Friedrich / Frederic Lekve
Details re Martha Küntzel in Marco Pasi "Aleister Crowley und die Versuchung der Politik", Graz 2006.|
Correspondenz of Küntzel with several O.T.O.-protagonists in "Noch mehr Materialien zum O.T.O.", München 2000
Francis King: "Satan and Swastika. The Occult and the Nazi Party", Herts 1976, 142.
"It would be exciting indeed if Martha Kuntzel had been the originator of this excellent advice! Alas, however, the whole idea of Hitler being her 'magical child' would seem to have been exploded by the lady herself:
In July 1928 Grosche was publishing Crowley's writings
with the annotation that they were "Copyrighted by the Thelema
Publishing Company, Leipzig."
In 1930 a meeting was held between Messrs. Germer, Arnoldo Krumm-Heller, Crowley and Yorke, at Henri Birven's home - though in the absence of Martha Küntzel. On the 1st and 2nd of July Martha Küntzel (as representative of Thelema Publishing) and Henri Birven (for "Hain der Isis" magazine) signed an agreement which finally allowed Birven to publish Crowley's writings; though Crowley later prohibited further publication by in 1932. The relationship between Birven and Küntzel worsened however, as Küntzel delivered up even more idiosyncratic Crowleyan translations. Frau Küntzel had recently become filled with even greater enthusiasm for Adolf Hitler, whom she seriously believed to be her magical son;  even the hitherto fairly pro-German Crowley found this too much to swallow, and finally broke contact with her in 1935. But a year later a new German protagonist emerged.
Before he encountered Thelema, Lekve claimed that "I was living with the idea that suffering was inevitable. That led to a search on many different mystical paths," accompanied by an "unhealthy tendency to find fault with myself, and a susceptibliity to violent mood-swings". Yet when his Thelemic calling followed in 1929,  he saw it above all in light of the coincidence of his birth - February 26th 1904 - with the "revelation of the Law of Thelema in Cairo", which in fact allegedly occurred between April 8th-10 th in the same year [two times Crowley admitted this to be an April's Fool invented on 1st April]. Another signpost for Lekve was Martin Buber's (1878-1965) rediscovery of Chassidism, again simply because of its date: 1904. 
In 1936 he met Martha Küntzel, who subsequently became his mentor; he wrote to Aleister Crowley for the first time on October 8th that year. He informed Crowley of the 'Circle of Thelema'  to which he and Frau Küntzel belonged, and about the six crates full of paintings that Crowley had left behind in Berlin after his exhibition in 1931. Crowley then cast Lekve's horoscope, hoping that it would enable him to get hold of the crates quickly. Lekve went on to characterise Eugen Grosche as a "brother of the left-hand path", enumerated a long dream, and signed himself as "66 (Friedrich) + 11 (Lekve)."
On April 4th 1937 he complained to Crowley about the dearth of interest in his 'monthly letters', and spoke of his desire to entice people into Thelema by means of astrology, signing himself as "Seven OZ Seven", even though it was not until November 6th 1941 that Crowley called his own "Rights of Man" "Liber OZ".  These "Rights" were incorporated by Crowley into the OTO's II° ritual of initiation, which was only put into written form AFTER 1941  and first performed in 1942.
March 21st 1937: Lekve said that he would be able to stay the night at Crowley's even if there was no spare bed; as he had been made London representative of the Wetzel Rubber Works, he had an inflatable mattress.
|March 28th 1937: Crowley refused to accept Lekve's plans for lodging but proposed to use Hitler's Swastika as a logo on thelemic flags and porcelain on which to base a business. But Lekve thought that it was copyrighted already and would have liked it much better if the swastika had been used as the "Sign of the German Thelema". (Yet at exactly the same time, a factory in Wewelsburg set up by the Nazis in order to put swastikas on its chinaware.) |
Nonetheless Lekve now travelled to London, to sit at his Master's feet.
 In an undated letter, and a subsequent one on September 23rd
1937, Lekve begged Crowley not to send him any more letters, as he was
living in fear of the Gestapo.
