Earlier in this chapter, we touched on the fact that, besides drawing on the paranoia of the anti-communist Red Scare of the 1950s, there was also an implicitly antisemitic component to the anti-psychiatry campaign of the Church of Scientology (6.3). We observed how Scientology inaugurated the modern anti-psychiatry tradition (of which The Satanic Temple partakes) with the publication in 1955 of Brain-Washing: A Synthesis of the Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics, a Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion-esque booklet which was falsely purported to have been authored by Lavrenti Beria (an infamously sexually predatory Stalinist politician who has often been falsely identified as a Jew by antisemites) and which alleged that the Soviet Union was suppressing L. Ron Hubbard’s “Dianetics” and manipulating American psychiatry in order to transform it into a force for Communism’s covert subversion of “American democracy.” Furthermore, we saw how there were well-known tendencies in the popular imagination of the 1950s (which persist to this day) to link Jews to both Communism (e.g., through the myth of “Judeo-Bolshevism”) as well as to the fields of psychiatry, psychology, and psychoanalysis, which have in antisemitic circles often been collectively labeled “Jewish science.”
These constatations invite further analysis of the relation between antisemitism and The Satanic Temple, including the latter’s anti-psychiatry and gaslighting campaigns and the group’s political interpretation of Satanism in general. Given that the road to the emergence of The Satanic Temple in early 2013 was fundamentally paved in many ways by the older “LaVeyan” Church of Satan (a fact which is readily acknowledged and recognized by TST’s leaders, who frame the Satanism of TST as “a natural progression of LaVey Satanism” [Smith]), we should take LaVey’s sect into consideration here as well. Indeed, Satanic Temple co-founder Douglas Misicko has called Anton LaVey “an excellent jumping-off point” and described TST as “adding to LaVey,” suggesting that TST’s politics cannot be fully contextualized without evaluating those of the Church of Satan, particularly during the period from 1966 to 1997 during which LaVey was at the organization’s helm (Bugbee, “Unmasking”).
There is a need to clearly illustrate and establish the undeniable factuality of modern Satanism’s antisemitic character, particularly given that claims relating to the founder of the Church of Satan’s (i.e., Anton LaVey’s) allegedly “Jewish” ethno-racial identity are often used to deflect criticisms of modern Satanism’s relationship with the far-right, not unlike the way in which the conversion of US president Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, to Judaism is used by some neo-fascists to obfuscate the reality of Trump’s ties to right-wing extremism and antisemitism (Jong-Fast). We might similarly anticipate that The Satanic Temple, when confronted with its putrid antisemitism, would point to co-founder Cevin Soling, who identifies as a “secular Jew,” in an attempt to discredit allegations of the group’s neo-fascist and antisemitic affinities. It is therefore vital to pre-emptively demonstrate TST’s antisemitism now, before the apologists come in with their obfuscation tricks.
One tactic used by The Satanic Temple to discredit opposition to Satanism (which is related to the use of LaVey’s alleged “Jewishness” as a shield from criticism of modern Satanism’s affinities with neo-Nazism) is to attempt to link the so-called “Satanic Panic” and “modern day witch-hunt[ing]” (a phrase Misicko invokes here, for example) to antisemitism. This effort constitutes a means of projecting antisemitism onto critics of modern Satanism. The “modern day witch-hunt” narrative is something which TST has clearly attempted to play up in having chosen the symbolically significant location of Salem, Massachusetts for the sect’s headquarters. This dubious operation would have us believe, incorrectly, that “Semitism” is interchangeable with “Satanism” and that “pogroms” are essentially the same as “witch-hunts.” By conflating antisemitism with anti-Satanism, TST and other modern Satanist groups seek to create a kind of “victim status” for Satanists, in this way sucking like bloodthirsty, hypocritical leeches on the real suffering of the Jewish people in order to concoct a false narrative in which white supremacists, imperialist militarists, and neo-Nazis get to play the part of members of an oppressed and persecuted class by identifying as “Satanists.” In the process, they perpetuate the defamatory thesis of a link between Jews and Satanism.
We find this tactic employed on a web page titled “The Satanic Temple Library,” which can be found on the crypto-fascist sect’s official website (“thesatanictemple.com”). On this web page, The Satanic Temple recommends a book called The Devil and the Jews: The Medieval Conception of the Jew and Its Relation to Modern Anti-Semitism (1943) by Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg (1904–1959). TST inaccurately describes Trachtenberg’s book as “demonstrat[ing] the inextricable relationship between the medieval demonization of Jews and the Satanic Panic libels of modern days.” The falsity of the claim made in this description is obvious and easily demonstrable; since the book’s author died in 1959, long before the fabled “Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s” had ever supposedly taken place, it contains no references to “Satanic ritual abuse,” “day-care sex-abuse hysteria,” or anything of the sort. Whether TST leadership has actually read The Devil and the Jews or are even aware of the fact that it was originally published in the 1940s seems doubtful; no publication date is given on the “Satanic Temple Library” page and the hyperlink given to buy the book on Amazon leads to a more recent edition of the book, published in 2002. Not only is Trachtenberg’s thesis in The Devil and the Jews completely unrelated to trying to prove any sort of relationship between modern antisemitism and the so-called “Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s” (an ahistorical absurdity since it was published in 1943), but the author actually provides several powerful counterarguments to the moral panic narrative’s framing of the “Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s” as “a modern day [antisemitic] witch-hunt,” such as by showing that antisemitic persecution during the medieval and early modern periods was a distinct phenomenon from that of witch-hunting.
Although Trachtenberg does argue, quite reasonably, that “the [antisemitic] medieval conception of the Jew” placed “the Jew […] in a similar category” to “the heretic and sorcerer and witch” (as both categories represented “hated and hunted class[es] in European society”), he also notes their “conspicuous independence” from one another (215–216). Elsewhere, Trachtenberg highlights the fact that Jews, especially Jewish women, were almost entirely spared by the witch-hunts. Trachtenberg writes:
“Among the thousands of witch trials on record, spanning several centuries, there is one case—‘in all probability the only one’—involving a Jewess; and the sequel cleared even her of guilt,” (86).
This fact—that Jewish women were virtually unscathed by the witch-hunting phenomenon—may have played into the Nazi fantasy that the witch-hunts were a “Judeo-Christian” conspiracy to destroy “Aryan womanhood,” a theory which the SS Hexen-Sonderkommando (“Witches-Special Unit”) under Heinrich Himmler were given the task of gathering evidence for and attempting to prove in 1935 (for more on this, see 7.3).
Not only does Trachtenberg show that Jews were massively underrepresented in witch trials, but he also draws attention to the striking fact that witches were associated with the victimization of Jews. Trachtenberg notes that there was a commonly held notion in the folklore of Christian Europe that “the most successful witchcraft” resulted from “the use of Jewish blood” to sign a “pact with the devil,” later adding that there was “universal acceptance of this superstition” (140–141, emphasis in original). As evidence, Trachtenberg cites one case from 1784 in which “two [Gentile] women were broken on the wheel in Hamburg for having murdered a Jew in order to get his blood for [signing a pact with the devil,]” and another case from 1507 in which Franciscan friars accused Dominican friars of having “used the blood and eyebrows of a Jewish child for secret purposes,” (141, emphasis in original). In other words, witches were Jew-killers.
Thus it is incoherent and ahistorical to claim that “Satanic Panic” represents both “modern day witch-hunting” and “modern day blood libel.” Accusations of “witchcraft” (virtually always levelled against Gentiles) and “blood libel” (levelled against Jews) are not interchangeable, as witches and Jews were, for practical purposes, not the same social category in medieval and early modern society. Of course, this does not preclude the fact that there was some conceptual similarity in how they were depicted in literary and artistic representations or abstractly imagined insofar as there was a tendency for both to be demonized and portrayed as being in league with the Devil. What Trachtenberg is highlighting and criticizing is “the medieval conception of the Jew” (that is, the demonization of Jews or the antisemitic view of Jews as evil), not the conception of evil or the possibility of righteously demonizing something which actually is evil in and of themselves. The concepts of Satan, demons, and demonology are a part of Judaism (Cooper, JewishVirtualLibrary.org, MJL). If Trachtenberg’s point was that demons should not be demonized or that Satan should not be satanized, then he would be negating Jewish concepts. Rather, his point is to show how these concepts were abused by “medieval Christian fanatic[s]” and how modern antisemitism is rooted in this medieval fanaticism. By attempting to conflate witches and Jews (or Satanists and Jews, or Nazis and Jews, or the Devil and the Jews), modern Satanists reveal that they themselves actually subscribe to the medieval conception of “the ‘demonic’ Jew”; they gleefully accept, and do not attempt to challenge or dispel, the antisemitic demonization of Jewry.
Moreover, The Satanic Temple’s insinuation that “Satanic Panic” represents the “[blood] libels of modern days” is equally offensive for the reason that it represents an erasure of the fact that blood libel did not disappear with the passing of medieval times. On neo-fascist corners of the internet (e.g., the 8chan message board “Q Research”), antisemites can still be found promoting the blood libel claim, such as in an obviously forged interview staged by two white supremacists, with one of them impersonating a coil-curl merging “rabbi” who uses the term “goyim” as a singular noun and claims that “we [Jews] mix [children’s blood] with our passover bread” (Quora, “Is Abe Finkelstein a real rabbi?”). To claim that opposition to “modern Satanism” (which has been, since its inception, closely attached to right-wing extremism and neo-Nazism) is “the new antisemitism” is to belittle and erase the ongoing existence of real antisemitism.
It’s also worth noting that Trachtenberg, a rabbi, concludes his study, published during the middle of the Holocaust, with a clear allusion to Nazism and its twin doctrines of a neo-pagan “religion of the blood” and so-called “Positive Christianity,” and that he does not hold antisemitism—an “offshoot of medieval Christian fanaticism”—to be a true Christian value, but rather, on the contrary, he explicitly identifies antisemites as enemies of “all Christian values,” noting:
“The Christian religion is in disfavor today among certain leading antisemitic circles whose consuming aim it is to destroy all Christian values; among others hatred of the Jew is preached in the name of a hypocritical and false Christianity. Whatever their attitude toward the teaching and the church of Jesus, this one offshoot of medieval Christian fanaticism, antisemitism, makes them kin. […] Antisemitism today is ‘scientific’ […] To the modern antisemite […], the Jew has become the international communist or the international banker, or better, both. But his aim still is to […] enslave [the world] to his own—and the word is inescapable—devilish ends. Still the ‘demonic’ Jew. . . .” (219–220).
It is revealing that we find this exact antisemitic caricature—the “international [‘demonic’ Jew] banker”—in The Satanic Temple’s number one “primary reading,” The Revolt of the Angels (1914) by Anatole France; however, we will save analysis of this work, its antisemitic content, and TST’s pretentious “literary Satanism” for Chapter 8.
Satanists, including those belonging to or associated with The Satanic Temple, frequently tout the apparent irony that, despite openly collaborating with neo-Nazis and promoting their work, Anton LaVey had some Jewish ancestry. Often the “fact” of Anton LaVey’s Jewishness is waved about by Satanists as though it were a kind of talisman that would somehow magically dispel the link between Satanism and antisemitism via the former’s persistent ties to neo-Nazism.
