Archive for the ‘Ecology’ Category


Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian Explorer in Search of Odin

Thor Heyerdahl – Norwegian biologist, geologist, archeologist and marine migration historian – is still best known as “Kon-Tiki Man” – the nickname which dates back to his first voyage expedition in 1947 when he crossed the Pacific in a primitive balsa-raft.

“People think I’m just an adventurer,” he [would] tell you. “They don’t realize that all my projects are related like pearls on a string — that they’re part of a single pattern.”

“This voyage on the “Kon Tiki” in 1947 was my first experience with a small vessel on the open ocean. From then on, I began organizing archeological excavations. My first was in 1952 to the Galapagos Islands. The next was to Easter Island in 1955-56. That was the first time I saw carvings of those large sickle-shaped ships. They were the same type as those in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.”

“I came to the conclusion that the Egyptians who built the pyramids left behind art and technology of an incredibly high level. They would not have continued to build boats made of reeds if they had considered such vessels to be primitive and ineffective. So, I decided that there must be something wrong with our scientific theories. All the literature that I had read at the university had said that boats made of balsam wood would absorb water and sink.”

“So I went on to prove that these scientific theories were wrong. The Kon Tiki raft kept afloat for 101 days until we arrived in Polynesia. In Egypt it was said at the Papyrus Institute that papyrus reed would absorb water and sink after two weeks. Again, I decided to trust the ancient pharaohs more than modern scientists who have never even seen a papyrus ship. That’s how I came to build my first reed boat. Together, with an international crew of seven people, we sailed for two months. The reed boat was still afloat.”

The geographer-zoologist turned expeditionist-archeologist is driven by an insatiable curiosity that has convinced him that many of the pieces in the chronology of prehistoric human life have yet to be discovered.

Heyerdahl is fond of saying that “man hoisted sail before he saddled a horse. He poled and paddled among rivers and navigated open seas before he traveled on wheels along roads.” Like a detective in search of missing clues, Heyerdahl believes the search for mankind’s first vehicles – water craft – will take him back to the source of civilization.

“I believe I’ve opened the locked door to the hidden evidence that the vessels of antiquity permitted unrestricted voyages in pre-European times and that there is a complex global root relationship between all those rapidly growing civilizations that suddenly grew up with evidence of advanced boat building some 5,000 years ago.”

Heyerdahl admits that a single reed of papyrus seems so fragile that you could hardly dare think about entrusting it with your life on a violent ocean. But when reeds are harvested in the appropriate season and tied together in bundles, he found they made a boat that was exceptionally seaworthy, virtually unsinkable and safer than any canoe or ship with a vulnerable hull. When breakers surge over a reed boat, all the water which showered onboard disappears the same instant through a thousand fissures.

Heyerdahl first became interested in marine migration after his first visit to the Marquesas Islands in Polynesia in 1937-38. Trained as a biologist at the University of Oslo, he had specialized in studying animal and plant diffusion to Oceania. He noticed that a number of the most important food plants cultivated in aboriginal Polynesia, as well as the Polynesia dog, appeared to have spread from South America prior to European arrival. That’s when he became suspicious of anthropological dogma which insisted that the Peruvian balsa raft could not have floated there in pre-Columbian times.

And that’s when he set out to prove that such migrations were possible. The quest would take him on four trans-oceanic voyages over a span of 29 years. The first was the balsa raft, “Kon-Tiki”, (1947) which sailed 4,300 miles from Lima to Polynesia. In 1969 he constructed a papyrus reed boat, the “Ra” which crossed the Atlantic via the Canary Current from Morocco, traveling 3,000 miles in eight weeks and arriving within 600 miles of Central America.

In 1971, Heyerdahl commissioned the Aymara Indians from Lake Titicaca (Bolivia) to construct a second version of the reed ship, “Ra II”. This one crossed the Atlantic “without loss or damage to a single papyrus stem” from Morocco to Barbados in 57 days (two months). For Heyerdahl Mexico should be perceived as only a few weeks away from Morocco-not centuries or millennia as had been thought previously.

In 1978, his fourth expedition was of ancient Sumerian design. The “Tigris”, a 60-foot reed vessel, began its journey at the convergence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and sailed 4,200 miles in 143 days (five months plus) out through the Arabian Gulf eventually arriving at Djibouti at the entrance of the Red Sea.

Despite the fact that Heyerdahl formally researches ancient history, he has always advocated a deep concern for contemporary problems. When his reed boats encountered oil slicks and chemical pollution spills in the ocean in the late 60s, Heyerdahl was the first to send a report to the United Nations and appeal to governments and international environmentalists. He has since testified on ocean pollution for governmental and scientific institutions in 23 countries, including the US Senate and the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

Heyerdahl is convinced that if more money were spent on the environment, there would be fewer wars:

“History and archaeology both show us that no progress in the quality or quantity of arms can secure peace. It can only lead us into ever more horrible and inhuman wars. Therefore, we should be spending more money on research related to environmental protection of our globally deteriorating planet than on arms to protect ourselves from each other. This is our only alternative; otherwise we will all sink together by undermining the delicate and highly complex environmental ecosystem, thus committing suicide by interfering with biological recycling and hastening climatic changes.”

. . .

“For a long time, I’ve been puzzled by the fact that three great civilizations surrounding the Arabian peninsula appeared in about 3,000 B.C. as ready-developed, organized dynasties at the same astonishingly high level and all three were remarkably alike. The definite impression is that related priest-kings at that time came from elsewhere with their respective entourages, and imposed their dynasties on areas formerly occupied by more primitive or, at least, culturally far less advanced, tribes.”

“But where could they have come from? Is there a “zero hour for civilized man”? I’ve been convinced for quite some time that the clues to this mystery, no doubt, lie in the prehistoric boat petroglyphs which are found on widely scattered continental shores and islands all over the world and even near dried-out waterways deep inside the Sahara Desert. Petroglyphs and rock paintings of watercraft represent the earliest known illustrations of human architecture and even predate pictures of dwellings or temples. I’ve seen such sketches from below the equator in Polynesia to above the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway. Everywhere they testify to the fact that boats were of extreme importance to early man as they provided security and transportation millennia before there were roads through the wilderness.”

“Our lack of knowledge about our own past is appalling. In the course of two million years of human activity, ice has come and gone, and land has emerged and submerged. Forest humus, desert sand, river silt and volcanic eruptions have hidden from view large portions of the former surface of the earth. The sea level has altered; 70% of our planet is now below water, and underwater archaeology has barely begun in coastal areas. We are accustomed to finding sunken ships with old amphora and other cargo beneath the sea, but speculation as to the discovery of other human vestiges on the bottom of the ocean still remains a subject for science fiction writers.”

“It may not be pure coincidence that the ship petroglyphs that the early Azeri depicted while navigating on the Caspian Sea and up the Russian rivers are identical to those of the ancestors of the Vikings along the fjords of Norway millennia later. In Scandinavia, there are two different types of boat petroglyphs, both well represented in Norway. One is similar to those at Gobustan and is drawn as a simple sickle-shaped line which forms the base of the ship with vertical lines on deck to illustrate crew or raised oars.”

“The other ship type probably represents a “skin boat” with a rather short and bulky hull and an interior framework of wood, appearing on the petroglyphs as if viewed from outside. Such a boat is mentioned in early Norwegian sagas written down by the Icelander, Snorre Sturlason, before his death in 1241, (Snorri, The Sagas of the Viking Kings of Norway. English translation: J. M. Stenersens Forlag, Oslo 1987). According to the saga, the Viking kings descended from Odin, an immigrant hierarch who came in a vessel called Skithblathnir (Skidbladner) which could be folded together like a cloth. Odin came from the land of the “Aser” (Æsír), and is, therefore, frequently referred to as “Asa-Odin”. The legendary land of the people known as Aser is given a very exact location in Snorre’s saga as east of the Caucasus mountains and the Black Sea.”

“From there, according to the same saga, Odin, owner of the foldable boat migrated with all his people northwestwardly through Russia, Saxland, and Denmark into Sweden where he died and lay buried in a huge funerary mound at Sigtuna. Asa-Odin’s saga with his boat and his itinerary has been considered by Nordic historians as a myth concocted in medieval times, although they consider the Nordic people as Caucasians. But, perhaps, Odin’s boat may indicate that the land of the Aser really lay by the Caspian Sea east of the Caucasus. In fact, in the 5th century B.C., the Greek historian, Herodotus, described such marvelous foldable boats used precisely in the area referred to in Asa-Odin’s saga as the home of th Aser, namely the land of the present day Azeri and Armenians.”

“In this area, Herodotus wrote, traveling merchants used boats built with a framework of wood and canes covered with skin, and of such great size that they carried one or more donkeys in addition to crew and cargo. They navigated down river to Babylonia where they sold their merchandise and the framework (wood), then they folded the skins and loaded them on the donkeys for their return upstream in preparation for the next voyage.”

“I’m personally convinced that Snorre recorded oral history rather than a concocted myth, and I think it’s time to look for the land that my Scandinavian ancestors came from and not merely where they subsequently went on their Viking raids and explorations. They certainly did not come out from under the glaciers when the ice-age ended so they must have immigrated from the south. Since their physical type is referred to as Caucasian and their very own descendant preserved an itinerary from south of the Caucasus and north of Turkey, I suspect that the present Azeri people and the Aser of the Norse sagas have common roots and that my ancestry originated there.”

“The unwritten history of both the Scandinavians and the Azeri doubtlessly began with ships and navigation. Both had access to waterways which permitted them to explore and travel far and wide. The Azeri could easily have sailed across their inland sea to the great centers of civilization in antiquity and up the river Volga which was navigable past present-day Moscow to its sources which are suspiciously close to the sources of the river Dvina which empties into the Baltic Sea at Riga, where the first Christian Norwegian Viking king, Olav Trygvason, was born.”