In March 1955  Eugen Grosche first disseminated the tale that Martha Küntzel had disappeared in a concentration-camp, which does not agree with Lekve's story that 'I.W.E.' died on December 8th 1942 in a convalescent home: "Until the last moment of her life I was with her."  Küntzel's supposed foreword to "The Book of Thoth", which appeared in 1944, was in fact Crowley's work.  Herbert Schmolke - Crowley and Friedrich Mellinger's German contact in the 40s - told Germer on February 2nd 1946: "Soror I.W.E . left Leipzig in June 1937 and went to Bad Blankenburg-Thur. In a home for aged teachers [...] she died by senility (aged 85).".  No indications about anyone called Martha Küntzel can be discovered in the German federal Archives. 
1944 was the high-point of Lekve's spiritual progress: achieving the Major Adept Grade in the A.·. A.·., and the synthetic IX° of the OTO - for which the theory alone would of course suffice.
After the war on January 11th 1946, Lekve renewed his correspondence with Crowley (who noted in his diary: "Hurrah! Friedrich Lekve"); he hoped that after the overthrow of Nazism, the Germans would finally accept Thelema. On Martha Küntzel: "from the political point of view there was a great difference between her and myself [of course Küntzel had become a fanatical Hitler-worshipper] [...] I was the friend of her except you of course to whom she had the deepest confidence and trust. So she was very anxious that I might take over her succesorship." - this claim was also proved by Fräulein Küntzel's last will and testament.
Then Lekve confessed his misgivings about Orders, wishing not to join the O.T.O., instead suggesting the foundation of a "Societas Thelema" in parallel to the Societas Jesu - the Jesuits. Crowley answered him via Herbert Schmolke, much to Lekve's chagrin.
By April 29th that year, Lekve was disassociating himself from "such men as Germer, Achad, Mathers and the many," maintaining that even Grosche was a cancer in the blood of spiritual giants - of which Crowley was one. Lekve nominated himself as Crowley's representative, "even if you, my Father, would prefer to reject and push me from your side." Under the Nazis he had still distributed copies of "Liber AL", an extremely risky thing to do.
But Crowley reacted very coolly to Lekve's self-appointment in his letter of June 14th, wanting to know why Lekve thought he was devoting himself to the Great Work, yet refused to be in the O.T.O., despite claiming the IX°. Regarding Thelema's desolate state and the publication of his own books, Crowley wanted Lekve to start taking some practical steps. "However, if you are a Major Adept you ought to be able to work miracles and that is exactly what is wanted [...] the secret of the Ninth Degree which is exactly what you need most to enable you to perform those miracles."
The last message that Lekve received from his Master was "Liber OZ" (otherwise called "Liber 77"); in 1949 he it was who produced the first German translation of this 'book', and not H.J. Metzger, as the latter claimed six years later in 1955.
The second Californian Agapé Lodge, loyal to Crowley's O.T.O. resolved to send C.A.R.E. parcels to the German Thelemites at the end of 1947, reserving 50% of its funds to this end; Karl Germer provided them with a list of addresses. Jane Wolfe (1875-1958) and Mary Kay sent support to Herbert Schmolke and his wife at Charlottenburg in Berlin - though the couple soon emigrated to California. (Later in a letter of March 24th 1954, Germer warned Wolfe that Schmolke was getting "strange".) Ray and Mildred Burlingame took the Lekve family and Dr. von Oldershausen into their safe keeping;  the Burlingames stood as Lekve's sponsors for his now imminent initiation into the O.T.O., to which Germer reacted with ill-humour. 
In 1948 Lekve sent out "Thelemic Lections and Exercises"  with the sigil of his own Abbey of Thelema, and the heading "Institute for Courses in Individuation on Cosmological Foundations." In 1951, extracts from Crowley's "Confessions" appeared for the first time together with sections of "Liber AL" with Lekve's commentary in "Meaning of Thelemic Chassidism". "I wish to produce Thelemites; it is not by faith that one becomes a Thelemite, but each must do so based on their own particular experience."  The unloved Grosche also received autographed issues.