The Church of Satan’s official claim, put forward in The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey by Blanche Barton, is that LaVey had one Jewish great-grandparent (19). Given LaVey’s self-declared attraction to Nazism and known links to neo-Nazi groups (elaborated below), it is reasonable to take Satanist claims that LaVey was “a Jew” with a very large grain of salt. LaVey wrote explicitly and seemingly with awe and approval about the fact that “the Nazis ‘Aryanized’ certain needed Jews” (Satan Speaks! 8). According to the Nuremberg Laws introduced in Nazi Germany in 1935 to define who was a member of the “Jewish race” and who was not, a person having one-eighth “Jewish blood” (i.e., one Jewish great-grandparent) could be considered to be “of German blood” (Grenville 320, USHMM). The pseudoscientific Nazi scheme of Jewish racial pedigree stopped at “Mischling of the second degree,” or “quarter Jew,” meaning a person with one Jewish grandparent (rice.edu). Thus, by Hitlerian standards, LaVey, even with his one Jewish great-grandparent, would not have been considered a Jew, racially or otherwise. This fact should certainly not be discounted when considering his fondness for Nazism and his looking up to the Nazi concept of “Aryanization” as a model for Satanists to follow.
We find an example of this bandying about of LaVey’s atavic “Jewishness” as a protective shield for neo-Nazi discourse in The Suffering and Celebration of Life in America (2013) by Shane and Amy Bugbee (close associates of Satanic Temple co-founder Douglas Misicko on their Satanic internet radio program in the 2000s). In that book, Amy Bugbee discusses her husband’s history of involvement with the neo-Nazi musical act RaHoWa (short for “Racial Holy War”) and his republication of the book Might is Right, which, she mentions, “is not only a cornerstone of Satanism, but also of the modern White Power movement” (90). Amy Bugbee attempts to portray Shane Bugbee’s direct role in promoting neo-Nazi music and literature as examples of his undying activist passion for “defending free speech” (my scare-quotes). Accordingly, she paints those who accused Shane Bugbee of being a white supremacist as “furious white boys” who, by opposing his decision to include neo-Nazi music at a rock music festival, were opposing “free speech.” This description of her husband’s antifascist opponents as “furious white boys” is telling. It can be taken as an attempt to imply that so-called “white people” who oppose fascism’s call to “preserve the white race” through “anti-miscegenation” laws and other “legal” (criminal) measures, such as genocide, are mental slaves to any one of those right-wing canards such as “political correctness,” “reverse racism,” or “Cultural Marxism,” which are said to lead “white people” astray, into hating “their own race.” If Amy Bugbee, who has stated as a matter of public record that she believes that she does not belong to the same species as “blacks or Asians” (“Might is Right Special” 19:27:30–20:03:50), would be a slightly less cryptic neo-fascist, she might have opted here to use the term “race traitors” instead of “furious white boys.” Amy Bugbee assures the reader that before making the decision to include the neo-Nazi band RaHoWa in a mix CD given away as a freebie at the 1995 Milwaukee Metal Fest, Shane Bugbee consulted a “Jewish woman” and “black artist” who, conveniently, were both free speech absolutists and told Shane Bugbee that not promoting neo-Nazi music would amount to censorship! Straining credibility even further, Amy Bugbee claims that white supremacists made death threats against Shane Bugbee because of the fact he published new editions of the book Might is Right that included an introduction by Anton LaVey, whom Amy Bugbee describes as “a Jew by birth” (90), although she neglects to mention that Katja Lane, whose husband David Lane was the originator of the infamous “14 words” slogan and the getaway driver for the neo-Nazi terrorist group “The Order” in its assassination of the liberal Jewish radio talk show host Alan Berg, and RaHoWa’s George Burdi (1970–present), a neo-Nazi skinhead musician convicted of violently assaulting an antifascist protester after one of his concerts, and Douglas Misicko, the eugenicist who would go on to found The Satanic Temple, also contributed to Shane Bugbee-published editions of Might is Right. Nor does she mention that, under Nazi law, LaVey would not have been considered a Jew. Given Amy Bugbee’s omission of her husband’s other neo-Nazi connections and her own racist affirmations, it is obvious that the way LaVey’s supposed “Jewishness” is upheld in the Bugbees’ book is nothing more than an attempt to ward off accusations of neo-Nazi sympathies—but these cannot be so easily dismissed.
Figure 6.6. Front matter displaying neo-Nazi symbolism from the 1999 edition of the book Might is Right, published by “14 Word Press.” This edition was edited by Katja Lane, who also contributed to the “Bugbee Books” edition published in 2003 alongside Douglas Misicko, the co-founder of The Satanic Temple. Her husband, David Lane, was a neo-Nazi terrorist who coined the “14 words” slogan, which is featured at the bottom of the image. The “14 word” slogan has gained widespread usage within white supremacist, neo-fascist movements.
Even if we were to accept the claim that LaVey was “a born Jew” on the basis that he did have some remote Jewish ancestry, this remains an overwhelmingly weak basis on which to refute Satanism’s neo-Nazi connotations, given the following matters of fact:
- Anton LaVey explicitly declared that Satanists have “an affinity for […] Nazism” (Satan Speaks! 8).
- LaVey collaborated with and was respected by prominent neo-Nazis, perhaps most notably including James Mason, leader of the neo-Nazi sect called “Universal Order” and the main contributor to Siege, a neo-Nazi periodical later published as a book which has found renewed popularity among neo-Nazis since the emergence of a variety of terroristic “Read Siege” groups, many of them paramilitary in nature, within the so-called “Alt-Right” iteration of neo-fascism (5.2). One of these groups claimed responsibility for a mass shooting at a Florida high school whose student body is largely Jewish in February 2018, which resulted in the deaths of seventeen mostly young people (Barnes and Michel, JTA, JNS). The perpetrator of the deadly neo-Nazi terrorist attack which occurred in August 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia was affiliated with another “Siege-influenced” group (Foster), and the “Read Siege” movement has also been linked to a failed attempt to cause a passenger train to derail and crash in October 2017 (Beckhusen).
- The “Read Siege” movement’s godfather, James Mason, has expressed the opinion that “LaVey had many great similarities to [American Nazi Party founder] George Lincoln Rockwell,” and has called the founding of the Church of Satan “absolutely brilliant” (Mason).
- The Satanic neo-Nazi terrorist group “Atomwaffen Division,” which has been connected to several murders, encourages its members and prospects to read LaVeyan Satanic literature (Hatewatch Staff).
- LaVey’s lieutenant in the Church of Satan, US military intelligence officer Michael Aquino, called Hitler’s Mein Kampf “a political Satanic Bible” and advised Satanists to apply its teachings (Mathews 148).
- The openly neo-Nazi and pro-human sacrifice sect “Order of Nine Angles” was inspired by and closely tied to LaVey’s sect and one of the latter’s earliest spin-offs (the Temple of Set), borrowing its name from a “Ceremony of Nine Angles” described in LaVeyan Satanic literature, and it not only shared members with the Temple of Set, a Satanic sect which was founded in 1975 in a split from LaVey’s Church of Satan by Michael Aquino (a US military intelligence officer and author of the “Ceremony of Nine Angles”), but also had direct communication with the “Setian” leadership into at least as late as the 1990s (6.1.1).
- LaVey was a close associate of two members of the racist cult known as the Manson Family, which attempted to provoke a “race war” by framing African-American leftists as culprits in ritualistic murders and whose leader, Charles Manson, later had a swastika tattooed on his forehead, contributed to neo-fascist and Satanist periodicals, and became the object of a cult of personality adopted by certain neo-Nazi and crypto-fascist organizations, including Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, a group whose “bible” describes Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) insignias as “part of the Scandinavian DNA-structure” and which has close ties to The Satanic Temple (6.3.1 and 3.2.1).
- Et cetera
The practice of using Anton LaVey’s would-be “Jewishness” or LaVeyan Satanism’s supposedly “Jewish” character (whether based on LaVey’s ancestry or on his absurd conception of Judaism and Nazism and their relation to one another [see below]) as shields from criticism and as a way to disavow obvious associations between LaVey’s brand of Satanism (which largely defines so-called “modern Satanism” as a whole) and far right, racist ideology appears to go back to LaVey himself. This obfuscationist tactic of countering observations of Satanism’s neo-fascist associations with “But how can Satanism be neo-fascist when it was founded by ‘a born Jew’?” basically runs along the lines of that clichéd talking point of the racist who doesn’t want to own up to being a racist; i.e., “But look, how can I be racist when I have a Black friend?!” (a line unironically invoked by the Church of Satan’s official representatives in the present day).
Shortly before his death in 1997, LaVey wrote a collection of essays that were later published in the form of a book titled Satan Speaks!. In an essay from this collection called “A Plan,” LaVey attempts to show how his brand of Satanism is essentially a synthesis of Judaism and Nazism, insinuating that “being a Satanist means being rooted in Judeo/Nazism” (8). Positing the Jews as “Christ-killers” (as had many an antisemite before him), LaVey argues that “hereditary Jewish culture is a [more] perfect springboard for anti-Christian sentiment” than antisemitic forms of Eurocentric neo-paganism such as “neo-Odinism” (also called Wotanism, Asatru, or Armanism), which frame their opposition to Christianity as owing to the Jewish origins of the religion (ibid.). For LaVey, it seems the “Christ-killer” or what he calls “the universal devil Jew” is a more powerful archetype than that of the ancient Germanic “priest-king” popularized by the Ariosophists and looked up to by many of the original Nazis. Because of this, LaVey contends that anti-Christian neo-fascists will eventually come to see “Satanic Jewish Nazism” as a better way to oppose Christianity and advance their fascist agenda, and so neo-Nazis “without a drop of Jewish blood” will therefore “concoct genealogical evidence of a Jewish great-grandfather, thus making them by heredity, generational Satanists,” (ibid.). LaVey likens this to the fact that “the Nazis ‘Aryanized’ certain needed Jews,” (ibid.). This is of course peculiar in that even the most fanatically diehard adherents to the belief in biologically differentiated human “races” implicitly admitted the overriding social constructedness of race.