“This would mean that Azerbaijan and not northern Europe was the dispersion center of the Caucasian people buried in northwestern China some 4,000 years ago and now discovered by Chinese archaeologists who theorize that they came from northern Europe because they were tall, blond, blue-eyed and with Caucasian features. According to modern scholars in Azerbaijan, there used to be a strong blond and fair-skinned element in the aboriginal Azeri population, as illustrated by the stone-age hunters at the Gobustan Museum. Subsequent invasions by Romans and Arabs have somewhat modified the original Azeri type.”

“Many clues are still invisible about the human history prior to the sudden cultural bloom in Egypt, Sumer and the Indus valley some five millennia ago. But with advanced technology, some day the answers may be found under the sand and sea. The challenge for scholars is to look deeper into foreign relations in the region of present-day Azerbaijan to determine what those prehistoric roots and linkages were.”

Heyerdahl never stopped asking if there is a “zero hour for civilized man”. His pursuit has taken him all over the globe searching for man’s earliest settlements and for links of migration from region to region and continent to continent. Heyerdahl is convinced that the vessels of antiquity permitted unrestricted voyages in pre-European times, and that there is a complex global relationship between many of the rapidly growing civilizations that suddenly appeared 5,000 years ago which had an advanced knowledge of boat building. He believes that Azerbaijan may well be one of the very first centers of migration.

Heyerdahl first began forming this hypothesis after visiting Gobustan, an ancient cave dwelling found 30 miles west of Baku, which is famous for its rock carvings. The sketches of sickle-shaped boats carved into these rocks closely resemble rock carvings found in his own native Norway.

. . .

“We learn of the line of royal families in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. But we didn’t take these stories about our beginnings seriously because they were so ancient. We thought it was just imagination, just mythology. The actual years for the lineage of historic kings began around the year 800 AD. So we learned all the kings in the 1,000 years that followed and did not interest ourselves in earlier names.”

“But I remember from my childhood that the mythology started with the god named Odin. From Odin it took 31 generations to reach the first historic king. The record of Odin says that he came to Northern Europe from the land of Aser. I started reading these pages again and saw that this was not mythology at all, but actual history and geography.”

“Snorre, who recorded these stories, started by describing Europe, Asia and Africa, all with their correct names, Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea with their old Norse names, the Black Sea with the names we use today again, and the river Don with its old Greek name, Tanais.”

“Snorre said that the homeland of the Asers was east of the Black Sea. He said this was the land that chief Odin had, a big country. He gave the exact description: it was east of the Black Sea, south of a large mountain range on the border between Europe and Asia, and extended southward towards the land of the Turks. This had nothing to do with mythology, it was on this planet, on Earth.”

“Then came the most significant point. Snorre says: ‘At that time when Odin lived, the Romans were conquering far and wide in the region. When Odin learned that they were coming towards the land of Asers, he decided that it was best for him to take his priests, chiefs and some of his people and move to the Northern part of Europe.'”

“The Romans are human beings, they are from this planet, they are not mythical figures. Then I remember that when I came to Gobustan, I had seen a stone slab with Roman inscriptions. I contacted the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan. I was taken to the place, and I got the exact wording of the inscription.”

“There’s a very logical way of figuring out when this was written. It had to be written after the year 84 AD and before the year 97 AD. If this inscription matched Snorre’s record, it would mean that Odin left for Scandinavia during the second half of the 1st century AD. Then I counted the members of the generations of kings, every king up to the grandfather of the king that united Norway into one kingdom, because such information is available – around 830 AD.”

“In anthropology we reckon 25 years per generation for ruling kings. In modern times, a generation may extend up to 30 years, but on average the length of a generation in early reigns is 25 years. When you multiply 31 generations by 25 years, you come exactly back to the second half of the 1st century AD. So there is proof that these inscriptions carved by the Romans in stone coincide with the written history written almost 1,800 years ago in Iceland.”

“We all know that the Northern people are called Caucasian. Here is where history, archeology, geography and physical anthropology come together.”

“The more I research the topic, the more evidence I find that this part of the planet has played a much more significant role than anybody ever suspected. I am working on a book at present together with a colleague, and we are halfway through it describing our observations.”

“In the meantime we have contacts with the Academies of Sciences in 11 nations. We do not want to leave anything out. The most surprising discovery was when we contacted Communist China. They had discovered blond-haired mummies in the Karim Desert deep inside China, so perfectly preserved in the cold climate and salty earth that you could see the color of the skin and hair. The Chinese archeologists were surprised because these mummies were not Mongoloids at all; they suspected instead that they were Vikings.”

“But it didn’t make sense to me that Vikings should be deep inside the deserts of China. When the Chinese archeologists conducted radio-carbon dating, they determined that the mummies were of Nordic type dating from 1,800 to 1,500 years BC. But the Viking period started around 800 AD. It then became obvious that these mummies were not Vikings who had come to China. Here was a missing link. And again the Caucasus enters into the picture as a mutual migratory center.”

“But this is not the end of the story. These mummies were dressed in cloth that had been woven, and the colors and the woven pattern were of a very specific type. The Chinese themselves studied the mummies and then invited American experts to study the clothing who determined that the weave and coloring were typical of the Celts of Ireland. But this made no sense at all. Then we contacted Ireland to get their sagas, and their written saga says that their ancestors were Scythians. So, again, their roots come back here to the Caucasus.”

“This is only the beginning, because this is as far as we have obtained documentation from the Academies of Sciences with which we are in contact. I will not go into detail further, but I have also found archeological evidence that is so striking that there can no longer be any doubt.”

“My conclusion is that Azerbaijan has been a very important center, sending people in many directions and attracting people from many directions. You have had metals that made the Romans want to come here. But you have been very central in the evolution of civilization, and more than anything, this is proven by the petroglyphs in Gobustan.”

. . .

“The most important thing we can learn from the past is that no earlier civilization has survived. And the larger the pyramids and temples and statues they build in honor of their god or themselves, the harder has been the fall. Most of them have been so completely eradicated that it has taken archaeologists to bring them to light again. Neither the Sun God nor the creative power behind the Big Bang smiles upon the huge buildings or powerful armies of mankind. They smile at civilizations who respect their own creation and who show appreciation for it.”

“Where people have constructed great buildings, they have also fought the greatest wars. When the archeologist excavates to the bottom of the ruins for an extinct civilization, more often than not, he will find the remnants of an even older one beneath it. And we would be wise to note that the most advanced culture is rarely the one on the top layer.”

. . .

“Where is God? I feel that God is behind every flower and every tree in the woods. He is behind every mountain rock and every foam-crested wave in the sea. God is omnipresent. I am willing to reach my hands in the air and admit that I have a limited number of senses and that they are insufficient for me to grasp the whole truth. Therefore, I refrain from having a fixed picture of God and what He might be. It can be a magnetic field. It can be a law. It can be anything.”

. . .

Since his first visit to the Caucasus early in the 1960s, Thor Heyerdahl had stored in his memory the similarities he found between the petroglyphs in Gobustan near Baku and the petroglyphs in Scandinavia, especially those in Alta, Norway. Even though this similarity belonged to pre-history and could not be neatly transferred to later history at the beginning of the Viking era, Thor nevertheless suspected that there might be other cultural connective links between the Caucasus and Scandinavia.

That was the reason for his visit to the region in the Autumn of 2000. He was on the trail of Odin (Wotan), the Germanic and Nordic god of the mythologies of the early sagas. According to Snorre, the Icelandic author of the Nordic Sagas, who wrote in the 13th century, Odin was supposed to have migrated from the region of the Caucasus or the area just east of the Black Sea near the turn of the first century AD. Thor wanted to test the veracity of Snorre and, consequently, organized the Joint Archaeological Excavation in Azov, Russia in 2001.

I met Thor in Moscow on April 21, 2001. He had already contacted Dr. Sergey Lukiashko of the Institute of Archaeology at the State University of Rostov-on-Don. Thor had been planning an excavation at this site because of the peculiar phonology of the place – name Azov. Snorre speaks of a place called Ashov (read As-hov) – the sacrificial site of the As tribe. This phonological coincidence led Thor to start his investigations in Azov, Russia.

I had met Heyerdahl earlier in Azerbaijan in the summer of 2002 while excavating the Kish church [See Storfjell’s article, “The Kish Church – Digging Up History” in AI 8.4, Winter 2000]. Heyerdahl appointed me chief archaeologist for the Scandinavian team, which was composed of two other Norwegian archeologists and two Swedish archeologists. For a period of six weeks, we carried out the excavation with our Russian colleagues.

The results of the first season brought to light more than 35,000 individual pieces of material cultural remains, which have now all been numbered and registered. Most of these items would excite only archeologists and offer little occasion for joy to the uninitiated. I am primarily referring to broken ceramic vessels whose many fragments filled several buckets each day. But it is these unglamorous fragments that yield their secrets about the dates of their creation and help us to assign dates to the various layers of soil that are being excavated.

Among the more significant finds were several fibulae – circular ring-pins used to fasten garments – which can be dated to the 1st-2nd centuries AD. They showed a clear affinity with fibulae from the Baltic region and would not have been out of place had they been discovered there. The same can be said about a sword found in a burial from the same period. After just one season of excavation, we can demonstrate a certain level of cultural connectivity between the steppe region of the Black Sea with the Baltic. It is very likely the great rivers of Russia were the conveyors of these cultural links, something that puts us right back into an environment that Thor Heyerdahl was very much at home with – water.