"Every Thursday and Saturday at midnight in the Abbey an invocation of the Stele takes place. Those of the Thelem Chassidim wishing to harmonise with the vibration have the opportunity to do so at this time."  Lekve sent out free copies of this Stele; paper copies glued onto pieces of wood: a real effort in the face of the money and paper shortages in the immediate post-war years.  This was an idea which was later adopted by H.J. Metzger: Walter "Englert and I [Paul R. Audehm] helped him with that once. We made - by the sweat of our brows - about thirty Steles. They were sawn out, fixed to a wooden stand, smoothed with sandpaper, then had the two pictures stuck on (the front in colour, the back one in black-and-white) - and were thickly plastered with 'Abramelin Oil' - this latter being a secret recipe of Metzger's. Anne[marie Aeschbach] wanted to stop me getting hold of a stele - Clairvoyantly she saw it how it was: In '74 I pushed my copy into the garbage bin."  Likewise, Oscar Schlag owned one of Metzger's Steles.
In Nº 3 of Herbert Fritsche's journal "Merlin", there appeared in 1949 Lekve's article 'The Magician Aleister Crowley (Master Therion)' with the message that "The Master is dead. Long live the Thelemic Law, long live the Order of Thelemites,"  that is, those who were openly interested in Thelema. This 'Order of Thelemites', was not the same from Crowley, which was a hybrid of the O.T.O. and A.·. A.·., and had been set up under the leadership of James Thomas Windram "Frater Semper Paratus, Frater Mercurius" the X° for South Africa, who had died in 1939. 
It was Windram who had nominated Frank Bennett "Progradior" (1867-1930), later to be one of Crowley's disciples at Cefalù, to the VII° for Australia on November 15th 1915. Vyvyan Deacon "Memnon", who was one of the spritualist mediums who obtained data for the Theosophical 'Bishop' C.W. Leadbeater (1847-1932), was a concurrent to the 'Australian Order of Oriental Templars', allegedly originating from Reuss in 1908. (More on the Australian O.T.O. has been published in "Skoob Occult Review",  and in a projected biography of Frank Bennett by Keith Richmond.  Alongside Motta's O.T.O. and the 'Caliphate', there allegedly exists an Australian O.T.O. run by Gregory Tillett).
The 'Abbey of Thelema' founded by Crowley in Sicily on April 4th 1920 was placed under his own O.T.O. Statutes (dating from 1919) on November 26th 1922.  But Lekve's 'Order of Thelemites' and Abbey were exclusively the preserve of his own 'Thelem Chassidim', having no links to either the O.T.O. or the Gnostic Church. In Lekve's Abbey there was an outer order maintained through correspondence with its members, as distinct from the inner one, the 'Thelem Chassidim', in which those called to its ranks worked on a Qabalistic basis.  Thus Lekve's Order of Thelemites was "a spiritual hierarchy descending from the revelation of an essential Higher Intelligence, that has advanced beyond the level of our existence." 
On September 16th 1949 Oskar R. Schlag (1907-1991) sent off for copies of Lekve's "Thelemic Lections". On October 17th Lekve reported "Yes, Herr Eugen Grosche's FS has re-opened its doors too, though I never had anything to do with it, since it came out against the Master Therion [...] As yet the Order has not been represented in Switzerland." As the Wetzel Rubber Works' representative Lekve was frequently in Zurich, or had the "Lections" distributed in Switzerland by his go-between C.H. Jödicke. Herr Schlag sent gifts of coffee to Lekve in Hildesheim.
"The Abbey of Thelema in Hildesheim is situated in the midst of the bomb-ravaged city-centre, a few rooms in a bombed-out house which has withstood the onslaught. It is on the Goslarschen Strasse, and its number is 7." Thus begins Lekve's "Thelemic Lections and Exercitions A1" of November 18th 1949. It was in these "Lections" that Metzger had first read Crowley's writings (apart from the Thelema-Verlag's small booklet "Magick"), and it was Lekve who gave him Germer's address in New York at the end of 1950; hence Lekve was effectively Metzger's sponsor for the Crowleyan O.T.O. Under his alias of 'Peter Mano' Metzger travelled busily hither and thither, giving lectures and courses on astrology in Zurich, Berne, and St. Gallen, distributed meditations on the Moon, and sought to make himself known to all the esoteric celebrities he knew (and some he didn't) by means of his 'Psychosophical Institute and Press' - which had at least some actual existence in the form of headed notepaper.