The important thing to note with regard to LaVey’s framing of “[Satanic] Judaism” as a more apt “springboard” for the anti-Christianity of neo-Nazism than the Germanic neo-paganism (or “Asatru,” “Odinism,” etc.) favored not only by rival neo-Nazi factions, but also by paleo-Nazis such as Heinrich Himmler, Alfred Rosenberg, Erich Ludendorff, and the so-called “German Faith Movement” (Steigmann-Gall), is that this is a neo-Nazi strategy, not a Jewish one. In “A Plan,” LaVey is promoting, along with the cultural appropriation of “hereditary” Judaism by neo-Nazi gentiles, the antisemitic slur that says that Jews are Satanic “devils” or “Christ-killers.” In the end, it is clear that LaVey is putting forward the possibility of falsely claiming Jewish ancestry as a convenient way for neo-Nazi gentiles to adopt a “Nazi aesthetic” while disingenuously ducking accusations of antisemitism, as well as racism more generally. “But I can’t be antisemitic,” the neo-Nazi wearing a combination swastika/“sigil of Baphomet” armband would say, “my great-grandfather was a Jew! I’m a hereditary Satanic Nazi Jew!” This endorsement of false claims of “Satanic” Jewish ancestry also casts some doubt on LaVey’s own “roots” stories, including claims of a Transylvanian “Gypsy” great-grandfather, which he seems to have played up for exoticizing effect, although there is no evidence that LaVey had any real knowledge of Rromani culture beyond circus stereotypes. Additionally, census records indicate that LaVey’s ancestor in question was not born in Transylvania, but in the Russian Empire (Transylvania belonged to the Austrian Empire at the time), suggesting that the Transylvanian embellishment was added to exploit pop culture associations with “Count Dracula” and vampires. The Satanic Temple appears to implicitly promote this practice of cultural appropriation and concoction of “exotic” family histories, regularly describing its brand of Satanism as entailing an “embrace” of one’s “outsider status.” Arguably, ethnicity, nationality, and race are far more significant factors than religion in the attribution of “outsider status” when it comes to the political aspects of personal identity in the modern United States. LaVey appears to have understood this, opting to identify with the Hitlerian conception of Judaism as a racially inherited identity as opposed to being determined by whether one actually practices Judaism as a religion. The Satanic Temple’s spokesman Douglas Misicko sums it up this way:
“Like, I think it’s okay to hate Jews if you hate them because they’re Jewish and they wear a stupid fuckin’ frisbie on their head [correct term: yarmulke or kippah] and walk around [and] think their God’s chosen people, but it’s not okay to hate somebody [‘born of Jewish blood’] just because their parents were stupid fuckin’ Jews and wore stupid frisbies on their head and thought the Jews were God’s chosen people […] Not everybody of Jewish blood is okay with me, it depends on if they follow the Jewish, uh… […] Satanic Jews are fine,” (Adam, “Doug Mesner [Lucien Greaves/Douglas Misicko] Satanic Temple Anti-Semitic Rant” [transcribed, bold added for emphasis]).
In another Satan Speaks! essay, this one titled “The Jewish Question? Or Things My Mother Never Taught Me,” LaVey advances conspiracist claims that Adolf Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi officials such as Joseph Goebbels and Reinhard Heydrich were actually Jewish. LaVey exalts the figure of the “hereditary [Jew]” who has catastrophically betrayed the Jewish people, citing as a prime example of this, second only to the mythical “Jewish” Hitler, Tomás de Torquemada, who was Grand Inquisitor of the 15th century Spanish Inquisition which resulted in racialistic limpieza de sangre (or “cleanliness of blood”) laws and the forced conversion and/or expulsion of virtually all Jews from Spain, but who is also said to have been of Jewish descent himself. Of course, if LaVeyan Satanism promotes the belief that Hitler was a Jew, which it does, and on that basis attempts to identify itself with “Jewry,” then it is clearly neo-Nazi. Even if we were to accept the claim that Torquemada, Hitler, and LaVey were all “born Jews” or had “Jewish blood,” the fact that they were all fanatical antisemites would not be altered. By these twists of “logic,” one is antisemitic if one opposes Nazism, the Spanish Inquisition, and Satanism, for their leaders were “really” or “secretly” Jewish, but one also becomes antisemitic, of course, if one supports Nazism, the Spanish Inquisition, or Satanism. The purpose of these absurd theories seems to be to create “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”-type dichotomies which universalize antisemitism. This is really just typical Nazi stuff though—“the Jew” is both the “international capitalist financier” and the “international Bolshevik communist”; so, whether you want to be anti-capitalist or anti-communist, right-wing or left-wing, then you must, either way, be antisemitic. In this way, analytically useful political terminology is sapped of its meaningfulness and significance and the fascist dichotomies are imposed. An updated, neo-fascist version of this conception, closely related to the thought of LaVey, supplants categories such as “international banker” and “international communist” with those of “Nazi” and “Zionist.”
LaVey’s arguments in these essays also provide fodder for Holocaust revisionists who meet Satanism halfway by embracing the idea that Nazism was actually a crypto-Jewish movement, but without then embracing this fabricated “Judeo-Satanic Nazism” as their own ideology. “What’s a little holocaust between friends?” LaVey asks in “The Jewish Question?,” arguing that Jews, secretly leading the Nazi Party, orchestrated the Holocaust against fellow Jews, an idea which Amy Bugbee also echoes in the above cited audio clip of Douglas Misicko’s antisemitic rant during a podcast. By embracing this idea, antisemites avoid outright Holocaust denial, instead engaging in a blame-shifting operation which seems to say that “the evil, Satanic Jews were in control of a ‘sinister dialectic’ and sacrificed six million of their own kind by whipping up the forces of Nazism in order to increase their power and establish the Zionist state of Israel.” This allows them to be hardcore antisemites without overtly appearing to be Nazis, instead arguing that Nazism was a Zionist plot, or vice versa. By this absurd line of thought, antisemites become the only real anti-Nazis.
The Satanic Temple employs a number of other similar tricks for disavowing Satanism’s ties to neo-Nazism and antisemitism (necessary because TST attempts to market itself as “politically progressive”).
As described earlier in connection to Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg’s book, one means by which The Satanic Temple projects its antisemitism onto its enemies is to compare accusations of child sexual abuse (framed as “Satanic ritual abuse”) to claims of blood libel (referring to the antisemitic accusation which has historically been levelled against Jewish people, claiming that they sacrifice Christian babies in order to use their blood as an ingredient in the matzot, or flatbread, which is eaten at Passover) (Lebovic; Greaves, “When It Comes to…”). This tactic is particularly relevant to TST’s “Grey Faction” operation, with its specialized focus on defending accused child abusers by amplifying “moral panic” narratives about “day-care sex abuse hysteria” and “Satanic Panic.” The idea that people accused of perpetrating sexual abuse against children are comparable to persecuted Jews is emphasized in order to imply that anti-Satanists are the true antisemites, or that they are similar to antisemites in that they are despicable for persecuting an ill-defined “innocent people.” Given, however, that modern Satanism as a movement is in many ways intertwined with neo-Nazism and also given that there remain troubling indications of links between efforts to normalize pedophilia and prominent individuals associated with modern Satanism and the anti-“Satanic Panic” movements who were caught up in child abuse scandals during the 1980s and 1990s, such as Michael Aquino (6.1.1), Genesis P-Orridge (3.2.1 and 184.108.40.206), and Ralph Underwager (3.1, 6.1, 6.1.2), what this “Satanic Ritual Abuse accusations are the new blood libel” (read: “Satanists and Red-baiting anti-feminist Protestant ministers are the new Jews”) meme is actually saying is that “neo-Nazis and people who want to redefine child sexual abuse are the new Jews.” These memes actually re-enforce antisemitism by unjustly linking Satanism and sexual abuse to Judaism, when there is no indication that Jews were disproportionately affected by false accusations of child abuse during the 1980s and 1990s. Quite to the contrary, there is rather every indication of a disproportionate number of antisemites and persons with unhealthy fixations on the “aesthetics” of Nazism and histories of abusive behavior among Satanists.
One Jewish text which is particularly cited by antisemites as alleged proof of a connection between sexual abuse and Judaism is the Babylonian Talmud (Lipson), which contains some passages framing incest, a theological problem arising from the logical implication that the children of Adam and Eve needed to procreate with one another for humanity’s sake, in a positive light. For example, it is suggested that Adam demonstrated kindness and goodwill toward his son Cain by not marrying his daughter, but rather letting Cain marry her (Kiel 200). However, religions scholar Yishai Kiel shows in Sexuality in the Babylonian Talmud: Christian and Sasanian Contexts in Late Antiquity how this attitude was actually a result of “Aryan” (i.e., Iranian or Persian) influence, with the Zoroastrian state religion of the Sasanian Empire emphasizing the righteousness of xwēdōdah (incestuous coupling), “[a]n important justification” for which was “the notion of genetic purity […], according to which marriages between members of the same family will ensure the purity of the ‘seed’ […] and that good qualities will remain within the nuclear family and not fade away through genetic intermixture,” (155). Kiel shows that an attitude of Jewish tolerance toward incest among Gentiles is characteristic of the Babylonian Talmud, in contrast to the Palestinian Talmud, demonstrating that a certain amount of religious syncretism took place as a result of the development of Jewish thought within the Sasanian Empire, whose Aryan ruling class practiced incest enthusiastically, considering it “among the most righteous deeds” (152). Thus we see that the Nazis’ anti-Talmudic propaganda, which, if it did not totally fabricate them, mined the Babylonian Talmud for out-of-context quotes to back the claim that “[t]he Jews have double moral standards, and act among themselves with different moral standards than those they display toward gentiles,” (Lipson) masks the sexual taboo, nay perversion, implicitly glorified by anti-miscegenationist white supremacism and the 19th century “Aryan root-race” idea expounded by the likes of Blavatsky, Nietzsche, Madison Grant, the Ariosophists, and, ultimately, the Nazis. In a textbook case of psychological projection, antisemites have accused the Jews of the very sexual perversion and obstinate ethno-religious separatism inherent to their own program.
The Satanic Temple seems to play on these antisemitic claims of Jewish sexual perversion and deviancy through the staging of BDSM-themed “Black Mass” parties incorporating the sexual fetishization of Nazi uniforms and Holocaust symbolism, including the yellow Star of David badge, which Jews were forced to wear in Nazi-occupied Europe, alongside skimpy latex clothing, collars with chain leashes, and bloodletting (Verbeuren 35, 2). This pageantry incorporating the sexualization of the Holocaust builds on BDSM tropes, with “the Jewish concentration camp inmate” and “the Nazi SS officer” supplanting the categories of “submissive”/“slave”/“masochist” on the one hand and those of “dominant”/“sadist” on the other, attempting to normalize the LaVeyan view of Judaism and Nazism as a dialectical unity and make the aestheticization of antisemitism and rape “sexy.” This fetishization of power imbalance in sexual relations flows naturally from the white supremacist desire to enshrine parent-child inbreeding as a kind of “Aryan sacrament,” the Zoroastrian concept of xwēdōdah being necessarily an attractive object of cultural appropriation for any antisemite familiar with the Nordicist myth of “blond […] invaders […] in India [having created the ‘system of castes’] to preserve the purity of their blood” (Grant 35). Indeed, according to the logical imperatives of Nazism, it would necessarily be better for “Aryan” parents to procreate with their own offspring than to allow “racial defilement” by having the latter “breed” with “degenerate races.”