The first season – Summer 2001 – in this extensive project took place in Azov, Russia. The total scope of the project envisions several more seasons of excavation in and around Azov. Then the investigation will move to the Caucasus, where the As and Van peoples once lived. This is all recorded in the Norse Sagas, but about 2,000 years before Snorre in Iceland wrote about these people groups, the Van were referred as a geographical term in Assyrian contemporary records in the 13th century BC. The As are identified in contemporary Assyrian records from as early as the 7th century BC. This evidence warrants continued research in the Caucasus, not just to test the statements of Snorre, but to help us understand more about a region that has figured so prominently as a cultural bridge, early in human history.

At age 86, Thor was one of the most energetic persons at Azov. Each day last summer, he would visit every excavation site – five in total – scattered throughout the city. We Scandinavians were excavating in a strawberry garden with the kind permission of the owner, who decided to forego the berries in favor of ancient history. At meal times during our discussions, the ideas began to emerge about how we would carry on Thor’s archaeological work. Half a year later, those ideas of a research center became a reality.

In the meantime, after the excavation, work shifted to analysis of the finds and the task of writing up the reports of the fieldwork. Thor continued working on the manuscript of what was to become his last book. “Jakten på Odin” (In Search of Odin) was published in Norway a few months later, in November 2001. (The English version apeared ca. November 2002.) A couple of days after Thor returned to his home in Tenerife in the Canary Islands, following the book launch in Oslo, Norway, I visited him in connection with writing up reports on Azov. But it seems he had other matters to discuss.

He had been offered funding for the second season of excavation in Azov, and in that connection he wanted to establish a research center. He honored me by asking me to set up the center and then to direct it; it would be located in England for a variety of practical reasons.

By the middle of February 2002, the Thor Heyerdahl Research Centre had become a reality. It was organized and registered at Companies House in England, and Thor Heyerdahl was the first Chairman of the Board. Now his widow, Jacqueline Beer Heyerdahl, holds that position and is eager to oversee the continuation of Thor’s work in Azov, the greater Caucasus and beyond.

Beyond that, there is a new project that Thor was planning in Samoa in the Pacific. He had been made aware of the existence of a pyramidal structure that is thought to be the largest of its kind in the Pacific. In February 2002, he visited the site with Jacqueline and started making arrangements for an excavation to begin in Autumn 2002.
He had wanted Samoa to be his last project. It was in the Pacific that he had started his long and illustrious career, and it was there that he wanted to close the last chapter of his professional endeavors.

But April 18, 2002 conspired against him. Thor Heyerdahl, perhaps the best-known Norwegian of the second half of the 20th century, died peacefully in his sleep at his family home in Colla Micheri in Italy, where he had gone to spend the Easter holidays with the closest members of his family around him.

Excerpts (all) from Azer.com
(1) Thor Heyerdahl in Azerbaijan: KON-TIKI Man by Betty Blair (AI 3:1, Spring 1995)
(2) The Azerbaijan Connection: Challenging Mainstream Theories of Migration by Heyerdahl (AI 3:1, Spring 1995)
(3) Azerbaijan’s Primal Music Norwegians Find ‘The Land We Come From’ by Steinar Opheim (AI 5.4, Winter 1997)
(4) Thor Heyerdahl in Baku (AI 7:3, Autumn 1999)
(5) Scandinavian Ancestry: Tracing Roots to Azerbaijan – Thor Heyerdahl (AI 8.2, Summer 2000)
(6) Quote: Earlier Civilizations – More Advanced – Thor Heyerdahl (AI 8.3, Autumn 2000)
(7) The Kish Church – Digging Up History – An Interview with J. Bjornar Storfjel (AI 8.4, Winter 2000)
(8) Adventurer’s Death Touches Russia’s Soul – Constantine Pleshakov (AI 10.2, Summer 2002)
(9) First Encounters in the Soviet Union – Thor Heyerdahl (AI 10.2, Summer 2002)
(10) Thor Heyerdahl’s Final Projects – Bjornar Storfjell (AI 10.2, Summer 2002)
(11) Voices of the Ancients: Rare Caucasus Albanian Text – Dr. Zaza Alexidze (AI 10.2, Summer 2002)
(12) Heyerdahl Burns “Tigris” Reed Ship to Protest War – Letter to UN – Bjornar Storfjell, Blair – (AI 11.1Winter 2003)

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Knut Hamsun and the Cause of Europe
Mark Deavin, edit W.

After fifty years of being confined to the Orwellian memory hole created by the Allied/Zionist cause as part of their European “denazification” process, the work of the Norwegian author Knut Hamsun — who died in 1952 — is reemerging to take its place among the greatest European literature of the twentieth century. All of his major novels have undergone English-language reprints during the last two years, and even in his native Norway, where his post-1945 ostracism has been most severe, he is finally receiving a long-overdue recognition.

Of course, one debilitating question still remains for the great and good of the European liberal intelligentsia, ever eager to jump to Jewish sensitivities. As Hamsun’s English biographer Robert Ferguson gloomily asked himself in 1987: “Could the sensitive, dreaming genius who had created beautiful love stories … really have been a Nazi?”

Unfortunately for these weak-kneed scribblers, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Not only was Knut Hamsun a dedicated supporter of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist New Order in Europe, but his best writings — many written at the tail end of the nineteenth century — flow with the very essence of the National Socialist spirit and life philosophy.

Born Knud Pederson on August 4, 1859, Hamsun spent his early childhood in the far north of Norway, in the small town of Hamaroy. He later described this time as one of idyllic bliss where he and the other children lived in close harmony with the animals on the farm, and where they felt an indescribable oneness with Nature and the cosmos around and above them. Hamsun developed an early obsession to become a writer and showed a fanatical courage and endurance in pursuing his dream against tremendous obstacles. He was convinced of his own artistic awareness and sensitivity, and was imbued with a certainty that in attempting to achieve unprecedented levels of creativity and consciousness, he was acting in accordance with the higher purpose of Nature.

In January 1882 Hamsun’s Faustian quest of self-discovery took him on the first of several trips to America. He was described by a friend at the time as “tall, broad, lithe with the springing step of a panther and with muscles of steel. His yellow hair … drooped down upon his … clear-cut classical features.”

These experiences consolidated in Hamsun a sense of racial identity as the bedrock of his perceived artistic and spiritual mission. A visit to an Indian Reservation confirmed his belief in the inherent diversity of the races and of the need to preserve this diversity through separation, but he was also perceptive enough to recognize that America carried within it the seeds of racial chaos through its policies of enforced integration.

In his view, the repatriation of the blacks back to Africa was essential to securing America’s future (cited in Robert Ferguson Enigma: The Life of Knut Hamsun, London, 1987, p.105). Hamsun also developed an early awareness of the Jewish question, believing that “anti-Semitism” inevitably existed in all lands where there were Jews — following Semitism” as the effect follows the cause.” He also believed that the departure of the Jews from Europe and the White world was essential “so that the White races would avoid further mixture of the blood” (from Hamsun’s 1925 article in Mikal Sylten’s nationalist magazine Nationalt Tidsskrift). His experiences in America also strengthened Hamsun’s antipathy to the so called “freedom” of democracy, which he realized merely leveled all higher things down to the lowest level and elevated financial materialism as the highest morality. Greatly influenced by the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Hamsun saw himself as part of the vanguard of a European spiritual aristocracy which would reject these false values and search out Nature’s hidden secrets — developing a higher morality and value system based on organic, natural law. In an essay entitled “From the Unconscious Life of the Mind,” published in 1890, Hamsun laid out his belief:

An increasing number of people who lead mental lives of great intensity, people who are sensitive by nature, notice the steadily more frequent appearance in them of mental states of great strangeness … a wordless and irrational feeling of ecstasy; or a breath of psychic pain; a sense of being spoken to from afar, from the sky or the sea; an agonizingly developed sense of hearing which can cause one to wince at the murmuring of unseen atoms: an irrational staring into the heart of some closed kingdom suddenly and briefly revealed.

Hamsun expounded this philosophy in his first great novel Hunger, which attempted to show how the known territory of human consciousness could be expanded to achieve higher forms of creativity, and how through such a process the values of a society which Hamsun believed was increasingly sick and distorted could be redefined for the better. This theme was continued in his next book, Mysteries, and again in Pan, published in 1894, which was based upon Hamsun’s own feeling of pantheistic identification with the cosmos and his conviction that the survival of Western man depended upon his re-establishing his ties with Nature and leading a more organic and wholesome way of life.

In 1911 Hamsun moved back to Hamaroy with his wife and bought a farm. A strong believer in the family and racial upbreeding, he was sickened by the hypocrisy and twisted morality of a modern Western society which tolerated and encouraged abortion and the abandonment of healthy children, while protecting and prolonging the existence of the criminal, crippled, and insane. He actively campaigned for the state funding of children’s homes that could take in and look after unwanted children and freely admitted that he was motivated by a higher morality, which aimed to “clear away the lives which are hopeless for the benefit of those lives which might be of value.”

In 1916 Hamsun began work on what became his greatest and most idealistic novel, Growth of the Soil, which won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921. It painted Hamsun’s ideal of a solid, farm-based culture, where human values, instead of being fixed upon transitory artificialities which modern society had deemed fashionable, would be based upon the fixed wheel of the seasons in the safekeeping of an inviolable eternity where man and Nature existed in harmony:

They had the good fortune at Sellanraa that every spring and autumn they could see the grey geese sailing in fleets above that wilderness, and hear their chatter up in the air — delirious talk it was. And as if the world stood still for a moment, till the train of them had passed. And the human souls beneath, did they not feel a weakness gliding through them now? They went to their work again, but drawing breath first, for something had spoken to them, something from beyond.

Growth of the Soil reflected Hamsun’s belief that only when Western man fully accepted that he was intimately bound up with Nature’s eternal law would he be able to fulfill himself and stride towards a higher level of existence. At the root of this, Hamsun made clear, was the need to place the procreation of the race back at the center of his existence:

Generation to generation, breeding ever anew, and when you die the new stock goes on. That’s the meaning of eternal life.

