Ordo Templi Orientis
Karl Germer about Heinrich Traenker
In Germany at the turn of the century, during the founding chaos of Theosophy, Heinrich Traenker played a major role as publisher. He contacted Theodor Reuss in 1919 and became X° for Germany in 1921.
Letter to Max Schneider
It is peculiar that in the following letter Karl Germer constantly misspells the word "Gestapo" as "Gestapa": a mistake that no German person who suffered under National Socialism would make. "Gestapo" = Secret State Police.
[From Materialien zum O.T.O.]
15, Rue van Dyck
November 8, 1935.
In view of certain remarks in your last letter it may be opportune to
give you a brief outline of the whole of the foundation of "Pansophia"
and the "Pansophic Movement", together with my relations with Tränker
I met Tränker in 1919 in Leipzig and remained in close relations with
him till about August 1925. From 1923-25 I had a house near his and we
co-operated in the production of "Pansophia"; the selection of books to
be published and the campaign in Germany and other countries. Tränker
did not speak English and French and I translated a book by Franz
Hartmann from the English original which was published in the second
volume of "Pansophia". The "Collegium Pansophicum" was an invention of
Tränker's. He used the term partly to bluff other people; he hinted
darkly at a body of high Initiates in distant countries whose agent for
Germany, if not Europe, he claimed to be. These initiates never
revealed themselves to him. The "C.P." actually stood for Tränker and
Tränker had always wished to start a periodical, but could never force
himself to put up the necessary money. It was ultimately I alone who
furnished this and made the venture possible. Otto Wilhelm Barth, the
Munich publisher, came to me in Vienna, I think in 1922, where I was
living then, and it was there that I arranged the details. Tränker was
extremely greedy and knew well how to spot his financial interest: it
was he alone who made money out of the sales and in the many other
Tränker, however, was in charge in 1925 of the greatest existing
library of ancient books and Manuscripts which put him in a position to
suggest a conference at a certain secret headquarters. "The
representatives of that ancient Order which must not be names, sent
messages to Therion to inform him that they recognised in him the
awaited World Teacher and that his new formula was accepted as the
basis of the next step to be undertaken by humanity in the course of
its spiritual development and for the attainment of increased control
"They invited him to be present at these heqdquarters at the Summer
Solstice where they had summoned to meet him eight persones, delegates
of the principale secret Orders which keep watch over the destinies of
the race. He was officially recognised by them as the World Teacher."
Tränker had known Franz Hartmann, but I have been informed by intimate
friends of Hartmann's that he remained distrustful of T. up to his
death. I believe it was through Hartmann that T. established connection
with Reuss. Reuss also, as I have been told by Mrs. Reuss and know from
other sources, never trusted Tränker fully. Wehn T. heard of Reuss'
death he hurried to Munich, where his widow was living, and bullied her
into handing over to him all the documents and secret papers pertaining
to the O.T.O., using all kinds of threats and false pretences. Mrs.
Reuss, half out of her mind by her grief, and taken in by Tränker's
pledges, promises and threats, finally permitted herself to part with
Tränker had given the address of Otto Wilhelm Barth, the publisher,
where he took the package. Soon after he had left her Mrs. Reuss felt
remorse at her hasty and imprudent action. She discussed the matter
with her sister and first thing next morning rushed out of her flat,
went to Barth's office and there forced Tränker to return the package,
who happiliy had not left Munich yet.
Wehn I saw Mrs. Reuss in 1931 she still had those papers, though
innumerable people had come to her claiming to be the only ones
entitled to them. -
For a period, however, Tränker was used by the high Initiates as a
focus for the work of the Order. He did not understand his real
mission, and as soon as it was completed, we got rid of him.
When the Gestapa were investigating secret societies in general it was
not Tränker whom they arrested but myself when they discovered my
personal relations with Crowley. And it was the secrets of the O.T.O.
that they — like the British Government in 1929, believed to be of
supreme political importance.
Ever since their ascent to power the Nazis supsected the existence of
some secret organisation which wields some sort of mysterious power and
orders the affairs of the planet. They looked for Free Masonry to
furnish the clue, and all the Lodges in Germany were secretly kept
under a very strict supervision. The mail of the Lodges (as well as the
private mail of the higher Officers) was opened by a special department
of the Gestapa for the period of about a year. Microphones of a special
kind were built into the telephone apparatuses of important officials.
These microphones, not visible from outside, permitted a special
department of the Gestapa to hear clearly any private conversation
going on in the furthest part of the room in which the telephone was,
though the receiver was on the hook. Every telephone call was recorded
on a dictaphone or overheard. At last they arrested the Grand Masters
and other prominent Free Masons and kept them — in some cases even
their wives — in confinement, until the German Lodges dissolved
"voluntarily" in July 1935. In this way they found that there was some
other body behind Free Masons that had the real power.
It was from me that they expected to obtain the required information.
I was exposed to the severest cross examinations and to third degree
methods in order to force me to reveal the secrets. Finally I was sent
to the terrible Esterwegen Camp with the instruction to break me and to
treat me with particular brutality for "obstinately refusing to reveal
the truth". The full story will be told in my forthcoming book.
Thanking you for your good wishes at my escape from Germany, I remain,
I am sending a copy of this to Therion [aka Aleister Crowley].
More about Heinrich Traenker:
- 'Das O.T.O.–Phänomen', 1994, online.
- Heinrich Traenker: From Booksellers and other Grandmasters.
- Harvey Spencer Lewis and Theodor Reuss and Aleister Crowley and Heinrich Traenker.
- Heinrich Tränker und der O.T.O., auf Deutsch.
- Heinrich / Henri Birven über Karl Germer, mit Details zu Heinrich Tränker, Martha Kuentzel, Gerald Yorke, Aleister Crowley.
- Heinrich Traenker, O.H.O. of the O.T.O. in Germany: Die Sexualmysterien der Pansophie.
- Karl Germer about Heinrich Traenker. Letter to Max Schneider.
- Ritual I der Agape. Logos pneumaticos, Logos spermaticos.
- A.M.O.R.C., Martin Erler, ORA, Heinrich Traenker, Pansophie, H.J. Metzger, Schweizer O.T.O., Schikowski – H.D. H: Mein Besuch bei Heinrich Traenker / English translation: My visit to Heinrich Traenker.
- Eduard Munninger: Roses in Austria. The successor to Arnoldo Krumm-Heller in the German speaking countries. The idea of Traenker's “Pansophic-Gnostic Rites” had found a home with Walter Studinski soon after Tränker’s death in 1956. Now such rites were also being celebrated by Munninger at his Burg Krämpelstein in Austria.
- 'Das Beste von Heinrich Tränker'.
- Selection of on–line documents.
- More in 'Der O.T.O. Phänomen RELOAD', 2011.
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