Active outside his Order in Hildesheim, Lekve was promoted to the City Council, became a member of the Museums Committee, party representative for the Socialist Democrat Party, a member of the governing body of the city's cultural trust, the first president of and lecturer at the Adult Education Institute; he was promoted to managing director of Wetzel Rubber Products at the same time that he was elected mayor, and even found the time to act as a translator for the occupying forces. It is fair to say that he took a vital part in the post-war reconstruction of Hildesheim. Today there is a street named after him in Hildesheim.
At the Spring Equinox 1951 Lekve conveyed "greetings from the highest spiritual summit" to his students; at the same time the first magical exercises were given in the "Lections". On June 20th that year he sent out a circular letter to the "Lections'" subscribers; due to his triple reponsibilities (the rubber factory, Thelema, and his office as Mayor) he'd been having heart-trouble since April, and would therefore have to temporarily suspend the "Lections" until such time as his political office did not make such heavy demands on him.
In a letter of June 30th to the Swiss Henry Graf, Lekve had some information to impart: "An association in Switzerland which has as its object to live in harmony with the Law of Thelema, does not do so exist. It is less devoted to Thelemic work through any sort of group-effort, than concerned with the personal work of a certain individual." Oddly enough, Lekve was not drawing Herr Graf's attention to Metzger here, but to Oscar Schlag.
Even so, Lekve was not exactly overflowing with enthusiasm for Metzger when he wrote to Germer, while Germer wasn't inclined to agree with his opinion: "I can't accept Lekve's judgement. It is not always reliable. Besides, Metzger is young." (Germer to Mellinger, 15.9.51). The animosity was mutual; Grosche and Metzger had of course included Lekve's organisation in their idea of framework for bringing all Orders under a single jurisdiction, and Grosche expressed the hope that Lekve's "Lections" would turn out to be a "material failure."
He thought that Lekve could "not proceed any further on his own, his publications being too high-flown and difficult for building up an expanded organisation," while Metzger said that "with Lekve the next intention must be to abandon all this Chassidic stuff." 
Lekve offered his "Lections" to the Rascher Verlag in Zurich for publication in 1951; the publishers turned to Oscar Schlag on August 10th for an expert opinion, who gave his considered view on September 10th, that publication was "not advisable" since the "Lections" had all manner of odd ideas about Aleister Crowley.
Meanwhile Friedrich Mellinger had become active in Europe. Karl Germer wrote to him from New York on September 15th: "I'm glad you met Lekve, and that you were satisfied with the meeting [...] Lekve is worthy. He has proved it by his work in hundreds of ways [...] As to the IXth itself, maybe he might divine the ultimate secret himself if he were a little prepared for it [...] If you should meet L. again, go as far as you see fit, and there is no limit. [Germer follows with instructions for the IX°, and the reflection that Mellinger needed no confirmation of his position in Charter form.] Ergo: these remarks refer to Metzger too [...] One word about Lekve and his girlfriend Ruth.  While I'd go all the way in my respect for L., I'd suggest caution with regard to Ruth. You can go to the III in any case, and then leave it to L. to give her further instruction." The relationship between Lekve and Mellinger remains doubtful. 
Impatient with Lekve's poor finances, Germer began to get annoyed, especially in view of the subsidies that Lekve had initially received from the Californian Thelemites. In addition, Lekve was rather more inclined to see the O.T.O. run on Reussian lines, and like Reuss "not take the A.A. as the supreme Order with the obligation to accept AL as the basis of the OTO Work," as Mellinger complained on September 25th that year. A great flurry of deliberations followed, in which they discussed how even someone as vastly well-informed like Metzger could be embroiled without looking ridiculous.
Friedrich Lekve entered into a correspondence with Martin Buber, read Gershom Scholem's (1897-1981) works on the Qabalah, and in 1952 the "Lections" appeared with a new emphasis: "The Thelemic Chassid is exclusively a RELIGIOUS PERSON. Thelem Chassidim is the dreamer's rendezvous."  He now asked all his correspondents to send him their dream-diaries, and along with this set up an associated affair "for practical use of methodical fantasy: the meditational Dreamland of Thelem [...] the City of Nephrit." He'd been apprised of this idea by Crowley - in his astral form of course. 