The main character in the book reflected Hamsun’s faith in the coming man of Europe: a Nietzschean superman embodying the best racial type who, acting in accordance with Nature’s higher purpose, would lead the race to unprecedented levels of greatness. In Hamsun’s vision he was described thus:

A tiller of the ground, body and soul; a worker on the land without respite. A ghost risen out of the past to point to the future; a man from the earliest days of cultivation, a settler in the wilds, nine hundred years old, and withal, a man of the day.

Hamsun’s philosophy echoed Nietzsche’s belief that “from the future come winds with secret wingbeats and to sensitive ears comes glad tidings” (cited in Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century). And for Hamsun the “good news” of his lifetime was the rise of National Socialism in Germany under Adolf Hitler, whom he saw as the embodiment of the coming European man and a reflection of the spiritual striving of the “Germanic soul.”

The leaders of the new movement in Germany were also aware of the essential National Socialist spirit and worldview which underlay Hamsun’s work, and he was much lauded, particularly by Joseph Goebbels and Alfred Rosenberg. Rosenberg paid tribute to Hamsun in his The Myth of the Twentieth Century, published in 1930, declaring that through a mysterious natural insight Knut Hamsun was able to describe the laws of the universe and of the Nordic soul like no other living artist. Growth of the Soil, he declared, was “the great present-day epic of the Nordic will in its eternal, primordial form.”

Hamsun visited Germany on several occasions during the 1930s, accompanied by his equally enthusiastic wife, and was well impressed by what he saw. In 1934 he was awarded the prestigious Goethe Medal for his writings, but he handed back the 10,000 marks prize money as a gesture of friendship and as a contribution to the National Socialist process of social reconstruction. He developed close ties with the German-based Nordic Society, which promoted the Pan-Germanic ideal, and in January 1935 he sent a letter to its magazine supporting the return of the Saarland to Germany. He always received birthday greetings from Rosenberg and Goebbels, and on the occasion of his 80th birthday from Hitler himself.

Like Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, Hamsun was not content merely to philosophize in an ivory tower; he was a man of the day, who, despite his age, strove to make his ideal into a reality and present it to his own people. Along with his entire family he became actively and publicly involved with Norway’s growing National Socialist movement in the form of Vidkun Quisling’s Nasjonal Samling (National Assembly). This had been founded in May 1933, and Hamsun willingly issued public endorsements and wrote articles for its magazine, promoting the National Socialist philosophy of life and condemning the anti-German propaganda that was being disseminated in Norway and throughout Europe. This, he pointed out, was inspired by the Jewish press and politicians of England and France who were determined to encircle Germany and bring about a European war to destroy Hitler and the idea which he represented.

With the outbreak of war Hamsun persistently warned against the Allied attempts to compromise Norwegian neutrality, and on April 2, 1940 — only a week before Hitler dramatically forestalled the Allied invasion of Norway — Hamsun wrote an article in the Nasjonal Samling newspaper calling for German protection of Norwegian neutrality against Anglo-Soviet designs. Hamsun was quick to point out in a further series of articles soon afterward, moreover, that it was no coincidence that C.J. Hambro, the president of the Norwegian Storting, who had conspired to push Norway into Allied hands and had then fled to Sweden, was himself Jewish. In his longest wartime article, which appeared in the Axis periodical Berlin-Tokyo-Rome in February 1942, he also identified Roosevelt as being in the pay of the Jews and the dominant figure in America’s war for gold and Jewish expansion of power. Declaring his belief in the greatness of Adolf Hitler, Hamsun defiantly declared: “Europe does not want either the Jews or their gold.”

Hamsun’s loyalty to the National Socialist New Order in Europe was well appreciated in Berlin, and in May 1943 Hamsun and his wife were invited to visit Joseph Goebbels, a devoted fan of the writer. Both men were deeply moved by the meeting, and Hamsun was so affected that he sent Goebbels the medal which he had received for winning the Nobel Prize for idealistic literature in 1920, writing that he knew of no statesman who had so idealistically written and preached the cause of Europe. Goebbels in return considered the meeting to have been one of the most precious encounters of his life and wrote touchingly in his diary: “May fate permit the great poet to live to see us win victory! If anybody deserved it because of a high-minded espousal of our cause even under the most difficult circumstances, it is he.” The following month Hamsun spoke at a conference in Vienna organized to protest against the destruction of European cultural treasures by the sadistic Allied terror-bombing raids. He praised Hitler as a crusader and a reformer who would create a new age and a new life. Then, three days later, on June 26, 1943, his loyalty was rewarded with a personal and highly emotional meeting with Hitler at the Berghof. As he left, the 84 year-old Hamsun told an adjutant to pass on one last message to his Leader: “Tell Adolf Hitler: we believe in you.

Hamsun never deviated from promoting the cause of National Socialist Europe, paying high-profile visits to Panzer divisions and German U-boats, writing articles and making speeches. Even when the war was clearly lost, and others found it expedient to maintain silence or renounce their past allegiances, he remained loyal without regard to his personal safety. This was brought home most clearly after the official announcement of Hitler’s death, when, with the German Army in Norway packing up and preparing to leave, Hamsun wrote an obituary for Hitler which was published in a leading newspaper:

Adolf Hitler: I am not worthy to speak his name aloud. Nor do his life and his deeds warrant any kind of sentimental discussion. He was a warrior, a warrior for mankind, and a prophet of the gospel for all nations. He was a reforming nature of the highest order, and his fate was to arise in a time of unparalleled barbarism, which finally felled him. Thus might the average western European regard Adolf Hitler. We, his closest supporters, now bow our heads at his death.

This was a tremendously brave thing for Hamsun to do, as the following day the war in Norway was over and Quisling was arrested.

Membership in Quisling’s movement after April 8, 1940, had been made a criminal offense retroactively by the new Norwegian government, and the mass roundups of around 40,000 Nasjonal Samling members now began in earnest. Hamsun’s sons Tore and Arild were picked up within a week, and on May 26 Hamsun and his wife were placed under house arrest. Committed to hospital because of his failing health, Hamsun was subject to months of interrogation designed to wear down and confuse him. As with Ezra Pound in the United States, the aim was to bring about a situation where Hamsun’s sanity could be questioned: a much easier option for the Norwegian authorities than the public prosecution of an 85-year-old literary legend.

Unfortunately for them, Hamsun refused to crack and was more than a match for his interrogators. So, while his wife was handed a vicious three-year hard-labor sentence for her National Socialist activities, and his son Arild got four years for having the temerity to volunteer to fight Bolshevism on the Eastern Front, Hamsun received a 500,000-kroner fine and the censorship of his books. Even this did not stop him, however, and he continued to write, regretting nothing and making no apologies. Not until 1952, in his 92nd year, did he pass away, leaving us a wonderful legacy with which to carry on the fight which he so bravely fought to the end.

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Natural Law, Our Only Rule


National Socialist Germany and the Environment


The term “Ecology” was invented in Germany in the nineteenth century by the pioneering zoologist Ernst Haeckel. Via his widely influential writings and lectures, Haeckel elaborated a holistic view of man’s symbiotic relationship with the Natural world. To Haeckel, and those who followed his philosophy of “Monism”, Natural laws governed the workings of the Natural world and human civilization alike. Haeckel and others of his philosophical school taught respect for Nature and preached conservation.

What many people do not know about Haeckel, however, is his connection to National Socialism. Haeckel placed his views about Nature conservation into a worldview similar to that of Social Darwinism. Here, only the strong (both individually and on a national scale) and those willing to fight, survived the constant upward struggle that characterized national evolutionary development. Nations, cultures, and peoples could therefore be categorized “scientifically” into those that were superior and those that were inferior, with the latter being considered expendable and even worthy of extinction.

This brief collection of quotes illustrates the decisive role that a radical Ecological understanding of the world played within National Socialism. Needless to say, Ecology as a science and natural philosophy, as a whole, have not always assumed the same radical ideological shape throughout history. Since World War II, the Green movements that have sprung up all over the world are largely democratic in nature and are as concerned about the well being of humanity as they are about the health of the planet as a whole.

However, the deteriorating world environmental situation in our time could create incentives for even more strict regimes than those of National Socialist Germany. Thus, it is useful to study this subject.


“By ecology we understand the total science of the connections of the organism to the surrounding external world.” — Ernst Haeckel, Father of German Ecology

Source: Haeckel quoted in Raymond H. Dominick III, The Environmental Movement in Germany: Prophets and Pioneers, 1871-1971 (Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1992), p. 38.


“Man is not distinguished from [the animals] by a special kind of soul, or by any peculiar and exclusive psychic function, but only by a higher degree of psychic activity, a superior stage of development.” — Ernst Haeckel, Father of German Ecology

Source: Ernst Haeckel, The Riddle of the Universe (New York: Harper, 1900), p. 201.


“As our mother earth is a mere speck in the sunbeam in the illimitable universe, so man himself is but a tiny grain of protoplasm in the perishable framework of organic nature. [This] clearly indicates the true place of man in nature, but it dissipates the prevalent illusion of man’s supreme importance and the arrogance with which he sets himself apart from the illimitable universe and exalts himself to the position of its most valuable element.” — Ernst Haeckel, Father of German Ecology

Source: Ernst Haeckel, The Riddle of the Universe (New York: Harper, 1900), pp. 14-15.

“Man is not above nature, but in nature.” — Ernst Haeckel, Father of German Ecology

Source: Ernst Haeckel, The Evolution of Man. 2 vols. (New York: Appleton, 1903), vol. II, p. 456.