The Satanic Temple’s Black Mass-cum-Nazi sex party is not exactly a new phenomenon. In her review of SS Regalia by Jack Pia (part of a longer essay titled “Fascinating Fascism”), Susan Sontag (1933–2004) highlights the fact that the fusion of sadomasochism to Nazi symbolism was complete as early as the 1970s, noting that “the relation of masters and slaves [had never before been] so consciously aestheticized” as it was in this fusion of “S&M” and Nazism, and furthermore that “[t]hese sadomasochistic fantasies and practices are to be found among heterosexuals as well as homosexuals, although it is among male homosexuals that the eroticizing of Nazism is most visible.” Given that this “tradition” of attaching sexual jouissance to Nazi brutality fits clearly within the codes of sadomasochistic practice which have been highlighted by culture critics for decades, it would be difficult to suppose that the Satanists are unaware of what they are doing.
Photos published in the L.A. Weekly of a “Black Mass” event hosted by The Satanic Temple in January 2017 at a nightclub in Los Angeles show that the crypto-fascist sect’s penchant for Nazi aesthetics becomes noticeably less cryptic when members and supporters of the group gather together in large numbers:
Figure 6.7. Left (detail): A participant in a “Black Mass” event put on by The Satanic Temple can be seen wearing a replica SS hat, complete with an SS-Totenkopf (the emblem of the SS, the most fanatical appendage of the Nazi Party) and a Parteiadler (“Party Eagle” or “eagle atop swastika,” the official emblem of the Nazi Party) (Verbeuren, 43/71). Right: Portrait of Heinrich Himmler, who was the leader of the SS, wearing the same style of hat (HolocaustResearchProject.org).
Figure 6.8. These photos, taken at the same “Black Mass” party organized by The Satanic Temple display the undeniably sexualized and BDSM-themed atmosphere in which Nazi and Holocaust symbolism was included (Verbeuren 35/71, 17/71, 9/71, 1/71, 2/71, 3/71).
Figure 6.9. Another participant at a “Black Mass” event organized by The Satanic Temple, dressed as a demonic SS officer (Verbeuren 5/71).
In the above photo, it can be seen that the standard Nazi emblems have been replaced by a Lovecraftian “Cthulhu” pin. According to Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a teenager who killed ten people in a shooting rampage at Texas high school in May 2018 while wearing a black coat similar to the one shown above, which was adorned with a “Cthulhu” pin of the same design, along with a pin featuring the “Sigil of Baphomet” (the official symbol of both the Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple), “Cthulhu [means] Power” and “Baphomet [means] Evil” (Collins, Zadrozny, and Connor, Banks and Rogers). US military intelligence officer Michael Aquino also combines Lovecraftian mythology with Nazism in his “Ceremony of Nine Angles” text. If, as members of TST claim, the group does not embrace evil, then the acceptance of Nazi iconography and uniforms at the group’s ritualistic events is perplexing.
Figure 6.10. In keeping with Anton LaVey’s absurd conception of Satanism as “Judeo/Nazism” (sic), another participant at The Satanic Temple’s “Black Mass” can be seen wearing a yellow Star of David badge resembling those which Jews living under Nazism were forced to wear (Verbeuren 33/71, yellow circle for emphasis and lower right corner image both added); this was originally a medieval practice but it is mostly remembered nowadays for having been revived in the 20th century by the Nazis (HolocaustCenter.org). Lower right corner: “Nazi propaganda leaflet [in German]: ‘Whoever bears this sign is an enemy of our people’” (ibid.). Solid yellow stars like the one worn by the participant at TST’s “Black Mass” event shown above were used in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Lithuania, and Latvia (ibid.).
The appropriation or “reclaiming” of the Nazi-imposed yellow star symbol, especially by non-Holocaust survivors and non-Jews, is widely seen as offensive, misguided, or, at best, tasteless (Pink, Kershner, Silow-Carroll, Pollard, JBN, JPOST.com). Wearing it at a party where people are also dressed as SS officers and in a sexually suggestive manner is undoubtedly doubly offensive. What message or meaning do The Satanic Temple’s followers wish to send or construct by celebrating their “Black Mass” with bloodletting rituals, including cheek and throat piercing with “flesh hooks,” while dressed in clothing symbolic of victims and perpetrators of the Holocaust? It is entirely reasonable to infer that these participants in The Satanic Temple’s “Black Mass” envision the ritual as a kind of symbolic reenactment of the Holocaust.
Another method to shift blame for antisemitism onto proponents of anti-Satanism is to paint discursive speculation by mental health workers about the connection of some of their patients’ trauma to abuse perpetrated under the aegis of the CIA’s “Project MK Ultra” as antisemitic. The accusation of antisemitism on the part of the medical community that specializes in mental disorders related to trauma and dissociation (namely the ISSTD) has been leveled by The Satanic Temple’s “Grey Faction” particularly with regard to a speech titled “Hypnosis in MPD: Ritual Abuse” (note that MPD stands for multiple personality disorder, now called dissociative identity disorder), also known as the “Greenbaum speech,” which was delivered by a psychotherapist named D. Corydon Hammond at a 1992 conference and which posited that there had been a Jewish inmate in a Nazi extermination camp who, having been “raised in a Hasidic Jewish tradition,” knew about Kabbalah and was therefore spared death and instead recruited to assist the Nazis in conducting “mind-control research” before being brought to the United States after the Second World War to work on the CIA’s mind control or “behavioral modification” program (“Project MK Ultra”), becoming known to victims as “Dr. Greenbaum” (Hammond , Hammond [text]).
In April 2018, The Satanic Temple’s anti-psychiatry operation “Grey Faction” produced and published a short video titled “The Greenbaum Speech: The Satanic Panic’s Central Folklore.” By presenting clips from the “Grey Force”-advocating psychologist’s speech in a lurid way, with “spooky,” old-timey footage of creepy-looking people holding a seance, the video attempts to portray discursive exploration of links between Satanic psychological operations and the CIA’s “Project MK Ultra” as quasi-psychotic, irrational, and, moreover, antisemitic. The “Grey Faction” video falsely asserts that the so-called “Greenbaum Speech” makes “wildly implausible claims” which “lack corroboration.” Taking into consideration the following arguments, we will see that although the narrative associated with the so-called “Greenbaum speech” may well contain some distortions or corruptions, the essential elements of the historical narrative summarized above (involving the recruitment of Jewish concentration camp inmates for participation in Nazi research and experimentation—not only as human guinea pigs, but as researchers—and the recuperation of Nazi research by the post-WWII CIA “behavioral modification” program[s] known as “Project MK Ultra”) are plausible and can in fact be corroborated by a wide variety of reliable sources.
Let’s examine the “Grey Faction” video’s first claim, which is the assertion that “the story of ‘Dr. Greenbaum’” is the story of “a folkloric villain who manages to fulfill nearly all conspiracy theory stereotypes by being a Jewish Satanist Nazi brought to the U.S. by the CIA to conduct mind control experiments.” One of the main objectives of this statement seems seems to be to make the viewer respond, “A Jewish Nazi? How absurd! What an outlandish conspiracy theory!” It is pretty clear that the idea which The Satanic Temple’s “Grey Faction” wants to plant in our heads is that the “Greenbaum” narrative, by “fulfilling all the conspiracy theory stereotypes” with its allegations that Greenbaum was not only a Jew and a Nazi-collaborator, but a Satanist, taps into antisemitism. And therefore—“Grey Faction” would have it—anyone who shows the slightest hint of belief in any part of the “Greenbaum Speech” might as well be a lunatic raving about the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. However, as we have just seen in the arguments formulated by Anton LaVey which were analysed above, “Jewish Satanist Nazism” is exactly how the founder of the Church of Satan, who believed that Hitler was Jewish, conceived modern Satanism. For TST (whose leaders assert that their sect represents “the natural evolution or natural progression of LaVey Satanism”) to call others out on this is a clear sign of psychological projection (Smith).
There was in actuality a psychiatrist named Sidney Gottlieb (1918–1999), who was in charge of “Project MK Ultra,” and Gottlieb did have Jewish familial origins (Cornwell). By some accounts, Gottlieb’s CIA nickname was “the Black Sorcerer” (Lennon, AHRP, Hollington 34). These facts, combined with the similarity of the names Gottlieb and Greenbaum, begs the question of whether the rumors about a Jewish “Dr. Greenbaum” might not be based on the real figure of Sidney Gottlieb. Furthermore, Gottlieb was allegedly born “Joseph Scheider” (Bush, Lennon) but sources of biographical data which would account for why or when his name changed from “Joseph Scheider” to “Sidney Gottlieb” are lacking. Nevertheless, the fact that “Gottlieb” was reportedly not his birth name, in combination with the fact that he was in charge of a top secret CIA program that involved the use of numerous code names (such as “Artichoke,” “Bluebird,” “MK Naomi,” “MK Delta,” “MK Search,” “Often,” and “Chickwit”), makes the possibility that “Gottlieb” or “Scheider” may have also used other code names or aliases, such as “Greenbaum,” more plausible. An additional possibility is that “Greenbaum” is simply a corrupted rendering of “Gottlieb.” Indeed, the names are similar; both are Germanic, have two syllables of similar length, and start with the letter G.
Some differences do stand out. Gottlieb is said to have been born in the US and therefore couldn’t have been interned at a Nazi death camp and forced to become an assistant to Nazis in cruel experiments, as it is claimed “Dr. Greenbaum” was. (Unless, of course, the life story of Sidney Gottlieb up to the age of about twenty-seven was fabricated by the CIA). So perhaps “Greenbaum” is not a cipher for Gottlieb. But what exactly is “Grey Faction” claiming is “wildly implausible” and lacking in corroboration? That Nazi scientists came to America after the Second World War? The establishment of significant numbers of Nazi war criminals in all parts of the Americas after the war (many through “Operation Paperclip”) is a well-known fact and has already been covered in the preface to this work and need not be re-examined here.
Is it possible that The Satanic Temple’s “Grey Faction” is trying to say that it is “wildly implausible” to claim that the Nazis would have been interested in acquiring knowledge about “Kabbalistic mysticism” from a Jew or that a Jewish inmate in a Nazi concentration camp could have become an active participant in unethical human experimentation? Yes, those do indeed seem to be the parts of the narrative which TST would like us to think are “fantastic” and “wildly implausible.” An examination of the historical record demonstrates otherwise, however.
A portion of those deported to Nazi death camps were put to work in so-called Sonderkommandos (“special units” or “special squads”), which were responsible for assisting in the practical operations of exterminating prisoners. One of the most famous individuals to have been coerced into joining the ranks of Auschwitz Sonderkommandos was a rabbi named Leib Langfus, who has been considered as a hero for participating in an anti-Nazi uprising on October 7, 1944, leaving behind some fragments of writing about the conditions in the camp which were found after it was liberated (Chare and Williams). Another rabbi, Benjamin Murmelstein (1905–1989), who was not a Sonderkommando but nevertheless worked closely with the Nazis and was imprisoned at Theresienstadt concentration camp, is remembered less favorably, being “widely perceived as a collaborator concerned with his own survival,” (Powers). Of course, the Zohar, the fundamental text of Jewish Kabbalah, forms a part of rabbinic literature, and given that the Nazis rounded up a large portion of the world’s Jews, it goes without saying that there is certainly nothing “wildly implausible” about the Nazis having had access to a significant number of people who were very knowledgeable about Kabbalah.
