One doesn’t associate Adolf Hitler with holy relics. How did this come to be?

One can either declare Hitler and his inner circle certifiably insane and be done with the matter, as many historians have done, or one could, with difficulty, trace the evolution of Hitler’s monstrous agenda point by point, from the rantings of a political dissident in a Munich beer hall to the death camps. I’ve tried to connect the dots. In Hitler’s Holy Relics, readers get a picture window into the mind of this madman, and can follow, point by point, how the failed Vienna art student and former choirboy developed a profound obsession with Christian mysticism and the Holy Roman Emperors, and more important, how, in building the Third Reich, he sought to create a ‘Holy Reich.’ Most writers wouldn’t have the temerity to put the words Holy and Reich together. At least no self-respecting Christian would put them together, and it wasn’t what came to my mind before I read Horn’s reports. But it’s not such a mental leap as you might expect. The Nazis actually created their own bible, complete with an Aryan Jesus. A Catholic priest edited Mien Kampf. Hymnals and rosaries were found along with children’s toys in the gated compounds where death-camp clerks and crematorium supervisors lived with their families. And among Himmler’s corps of Aryan scholars were prominent theologians, historians, and scientists, who traveled the world collecting all manner of religious art and manuscripts. Possession of the Holy Lance and Holy Roman Empire Crown Jewels might have actually been, in Hitler’s mind, a means to justify his quest, like Charlemagne before him, to conquer the Western world. This could also explain why Hitler believed he had the authority to commit the atrocities for which his henchmen would stand trial in Nuremberg. There can be no greater distortion of power than one man, the leader of a nation, believing that his or her authority comes directly from God.

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