“Man must not fall into the error of thinking that he was ever meant to become lord and master of Nature. A lopsided education has helped to encourage that illusion. Man must realize that a fundamental law of necessity reigns throughout the whole realm of Nature and that his existence is subject to the law of eternal struggle and strife. He will then feel that there cannot be a separate law for mankind in a world in which planets and suns follow their orbits, where moons and planets trace their destined paths, where the strong are always the masters of the weak and where those subject to such laws must obey them or be destroyed. Man must also submit to the eternal principles of this supreme wisdom. He may try to understand them but he can never free himself from their sway.” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Chapter 10.


“National Socialism is politically applied biology.” — Hans Schemm, Founder and Head of the National Socialist Teachers Association

“Civilization and the life of nations are governed by the same laws as prevail throughout nature and organic life.” — Ernst Haeckel, Father of German Ecology

Source: Ernst Haeckel, The History of Creation. 2 vols. (New York: D. Appleton, 1876), vol. I, p. 11.

“The whole of organic nature on our planet exists only by a relentless war of all against all. … The raging war of interests in human society is only a feeble picture of an unceasing and terrible war of existence which reigns throughout the whole of the living world.” — Ernst Haeckel, Father of German Ecology

Source: Ernst Haeckel, Monism: The Confession of Faith of a Man of Science. Tr. J. Gilchrist (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1895), pp. 73-74.

“[It is] useful to know the laws of nature – for that enables us to obey them. To act otherwise would be to rise in revolt against heaven.” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Secret Conversations, 1941-1945 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1953), p. 116.

“As in everything, nature is the best instructor.” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Secret Conversations, 1941-1945 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1953), p. 321.

“Christianity [is] a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature.” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Secret Conversations, 1941-1945 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1953), p. 43.

“Deep and understanding feeling for nature is the foundation of every culture.” — Hermann Goering

Source: Goering quoted in Blätter für Naturschutz 18, 2 (1935).

Source: Schemm quoted in Die Biologe 5 (1926), p. 281.

“If … the garden (i.e., society) is to remain the breeding ground for the plants, if, in other words, it is to lift itself above the harsh rule of natural forces, then the forming wheel of a gardener is necessary, of a gardener who, by providing suitable conditions for growing, or by keeping harmful influences away, or by both together, carefully tends what needs tending, and ruthlessly eliminates the weeds which would deprive the better plants of nutrition, the air, light, sun.” — R. Walther Darré

Source: Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust (New York: NYU Press, 1992), pp 113f.


“We are compelled by reflection to recognize that God is not to be placed against the material world [as in Christianity], but must be placed as a ‘divine power’ or ‘moving spirit’ within the cosmos itself … All the wonderful phenomena of nature around us, organic as well as inorganic, are only various products of one and the same original force.” — Ernst Haeckel, Father of German Ecology

Source: Ernst Haeckel, Monism: The Confession of Faith of a Man of Science. Tr. J. Gilchrist (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1895), p. 15.

“Man has discovered in nature the wonderful notion of that all-mighty being whose law he worships. Fundamentally in everyone there is the feeling for this all-mighty, which we call god (that is to say, the dominion of natural laws throughout the whole universe).” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Secret Conversations, 1941-1945 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1953), p. 5.

“The man who contemplates the universe with his eyes wide open is the man with the greatest amount of natural piety; not in the religious sense, but in the sense of an intimate harmony with things.” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Secret Conversations, 1941-1945 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1953), p. 5.

“When we National Socialists speak of a belief in God, we do not mean what naive Christians and their clerical exploiters have in mind. …The power of nature’s law is what we call the omnipotent force or God. …We National Socialists demand of ourselves that we live as naturally as possible, that is to say in accord with the laws of life. The more precisely we understand and observe the laws of nature and of life and the more we keep to them, the more we correspond to the will of this omnipotent force.” — Martin Bormann, NSDAP Party Secretary

Source: Boria Sax, Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust (New York: Continuum, 2000), p. 106.


“Every healthy Völk sees the right to expansion of its living space as something natural.” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Hitler Speech, Völkischer Beobachter, 11 November 1931


“Nations whose feeling for nature dissipates because they destroy their homeland, carry the seeds of death in them; they only continue as a nation artificially. Nations with a strongly defined feeling for nature, like the Germans and the Slavs, overcome even the hardest blows and have an unlimited capacity for regeneration. Therefore a government that seeks to maintain the feeling for nature of its people is smart, and to that end no sacrifice is too large, no means too small, and everyone who helps with that serves his Völk.” — Hermann Löns, Popular Writer in Second Empire Germany

Source: Zeitschrift für Vogelschutz und andere Gebiete des Naturschutzes 1, 1 (1920), p. 44.

“The German countryside must be preserved under all circumstances, for it is and has forever been the source of strength and greatness of our people.” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Hitler quoted in Raymond H. Dominick III, The Environmental Movement in Germany: Prophets and Pioneers, 1871-1971 (Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1992), p. 81.

“Man should organize his existence meaningfully in the natural sphere of his living space, should make everything that nature offers him useful for himself while being conscious of his responsibility, should be the master of nature but at the same time its protector and conserver.” –Julius Wagner, German educator

Source: Julius Wagner, Die Biologie im Dienste heimatlicher Landschaftskunde (1934).


Lands protected included:

“Remaining portions of landscape in free nature whose preservation on account of rarity, beauty, distinctiveness or on account of scientific, ethnic, forest, or hunting significance lies in the general interest.”

Source: Raymond H. Dominick III, The Environmental Movement in Germany: Prophets and Pioneers, 1871-1971 (Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1992), p. 108. (Introduction to law can be read here (PDF File).


“The morality and customs of Germans are derived entirely from the organizational unity of blood and soil.” — R. Walther Darré, 1931

Source: R. Walther Darré, Um Blut und Boden: Reden und Aufsätze (München: Zentralverlag der NSDAP, Franz Eher Nachführung, 1942), p. 57.


“The leadership of our National Socialist state and our conception of a people [Volk] is penetrated and inspired by foundations in biology. Legal provisions are derived from the laws of life. Their worth proceeds from the degree to which they are thought through in biological terms and on biological foundations.” — Walter Greit, Chief of Reichsbund für Biologie

Source: Klaus Fischer, Nazi Germany: A New History (New York, Continuum, 1995), p. 233.


“The domestication (the culture) of man does not go deep–where it does go deep it at once becomes degeneration (type: the Christian). The ‘savage’ (or, in moral terms, the evil man) is a return to nature–and in a certain sense his recovery, his cure from ‘culture’.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Source: Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, Fragment 684

“Even in those days [in Vienna] I already saw that there was a two-fold method by which alone it would be possible to bring about an amelioration of these [social] conditions. This method is: first, to create better fundamental conditions of social development by establishing a profound feeling for social responsibilities among the public; second, to combine this feeling for social responsibilities with a ruthless determination to prune away all excrescences which are incapable of being improved.

Just as Nature concentrates its greatest attention, not to the maintenance of what already exists but on the selective breeding of offspring in order to carry on the species, so in human life also it is less a matter of artificially improving the existing generation – which, owing to human characteristics, is impossible in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred – and more a matter of securing from the very start a better road for future development.” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Chapter 2.

“I desire a violent, domineering, fearless, and ferocious upcoming generation. It must be able to bear pain. It must show no signs whatsoever of weakness or tenderness. The free and magnificent predator must once again glint from their eyes.” — Adolf Hitler

Source Hitler quoted in Hermann Rauschning, Gespräche mit Hitler (New York, 1940), p. 237.

“At the end of the last century the progress of science and technique led liberalism astray into proclaiming man’s mastery of nature, and announcing he would soon have dominion over space … In any case, we shall learn to become familiar with the laws by which life is governed, and acquaintance with the laws of nature will guide us on the path of progress.” — Adolf Hitler, 11 July 1941

Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944. tr. N. Cameron & R.H. Stevens (New York: Enigma Books, 2000), pp. 5-6.


“The parliamentary principle of vesting legislative power in the decision of the majority rejects the authority of the individual and puts a numerical quota of anonymous heads in its place. In doing so it contradicts the aristocratic principle, which is a fundamental law of nature.” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Chapter 3.


“Among the Spartans all newly born children were subject to a careful examination or selection. All those that were weak, sickly, or affected with any bodily infirmity, were killed. Only the perfectly healthy and strong children were allowed to live, and they alone afterwards propagated the race.” — Ernst Haeckel, Father of German Ecology

Source: Ernst Haeckel, The History of Creation. 2 vols. (New York: D. Appleton, 1876), vol. I, p. 170.

“Sparta must be regarded as the first völkisch state. The exposure of the sick, weak, deformed children, in short, their destruction, was more decent and in truth a thousand times more human than the wretched insanity of our day which preserves the most pathological subject.” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Secret Book (New York: Grove Press, 1961, p. 18.

“For as soon as the procreative faculty is thwarted and the number of births diminished, the natural struggle for existence which allows only healthy and strong individuals to survive is replaced by a sheer craze to ‘save’ feeble and even diseased creatures at any cost. And thus the seeds are sown for a human progeny which will become more and more miserable from one generation to another, as long as Nature’s will is scorned.” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Chapter 4.


“The völkisch concept of the world recognizes that the primordial racial elements are of the greatest significance for mankind. In principle, the State is looked upon only as a means to an end and this end is the conservation of the racial characteristics of mankind. Therefore on the völkisch principle we cannot admit that one race is equal to another. By recognizing that they are different, the völkisch concept separates mankind into races of superior and inferior quality. On the basis of this recognition it feels bound in conformity with the eternal Will that dominates the universe, to postulate the victory of the better and stronger and the subordination of the inferior and weaker. And so it pays homage to the truth that the principle underlying all Nature’s operations is the aristocratic principle and it believes that this law holds good even down to the last individual organism.” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Chapter 13.


