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An accurate reproduction of the "Black Sun" design found in the Wewelsburg sunwheel mosaic of the "Obergruppenführer"-Hall (SS Generals' Hall)
The former SS Generals' Hall (German: "Obergruppenführersaal") on the first floor of the North Tower of Wewelsburg Castle with the dark green sun wheel mosaic located on the floor in the center of the hall. Since 1991, occasionally the marble inlay has been called the "Black Sun".[citation needed] Since then, the mosaic has been linked to esoteric concepts about a "Black Sun" which have been discussed by neo-nazi circles since the post-war years. The architects who redesigned the castle during the Nazi era called the axis of the North Tower the "Center of the World".

The term Black Sun (German Schwarze Sonne), also referred to as the Sonnenrad (German for "Sun Wheel"), is a symbol of esoteric and occult significance. Its ancient design is also found on a sun wheel mosaic incorporated into a floor of Wewelsburg Castle during the Nazi era. Though it may be used in modern occult currents of Germanic neopaganism and in Irminenschaft or Armanenschaft—inspired esotericism it has also been adopted in various forms by alt-right or other modern political groups.[1] Despite its current use, the Black Sun had not been identified with the ornament in Wewelsburg before 1991, although it had been discussed as an esoteric concept in neo-Nazi circles since the 1950s.[2]


Historical backgroundEdit

Alemannic brooches with designs reminiscent of the Wewelsburg symbol.[3]

The design has loose visual parallels in Migration Age Alemannic brooches (Zierscheiben), possibly a variation of the Roman swastika fibula, thought to have been worn on Frankish, Slavic and Alemannic women's belts.[4] Some Alemannic or Bavarian specimens incorporate a swastika symbol at the center.[5] The number of rays in the brooches varies between five and twelve.

Goodrick-Clarke (2002) does connect the Wewelsburg design with the Early Medieval Germanic brooches, and does assume that the original artifacts had a solar significance, stating that "this twelve-spoke sun wheel derives from decorative disks of the Merovingians of the early medieval period and are supposed to represent the visible sun or its passage through the months of the year."[6] He further refers to scholarly discussion of the brooches in Nazi Germany,[7] allowing for the possibility that the designers of the Wewelsburg mosaic were indeed inspired by these historical precedents.

Wewelsburg and Zeppelintribüne mosaicsEdit

The shape of the symbol as it is used within Germanic mysticist esotericism is based primarily on the design of a floor mosaic at the castle of Wewelsburg (built 1603), a Renaissance castle located in the east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Stylized versions of the "Black Sun" design.

During the Third Reich the castle became the representative and ideological center of the order of the SS. Heinrich Himmler, the leader of the SS, wanted to establish the "Center of the New World".[8] A focus of the actual SS-activities at the castle were archaeological excavations in the surrounding region and studies on Germanic early history.[9][10]

The mosaic is located in the ground floor room of the North Tower of the castle, in the so-called Obergruppenführersaal ("Obergruppenführer hall", completed 1939–1943).[11] "Obergruppenführer" (literally: "upper-group-leader") was the SS-rank parallel to general in the Wehrmacht or lieutenant general in the US and British armies. It is not known if the SS had a special name for the ornament, or if they attributed a special meaning to it. However, the sun wheel is significant for the Germanic light-and-sun mysticism[12] which was propagated by the SS[citation needed]. In their studies on sense characters, the sun apart was interpreted as "the strongest and most visible expression of god", the number twelve as significant for "the things of the target and the completion".[13] The mosaic at Wewelsburg itself is dark green on a whitish/greyish marble floor. Probably a golden disc was originally located in the middle of the ornament.[14][15][unreliable source?]

The North Tower of the castle was to be the center of a planned circular estate, 1.27 kilometres in diameter.[16][17] The architects called the complex the "Center of the World" from 1941 onwards.

