticket to Paris without any formalities. (The point has been raised at the British Passport Office in New York that I had claimed to be a British subject. This is not true. I have never done this, and would not do this. The official in New York then tried to explain the details of how one buys such a ticket in London; that there are several booking offices, one for British subjects, another for aliens. I do not think that I paid any attention to any of this. I remember talking to the man at the window asking him some questions about the validity etc., etc., I cannot remember details; enough, at that time I was proud to be able to speak the language with great fluency. It seems to me that the train on which I arrived came very early in the morning and I was eager to catch the next train; there was not much time to lose.)
On the boat I was asked by the French official (the English official, if there was one, never bothered me) to show some paper to identify me. It was then that I showed a calling card of a man who had just died and whose widow had asked me take over the machinery business of her husband as without such help there was no one to continue it. (Her husband whom I knew well enough, had felt his end coming and implored me to assist his family if something should happen to him.) I had a supply of those calling cards with me for the exact purpose of identifying me as being the one who continued in that machinery business. I certainly did not pose as having the name shown on the calling card; I did not say one word; there was much rush and pushing on board because it was Easter.
I attended to my business affairs in Belgium and France and obtained a new Belgian refugee visa. I presented this to the British Passport Office in Brussels which issued a proper visa for Ireland. I went via Harwich where I was stopped and ultimately sent back to Antwerp.
As I had many business obligations in Ireland my return to Dublin was imperative. I asked for a new Belgian passport; I went again to the British Passport Office in Brussels who again issued a visa for a trip to Ireland direct; on arrival in Dublin I presented this passport, and after several weeks was ordered to return to Brussels. The Minister of justice informed me that if I could obtain from the German Ambassador a letter that he withdrew his objection against my stay in Ireland, he could arrange for a visa. I know this part sounds incredible: it is a fact; I could, if necessary, amplify it with many details which can now be told but which I had to withhold for many years in order not to compromise certain persons. Mr. Smylie, editor in chief of the Irish Times, was fully informed by me at the time; he was amazed and wanted to take steps in the Dail to stop the fifth column influence.
In subsequent years I was able to build up a fairly large machinery export business in Brussels, exporting Belgian machines mostly to England. This should have necessitated visits to England, but with a Belgian refugee passport a special British visa was required. Whenever I applied for one it was refused.
Had I been a good and fanatical Nazi I would never have met with any visa trouble in England. As it turned out it was my being an enemy of the Nazis that led to my victimisation by the British. (The crime, which the Gestapo accused me of, was being in touch with high-grade British Freemasons.)

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Das Milieu des Templer Reichs — Die Sklaven Sollen Dienen. Hanns Heinz Ewers — Lanz von Liebenfels — Karl Germer, Arnoldo Krumm-Heller — Martha Kuentzel — Friedrich Lekve — Hermann Joseph Metzger — Christian Bouchet — Paolo Fogagnolo — James Wasserman. Unbequeme Aspekte in der Geschichte von O.T.O. und ThelemaEnglish Version The Templar's ReichSee also the Biography on Karl Germer
Last Will and Testament
Of Booksellers And Other Grand Masters of the O.T.O.: Detailed biographies on Heinrich Tränker, Karl Germer, Henri Birven, Spencer Lewis, C.H. Petersen, Eduard Munninger — and their relation with the O.T.O. under Reuss, Crowley and Metzger — containing Henri Birven's "Obituary on Karl Germer" with interesting details about Crowley in Berlin in 1930
To another biography on Karl Germer
History of the O.T.O. in the U.S.A.

Photographs of Karl Germer

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