“Mental differences between the lowest men and the animals are less than those between the lowest and the highest man.” — Ernst Haeckel, Father of German Ecology

Source: Ernst Haeckel, The History of Creation, vol. 2, p. 366.

“Difference which exists between the lowest, so-called men, and the other higher races is greater than between the lowest men and the highest apes.” — Adolf Hitler

Source: Hitler quoted in Heinz Bruecher, Ernst Haeckels Bluts- und Geisteserbe (München: Lehmann, 1936), p. 91.


“The German people have always shown their great love of animals and the question of animal protection was always near their hearts. For thousands of years the German people have always looked upon their household and farmyard animals as their companions, in the case of horses as their fighting companions, and as God’s creatures. To the German, animals are not merely creatures in the organic sense, but creatures who lead their own lives and who are endowed with perceptive facilities, who feel pain and experience joy and prove to be faithful and attached. …Under the influence of foreign conceptions of justice and a strange comprehension of law, through the unhappy fact that the exercise of justice was in the hands of people alien to the nation (i.e., Jews) — because of all these conditions, until now, the animal was considered a dead thing under the law.” — Hermann Goering, August 1933

Source: Hermann Goering, The Political Testament of Hermann Goering. Tr. H.W. Blood Hermann (London: John Lang, 1939), pp. 70f.

See English translation of text of 1933 Nazi law on animal rights.


“The external appearance of any construction projects that are created during the time of the National Socialist Reich must take on the sensibility of our time. Factories are the workplaces of our National Socialist racial comrades. Streets and highways carry the name of the Führer. Settlements today are not isolated communities, but rather parts of greater city-construction plans. Every work site must be properly located within its neighborhood and surrounding setting (i.e., the natural world).” — Fritz Todt

Source: Deutsche Technik, May 1938, p. 209.

“We do not build speedways, but roads which correspond to the character of the German landscape.” — Fritz Todt

Source: Fritz Todt, “Vortrag in der Leipzig-Hochschule am 6.2.1934” in Die Autobahn, 4/1934, p. 125.

“For decades engineers have stood accused that their buildings do not have any cultural value. We have attempted to liberate engineering of this accusation. As National Socialists we are dedicated to working with boldness, but also with love of the Volk and our landscape in mind. These roads do not serve transportation alone, they also bind our Fatherland. In these highways our engineering will reflect the National Socialist movement.” — Fritz Todt

Source: Deutsche Technik, June 1935, p. 270.

“The German landscape is something unique that we cannot disturb and have no right to destroy. The more densely populated our ‘living space’ becomes with settlements, the greater our hunger will grow for unspoilt nature. The ever increasing spiritual damage caused by life within the big city will make this hunger practically uncontrollable … when we build here on this the landscape of our homeland we must be clear that we will protect its beauty; and in places where this beauty has already disappeared, we will reconstruct it.” — Fritz Todt

Source: Franz W. Seidler, Fritz Todt: Baumeister des Dritten Reiches (München: F.A. Herbig, 1986), p. 113.


“War has returned to its primitive form … Today war is nothing but a struggle for the riches of nature. By virtue of an inherent law, these riches belong to he who conquers them.” — Adolf Hitler, 10 October 1941

Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944. tr. N. Cameron & R.H. Stevens (New York: Enigma Books, 2000), p. 51.

“Despite all its efforts, the side [in war] that hasn’t got the natural riches must end by going under. The world’s wealth is boundless, and only a quarter of the surface of the globe is at present at humanity’s disposal. It is for this quarter that everyone is fighting. And its all in the natural order or things — for it makes for the survival of the fittest.” — Adolf Hitler, 13 October 1941

Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944. tr. N. Cameron & R.H. Stevens (New York: Enigma Books, 2000), pp. 53f.

“From now on, one may consider that there is no gap between the organic and inorganic worlds.” — Adolf Hitler, 24 October 1941

Source: Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-1944. tr. N. Cameron & R.H. Stevens (New York: Enigma Books, 2000), p. 84f.

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National Socialist Germany and Environmental Protection

Germany is the birthplace of the science of Ecology and the site of Green politics’ rise to prominence. In 1867 the German zoologist Ernst Haeckel coined the term ‘Ecology’ and began to establish it as a scientific discipline dedicated to studying the interactions between organism and environment.

For the Monists, perhaps the most pernicious feature of European bourgeois civilization was the inflated importance which it attached to the idea of man in general, to his existence and to his talents, and to the belief that through his unique rational faculties man could essentially recreate the world and bring about a universally more harmonious and ethically just social order. [Humankind was] an insignificant creature when viewed as part of and measured against the vastness of the cosmos and the overwhelming forces of Nature.

“Civilization and the life of nations are governed by the same laws as prevail throughout Nature and organic life.”
-Ernst Haeckel

Whenever a person comes to feel that he belongs to the cultural strain that is deeply rooted in his people which has not only a material existence but a spiritual reality that is superior to the material plane — he has broken out from being a manipulated consumer. He has escaped the mass homogenization of completely manipulated people who are “amusing themselves to death” (as Neil Postman put it), which is the goal of “One World” advocates, intent on power and domination. The person who is faithful to his religious convictions and attentive and caring to his culture and customs, they consider dangerous.
-Ursula Haverbeck

Only the Germans were different. In pagan times they worshipped groves and trees, and because of their closeness to Nature, they had a caring orientation toward Nature. Even the love of animals is much more pronounced among the Germanic peoples than it is, for example, among the Romance-language-speaking peoples. It is thus no coincidence that even today the most stalwart environmentalist efforts — private as well as state — are those conducted by peoples who have a larger proportion of the Nordic race.
-Alain de Benoist

“We recognize that separating humanity from Nature, from the whole of life, leads to humankind’s own destruction and to the death of nations. Only through a re-integration of humanity into the whole of Nature can our people be made stronger. That is the fundamental point of the biological tasks of our age. Humankind alone is no longer the focus of thought, but rather life as a whole … This striving toward connectedness with the totality of life, with Nature itself, a Nature into which we are born, this is the deepest meaning and the true essence of National Socialist thought.”
–Ernst Lehmann

“When one sees Nature in a necessary connectedness and interrelationship, then all things are equally important: shrub, worm, plant, human, stone, nothing first or last, but all one single unity.”

“We must save the forest, not only so that our ovens do not become cold in winter, but also so that the pulse of life of the people continues to beat warm and joyfully, so that Germany remains German.”
-Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl

Ludwig Klage’s “Man and Earth” anticipated just about all of the themes of the contemporary Ecology movement. It decried the accelerating extinction of species, disturbance of global ecosystemic balance, deforestation, destruction of aboriginal peoples and of wild habitats, urban sprawl, and the increasing alienation of people from Nature. In emphatic terms it disparaged Christianity, capitalism, economic utilitarianism, hyperconsumption and the ideology of ‘progress.’ It even condemned the environmental destructiveness of rampant tourism and the slaughter of whales, and displayed a clear recognition of the planet as an ecological totality. All of this in 1913!

Heidegger preached “authentic Being” and harshly criticized modern technology, and is therefore often celebrated as a precursor of ecological thinking. On the basis of his critique of technology and rejection of humanism, contemporary deep ecologists have elevated Heidegger to their pantheon of eco-heroes:

Heidegger’s critique of anthropocentric humanism, his call for humanity to learn to “let things be,” his notion that humanity is involved in a “play” or “dance” with earth, sky, and gods, his meditation on the possibility of an authentic mode of “dwelling” on the earth, his complaint that industrial technology is laying waste to the earth, his emphasis on the importance of local place and “homeland,” his claim that humanity should guard and preserve things, instead of dominating them — all these aspects of Heidegger’s thought help to support the claim that he is a major deep ecological theorist.

Although he lived and taught for thirty years after the fall of the Third Reich, Heidegger never once publicly regretted, much less renounced, his involvement with National Socialism, nor even perfunctorily condemned its so-called offenses.

“In every German breast the German forest quivers with its caverns and ravines, crags and boulders, waters and winds, legends and fairy tales, with its songs and its melodies, and awakens a powerful yearning and a longing for home; in all German souls the German forest lives and weaves with its depth and breadth, its stillness and strength, its might and dignity, its riches and its beauty — it is the source of German inwardness, of the German soul, of German freedom. Therefore protect and care for the German forest for the sake of the elders and the youth, and join the new German “League for the Protection and Consecration of the German Forest.”

“Anthropocentric views in general had to be rejected. They would be valid only if it is assumed that Nature has been created for man alone. We decisively reject this attitude. According to our conception of Nature, man is but a link in the living chain of Nature just as any other organism.”

“When people attempt to rebel against the iron logic of Nature, they come into conflict with the very same principles to which they owe their existence as human beings. Their actions against Nature must lead to their own downfall.”
-Adolf Hitler

“Very early, the youth must develop an understanding of the civic importance of the ‘organism’, i.e. the co-ordination of all parts and organs for the benefit of the one and superior task of life.”

Rosenberg wrote in his colossal The Myth of the 20th Century: “Today we see the steady stream from the countryside to the city, deadly for the Volk. The cities swell ever larger, unnerving the Volk and destroying the threads which bind humanity to Nature; they attract adventurers and profiteers of all colors, thereby fostering racial chaos.”

Hitler and Himmler were both strict vegetarians and animal lovers, attracted to Nature mysticism and homeopathic cures, and staunchly opposed to vivisection and cruelty to animals. Himmler even established experimental organic farms to grow herbs for SS medicinal purposes. And Hitler, at times, could sound like a veritable Green utopian, discussing authoritatively and in detail various renewable energy sources (including environmentally appropriate hydropower and producing natural gas from sludge) as alternatives to coal, and declaring “water, winds and tides” as the energy path of the future.