But why would the ultra-antisemitic Nazis have been interested in Kabbalah and not simply have sought to wipe out this cultural artifact along with the rest of world Jewry? The answer to this lies in an examination of the beliefs associated with Ariosophy (i.e., “Aryan wisdom,” the quasi-religious, völkisch school of thought based largely on the Theosophical Society leader Helena Blavatsky’s concept of an “Aryan root-race,” combined with an unhealthy dose of German nationalism, which was expounded by Austrian occultists Guido von List [1848–1919] and Lanz von Liebenfels [1874–1954] and a number of cultic sects inspired by their work, such as the Thule Society, which had a hand in the foundation of the Nazi Party [see preface and section 220.127.116.11]). List taught his followers that there was in ancient Germania a “secret Aryan priestly caste” called the “Armanen,” who “professed an esoteric religion which the popular worship of Wotan concealed” (Webb 280). Furthermore, according to Ariosophist thinking, this esoteric “Aryan” religion “found its supreme expression in the [Kabbalah], which [the Ariosophists] maintained was not at all Jewish,” (ibid). According to them, “during the eighth century,” when the ancient Germanic pagan religion was in the process of being wiped out by the Catholic Church, “the original [Aryan] priest-kings […] entrusted their gnosis [i.e., mystical/spiritual knowledge] verbally to the rabbis of Cologne […] in order to safeguard its survival during a wave of [anti-German] Christian persecution, (Goodrick-Clarke 63). These rabbis were said to have then “set these secrets down in [k]abbalistic books which were erroneously thought to represent a Jewish mystical tradition,” (Goodrick-Clarke 63). Blavatsky similarly negated the Jewish origins of Kabbalah (Mosse).
More generally, what is called “Hermetic Kabbalah” opts for an antisemitic theory of the origins of Kabbalah. That is, its proponents argue against the “Semitic” origins of Kabbalah, asserting that what they call “Hebrew Kabbalah” is “a product of the impact of Greek [read: ‘Indo-European’/‘Aryan’] Gnosticism on Jewish mysticism” (Barry, The Greek Qabalah xiii-xiv). Here we have it then, that the founders of the Nazi Party belonged to a school of thought closely associated with the belief that Kabbalah was actually “a compilation of ancient German wisdom which had survived [Christian] persecution” in the hands of Jewish community (Mosse).
Open claims by Nazi leaders involving the assertion of an “Aryan” entitlement to the cultural appropriation of aspects of Judaism were reported in the press of the time. A September 30, 1935 report from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency titled “Rosenberg Charges Jews ‘Stole’ Ten Commandments,” reads:
“‘The Ten Commandments are not Jewish, but were stolen by the Jews from ‘Aryans,’ Alfred Rosenberg, ideological leader of the Nazi Party and moving spirit of the pagan cult, declared today in a message to the Reich convention on German History, now in session here.
“Expressing ‘regret that the world bases history on the Jewish Bible,’ Rosenberg stated that the Bible was actually inspired by Bablonian [sic] and Indian culture, which are really ancient ‘Aryan’ cultures.
“‘The Ten Commandments are nothing but material rewritten from the nine commandments composed by ancient ‘Aryans,’ the Nazi spiritual leader charged,” (my emphasis in bold).
Rosenberg makes the same claim in The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930), the second most important work in the Nazi literary canon after Hitler’s Mein Kampf (1925), mentioning therein “the nine commandment table which [was] appropriated by the Jews as their ten prohibitions” (30). Nor was Rosenberg the only Nazi leader to make reference to “the nine commandments”; Hermann Göring, considered to have been the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany after Hitler, put forward in 1934 the so-called “Nine Commandments for the Workers’ Struggle,” also known as the “Göring Plan” (ushmm.org). Incidentally, it seems likely that the “Nine Angles” referenced by Michael Aquino, the Nazism-obsessed US military intelligence officer who authored “The Ceremony of Nine Angles” (which first appeared in the Church of Satan-published book The Satanic Rituals , was later incorporated into Aquino’s Temple of Set organization, and eventually also provided the neo-Nazi sect known as the Order of Nine Angles with its name), constitutes a reference to this esoteric aspect of Nazi ideology.
Figure 6.11. “German pedestrians read a giant poster of Goering’s ‘Nine Commandments for the Workers’ Struggle,’ that has been affixed to a pillar in central Berlin,” (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum).
Given these facts, it would be “wildly implausible” to suppose that the Nazis, particularly the esoterically-inclined SS, did not desire to appropriate and acquire Jewish insights into Kabbalah, the understanding of which would have to be seen, according to their worldview, as holding the essential key to obtaining so-called “Ariosophical” knowledge and reconnecting with Aryan Ahnenerbe (“Ancestral Heritage”). (Note that the Ahnenerbe-SS or “Ancestral Heritage Research and Teaching Society” was the research branch of the SS, largely devoted to proving the Theosophical/Ariosophical “Aryan root-race” theory). Indeed, the cultural appropriation or “Aryanization” of the Jewish Kabbalah would, for the Nazis, have been even more imperative than that of the Ten Commandments (“Aryanized” as “the Nine Commandments”), because Kabbalah was held to be an encrypted spiritual teaching of those who the Nazis considered to be the purest “Aryan” specimen (the would-be Nordic-Germanic “race”), whereas the Ten Commandments were held to be derived from the “Aryans” of Persia and India (seen as more “racially diluted” according to the Nodicist view adopted by the Nazis). As with the derivation of the “Nine Commandments” from the Ten Commandments, the so-called “Tree of Wyrd” (a “mystical” trope of the esoteric Hitlerist “Nine Angles” and “Setian” cults, based on the “Tree of Life” associated with Jewish Kabbalah) involves subtraction (reducing the number of nodes or sephiroth from ten to seven). This “Aryanized” Kabbalistic tree is even depicted as a Star of David, though it is euphemistically called a “double-tetrahedron”.
All this culturally appropriative behavior is not entirely dissimilar to the way in which the CIA appears to have looked to African and Afro-diasporic traditions in developing its own “mystical, sinister” methods for “behavior modification,” even though anti-Black racism was undoubtedly pervasive within the “MK Ultra”-era CIA (6.3.1). That said, the Nazis’ Ariosophical self-identification with and appropriation of Jewish Kabbalah does not in anyway prove correct the LaVeyan thesis of “Satanic Jewish Nazism,” for the same reason that CIA appropriation of “Voodoo” or Vinbrindingue rites does not imply a would-be “Satanic Yoruba Anglo-Saxonism.”
The fact that, not long after coming to power in Germany, the Nazis would go on to ban Freemasonry and secret societies or “esoteric organizations” broadly considered (including those of “Ariosophical” and völkisch persuasion, except, of course, those integral to the Nazi state itself, such as the SS) is sometimes touted in order to negate, downplay, or minimize the reality, depth, and significance of Nazi interest in the occult. However, it can be seen that these repressive measures were not the consequence of opposing esotericism and occultism as such, but rather the logical outcome of an esoteric sect, convinced of its own occult doctrines and organizational superiority, taking control of a state. The axiomatic status of Aryanism within Nazi ideology shows clearly the centrality of the Theosophical-Ariosophical “Aryan root-race” theory which forms the basis for the Nazi “religion of the blood.” To argue, as some do, that the fundamentally occultist character of Nazism (which has been observed since the time it arose, with Walter Benjamin calling Nazism “sinister runic humbug” and the Jewish press identifying it as a “pagan cult”) can be dismissed as phantasy simply because the “Aryan” racial doctrine is “the only” occultist or esoteric dogma that the Nazi state unambiguously promoted in a clear-cut and open way, would be like questioning whether a group that had “merely” made belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God its central tenet was “really” fundamentally influenced by Christianity.
Perhaps less well known than the existence of the Sonderkommandos is the fact that the SS also recruited concentration camp prisoners with specialized knowledge in fields such as medicine (including psychiatry) and anthropology (which has long included the study of religion) to aid them with other activities, namely human experimentation (Lifton 289). One Jewish inmate at Auschwitz who was accepted for this kind of work was a Hungarian-Romanian doctor named Miklós Nyiszli (1901–1956), whose memoir Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account is noted in the Holocaust literature for bringing up the troubling theme of the “ambiguous victim.” While his actions, such as volunteering to collaborate with the Nazis, should be understood within the context of the “practical social reality in a concentration camp” in which he himself was a prisoner and liable to have been killed at any given moment, Nyiszli, who collaborated directly with “Angel of Death” Josef Mengele, nevertheless describes clear ethics violations on the part of himself and his fellow prisoners, such as authorizing fellow “inmate physicians” to dissect and operate on the bodies of murdered Jews in order to “advance their medical education and enhance their professional expertise,” (Turda, Williams). Robert Jay Lifton, a psychiatrist who investigated the psychodynamics behind medical professionals’ participation in the Holocaust, was able to interview “80 former Auschwitz inmates who were engaged in medical work in the camp,” for his research, which suggests that there were significant numbers of prisoners who assisted their Nazi captors in unethical human experiments (Lifton, “What Made this Man? Mengele”).
In “Medicalized Killing at Auschwitz,” Lifton reports that unethical human experiments conducted at Auschwitz involved the study of “the use of drugs (probably including mescaline, morphine and barbiturate derivatives) for purposes of extracting confessions, and the use of poisons, including the development of poison bullets,” (290). This shows direct continuity between Nazi death camp research and the CIA’s “Project MK Ultra,” because, as FOIA documents show, one of the objectives associated with “MK Ultra” was the development of a so-called “truth serum,” although their drug of choice is said to have been LSD instead of mescaline (Kelley and Bender). John D. Marks, a respected journalist and one of the first to report in depth about “Project MK Ultra,” notes in The Search for the “Manchurian Candidate” (1978) that the Nazis conducted hypnosis experiments “in combination with the drug” mescaline and that records of these experiments were acquired by the US military, though “[n]one of the German mind-control research was ever made public” (7, 10). Furthermore, “MK Ultra” overseer Sidney Gottlieb is widely reported to have been interested in the use of poisons, coming up with several eccentric schemes to try to poison left-wing and decolonial world leaders such as Fidel Castro (1926–2016) and Patrice Lumumba (1925–1961) (Inglis-Arkell). Similarly, the New York Times reports in a 1975 article titled “Colby Describes C.I.A. Poison Work” that “William E. Colby, Director of Central Intelligence, told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that [under the aegis of] the project code‐named ‘M.K. Naomi’ [a sister project of ‘MK Ultra’] […] the C.I.A. had developed darts that could shoot poison into a person,” (Horrock).