The North-Tower, which had survived a ruin after 1815, only assumed importance for Himmler starting in the autumn of 1935. In the process of Himmler establishing the castle as an ideological and religious center of the SS, the tower was to serve the highest-ranking SS leaders as a meeting place and probably as location for quasi-religious devotions. Nothing is known about the possible way and the kind of arrangement of designated ceremonies in the tower—the redesigned rooms were never used.[18] According to the architects, the axis of the North Tower was to be the actual "Center of the World".[19]

The inside of the complete castle was redesigned in a Nazi-specific mythological way (see the Wewelsburg SS School). SS architect Hermann Bartels presented a first draft of plans that envisioned using the North Tower on three different levels. However, a meeting in the first floor mosaic room never occurred—the building work at the room was stopped in 1943.[20] In 1945, when the "final victory" did not materialize, the castle was partially blasted and set on fire by the SS, but the two redesigned rooms in the North Tower stayed intact.

It is not known with any certainty whether this symbol was placed in the marble floor at Wewelsburg before or during the National Socialist Regime. There remains speculation as to whether the symbol was placed in the hall by the Nazis or whether it was there previously but there is no definitive proof either way. The book sold by the Wewelsburg museum on the history of the castle from 1933 to 1945 makes no mention of who put it there. The plans for the North Tower by SS architect Hermann Bartels make no mention of it. Scholars today are reluctant to say with any certainty why it was put there, or by whom.[6][21]

There is, although its origins are unknown, an identical rendition of the Wewelsburg Schwarze Sonne in a wall painting at a World War II military bunker memorial to Bismarck at Hamburg below a statue of Bismarck (see Bismarck-Monument (Hamburg)). It is with a central piece incorporating a sunwheel and swastikas and the texts "Nicht durch Reden werden große Fragen entschieden, sondern durch Eisen und Blut" ("Great questions will not be resolved by talk, but by iron and blood").[22][23][24][25]

The Black Sun symbol was also found on the mosaic ceiling inside the Zeppelintribüne in Nürnberg along with other symbols such as stars and swastika-shaped lines.[26][27]

Vienna LodgeEdit

The "Black Sun" is often associated with the mystic-esoteric aspects of National Socialism. Origin of a phantastic post war "SS mysticism" which refers to the "Black Sun" not as a symbol but as a kind of esoteric concept is a right-wing esoteric circle in Vienna in the early 1950s.[28] The speculations of the Vienna Lodge – also known as the Landig Group – did not relate their concept of the "Black Sun" to the ornament in the Wewelsburg. This identification took place as late as 1991, in the novel Die Schwarze Sonne von Tashi Lhunpo.

The former SS member Wilhelm Landig of the Vienna Lodge "coined the idea of the Black Sun, a substitute swastika and mystical source of energy capable of regenerating the Aryan race".[6] Rudolf J. Mund (also a former SS member and later also member of the Vienna Lodge) discusses a relationship of the Black Sun with alchemy. The visible sun is described as a symbol of an invisible anti-sun: "Everything that can be comprehended by human senses is material, the shadow of the invisible spiritual light. The material fire is – seen in this way – also just the shadow of the spiritual fire."[29]

The ideas of the Vienna Lodge were later continued by the Tempelhofgesellschaft. The German scholar Julian Strube has shown a direct exchange of idea between this younger generation and the circle surrounding Landig.[2] After the Tempelhofgesellschaft had been dissolved, its member Ralf Ettl founded the Freundeskreis (circle of friends) Causa Nostra that remains active.

Significance in National SocialismEdit

The term Black Sun may originate with the mystical "Central Sun" in Helena Blavatsky's Theosophy[citation needed]. This invisible or burnt out Sun (Karl Maria Wiligut's Santur in Nazi mysticism) symbolizes an opposing force or pole[citation needed]. Emil Rüdiger, of Rudolf John Gorslebens Edda-Gesellschaft (Edda Society), claimed that a fight between the new and the old Suns was decided 330,000 years ago (Karl Maria Wiligut dates this 280,000 years ago), and that Santur had been the source of power of the Hyperboreans.[citation needed]

The Wewelsburg symbol can be deconstructed into three swastikas: a "rising", a "zenith" & a "setting" one. The design is popular among German Neo-Nazis as a replacement for the outlawed singular swastika symbol. Another interpretation is that the symbol incorporates twelve reversed "Sig runes" of the Armanen runes.