“The peasant of our racial stock has always carefully endeavored to increase the natural powers of the soil, plants, and animals, and to preserve the balance of the whole of Nature. For him, respect for divine creation is the measure of all culture. If, therefore, the new Lebensräume (living spaces) are to become a homeland for our settlers, the planned arrangement of the landscape to keep it close to Nature is a decisive prerequisite.”
-Heinrich Himmler

These sympathies were also hardly restricted to the upper echelons of the party. A study of the membership rolls of several mainstream Weimar era Naturschutz (Nature protection) organizations revealed that by 1939, fully 60 percent of these conservationists had joined the NSDAP (compared to about 10 percent of adult men and 25 percent of teachers and lawyers). Clearly the affinities between environmentalism and National Socialism ran deep.

Nothing could be more wrong than to suppose that most of the leading National Socialist ideologues had cynically feigned an agrarian romanticism and hostility to urban culture, without any inner conviction and for merely electoral and propaganda purposes, in order to hoodwink the public. In reality, the majority of the leading National Socialist ideologists were without any doubt more or less inclined to agrarian romanticism and anti-urbanism and convinced of the need for a relative re-agrarianization.

The question remains, however: To what extent did the National Socialists actually implement environmental policies during the twelve-year Reich? There is strong evidence that the ‘ecological’ consciousness within the party, though largely ignored (intentionally suppressed) today, had considerable success for most of the party’s reign.

This “Green wing” of the NSDAP was represented above all by Walther Darré, Fritz Todt, Alwin Seifert and Rudolf Hess, the four figures who primarily shaped National Socialist Ecology in practice.

“The unity of blood and soil must be restored,” proclaimed Richard Walther Darré. Harking back to Arndt and Riehl, he envisioned a thoroughgoing ruralization of Germany and Europe, predicated on a revitalized yeoman peasantry, in order to ensure racial health and ecological sustainability. From 1933 until 1942 he held the posts of Reich Peasant Leader and Minister of Agriculture. This was no minor fiefdom; the agriculture ministry had the fourth largest budget of all the myriad National Socialist ministries even well into the war. From this position Darré was able to lend vital support to various ecologically oriented initiatives. He played an essential part in unifying the nebulous proto-environmentalist tendencies in National Socialism. It was largely Darré’s influence in the National Socialist apparatus which yielded, in practice, a level of government support for ecologically sound farming methods and land use planning unmatched by any state before or since.

It is frequently pointed out that the agrarian and romantic currents in National Socialist ideology and policy were in supposed constant tension with, if not in flat contradiction to, the technocratic-industrialist thrust of the Third Reich’s rapid modernization. What is not often remarked (what is, again intentionally suppressed) is that even these modernizing tendencies had a significant ecological component. Industry was brought into balance with natural law.

The two men principally responsible for sustaining this environmentalist commitment in the midst of intensive industrialization were Reichsminister Fritz Todt and his aide, the high-level planner and engineer Alwin Seifert.

Todt was “one of the most influential National Socialists,” directly responsible for questions of technological and industrial policy. At his death in 1942 he headed three different cabinet-level ministries in addition to the enormous quasi-official Organisation Todt, and had “gathered the major technical tasks of the Reich into his own hands.” According to his successor, Albert Speer, Todt “loved Nature” and “repeatedly had serious run-ins with Bormann, protesting against his despoiling the landscape around Obersalzberg.” Another source calls him simply “an ecologist.” This reputation is based chiefly on Todt’s efforts to make Autobahn construction — one of the largest building enterprises undertaken in this century — as environmentally sensitive as possible.

The pre-eminent historian of German engineering describes this commitment thus: “Todt demanded of the completed work of technology a harmony with Nature and with the landscape, thereby fulfilling modern ecological principles of engineering as well as the ‘organological’ principles of his own era along with their roots in völkisch ideology.” The ecological aspects of this approach to construction went well beyond an emphasis on harmonious adaptation to the natural surroundings for aesthetic reasons; Todt also established strict criteria for respecting wetlands, forests and ecologically sensitive areas. But just as with Arndt, Riehl and Darré, these environmentalist concerns were inseparably bound to a völkisch-nationalist outlook. Todt himself expressed this connection succinctly: “The fulfillment of mere transportation purposes is not the final aim of German highway construction. The German highway must be an expression of its surrounding landscape and an expression of the German essence.”

Todt’s chief advisor and collaborator on environmental issues was his lieutenant Alwin Seifert, whom Todt reportedly once called a “fanatical ecologist.” Seifert bore the official title of Reich Advocate for the Landscape, but his nickname within the party was “Mr. Mother Earth.” The appellation was deserved; Seifert dreamed of a “total conversion from technology to Nature,” and would often wax lyrical about the wonders of German Nature and the tragedy of “humankind’s” carelessness. As early as 1934 he wrote to Hess demanding attention to water issues and invoking “work methods that are more attuned to Nature.” In discharging his official duties Seifert stressed the importance of wilderness and energetically opposed monoculture, wetlands drainage and chemicalized agriculture. He criticized Darré as too moderate, and “called for an agricultural revolution towards ‘a more peasant-like, natural, simple’ method of farming, ‘independent of capital’.”

With the Third Reich’s technological policy entrusted to figures such as these, even the National Socialists’ massive industrial build-up took on a distinctively Green hue. The prominence of Nature in the party’s philosophical background helped ensure that more radical initiatives often received a sympathetic hearing in the highest offices of the National Socialist state. In the mid-thirties Todt and Seifert vigorously pushed for an all-encompassing Reich Law for the Protection of Mother Earth “in order to stem the steady loss of this irreplaceable basis of all life.” Seifert reports that all of the ministries were prepared to co-operate save one; only the minister of the economy opposed the bill because of its impact on mining.

But even near-misses such as these would have been unthinkable without the support of Reich Chancellor Rudolf Hess, who provided the “Green wing” of the NSDAP a secure anchor at the very top of the party hierarchy. It would be difficult to overestimate Hess’s power and centrality in the complex governmental mechanism of the National Socialist regime. He joined the party in 1920 as member #16, and for two decades was Hitler’s devoted personal deputy. He has been described as “Hitler’s closest confidant,” and the Führer himself referred to Hess as his “closest advisor.” Hess was not only the highest party leader and second in line (after Göring) to succeed Hitler; in addition, all legislation and every decree had to pass through his office before becoming law.

An inveterate Nature lover as well as a devout Steinerite, Hess insisted on a strictly biodynamic diet — not even Hitler’s rigorous vegetarian standards were good enough for him — and accepted only homeopathic medicines. It was Hess who introduced Darré to Hitler, thus securing the “Green wing” its first power base. He was an even more tenacious proponent of organic farming than Darré, and pushed the latter to take more demonstrative steps in support of the lebensgesetzliche Landbauweise. His office was also directly responsible for land use planning across the Reich, employing a number of specialists who shared Seifert’s ecological approach.

With Hess’s enthusiastic backing, the “Green wing” was able to achieve its most notable successes. As early as March 1933, a wide array of environmentalist legislation was approved and implemented at national, regional and local levels. These measures, which included reforestation programs, bills protecting animal and plant species, and preservationist decrees blocking industrial development, undoubtedly ranked among the most progressive in the world at that time. Planning ordinances were designed for the protection of wildlife habitat and at the same time demanded respect for the sacred German forest. The National Socialist state also created the first Nature preserves in Europe.

Along with Darré’s efforts toward re-agrarianization and support for organic agriculture, as well as Todt and Seifert’s attempts to institutionalize an environmentally sensitive land use planning and industrial policy, the major accomplishment of the National Socialist ecologists was the Reichsnaturschutzgesetz of 1935. This completely unprecedented “law of natural protection” not only established guidelines for safeguarding flora, fauna, and “natural monuments” across the Reich; it also restricted commercial access to remaining tracts of wilderness. In addition, the comprehensive ordinance “required all national, state and local officials to consult with Naturschutz authorities in a timely manner before undertaking any measures that would produce fundamental alterations in the countryside.

Although the legislation’s effectiveness was questionable, traditional German environmentalists were overjoyed at its passage. Walter Schoenichen declared it the “definitive fulfillment of the völkisch-romantic longings,” and Hans Klose, Schoenichen’s successor as head of the Reich Agency for Nature Protection, described National Socialist environmental policy as the “high point of Nature protection” in Germany. Perhaps the greatest success of these measures was in facilitating the “intellectual realignment of German Naturschutz” and the integration of mainstream environmentalism into the National Socialist enterprise.

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“Entire epochs of love will be needed to repay animals for their value and service.”

Germany was the first country in the world to promulgate laws protecting animals from uncontrolled vivisection and other cruelty.

National Socialist Germany and Animal Protection
Source: Cosmodromium

1933 Law on Animal Protection
(Signed into law, 11/24/1933)
The government has resolved on the following law, which is hereby made known:

Section I

Cruelty to Animals

(1) It is forbidden to unnecessarily torment or roughly mishandle an animal.
(2) One torments an animal when one repeatedly or continuously causes appreciable pain or suffering; the torment is unnecessary in so far as it does not serve any rational, justifiable purpose. One mishandles an animal when one causes it appreciable pain; mishandling is rough when it corresponds to an unfeeling state of mind.