The fact of the proto-Nazi, Ariosophist interest in Jewish Kabbalah as an occult reservoir of Germanic pagan wisdom, combined with the fact that Jewish psychiatrists, rabbis, and anthropologists interned at concentration camps were coerced into working for the Nazis in the same places where behavioral modification experiments involving drugs and hypnosis were taking place, makes the “Greenbaum Speech” narrative seem more plausible than implausible. In “The Encounter in Vienna: Modern Psychotherapy, Guided Imagery, and Hasidism Post-World War I,” Daniel Reiser, a scholar of Jewish mysticism, describes the “interaction between Hasidic psychology and modern psychology, which became possible in the German-speaking region of Central Europe, and specifically in Vienna, after World War I,” also providing an outline of rabbinic literature dealing with mesmerism, parapsychology, the unconscious, imagination, and hypnosis into the 19th century (291–292). Notably, Rabbi Menachem Ekstein (1884–1942) published a book in Hebrew in 1921 that largely dealt with “modern issues of psychology” (277). Reiser sums up his findings by noting:
“Central Europe in general, and Vienna in particular, functioned as points of contact between Western and Eastern Europe. As a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Vienna was a point of influence over Galicia, which was the cradle of Hasidism and belonged to the same empire up to World War I. German literature about psychology and hypnotism was translated into Hebrew in Vienna, and was distributed at the outskirts of the empire in Galicia. Modern psychotherapeutic techniques came to Galicia by way of Vienna and, amazingly, they were adopted into the Hasidic psychological thought of several Hasidic figures. This process intensified after World War I, when Vienna became one of the focal points of displaced people including quite a few Hasidic courts. According to our analysis, Menachem Ekstein would have encountered guided imagery techniques in Vienna after World War I, and here adopted them into his own Hasidic teachings,” (293).
This association of not only secular but also religious Jews with the psychological sciences, along with the fact that Hasidism was, and is, strongly associated with Kabbalah (which was believed in German fascist circles to be an encrypted form of Germanic pagan or “Aryan” thought), can be taken as corroborating evidence in support of our affirmation of the plausibility of the claim made by Hammond in the “Greenbaum Speech” that the CIA’s “Project MK Ultra,” in building on Holocaust-era Nazi research, drew upon knowledge gathered by and/or from one or more informants and/or researchers familiar with the Hasidic tradition.
Even more damning for the “Grey Faction” assertion that the “Dr. Greenbaum” narrative is “wildly implausible,” Lifton reports that another Auschwitz project “involved the use of electroshock for mental illness,” and furthermore, that this “project [was] initiated by an Auschwitz inmate doctor with some experience in the procedure, with the approval and sponsorship of an SS doctor,” (“Medicalized Killing at Auschwitz” 290). Medical historians Lara Rzesnitzek and Sascha Lang provide more details about this case in “‘Electroshock Therapy’ in the Third Reich,” noting that the Jewish inmate psychiatrist in question was Zenon Drohocki (1902–1978), while the SS doctor was Horst Fischer (1916–1966).
Rzesnitzek and Lang are quick to point out that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT or “electroshock”) has often been given a bad rap in popular culture, being sensationally depicted in films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) “as a ‘treatment’ to enforce discipline inside the repressive regime of a psychiatric hospital,” despite the fact that medical professionals generally seem much more likely to have a positive outlook on the prospects of this form of therapy than pop culture manufacturers. That there seems to be something almost inherently sinister and sadistic about “electroshock” has certainly been picked up on by members of the anti-psychiatry cult of Scientology, who have produced brochures featuring the image of a person’s head being electroshocked—lightning bolts and all—with the words “psychiatry destroys minds” superimposed (Gazdag 42). However, it can be observed that Scientologists and other anti-psychiatry fanatics get things backwards in that Nazism was itself anti-psychiatry (and, more broadly, anti-medicine) insofar as its ideological demand was to move the treatment of persons with psychological and physical disabilities, illnesses, and disorders away from the medical model of practice (which means aiming to care for patients, and to strive to at least manage conditions, should it be the case that they cannot be cured), towards a model of practice which is completely the opposite (i.e., one which aimed for the systematic “extermination of people with intellectual disabilities and severe psychiatric disorders” [Gazdag, Ungvari, and Czech 1]). By the mental gymnastics of anti-psychiatry sects, medicine becomes conflated not only with medical malpractice, but with the outright negation of what medicine actually is.
The medical historians Rzesnitzek and Lang question whether Drohocki’s electroshock project was truly therapeutic or whether it was merely a cog in the Nazis’ search for “a solution to the ‘E’-problem” (“E” stands here for euthanasia; i.e., the extermination of “life unworthy of life”) (ibid.). Drohocki himself defended his collaboration with the Nazis, arguing that the ECT machine he and another inmate constructed out of material salvaged from downed “Allied aircraft” was beneficial to the death camp inmates it was used on. It is known that “electroshock” technology was abused in Nazi Germany. Emil Gelny (1890–1961), a Nazi doctor, modified an ECT machine by adding extra electrodes and used it to electrocute at least 300 patients to death (Rzesnitzek and Lang). This is of course inconsistent with genuine medical application of electroconvulsive therapy. It also makes it difficult to accept Drohocki’s rationalization of his efforts to construct an ECT machine at Auschwitz, given its potential for abusive pseudo-medical applications.
Given that there were indeed numerous cases in which prisoners with specialized knowledge in fields pertinent to “behavior modification” or “mind control” research did not only become assistants to members of the Nazi staff of concentration and death camps, but in at least one case the initiators of “a project” using what was at the time recently-invented psychiatric technology that would later be used within the context of “Project MK Ultra” (notably at the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal, Canada), it is fair to conclude that The Satanic Temple’s “Grey Faction” assertions about “wild implausibility” stem more from a desire to dismiss and discredit the narrative than they do from an objective analysis of the historical record.
But what about the more “esoteric” aspects of the “Greenbaum speech”? It is plain to see that the “Grey Faction” desires to discredit the historicity of the narrative (of a [coerced] Jewish contribution to Nazi research conducted during the Holocaust that would later be recuperated by the US military and implemented under the aegis of the CIA’s “Project MK Ultra”), but behind or in parallel to this first desire there is also a desire to discredit the validity of dissociative identity disorder (DID) as a medical diagnosis. While these two things—(1) the historicity of (aspects of) the Holocaust and (2) the validity of DID as a medical diagnosis—are separate from one another, we nevertheless find them conflated with one another in terms of “Grey Faction” desire. It seems that, for “Grey Faction,” if people can be convinced to doubt and dismiss the “Greenbaum” narrative as nonsense, so too will they doubt and dismiss as nonsense the validity of DID as a medical diagnosis (and, by extension, so too will they doubt and dismiss the legitimacy of psychiatry, practitioners of which are labelled “Doctors Inventing Demons” by members of the so-called “Grey Faction”). In this sense, The Satanic Temple’s anti-psychiatry campaign hinges upon Holocaust denial (or, at best, Holocaust ignorance), writing men like Miklós Nyiszli, Zenon Drohocki, Leib Langfus, Menachem Ekstein, and others out of history because of the inconvenient challenges they pose to dismissal of the “Greenbaum” narrative as “wildly implausible.”
It does seem quite natural that an emergent understanding of DID, which results from psychological trauma, and the Holocaust, a massive collective trauma with lasting psychological consequences, would be intertwined to significant degree. In this regard, it’s noteworthy that Lifton discusses how the doctors at the Auschwitz death camp were “able to separate [themselves] psychologically from the killing process,” arguing that the conditions at Auschwitz, which was seen as a sort of grand “experiment” in and of itself, were conducive to the “splitting of [their] psyche[s]” (“Medicalized Killing at Auschwitz” 294, 290, 296). This does not seem dissimilar to the psychological process which is said to occur in the formation of dissociative identity disorder (DID), which “Grey Faction” is dedicated to negating the existence of. The following passage from Lifton’s research is worth quoting in full, as it may aid us in understanding not only why the historicity of the essential narrative elements in the “Greenbaum Speech” is plausible, but also DID itself:
“Finally, there was one overall mechanism [enabling medical professionals to separate themselves psychologically from the killing process], that which I call ‘doubling,’ within which all the other [mechanisms; e.g., ‘technicizing’, ‘psychic numbing’ or ‘derealization’ or ‘the sense that one was on a separate planet’, ‘heavy drinking’, ‘construction of meaning’, ‘blam(ing) the victim’, relishing ‘a sense of omnipotence that could protect them from their own death anxiety’, ‘feel(ing) sorry for themselves for having (…) (a very tough, unpleasant job that they simply had to do)’, etc.] operated. It includes compartmentalization or ‘splitting’ of various elements of the psyche, so that one could both participate actively in the killing and remain tender in one’s family relationships and even occasionally in certain relationships in Auschwitz. Use of the term doubling, rather than mere splitting, calls attention to the creation of two relatively autonomous selves: the prior ‘ordinary self,’ which for doctors includes important elements of the healer, and the ‘Auschwitz self,’ which includes all of the psychological maneuvers that help one avoid a conscious sense of oneself as a killer. The existence of an overall Auschwitz self more or less integrated all of these mechanisms into a functioning whole, and permitted one to adapt oneself to that bizarre environment. The prior self enabled one to retain a sense of decency and loving connection. The extraordinary demands of functioning in Auschwitz seemed to require doubling of this kind and at the same time sufficient integration of the two selves for general psychic functioning. To an important degree, ideology can serve as a bridge between two such selves. For instance, the strongly held image of national and personal revitalization associated with the Nazi movement could be compatible with both the prior self and the Auschwitz self, and could thereby provide the necessary psychic common ground,” (Lifton, “Medicalized Killing at Auschwitz” 296).
Lifton seems to be saying that involvement in the perpetration of trauma also creates a kind of dissociative identity disorder. It might be possible to add further clarity to the distinction Lifton makes between “doubling” and “splitting” in that “doubling” could be seen as more specific to perpetrators of trauma (in whom psychic compartmentalization is ideologically necessitated in order to accomplish various criminal-political tasks), whereas “splitting” (implying more multiplicity and being less ideologically coherent) can be conceived as more closely related to the type of dissociative disorder experienced by victims of trauma. The phenomenon of “doubling” or “psychic splitting” into “ordinary self” and “Auschwitz self” seems necessarily to imply a kind of dialectical antagonism or binary opposition between private and public spheres or domains (respectively associated with relationships with family and close friends on the one hand and political and professional relationships on the other). For many, it may not seem unusual or pathological that a member of modern society would behave differently in public than they do in private, such as by “acting professionally,” for example. But that is only because we have become used to the social alienation which arises due to living in a society where fully “being oneself” in the public sphere means encountering hostility. One mechanism for coping with this alienation is to retreat into more private social domains where control over the Other is greater, but this can become problematic in that it may lead to a feeling of resignation from contestation of control of the public sphere (i.e., from political consciousness), which means that one has become dissociated from concern for the commonweal. In that case, one cultivates a public persona which is extraordinarily alien to the “ordinary,” or private, self.
Nevertheless, what Lifton describes seems to be something more. It is the splitting or doubling of the personality into two morally contradictory selves: one which is bad or monstrous and another which is good or decent. Thus we have (1) psychic splitting of the self into a public self and a private self and (2) psychic splitting of the self into a decent self and a monstrous self (or an ordinary self and an extraordinary self). The dissociative doubling of the trauma perpetrator’s personality occurs at the intersection of social (public/private) and moral (decent/monstrous) axes.
