There is a much commented belief that links Adolf Hitler’s messianic ideas with his experimentation with hallucinogens. Leyend says that in 1911, Hitler became acquainted with Ernst Pretzsche, a bookseller whose father had travelled to Mexico and spent some time researching Aztec customs, magic, and rituals. This man led Hitler through an exploration of cosmic chronicle, which intertwined the past, present, and future of human destiny aided by peyote consumption.
In 1913 Hitler travelled to the Danube and stayed with a herbalist who prepared a potion of peyote for him. This marked his first transcendental experience into the insight of the mysteries of reincarnation and other supernatural beliefs. Although initially he was not psyched to undergo a process in which he might possibly lose control of himself, Hitler agreed to take the potion primarily because of his interest in discovering the meaning of his destiny within the historical process of his own body chemistry.
Of course it is ridiculous to believe that peyote could possibly be held accountable for the atrocities that would later occur under his power, anyhow it is interesting to think about how this out-of-body experience could have influenced Hitler’s twisted views of race and government.
I recently visited two of the largest German Nazi concentration and extermination camps: Auschwitz and Birkenau. Located approximately one hour away from Krakow, Poland, in a town called Oświęcim, this network was dominated by the Third Reich during World War II, and designated as the place of the “final solution to the Jewish question in Europe”. Nazi Germany’s ultimate goal was to completely exterminate these unpure ethnities, or said in Otto Thierack’s words (Minister of Justice of the Third Reich): “We must free the German nation of Poles, Russians, Jews and Gypsies”.
Between 1940 and 1945, at least 1,300,000 people were deported to these camps. According to data obtained directly from Auschwitz: 1.100.000 were Jews, 150.000 were Poles, 23.000 were Roma (gypsies), 15.000 were Soviet war prisioners, and 25.000 belonged to other minority groups such as Jehova’s Witnesses, homosexuals, etc. The SS exterminated the majority of these prisioners in gas chambers and over 1.100.000 were killed in Auschwitz.
Trains that carried these persons from all over Nazi-occupied Europe were led directly to the gas chambers. But first, men, women and children were separated. The two latter groups were usually sent to die immediately, while those considered to be strong and fit to work were exploited in other ways, and obviously most died later on from disease and/or starvation, forced labor, medical experiments, tortures, etc.
It is no mystery that most of these facts are widely known, and it is obvious that the Holocaust is and continues being a popular subject portrayed in cinema, books, and other creative demonstrations. However, the experience of actually seeing and stepping on the largest German Nazi extermination camps has changed me forever, I believe, moreover, provided me with a much direct insight of the maquiavelic manifestations that mankind is capable of inflicting on the Other (and continues doing so).
Some of the scenes that shocked me the most are the following…
1. 20 tons of hair belonging to women prisioners who were shaved completely (genitals included), and whose hair was primarily used to manufacture textiles and other products.
2. 80.000 pairs of shoes were found in Auschwitz previous to the Red Army’s invasion (along with suitcases named and addressed, shoe polish and brushes, clothes, pots and pans, eyeglasses, etc.). Evidently, the Nazis were able to destroy most of the evidence of their gruesome crimes and tortures, although not all of it.
3. Walls covered with the pictures of men and women who were deported to the extermination camps, together with the dates they arrived and the date they were killed. The longest time period I observed was 6 months.
4. Gas chambers disguised as mass showers. In order to avoid histeria and panic, prisioners were fooled into believing that they would be desinfected before entering the camp. The feeling of death permeates every wall here
5. Dozens of crematoriums
6. And electrified barb wire, which proved to be a common option for people who couldn’t take the torture anymore and decided to end their own lives… that is, if the SS guards wouldn’t catch them before running into the electricity and send them to standing-up or complete darkness cells in order to prolong their pain.
If you thought Auschwitz was hardcore, Birkenau was even more so! Prisioners here were placed in horse stables and this here, was the toilet designated for thousands of them. Malaria, dehydration, dhiarrhea, and countless other diseases made the queues endless. According to our guide, if someone was not able to make it to the “toilet” in time, the person would have to relieve him or herself in their feeding bowls.
And finally, these were the “beds” in Birkenau. Most often, 3 to 4 prisioners had to share each one.
Whether Hitler’s sick and criminal ideas were influenced by his experimentation with hallucinogens such as peyote, mescalin or LSD, and subsequent psychosis (which would eventually lead to his self murder), continues to be debated.
In 1940, however, when LSD was “invented”, a psychiatrist & scientist named Tayleur Stockings, who researched the effects of mescalin on schzophrenic patients concluded something extremely interesting:
“Mescaline intoxication is indeed a true “schizophrenia” if we use the word in its literal sense of “split mind”, for the characteristic effect of mescaline is a molecular fragmentation of the entire personality, exactly similar to that found in schizophrenic patients… Thus the subject of the mescaline psychosis may believe that he has become transformed into some great personage, such as a god or a legendary character, or a being from another world”.
Leaves you thinking…