Allegedly, the design was drawn for Heinrich Himmler from an "old Aryan emblem",[30] and was meant to mimic the Round table of Arthurian legend with each spoke of the sun wheel representing one "knight" or Officer of the "inner" SS. The symbol of the Black Sun is purported to unite the three most important symbols of Nazi ideology: the sun wheel, the swastika, and the stylized victory rune; and that it is symbolic in its form representing "the twelve SS Knights of The Order of the Death's Head and their three retainers".[31]

Erich Halik was the first to link the esoteric SS with the Black Sun roundel insignia carried by German aircraft in the polar region at the close of World War II.[6][32]

Contemporary useEdit

After 1945Edit

The name Schwarze Sonne ("Black Sun") came into existence for the first time after WWII. Already in the 1950s it was used by neo-Nazis around Wilhelm Landig, being a symbol associated with the SS.

It is used extensively by many other groups around Europe and the world.[33]

Black Sun sported by the Azov Battalion

The "Black Sun" is used by the Azov Battalion in Ukraine.[34][35]

The "Black Sun" is listed by the Anti-Defamation League as a hate symbol.[36] The Sonnenrad was incorporated into a misappropriated version of the logo of the Detroit Red Wings professional hockey team by the anti-immigrant group "the Detroit Right Wings" for use during the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Red Wings condemned such use.[37]The neo-Nazi, Neo-fascist, white nationalist group Vanguard America also used the Sonnerad and incorporated it into their version of the American flag during the rally in Charlottesville.

Alternative designEdit

The symbol described by Peter Moon and Joseph Farrell as the symbol of the Black Sun.[38][39] It was first used in a publication of the Tempelhofgesellschaft, in 1987[2]

In 1988/1990 and 1992, Austrian authors Norbert Jürgen Ratthofer and Ralf Ettl produced the documentaries UFO — Das Dritte Reich schlägt zurück? (1998/1990) (UFO — The Third Reich Strikes Back?)[40][41] and UFO — Geheimnisse des Dritten Reichs (1990) (UFO — Secrets of the Third Reich)[42][43] which talks of the Thule Society with the Geheimnis Schwarze Sun flashing on screen and talking about it. Professor Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke states,

In the early 1990s, the Austrians Norbert Jürgen Ratthofer and Ralf Ettl and developed new nazi UFO myths involving ancient Babylon, Vril energy and extraterrestrial civilisation in the solar system of Aldebaran. These colourful ideas are integral elements of a dualist Marcionite religion propagated by Ralf Ettl through his Tempelhofgesellschaft (Temple Society) in Vienna, identified as a secret successor to the historic Templars, who had absorbed Gnostic and heretical ideas in the Levant.[44]

Ratthofer and Ettl state in UFO — Geheimnisse des Dritten Reichs (1990) (UFO — Secrets of the Third Reich)[42] that "Within the SS the Thule Society created a separate secret organisation called the "Black Sun"with the Geheimnis Schwarze Sonne as its logo. This is a reference to the older narrative developed by the Vienna Circle.[2]

Jürgen-Ratthofer and Ettl were members of the Tempelhofgesellschaft that was founded in the 1980s. Its first major publication, Einblick in die magische Weltsicht und die magischen Prozesse (1987), maintained an esoteric interpretation of the Black Sun that later resurfaced in Landig's Rebellen für Thule, making the exchange between this younger generation and the Vienna Circle evident. The ideas of the THG were further disseminated by their brochure Das Vril-Projekt. They significantly contributed to the identification of the Black Sun with the ornament in the Wewelsburg that had first been suggested in the novel Die Schwarze Sonne von Tashi Lhunpo.[2]