This dreamland was a rendezvous for such personages as 'Nathan Prager' (Herbert Fritsche), Rebbe 'Ssair' (Lekve himself, who was now passing himself off as an Ishmaelite), 'Friedrich Oss', 'Anna Pawlowna', 'Johannes Quest' and wife, 'Bogohild' and wife, Sister 'Benedikta', Sister 'Aniela Petrosi', 'Hans Helios', 'Eleazar ben Abinadab', 'Aladdin', 'Assa' and 'Beatrice'. Lekve sent his latest "Lections" to W.T. Smith in the States, but this merely served to put him further beyond the O.T.O. pale. Contacts with the ORA in Munich were soon formed. 
On September 4th 1953 Friedrich Lekve let it be known that "the Thelemic Lections have appeared again - committed to a wholly new direction" - though the growth of Thelem Chassidim's tiny congregation stagnated. In a letter to Schlag on October 21st 1953 Lekve still didn't know what Germer's new address was. Afterwards Germer speculated that C.H. Petersen (who had named Lekve and Metzger as heirs in his will) had obtained Lekve's records.  As opposed to Germer, Petersen andd Mellinger never published Lekve by way of Metzger. Straight after Lekve died, Metzger did print a couple of articles from Lekve's hand, in one of which he gave his opinion that "the Thelemite is the final representative of occidental life, occidental thought." 
Martin Buber, who was certainly no Thelemite,  asked Herbert Fritsche how Lekve was on January 8th 1956; Fritsche had met Lekve six times and defended him very much. After Lekve died on the 26th of August that year Fritsche decribed him in a letter on December the 30th to Charlotte P.: "In himself he was no stranger to carelessness, verging on unreason."
When Germer sent Martha Küntzel's version of "Liber AL" with Crowley's dedication in it to Metzger, he saw it as confirmation that he had inherited the mantle of the 'Thelema-Verlags-Gesellschaft Leipzig'. But in the event, his merchandising of Crowleyan books was not as enthusiastically conducted as Metzger wanted it to look. Metzger wrote a fruitless letter to Lekve's widow Luise, and demanded that she send him all her husband's Thelemic documentation. A lady from Hildesheim told the story of how Lekve deserted his wife "because of the Küntzel woman" (the age-gap between them was 62 years), also of how after Lekve's death she had bought the books he'd left behind, deciding together with Frau Lekve that his collection of documents was "Black-magical", and ordering that they be burnt. Part of this archive consisted of holograph manuscripts written by Crowley, though some of these had already fortunately been passed on to C.H. Petersen. This story was told to Dieter Heikaus, Grand Master of the Ordo Saturni, by this anonymous lady, from whom he obtained a number of books by Lekve and Frau Küntzel.  The rest of Lekve's estate went to a certain Brother 'Nürnberger' in Hamburg.
Just three weeks before Germer's death on October 11th 1962 "during the the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council - the Stele of Revealing was carried across Germany from Hamburg to Zurich, and thence to Stein, where it was borne into the Chapel while all the bells were ringing," or so ran the glad tidings in Metzger's "Oriflamme". But the magazine was not referring to Crowley's original painted copy, but to Lekve's printing-plate of the Stele - presumably identical with the plate used by Crowley in the volumes of his "Equinox". 
Notes to Chapter Seven of "Das O.T.O. Phänomen", 1994
Translated and adapted from a chapter on the O.T.O. Protagonists in "Das O.T.O.-Phänomen" (1994) by Mark Parry-Maddocks — German original online. An outline can also be found in the English "O.T.O. Rituals and Sexmagick" (1999)
English Biography: Dreamland Chassidim
Deutsche online Version: Das O.T.O.-Phänomen
Kurzbiographie von Luise Lekve: Ein Brief
Texts by Lekve in Das Beste von Friedrich Lekve (1997) (copyright permission by Frau Lekve)
Facsimile of the correspondence between Lekve and Crowley in Materialien zum OTO (1994)
Friedrich Lekve: Die Weisse und die Schwarze Messe
See also the correspondence between Karl Germer and Frederic Mellinger
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 Thelema
English Version The Templar's Reich
Versiune romana: Reich-ul Templier
To the other chapters of the English online version of "The O.T.O. Phenomenon" book
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