Karl Germer to Max Schneider

Ordo Templi Orientis

Karl Germer about Heinrich Traenker
Letter to Max Schneider

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.
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.

Karl Germer Max Schneider Ordo Templi Orientis Karl Germer Max Schneider Ordo Templi Orientis Karl Germer Max Schneider Ordo Templi Orientis

[From Materialien zum O.T.O.]

 Max Schneider
 15, Rue van Dyck

 November 8, 1935.

 Care Frater,

 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
 (Frater Recnartus.)
 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
 over nature."
 "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
 the papers.
 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,
 yours fraternatlly

 [signed Saturnus]

 I am sending a copy of this to Therion [aka Aleister Crowley].

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