In 1997 author Peter Moon (real name: Vince Barbarick), wrote a book entitled The Black Sun: Montauk's Nazi-Tibetan Connection in which he refers to an image (pictured) as the "Signet of the Black Sun" (a secret order in Germany, also referred to as the Order of the Black Sun) and that it is "the symbol of the innermost secret society of Nazi Germany: the Black Sun. It is illegal to print or display this symbol in Germany today."[45] This image and information was, according to Moon, originally provided to him by van Helsing around 1996, along with additional information on Nazi flying discs. Moon alleges that Helsing allegedly got it from Templar groups who emerged from East Germany after the Berlin Wall fell and Germany reunited. The German edition of Moon's book on the Black Sun had to have the image removed.

Van Helsing, however, did not write specifically on this symbol and mentioned the Black Sun in just a few phrases. But, from what Moon states, van Helsing could be talking about Ralf Ettl and his Tempelhofgesellschaft (Temple Society) in Vienna, identified as a secret successor to the historic Templars.

In 2005 American Scholar Dr. Joseph P. Farrell, in his book Reich of the Black Sun, also states that the symbol was adopted by the Thule Society but also adopted as an emblem for von Liebenfels' New Templars.[46] Farrell also states that in contemporary German Federal Law it is forbidden to be displayed.[46] Farrell does not cite any sources, neither referring to Norbert Jürgen Ratthofer and Ralf Ettl, Jan van Helsing or Peter Moon. Additionally, he states it was adopted by the Thule Society and the New Templars, without citation, and in contradiction to the information supplied by van Helsing and Moon. Farrell has stated that as for primary sources, he does not have one other than Ralf Ettl and Juergen Ratthofer for the Black Sun concept.[47]

In 2007 author Ron McVan published written works within a Wotanist context utilising the Alternative Black Sun Symbol.[48]