We can observe two distinct kinds of dissociative doubling which have dialectically opposite valences along the social and moral axes. One is the publically decent, privately monstrous individual (whose archetype is the Satanist) and the other is the publically depraved, privately decent individual (whose archetype is the reluctant Nazi, or the person who has become a Nazi mainly due to the force of social trends). These archetypes are based on what may be posited as the standard conceptions of a Satanic cult and of a Nazi society. The Satanic cult is a corrupt circle of evil individuals (who act out in private) within what is otherwise, at least superficially, a society in which common decency and authentic morality prevails, whereas it is commonly thought that a great many of the complicit members of a Nazi-run society are theoretically “good at heart”; they are “decent” people who behave tenderly with loved ones in private and who would behave differently in public if circumstances were different, who are caught up in and coerced into conformity by hegemonic systems of organized crime controlled by corrupt and immoral public authorities. Often the Stanford prison experiment is cited to justify this view. In the Satanic cult situation, the individual’s personality is split between an ordinarily decent public self and an extraordinarily monstrous private self, while in a Nazi-run society, the psyche is split into an extraordinarily monstrous public self and an ordinarily decent private self. In both situations, the individual navigates and switches back and forth between two selves whose relation to one another is tense. We see therefore that the problem of psychological dissociation as it relates to social alienation seems to rest in part on the distinction between private and public spheres, but also on the moral turmoil caused by participation in extraordinarily immoral acts, such as organized killing and sexual violence, but also more ordinary immoral acts, such as participation in capitalist processes which seem to legitimate the abstract separation of exchange-value from use-value (justifying war-profiteering, for example, but also making us blind to the social nature of our commodified relationships as producers and consumers), which many members of capitalist society may only be somewhat unconsciously aware of.
While we do see two distinct forms of psychic doubling in examining the archetypal Satanist, whose madness is kept private but may be somewhat normal in public, and the archetypal Nazi, whose madness is expressed publicly as complicity in the enthronement of evil as state policy but who may be somewhat normal in private, there is nevertheless a difference between the reluctant member of the Nazi society who is drawn into immorality by the overwhelming negative influence of an evil public authority and the ideologically committed individual who was a Nazi before society became subject to Nazi authority. The privately evil Satanist and the Nazi public authority each desire to penetrate the social domain where their influence is lacking and fill it with their immorality, but the ideologically committed Nazi who has not yet sufficiently taken control over the public sphere necessarily resembles the Satanist, and, in the era of neo-fascism, will seldom openly identify with the historical legacy of Hitlerism. Herein we find a major cause of the affinities between fascism-as-a-crypt, crypto-fascism, neo-fascism, and modern Satanism (see: Preface).
There is a fear, commonly stoked by reactionaries and crypto-fascists who never tire of issuing dire warnings about the next looming wave of “moral panic,” that if our willingness to confront evil within the private sphere is “too extreme,” it will lead to “totalitarianism,” to lack of privacy, to violation of the sanctity of the atomized “nuclear family,” to “hysterical allegations,” or to the enthronement of a tyrannical false morality over the public sphere which invades the private spheres where authentic morality is preserved. Operating on this fear is a recipe for a life of resignation and accommodation to Nazi-run society and mass proliferation of hellish childhoods. It is not willingness or desire to abolish the distinction between private and public interests that is emblematic of fascism, but rather the increasing privatization of the public sphere, wherein social interaction occurs more and more through the prism of commodification and private control. It can be supposed that the appeal of “Satanic” and “occult” aesthetics within US popular culture today results largely from the rapid multiplication under late capitalism of privatized social interactions; fascination with the “occult” stems from the idea that, by entering a more private (more occult) space, one becomes free from society. But this is absurd. Retreating into the private sphere may offer some temporary relief from the social alienation and oppression encountered in public, but it offers no fundamental solution, and slowly but surely the private sphere stops being a place which offers respite from the oppression encountered in public. To resolve this contradiction, it is necessary to align socialism and morality, thereby abolishing the opposition between public and private spheres, which is largely an ideological, or superstructural, artifice arising on the basis of private property.
The role of ideology as a mechanism which can ensure, as Lifton puts it, “sufficient integration of the two selves for general psychic functioning” evokes a number of examples beyond that of the staff of the death camp at Auschwitz. W.E.B. DuBois, who would later visit Nazi Germany, spoke of “double consciousness” and the difficulty of integrating one’s two selves as an American and as a Black person, “two warring ideals” that seemed, or seem, impossible to satisfactorily integrate within a single psycho-cognitive apparatus. On the other hand, “doubling,” as a survival mechanism, might not always need to be considered as a bad thing; for example, linguistic “code-switching” could be thought of as a way in which the oppressed preserve the authentic self, whose dialect is devalued by the public authority. Perhaps nationalist ideologies more generally can be seen as fomenting this “doubling”; as the citizenry of a nation or ethnos is naturally elevated by nationalist thinking to a status of higher importance or greater concern than humanity as a whole, the latter inevitably becomes conflated with something alien. Virtually all humans today, being subject to claims on their bodies by nation-states, are thus subjected to a splitting of their psychic apparatus. While a particular culture is a necessary modality through which the abstract idea of a universal “human being” is realized, it may be that the degree to which the psyche is split varies from nationalist project to nationalist project, with the worst splits occurring in imperialist cultures.
We have thus corroborated all of the supposedly “fantastic” or “wildly implausible” elements of the “Greenbaum” story. Chronologically, the following key points can be given to sum up the facts which lend support to the plausibility of the “Greenbaum” story:
(1) The belief that the knowledge of Kabbalistic mysticism associated with Ashkenazic (German) Jewry was actually an encrypted form of Germanic pagan gnosis which had been orally bestowed unto rabbis during the Middle Ages by wise men of the “Aryan race” who were being persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church was an esoteric aspect of proto-Nazi ideology;
(2) the Nazis did recruit Jewish concentration camp inmates with specialized knowledge in certain fields, including psychiatry, anthropology, and rabbinic literature (which covers Kabbalah), to work as their assistants during the Holocaust and these individuals did, in turn, commit ethics violations and, in at least one case, initiate a psychiatric research project with SS approval, though they were themselves also victimized;
(3) the US government did recruit and offer protection to persons from Nazi Germany with specialized knowledge in the aforementioned scientific fields, many through “Operation Paperclip”;
(4) during the era of “Project MK Ultra,” the CIA pursued similar themes in its research and development projects and sub-projects as those which had been pursued by researchers in Nazi death camps, including the use of hypnosis and drugs in interrogation, poison-firing guns, and abusive applications of electroshock therapy;
(5) a doctor of Ashkenazic origin with an assumed name/identity similar to Greenbaum (i.e., Gottlieb, reportedly born Scheider), was in charge of “Project MK Ultra,” a covert program relating to mind-control research which began shortly after the end of the Second World War;
(6) ethno-psychiatric or psycho-anthropological research into the psychodynamics behind practices related to or involving witchcraft, magic, ritual sacrifice, trance and possession states, psychotropic drugs, divination, curses and invocations, and personality changes associated with religious experience was covertly funded by the CIA during the period of “Project MK Ultra,” with the development of “psychological warfare” techniques being among the suspected aims of this research (see: 6.3.2);
(7) the US intelligence community, of which the CIA is a part, had at least one operative (Michael Aquino) who advocated reading Mein Kampf as a Satanic “textbook” or “Bible” and who was also, during the era of “Project MK Ultra,” a high-ranking member of the Church of Satan, which attempted to revitalize Nazism by synthesizing it with the notion of “hereditary Judaism” and attributing crypto-Jewish identities to Adolf Hitler and other prominent Nazi Party officials;
(8) the same US military intelligence officer authored a key Church of Satan text called “The Ceremony of Nine Angles,” at almost the same time that US-allied British military intelligence operatives began to use Satanism as a psychological weapon in their war against the Irish independence movement, shortly after which said US officer parted ways with LaVey to be the leader of his own Satanic operation dubbed the “Temple of Set,” which coincided with the emergence of a UK-based Satanic operation called the Order of Nine Angles, whose discourses regularly expound a Kabbalah-inspired symbol identified therein as the “Tree of Wyrd,” which also evinces the US military intelligence officer’s influence in that the latter’s “Setian” sect had a sub-organization called the “Order of the Wells of Wyrd.”
The facts listed above are only those non-speculative ones which have been substantiated in reliable sources of information. Considering all of these arguments, it is abundantly clear that The Satanic Temple’s attempt to invoke the “Greenbaum Speech” as evidence of “the inextricable relationship between the […] demonization of Jews and the Satanic Panic libels of modern days” is entirely without substance. Moreover, given the plethora of ties between antisemitism and TST (as well as modern Satanism more broadly), its attempt to paint criticism of modern Satanism as antisemitic is absurd.
Recalling the dispute over the “racial roots” of Kabbalah, we are brought to another realization; namely, the realization that any insinuation that a “real” or “pure” German culture exists independently of “Jewish influence” is itself antisemitic. Agata Bielik-Robson, a Polish philosopher and professor of Jewish studies, has drawn attention to the thesis that the entire philosophical movement of German idealism was in fact based on the “philosophical translation of the theosophic motif of zimzum, that is God’s mysterious contraction” borrowed from Lurianic Kabbalah (University of Nottingham). The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “a peer-reviewed academic resource,” notes that “while it would be difficult to prove that any particular philosophy was responsible for German nationalism or the rise of fascism, it is true that the works of [philosophical authors associated German idealism were] favorite references for German nationalists and, later, the Nazis.” Although Nazism was essentially the product of a culture (i.e., German culture) that had been influenced to some degree by Judaism, whether directly or indirectly, such as via so-called “Judeo-Christianity,” this does not in anyway diminish the fact of its antisemitism or imply that the Nazis were “actually a Jewish movement,” as the godfather of modern Satanism, Anton LaVey, attempted to argue. It does however go to show that one of the central claims of Nazi ideology—that German culture is either “naturally” opposed to, incompatible with, or corrupted by Jewish culture—is false. Rather, German culture has been enriched by the contribution of its Jewish members.
