Friday, May 15, 2015

An Open Letter to Erwin Lutzer: Errors in "Hitler's Cross"

An open letter to:
Erwin Lutzer
Pastor, Moody Bible Church

Dear Pastor Lutzer,

This letter is written to request that you assume responsibility for, and publicly correct, serious errors in your book Hitler’s Cross

In that book you incorrectly identify Adolf Hitler as involved in the occult. Your source material for this thematic claim is entirely unreliable and should not have been used in any serious discussion of Hitler’s religious beliefs.

In point of fact, Hitler was not an occultist. There were a fraction of Nazi leaders who were occultists, notably, Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Schultzstaffel. There were also some who might be termed paganists, such as Alfred Rosenberg, an influential early leader in the Nazi Party who wrote The Myth of the Twentieth Century

However, the few credible and documented Hitler comments and actions we have on the subject of the occult clearly indicate that he had no use for it. Hitler’s only close friend as a youth, Augustin Kubziek, says that the young Hitler was “absolutely skeptical of occultism.” Commenting on Himmler, the Party’s leading occultist, Hitler declared: "What nonsense! Here at last we have reached an age that has left all mysticism behind, and now he wants to start that all over again...” This sums up Hitler’s view of the occult as found in recorded history. 

His views on paganism are more equivocal, but indications are that he also rejected it. The World War Two historian Steigmann-Gall asserts, "Not once did Hitler have anything positive to say about paganism." 

Your assessment of Hitler as an occultist, as noted, is based on entirely unreliable source material.  You repeatedly cite, in your chapter titled “The Religion and the Third Reich,” two exceptionally unreliable sources: Trevor Ravenscroft’s The Spear of Destiny and Dusty Sklar’s Gods and Beasts.
Ravenscroft’s work is nothing but an outlandish fantasy. Despite Ravenscroft’s constant appeal to a man named Walter Stein as a source of information on Hitler, not a single scholarly biographer of Hitler is aware of a man named “Walter Stein” in Hitler’s background. The simple reason for this is that Ravenscroft made up the story out of whole cloth. The British historian Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, author of The Occult Roots of Nazism, describes Ravenscroft’s work as “fanciful.” Clearly, Ravenscroft’s book cannot be taken seriously.

Sklar’s work is little better. In addition to using Ravenscoft as a source, she also uses the works of Hermann Rauschning and Josef Greiner, who are also widely recognized by serious historians as unreliable (or at best, tenuous) sources on the life of Hitler. Like Ravenscroft, Sklar does not deserve to be taken seriously.
Other sources used for the chapter are no more credible. Authors like Dave Hunt, Gerald Suster, and Texe Marrs are not responsible historians and have no place in any serious historical work.

Beyond this, Hitler’s Cross, though it gets some facts about Hitler correct, is 
marred by numerous factually incorrect statements, such as:
           "[T]he Third Reich reinterpreted the cross of Christ to advance a pagan agenda"
·         "[Hitler] was initiated into deeper levels of occult transformation"
·         "Hitler was fascinated by Hinduism"
·         "Himmler said that he did not act without reference to the Hindu writings"

You also retrieve an alleged deathbed quote by Hitler’s early mentor, Dietrich Eckart:

Follow Hitler!...I have initiated him into the 'Secret Doctrine,' opened his centres in vision and given him the means to communicate with the Powers.

In reality, no such quote can be credibly documented from Eckart. Nor can any documentation be offered for an alleged quote by Hitler you refer to, "Man is God in the making.”

Given the depth of error in your book in this regard, I am publicly calling upon you to repudiate these mistakes, and issue a formal apology to your readers.  As Christians we have a responsibility to be honest and forthcoming with the facts. Although I assume your errors in this book were not intended, it would indeed be irresponsible to continue to allow them to stand uncorrected.


James Patrick Holding (


I'll be spreading this around in various places over the next few weeks.