British Professor Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke B.A. does not mention this image in either of his books on the history of occultism in Nazi Germany but shows the Thule Society emblem to have been this image[49][50] and Liebenfels' New Templars logo to be this image.[51]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e Strube, 2012
  3. ^ Left image: decorative brooch found in Inzing, Innsbruck-Land, dated to ca. AD 400, from Hermann Wirth, ‘’ ‘Die heilige Urschrift der Menschheit’ ‘’, Leipzig 1936, BD. II, Bilderatlas, Tafel 42 (at the time kept in the Staatl. Museen Berlin.) Right image: Migration age Alemannic decorative brooch, from Hans-Joachim Diesner, ‘’ ‘Die Völkerwanderung’ ‘’, Gütersloh 1980, used on the title cover of a 1982 Artgemeinschaft booklet.
  4. ^ 'Derhain website article (In German) Archived 15 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine. on the Schwarze Sonne (In English); Jadu article; Haag Museum; 'Personal website Archived 7 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine.' of James Twining.
  5. ^ 'Jadu article; Haag Museum'
  6. ^ a b c d Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke.
  7. ^ References in Rüdiger Sünner, Schwarze Sonne: Entfesselung und Mißbrauch der Mythen in Nationalsozialismus und rechter Esoterik (Freiburg: Herder, 1999), pp. 148, 245 (note 426):'Die durchbrochenen Zierscheiben der Merowingerzeit' (Mainz: Röm-German. Zentralmuseum, 1970) by Dorothee Renner. Examples of symbols very similar to the Wewelsburg sun wheel occur in Mannus 28 (1936), 270; Walther Veeck, Die Alemannen in Württemberg (Berlin and Leipzig:DeGruyter, 1931); Hans Reinerth (ed.), Die Vorgeschichte der Deutschen Stämme, 3 vols. (Berlin: Bibliographisches Institut, 1940), vol. 2, plate 219.
  8. ^ SS – Die Wewelsburg In German: SS – The Wewelsburg; quote: "... es sollte nach dem Endsieg das Zentrum der neuen Welt entstehen." - "... after the final victory the Center of the New World was to arise [here]."
  9. ^ Takeover of the Castle by Himmler 1934 (German)
  10. ^ Information about archaeological activities Archived 25 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine. (German)
  11. ^ 'Wewelsburg 1933 bis 1945. Kult-und-Terrorstätte der SS. Eine Dokumentation (Schriftenreihe des Kreismuseums Wewelsburg 1), 2nd Edition Paderborn 1987.' by Karl Hüser and translated into English in 2000 by Robin Benson
  12. ^ Drachen, Helden, Nachtmeerfahrten – Die Archetypenlehre von C. G. Jung
  13. ^ Walther Blachetta: Das Buch der deutschen Sinnzeichen (The book of German sense characters); reprint of 1941; page 15/16: interpretation of the sun and page 80: interpretation of the number twelve.
  14. ^ The Schwarze Sonne documentary by Rüdiger Sünner contains as bonus material an interview with the DVD's producer in which he states this.
  15. ^ At the end of this article a "plate of pure gold in the axis of the sun wheel" is mentioned.
  16. ^ » SS - Die Wewelsburg
  17. ^ Kreismuseum Wewelsburg - Die SS Schule Haus Wewelsburg Archived 13 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ In the German article Archived 13 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine. this is stated.
  19. ^ The Schwarze Sonne documentary by Rüdiger Sünner contains as bonus material an interview with the DVD-producer in which he states this.
  20. ^ Wewelsburg 1933 bis 1945. Kult-und-Terrorstätte der SS. Eine Dokumentation (Schriftenreihe des Kreismuseums Wewelsburg 1), 2nd Edition Paderborn 1987. Karl Hüser; translated into English in 2000 by Robin Benson and Interview with Kirsten John-Stucke, Vize-Director of the memorial-place Wewelsburg (in German)[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ 'Wewelsburg 1933 bis 1945. Kult-und-Terrorstätte der SS. Eine Dokumentation (Schriftenreihe des Kreismuseums Wewelsburg 1), 2nd Edition Paderborn 1987.' by Karl Hüser and translated into English in 2000 by Robin Benson and extensive pictorial illustration is provided by Stuart Russell and Jost W. Schneider, Heinrich Himmler's Burg. Das weltanschauliche Zentrum der SS: Bildchronik der SS-Schule Haus Wewelsburg 1934–1945 (Landshut, Germany: RVG, 1989). Photographs of the Sun Wheel appear ibid, pp. 81–82 - this has been translated into English and is sold by the Wewelsburg museum
  22. ^ 'Die Schwarzesonne (Revised)' by Steve Anthonijsz (Radböd Ártisson).'
  23. ^ Hamburg Morning Post article
  24. ^ Braune Lichtmenschen. Anmerkungen zum Heidentum in rechtsextremen Szenen Archived 13 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ Hamburger Morgenpost – – Nachrichten Hamburg Panorama[unreliable source?]
  26. ^ Part: Nuremberg, page 2:
  27. ^ Image link:
  28. ^ Wien als Brutstätte des okkulten Faschismus Vienna as hatchery of occult fascism: "Die beiden Wiener Wilhelm Landig und Rudolf J. Mund müssen als die eigentlichen Stifter dieses "SS-Mystizismus" angesehen werden, der sich heute um das Symbol der Schwarzen Sonne gruppiert." The two Vienneses Wilhelm Landig and Rudolf J. Mund must be seen as the actual founders of this SS mysticism which refers to the Black Sun nowadays.
  29. ^ Rudolf J. Mund: Das Mysterium der Schwarzen Sonne; Kapitel: Die Esoterik der "Schwärze" (The mystery of the Black Sun; chapter: The esotericism of the "black")
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-12. 
  31. ^ 'Personal website Archived 7 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine.' of James Twining.'
  32. ^ "Um Krone und Gipfel der Welt" (Mensch und Schicksal 6, No. 10 (1 August 1952), pp. 3-5) by Erich Halik (Claude Schweikhart)
  33. ^ Die Schwarze Sonne als neues Symbol der rechten Szene Archived 28 May 2017 at the Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ USA nie będą szkolić batalionu Azow
  35. ^ Linda Wurster (2014-08-14). "Schmutziger Kampf in der Ukraine : Neonazis im Dienst der Regierung". Focus Online. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  36. ^ "Sonnenrad". Anti-Defamation League. 16 November 2017. 
  37. ^ "Detroit Red Wings condemn use of logo by white nationalists in Charlottesville" by Matt Bonesteel, Washington Post, August 12, 2017
  38. ^ [2]
  39. ^ [3]
  40. ^ Goodricke Clarke in Black Sun says 1990 but Henry Stevens in Hitler's Flying Saucers says 1988
  41. ^ (viewable here in German)
  42. ^ a b (viewable here in German and here in English)
  43. ^ Kasen, Victor Ordell L: 'Das Geheimnis der Schwarze Sonne: Hinter der Geheimnis Schwarze Sonne', Salop 1993.
  44. ^ Goodricke-Clarke, Black Sun, page 194
  45. ^ Moon, Peter; The Black Sun: Montauk's Nazi-Tibetan Connection
  46. ^ a b Farrell, Joseph P.; 'Reich of the Black Sun' p175
  47. ^ Norbert Jürgen Ratthofer and Ralf Ettl - Das Vril-Projekt; Norbert Jürgen Ratthofer - Demnachst "Kampf um die Erde"?!"; Norbert Jürgen Ratthofer and Ralf Ettl: UFO - Das Dritte Reich schlägt zurück? (video, 1990) (UFO - The Third Reich Strikes Back?) (viewable here in German); Norbert Jürgen Ratthofer and Ralf Ettl: UFO - Geheimnisse des Dritten Reichs (video, 1992) (UFO - Secrets of the Third Reich) (viewable here in German and here in English); Norbert Jürgen Ratthofer - Lichtreiche auf Erden (1997); Das Vril-Projekt 2 (1999) Der Z-Plan (1999, 4 volume novel)
  48. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  49. ^ Goodricke-Clarke, Nicholas; 'The Occult Roots of Nazism: The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890-1935'
  50. ^ Goodricke-Clarke, Nicholas; 'Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity'
  51. ^

