Heinrich Heine is the German poet who, in 1821, penned the words: "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen"; "Where books are burned, they will, in the end, burn people, too."
Thirteen years later, in speaking of the character of the German people and the gentling influence that Christianity had had on their formerly harshly pagan culture, he wrote:
Christianity--and that is its greatest merit--has somewhat mitigated that brutal German love of war, but it could not destroy it. Should that subduing talisman, the cross, be shattered, the frenzied madness of the ancient warriors, that insane Berserk rage of which Nordic bards have spoken and sung so often, will once more burst into flame. This talisman is fragile, and the day will come when it will collapse miserably. Then the ancient stony gods will rise from the forgotten debris and rub the dust of a thousand years from their eyes, and finally Thor with his giant hammer will jump up and smash the Gothic cathedrals. . . . Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder. . . . [W]hen you hear a crashing such as never before has been heard in the world's history, then you know that the German thunderbolt has fallen at last. At that uproar the eagles of the air will drop dead, and lions in the remotest deserts of Africa will hide in their royal dens. A play will be performed in Germany which will make the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll.
|Berlin Cathedral, view obstructed by swastika banners and a pagan Maypole, c. 1935|
100 years later, Nazi leader Alfred Rosenberg drafted a thirty point program for the Nationale Reichskirche:
19. On the altars there must be nothing but Mein Kampf (to the German nation and therefore to God the most sacred book) and to the left of the altar a sword.
30. On the day of its foundation, the Christian Cross must be removed from all churches, cathedrals and chapels. . . and it must be superseded by the only unconquerable symbol, the swastika.Listen to your poets. They know.