Somewhat ironically, antisemitism outside Germany often takes on anti-Germanic undertones in addition to anti-Jewish ones. The so-called “Khazar hypothesis” (or myth), which is popular among antisemites, says that Ashkenazi Jews, also known as German Jews (Ashkenazi means German in Hebrew), are not the “real” Jews but “fake” or “imposter” Jews because they allegedly descend from a Turkic people known as the Khazars, who lived in a kingdom during the Middle Ages that was in the region of Eastern Europe that corresponds approximately to what is nowadays the Ukraine. According to the proponents of this hypothesis, the Khazars converted en masse to Judaism and they form the true “root” of Ashkenazic Jewish culture. This of course makes little sense, since the traditional language of Ashkenazic Jewry, Yiddish, is based on German dialects and is not Turkic, indicating the incubation of Ashkenazic culture in the medieval cities of “SHuM” (Speyer, Worms, and Mainz) in the Rhineland, and not in Khazaria. The Khazar “theory” also allows bigots to hide their antisemitism behind “anti-Zionism” by claiming that they don’t have a problem with “real Jews” but only with the “fake Jews,” who they identify as the “Khazar/Ashkenazi/German Zionists.” A Dutch antisemite named Jeroen de Kreek, who was arraigned for hate speech in 2012, even went so far as to suggest that the term “Nazism” is not an abbreviated form of Nationalsozialismus (the German word for “national socialism”), but rather of the Hebrew word for German Jewry, “Ashkenazim” (Eissens). Similar claims have been made in the Dubai-based English language newspaper Gulf News, which has also published Holocaust denialist material. One Gulf News piece claimed that “the Nazi holocaust was a mere lie, which was devised by the Zionists to blackmail humanity” and that “the holocaust was a conspiracy hatched by the Zionists and Nazis.” Another article titled “Nazism embedded in Ashkenazi mind,” also published in Gulf News, absurdly claims that “the Ashkenazi Jews […] became known as the ‘Nazis’ in the 12th Century,” and that “[i]n time, Nazism became a generic name for “the master race” to designate the Aryan race as one, which later became the Nazi party,” (Rahman).
Another prime historical example of the anti-German character of antisemitism can found at the end of the 19th century, when Alfred Dreyfus, a German-speaking French Jew from Alsace, was framed-up for a crime of treason which he did not commit by French antisemites, resulting in a massive scandal whose context was that of heightened tensions between France and Germany following the latter’s 1871 annexation of Alsace-Moselle. German revanchist ambitions on these allegedly “ethnic German” French territories would later serve as a prime pretext for the Nazi invasion of France.
More recently, during the May 1968 student and worker uprising in France, the phrase “We are all German Jews,” became one of the popular slogans of the movement; it was meant as a sign of solidarity with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a left-wing student leader and Jewish German who was attacked for being “foreign” by opponents of the revolt, including the French Communist Party (which already had a history of employing antisemitic rhetoric, having openly voiced support in 1940 for the Nazi occupation of Paris on the basis of the Hitler-Stalin pact, and which would not begin to repudiate Stalinism until the late 1970s [Humanité]).
Although Donald Trump has found widespread support among antisemites, called participants in a neo-Nazi rally “very fine people,” and often speaks in apparent dog-whistles to white supremacists, his German ethnic background has arguably played a role in the rise in antisemitic discourse coinciding with his presidency. Investigative reports on Trump’s connections to the Russian state and alleged organized crime groups have tended to place a certain emphasis on Trump’s ties to Jews from Russia and other post-Soviet countries and Jewish organizations, such as Viktor Vekselberg, Boris Epshteyn, Felix Sater, Tamir Sapir, and Chabad (Schreckinger, Kampeas, Solnit, Haldevang), and even Vladimir Putin has attempted to downplay accusations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election by suggesting that Jewish Russians (or “Jews, just with Russian citizenship,” who, like Vekselberg [Wechselberg] and Epshteyn [Epstein], often have German-sounding names) are not true Russians (Farrell). A year and a half before Putin’s antisemitic comments, “a spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry” made similar claims, citing a “Jewish conspiracy” as responsible for the electoral victory of Trump in 2016 (BBC). Anglo-American TV personality John Oliver has attempted to exoticize Donald Trump’s name by popularizing the more stereotypically “Germanic” ancestral form of his name, Drumpf. This is not entirely dissimilar from the way in which, during the antisemitic campaign in the Soviet Union of the late Stalin era, “[i]t became common in derogatory articles to mention Jewish surnames in brackets, after the Russian pseudonyms used by the people under attack” (van Ree 205). Nor is it dissimilar from the way in which the antisemitic, proto-fascist writer Alfred Jarry (likely the source of inspiration for Satanic Temple co-founder Cevin Soling’s pseudonym “Malcolm Jarry”), ridiculed Alfred Dreyfus by spelling his name “Zweifuss” (see below).
LaVey’s belief in the myth of a “crypto-Jewish” Adolf Hitler mirrors in many ways the antisemitic myth of German Jewry’s “crypto-Khazar” origin. Both single out Ashkenazic Jewry as particularly prone to evil and deceitfulness, as forming the “bad” or “worst kind” of Jews, “fake Jews,” or the “synagogue of Satan.” Furthermore, LaVeyan antisemitism is partially consistent with the newer forms of antisemitic rhetoric exemplified by the Dutch and Emirati antisemites cited above, which instead of embracing Nazism and fully denying the Holocaust outright, have condemned Nazism as a Jewish or Zionist conspiracy and attempted to promote blame-shifting revisionist history, framing the Holocaust not as a crime against Jews, but as “Jew-on-Jew” crime, the ultimate exercise in victim-blaming. (Recall that Satanic Temple co-founder Douglas Misicko’s old Satanic internet radio friends, the Bugbees, have also engaged in this form of Holocaust negationism, during the same segment of audio in which Misicko states his belief that “it’s okay to hate Jews” [“Doug Mesner [Lucien Greaves/Douglas Misicko] Satanic Temple Anti-Semitic Rant”]). LaVeyan antisemitism condones the same myths, but instead of condemning Nazism and the Holocaust as “Jewish crimes,” it celebrates them as fantastically diabolical “Judeo-Satanic” criminal conspiracies.
The Satanic Temple uses a psychological device similar to that of the Church of Satan’s holding up of LaVey’s would-be “Jewishness” as a fig leaf to cover the stark reality of their deep ties to neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups and rhetoric by appearing to place a certain amount of emphasis on the self-proclaimed “Jewishness” of its own “Malcolm Jarry” (alias of Satanic Temple co-founder Cevin Soling). For example, a New York Times piece notes that Soling “was raised by irreligious Jews” (Oppenheimer). Another piece in the Times of Israel identifies Soling as “secular Jew Malcolm Jarry.” The emphasis on this aspect of Soling’s heritage is presumably supposed to distract from or act as a safeguard against “small” matters of fact regarding TST’s ties to neo-Nazis, but we should not be so easily fooled.
Given The Satanic Temple’s penchant for tryhard pseudo-intellectual references to French fin-de-siècle literati (e.g., the antisemitic writer Anatole France), it would appear likely that Cevin Soling’s Satanic alias (Malcolm Jarry) is a reference to Alfred Jarry, who in addition to praising the alcoholic drink absinthe (a topic which TST has held talks on, attempting to use the widespread banning of absinthe throughout the Western world in the early 20th century to reinforce the “moral panic” meme), was an antisemite whose work was fundamental to the rise of 20th century fascism. The titular character in Alfred Jarry’s most famous work, an 1896 play called Ubu Roi (“King Ubu”), is said to have first appeared as a character in another one of Jarry’s plays a year earlier, that one called César-Antéchrist (“Caesar Antichrist”), in which the character Ubu is the Antichrist. Jarry’s Ubu Roi was fundamental to the foundation of the fascist movement known as Italian Futurism, whose leader, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, authored both the Futurist Manifesto and the Fascist Manifesto. Günter Berghaus notes in “Futurism, Dada, and Surrealism: Some Cross-Fertilisations Among Historical Avant-gardes” that “Marinetti’s first play,” Le Roi Bombance, “was modelled in many ways on Jarry’s Ubu Roi” and that Jarry and Marinetti were close friends, praising each other’s work and exchanging numerous letters (273).
Evidence of Alfred Jarry’s far-right affiliations don’t stop there. In “Du mufle et de l’algolisme chez Jarry,” Henri Béhar notes that “examining the manuscripts of [Jarry’s] last novel [which he began to write in 1904 but was published posthumously], La Dragonne, [one discovers] that he was, like most of his colleagues at the [literary magazine] Mercure, on the reactionary path.” Béhar notes furthermore that “the antisemitism of Jarry explodes in the drafts of La Dragonne where a certain priest named De Rayphusce and his brother ‘good Jew, reserve officer Zweifuss’ appear” in a chapter titled “Porc-grome,” an apparent play on the words “pork” and “pogrom” (“humorously” conflating the Jewish custom of avoiding food, such as pork, that is not considered “kosher” with anti-Jewish mass murder events). Making fun of Dreyfus (“bon juif” De Rayphusce/Zweifuss”) and genocidal pogroms in this way is basically the turn of the 19th to 20th century French equivalent of making a tasteless T-shirt based on the murder of Trayvon Martin, as Satanic Temple “High Priest” Brian Werner did (Chapter 4). It is important to emphasize the fact that, when Alfred Jarry was writing his “pork pogrom” piece, a devastating wave of ritualistic and often sexualized mass violence and rioting had just broken out against Jews in Eastern Europe. Diverse sources note that the 1903–1906 pogroms, which resulted in thousands of raped and/or murdered Jews, were coordinated with the Eastern Orthodox Church, with the riots beginning in Chișinău at the end of the Orthodox Easter Sunday rituals. Alfred Jarry’s flippant “pork pogrom” treatment of these events was also “avant-garde” in foreshadowing the fact that, in the current period, numerous right-wing extremist-perpetrated Islamophobic hate crimes (which are another class of antisemitism, in a sense) have involved the use of pork meat or the body parts of pigs in attempts to insult or degrade Muslims, with Donald Trump even going so far as to publicly recount at a mass political rally a racist legend about US militarists dipping their bullets in pigs’ blood before massacring Muslims during the US colonial occupation of the Philippines, which followed the Spanish-American and Philippine-American wars at the turn of the 19th to 20th century (Fisk).
The fact that evidence (including The Satanic Temple’s penchant for absinthe and Belle Époque literary depictions of Satan, which is basically Alfred Jarry in a nutshell) strongly suggests that Soling’s Satanic namesake is Alfred Jarry, an antisemitic reactionary whose work was a fundamental influence on the 20th century fascist movement, says a lot the true nature of the deceptive sect known as The Satanic Temple. Far from refuting the fact of modern Satanism’s antisemitic character, the involvement of Soling (as a “secular Jew”) in The Satanic Temple appears to be more in line with the LaVeyan position that “any person […] who’s accomplished anything in his life had a real disdain for his own ‘people’,” (Barton, Ch. 19). Offering further commentary on this topic, the would-be “born Jew” Anton LaVey, godfather of The Satanic Temple’s brand of Satanism, opined that “people that come from Jewish backgrounds […] are the most rabid anti-Semitic people I know. And I don’t blame them,” (Barton). Indeed, if Hitler is the archetypical “Satanic Jewish Nazi,” as LaVey and others have suggested, then having “a real disdain for [one’s] own people” would be absolutely in line with our expectation that any so-called “born Jew” in the Satanic movement today is, with regard to the contradiction between his/her cultural identity and his/her political praxis, no different from any so-called “born Jew” involved in supporting neo-Nazi movements today, and no different from any so-called “born Jew” who was involved in orchestrating the Spanish Inquisition or the expulsion of Jews from Spain.
CONTINUE READING… 7. Reactionary Sexual Politics of “The Satanic Temple”
OR RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS (Anatomy of a Crypto-Fascist Sect: The Unauthorized Guide to “The Satanic Temple”)