Further readingEdit

  • Rüdiger Sünner: Schwarze Sonne. Entfesselung und Missbrauch der Mythen in Nationalsozialismus und rechter Esoterik. Freiburg i. Br. Verlag Herder/Spektrum, 1999, ISBN 3-451-27186-9. Sünner also produced the DVD documentary of the same name to accompany his book.
  • Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas: Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity. New York University Press, New York 2003.
  • Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas: The Occult Roots of Nazism
  • Friedrich Paul Heller, Anton Maegerle: Die Sprache des Hasses. Rechtsextremismus und völkische Esoterik. Schmetterling-Verlag, Stuttgart 2001
  • Friedrich Paul Heller, Anton Maegerle: Thule. Vom völkischen Okkultismus bis zur Neuen Rechten. 2. Aufl. Stuttgart, Schmetterling-Verlag 1998
  • Stephen Cook, Heinrich Himmler's Camelot: Pictorial/documentary: The Wewelsburg Ideological Center of the SS, 1934-1945 (Kressmann-Backmeyer, 1999)
  • Julian Strube: Die Erfindung des esoterischen Nationalsozialismus im Zeichen der Schwarzen Sonne. In: Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft 20/2, 2012, pp. 223–268

(Different editions have different episodes) [8] [9][permanent dead link][permanent dead link] [10] [11][permanent dead link]

External linksEdit