Section II

Measures for the Protection of Animals

#2. It is forbidden:

1. to so neglect an animal in one’s ownership, care or accommodation that it thereby experiences appreciable pain or appreciable damage;
2. to use an animal unnecessarily for what clearly exceeds its powers or causes it appreciable pain, or which it-in consequence of its condition-is obviously not capable of;
3. to use and animal for demonstrations, film-making, spectacles, or other public events to the extent that these events cause the animal appreciable pain or appreciable damage to health;
4. to use a fragile, ill, overworked or old animal for which further life is a torment for any other purpose than to cause or procure a rapid, painless death;
5. to put out one’s domestic animal for the purpose of getting rid of it (abandonment);
6. to set or test the power of dogs on cats, foxes, and other animals;
7. to shorten the ears or the tail of a dog over two weeks old. This is allowed if it is done with anesthesia;
8. to shorten the tail of a horse. This is allowed if it is to remedy a defect or illness of the tail and is done by a veterinarian and under anesthesia;
9. to perform a painful operation on an animal in an unprofessional manner or without anesthesia, or if anesthesia in a particular case is impossible according to veterinary standards;
10. to kill an animal on a farm for fur otherwise than with anesthesia or in a way that is, in any case, painless;
11. to force-feed fowl;
12. to tear out or separate the thighs of living frogs.

#3. The importation of horses with shortened tails is forbidden. The minister of the Interior can make exceptions if special circumstances warrant it.

#4. The temporary use of hoofed animals as carriers in the mines is only permitted with the permission of the responsible authorities.

Section III

Experiments on Living Animals

#5. It is forbidden to operate on or handle living animals in ways that may cause appreciable pain or damage for the purpose of experiments, to the extent the provisions of #6 through #8 do not mandate otherwise.

(1) The minister of the Interior can at the proposal of the responsible government or local authorities confer permission on certain scientifically led institutes or laboratories to undertake scientific experiments on living animals, when the director of the experiment has sufficient professional education and reliability, sufficient facilities for the undertaking of animal experiments are available, and guarantee for the care and maintenance of the animals for experiment has been made.
(2) The minister of the Interior can delegate the granting of permission to others among the highest officials of the government.
(3) Permission may be withdrawn without compensation at any time.

#7. In carrying out experiments on animals (#5), the following provisions are to be observed:

1. The experiments may only be carried out under the complete authority of the scientific director or of a representative that has been specifically appointed by the scientific director.
2. The experiments may only be carried out by someone who has previously received scientific education or under the direction of such a person, and when every pain is avoided in so far as that is compatible with the goal of the experiment.
3. Experiments for research may only be undertaken when a specific result is expected that has not been previously confirmed by science or if the experiments help to answer previously unsolved problems.
4. The experiments are only to be undertaken under anesthesia, provided the judgment of the scientific director does not categorically exclude this or if the pain connected with the operation is outweighed by the damage to the condition of the experimental animals as a result of anesthesia.
Nothing more severe than a difficult operation or painful but unbloody experiment may be carried out on such an unanesthetized animal.
Animals that suffer appreciable pain after the completion of such a difficult experiment, especially involving an operation, are, in so far as this is, in the judgment of the scientific director, compatible with the goal of the experiment, immediately to be put to death.
5. Experiments on horses, dogs, cats, and apes can only be carried out when the intended goal may not be achieved through experiments on other animals.
6. No more animals may be used than are necessary to resolve the associated question.
7. Animal experiments for pedagogical purposes are only permitted when other educational tools such as pictures, models, taxonomy, and film are not sufficient.
8. Records are to be kept of the sort of animal used, the purpose, the procedure, and the result of the experiment.

#8. Experiments on animals for judicial purposes as well as inoculations and taking of blood from living animals for the purpose of diagnosing illness of people or animals, or for obtainment of serums or inoculations according to procedures that have already been tried or are recognized by the state, are not subject to provisions #5 through #7. These animals, however, are also to be killed painlessly if they suffer appreciable pain and if it is compatible with the goals of the experiment.

Section IV

Provisions for Punishment

(1) Whoever unnecessarily torments or roughly mishandles an animal will be punished by up to two years in prison, with a fine, or with both these penalties.
(2) Whoever, apart from the case in (1), undertakes an experiment on living animals (# 5) without the required permission will be punished by imprisonment of up to six months, with a fine, or with both of these penalties.
(3) A fine of up to five hundred thousand marks or imprisonment will, apart from the punishment mandated in (1) and (2), be the punishment for whomever intentionally or through negligence.
1. violates prohibition #2 though #4;
2. acts against regulation #7;
3. violates guidelines enacted by the Ministry of the Interior or by a provincial government according to #14;
4. neglects to prevent children or other persons that are under his/her supervision or belong to his/her household from violating the provisions of this law.

(1) In addition to the punishments in #9 for an intentional violation of the law, an animal belonging to the condemned may be confiscated or killed. Instead of confiscation it may be ordered that the animal be sheltered and fed for up to nine months at the cost of the guilty party.
(2) If no specific person can be identified or condemned, the confiscation or killing of an animal may be undertaken in any case when the other prerequisites are present.

(1) If someone is repeatedly guilty of intentionally violating the provisions that are punishable according to #9 the local authorities that are responsible can prohibit that person from keeping certain animals or from business involving them either for a specified period or permanently.
(2) After a year has passed since the imposition of the punishment the responsible local authorities may rescind their decision.
(3) An animal subject to appreciable negligence in provision, care, or shelter may be taken away from the owner by the responsible local authority and accommodated elsewhere until there is a guarantee that the animal will be cared for in a manner above reproach. The cost of this accommodation shall be paid by the guilty party.

#12. If in a judicial process it appears doubtful whether an act violates a prohibition of #1, (1) or (2), a veterinarian shall be summoned as early in the process as possible and, in so far as it concerns a farm, an agricultural official of the government shall be heard.

Section V


#13. Anesthesia as it is understood in this law means all procedures that lead to general painlessness or eliminate localized pain.

#14. The Minister of the Interior can issue judicial and administrative decrees for the completion and enforcement of this law. In so far as the Minister of the Interior does not make use of this power, local governments can make the necessary decree for implementation.

#15. This law becomes binding on February 1, 1934 with the exception of #2, (8) and #3, (11), for which the Minister of the Interior must see the time of implementation in consultation with the Minister of Food and Agriculture.

The laws #1456 and #360, (13) of the law of May 30, 1908 remain unchanged.

Berlin, November 24, 1933

Adolf Hitler

Reference: http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Germany/Nazianimalrights.htm
Also read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_welfare_in_Nazi_Germany

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Century Without Wolves Alters Olympic Ecosystem
by Carrie Nugent, The Oregonian
Wednesday July 30, 2008, 9:23 AM

Wolves are experiencing a resurgence in the Northwest after being all but wiped out early last century. Last week, the first reproducing pack of wild wolves in decades was confirmed by biologists in northeast Oregon.

The extermination of wolves in the United States was a source of national pride in the early 20th century. Biologists thought livestock would be safe from marauders and game such as elk would flourish, leaving a bounty for hunters.

But the consequences would ripple through the decades, affecting ecosystems in ways no 1920s wolf-hunting government biologist could have foreseen — including altering rivers in Olympic National Park in Washington.

Heavy elk grazing has transformed steep-sloped rivers densely bordered with vegetation into shallow, sediment-heavy flows, Oregon State University’s Robert Beschta and William Ripple report this month in the journal Ecohydrology. These changed rivers may affect fisheries and local highways.

The chain of events that results from the loss of a top predator is called a trophic cascade. “People are studying ecosystems all over the world, from the arctic to the tropics, from the deepest sea to the highest mountains, and we think that this could be a fairly universal phenomenon,” Ripple said.

However, trophic cascades in the Olympics came as a shock. “We’ve been chasing these trophic cascades around the country,” Beschta said, “and we get into our backyard and we find it’s right there also.”

The research showed that when the wolves were extirpated from the park in the early 1900s, the elk population increased sharply. That, in turn, caused overgrazing. By the 1930s, elk were dying of starvation.

Elk numbers stabilized in the 1950s, but plant communities did not recover. Few black cottonwood or bigleaf maple trees have since reached maturity, the OSU researchers found, because nibbling elk can stunt or kill saplings, limiting the number of new trees.

Additionally, studies in Yellowstone National Park have shown that when wolves are present, elk will alter their browsing habits. They avoid areas without quick escape routes — such as streambanks. With the wolves gone, streambeds became a foraging free-for-all.

“These shrubs and trees hold the bank in place through their roots,” Ripple said. When they are gone, the rushing water erodes the banks, carrying off sediment and widening the channel. And unlike their deep, steep-banked counterparts, wide, shallow rivers can easily change course — sometimes into the path of roads.

“Now you’ve got to figure out what you’re going to do with the road — are you going to take the road out? Move it?” Beschta said. These are expensive questions.

Additionally, shallow rivers have gravel borders that are “disconnecting the stream from the forest,” Beschta said.

“If I step back 100 years, and I have these narrower, vegetation-lined channels — even during low flows the river would have been running along a vegetated streambank,” full of insects and plant litter. The insects are food for the fish, he said, and the litter feeds organisms that become food for fish.

Although the researchers did not study fish populations in Olympic National Park, a similar study in Zion National Park in Utah showed that “when there was a predator present it appeared that there were more native fish in the stream,” Ripple said. In Olympic, there’s a “big sockeye run in that system that’s been going downhill,” Beschta said Whether it is a result of a trophic cascade or other factors needs more study, Beschta added.

The effects could travel all the way downstream. Wider rivers move more gravel, sediment and silt. “That sediment will eventually end up in the ocean,” Beschta said.

However, it is hard to draw firm conclusions from ecosystems as complicated as those in national parks.

“It’s always difficult doing these retrospective historical studies because you can’t always fill in the key information that you need,” said Dave Peterson, a research biologist at the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Station. It’s clear, though, that “the elk have a tremendous impact on the forest,” he said, which today has “big trees with grassy, small shrub understory because they’ve just munched everything.”

Although it might not be feasible to reintroduce large predators to many major parks, Beschta and Ripple hope their research leads to more informed decisions. “When all the parts are present, we think there is more resilience to disturbance, for example, if there is climate change coming,” Ripple said.

“We are on the beginning of something,” Beschta said. “Where it goes — the experiment has to play out.”

— Carrie Nugent


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