Others have described — or tried to describe — far better than I (who was not on the spot) ever could, the last days of the Third German Reich: the irresistible advance of the two frantic invading armies (and of their respective auxiliaries) into the heart of the land, in which years of unheard-of bombardment had left nothing but ruins; the terror of the last and fiercest air raids that disorganized everything, while streams and streams of refugees kept pouring westward (realizing that they had, in spite of all, less to fear from the Americans — enemies of National Socialism with no faith to put in its place — than from the Russians, who were fighting in full awareness of their allegiance to the contrary faith); the horror of the last desperate battles, intended to immobilize for a while an enemy that one now knew to be the winner; and the moral breakdown — the frightening, blank hopelessness, the bitter feeling of having been mocked and cheated — of millions in whose hearts faith in National Socialism had been inseparable from the certitude of Germany’s invincibility: the moral ruins, even more tragic and more lasting than the material ones.
Others have described or tried to describe the horror of the last days of Berlin under the relentless fire of the Russian guns — Berlin which, seen from above, “looked like the crater of an immense volcano.” [These are the words of the well-known German airwoman, Hanna Reitsch, who saw it — Devi’s note.] In the midst of the capital ablaze, stood the broad and yet untouched gardens of the Chancellery of the Reich. There, surrounded by a few of his faithful ones in his bunker, underground, Adolf Hitler, the man against time, lived the apparent end of all his life’s work and of all his dreams, and the beginning of his people’s long martyrdom. More or less accurate reports have reached the outer world about his last known gestures and words. But nobody has described in all its more-than-human grandeur the last, real, inner phase — the tragic failure, and yet (considered from a standpoint exceeding by far that of the politician) the culmination — of his dedicated life.
In August Kubizek’s biography of him as a young man, there is a passage too significant for me not to quote it nearly in extenso. It is the description of a walk to the Freienberg (a hill over-looking Linz) in the middle of the night, just after the future Fuehrer and his friend had attended together, at the opera, a performance of Richard Wagner’s Rienzi. “We were alone,” writes Kubizek. “The town had sunk below us into the fog. As though he were moved by an invisible force, Adolf Hitler climbed to the top of the Freienberg. I now realized that we no longer stood in solitude and darkness, for above us shone the stars.”
“Adolf stood before me. He took both my hands in his and held them tight — a gesture that he had never yet made. I could feel from the pressure of his hands how moved he was. His eyes sparkled feverishly. The words did not pour from his lips with their usual easiness, but burst forth harsh and passionate. I noticed by his voice even more than by the way in which he held my hands how the episode he had lived (the performance of Rienzi) had shattered him to the depths.
“Gradually, he began to speak more freely. The words came with more speed. Never before and also never since have I heard Adolf Hitler speak like he did then, as we stood alone under the stars as though we had been the only two creatures on earth.
“It is impossible for me to repeat the words my friend uttered in that hour.
“Something quite remarkable, which I had not noticed before, even when he spoke to me with vehemence, struck me at that moment: it was as though another self spoke through him; another self, from the presence of which he was as moved as I was. In no way could one have said of him (as it sometimes happens, in the case of brilliant speakers) that he was intoxicated with his own words. On the contrary! I had the feeling that he experienced with amazement, I would say, that he was himself possessed by that which burst out of him with elemental power. I do not allow myself a comment on that observation. But it was a state of ecstasy, a state of complete trance, in which, without mentioning it or the instance involved in it, he projected his experience of the Rienzi performance into a glorious vision upon another plane, congenial to himself. More so: the impression he had received from that performance was merely the external Impulse that had prompted him to speak. Like a flood breaks through a dam which has burst, so rushed the words from his mouth. In sublime, irresistible images, he unfolded before me his own future and that of our people.
“Till then I had been convinced that my friend wanted to become an artist, a painter, or an architect. In that hour there was no question of such a thing. He was concerned with something higher, which I could not yet understand ... He now spoke of a mission that he was one day to receive from our people, in order to guide them out of slavery, to the heights of freedom ... Many years were to pass before I could realize what that starry hour, separated from all earthly things, had meant to my friend.”
Calmer now, amid the thunder of explosions and the noise of crumbling buildings — the flames and ruins of the Second World War — than then, at the top of the Freienberg, under the stars; freed from the temporary wild despair that had seized him at the news of the Russian advance west of the Oder River, Adolf Hitler beheld the future. And that future — his own and that of National Socialism and that of Germany, which had now become, forever, the fortress of the new faith — was nothing less than eternity; the eternity of truth, more unshakable (and more soothing) in its majesty even than that of the Milky Way.
The Russians could come, and their “gallant Allies” from the West could meet them and rejoice with them upon the ashes of the Third Reich (as Winston Churchill and his daughter Sarah, who were actually to be seen a few days later giggling with Russian officers before the skeleton of the Reichstag); Berlin could be wiped out — or bolshevized — and Germany, cut in two or in four, could, for years and years, suffer such an ordeal as no nation in history had yet suffered. In spite of all, National Socialism, the modern expression of cosmic truth, would endure and conquer.
National Socialism would rise again because it is true to cosmic reality and because that which is true does not pass. Germany’s via dolorosa was indeed the way to coming glory. It had to be taken, if the privileged nation was to fulfill her mission absolutely, i.e., if she was to be the nation that died for the sake of the highest human race, which she embodied, and that would rise again to take the lead of those surviving Aryans who are — at last! — to understand her message of life and to carry it with them into the splendor of the dawning Golden Age.
Oh, now — now under the ceaseless fire and thunder of the Russian artillery; now, on the brink of disaster — how the man against time clearly understood this!
Above him and above the smoke of the Russian cannons and of the burning city, above the noise of explosions, millions and millions of miles away, the stars — those same stars that had shed their light over the adolescent’s first prophetic ecstasy forty years before — sparkled in all their glory, in the limitless void. And the man against time, who could not see them, knew that his National Socialist wisdom, founded upon the very laws of life; his wisdom that this doomed world had cursed and rejected, was and would remain, in spite of all, as unassailable and everlasting as their everlasting dance.
Excerpt from: Savitri Devi, The Lightning and the Sun, 3rd abridged edn (Wellington, NZ: Renaissance Press, 1994), 76-78. First published in Calcutta in 1958. The title above is editorial.