Gold in the Furnace:
Experiences in Post-War Germany
Edited by R. G. Fowler
Atlanta: The Savitri Devi Archive, 2006
Oswald Spengler wrote that apocalyptic visions heralded the dawn of a new civilisation. When, knowing what we know today, we read Savitri Devi’s Gold in the Furnace, a book written amid the ruin and desolation that was Germany in the immediate years after World War II, one cannot help but acknowledge the dual accuracy of this statement. For, if the destruction of Germany in a rain of fire was indeed apocalyptic, Savitri Devi’s reflections in 1949 suggest that the democratic world following that apocalypse was one doomed in turn to perish apocalyptically, once the downward rush of history completed the disintegration of the West, whose obsession with democracy and human rights might just as well be regarded as a “second religiosity”, the emergence of which heralded for Spengler the death of a civilisation.
Gold in the Furnace may be regarded as a companion volume to Defiance, Savitri Devi’s prison memoirs, which were written in parallel. Along with her subsequent book, Pilgrimage, Gold in the Furnace is a devotional work, where the authoress weaves her personal observations, anecdotes, and reflections into an extended and impassionate profession of faith in National Socialism.
Why faith? Because for Savitri Devi, National Socialism was more than a political movement: it was a religion—an ancient religion that was founded on cosmic truths that transcended time, space, and circumstance, and whose leader, Adolf Hitler, was not merely a politician, but a demi-god, Vishnu’s ninth avatar, who at the end of the Kali Yuga came to destroy the world and found a new golden age (see The Lightning and the Sun).
Such mystical and metahistorical conception of National Socialism is established at the beginning of the book, and frames Savitri Devi’s discussions of post-war Germany and what she calls “the philosophy of the swastika”. Savitri Devi tells us of her propaganda activities across Germany during 1948 and 1949, and recounts the various confrontations she had with Jews and the occupation authorities, until her eventual arrest and imprisonment. Her account evinces that hers was essentially missionary work, simultaneously an act of defiance and personal expiation.
Her narrative includes a conversation with one Rudolf Grassot, a then former member of the French résistance and a high official of the “Information Department” in occupied Germany, whose justification for selective freedom of speech (“toleration . . . must have a limit. We cannot tolerate the dangerously intolerant”) is evidence (if any was needed) of to what degree the politically correct discourse and legislation gripping contemporary Western society was bequeathed to us by the victors of the war.
As anybody familiar with Savitri Devi would expect, the prose iridesces with her religious fury and barely contained urge to see the post-war dispensation smashed to pieces and crushed under the jackboot of a National Socialist resurgency. Savitri Devi’s contempt when expressing her views on the Allied-sponsored de-Nazification program, which she characterises as a bureaucratised money scam, rivals in corrosiveness the strongest carborane-based superacids.
Subsequently writing from prison, where she developed close friendships with former SS wardresses, Savitri Devi collects their and other previously unheard testimonies of Allied post-war atrocities, particularly in Allied concentration camps. She tells us of captured Nazis being deliberately starved and imprisoned in filthy, unheated, unfurnished cells (the “chambers of hell”), where Winter temperatures plunged as far as –20º C (hot water freezes instantly when thrown up from a cup into the air at that temperature). This obviously resulted in a phenomenal death toll, running into the millions, according to other post-war accounts; and in the permanent destruction of the health of survivors. One of them, Friedrich Horn, was a personal friend of the authoress.
She also tells us of Allied stupidity, which sowed additional death among liberated camp inmates, after these were fed abruptly and superabundantly with mountains of white bread, eggs, cheese, and meat.
And she tells us of various instances of Allied vindictiveness, including a case where Jews were gathered and bussed to prison camps holding Nazi detainees, in order so that they may, as one imagines the troops must have put it, “kick some Nazi ass.”
To the extent that Jewish suffering is minimized or justified and Allied atrocities are detailed and emphasized, Gold in the Furnace proves one of the earliest revisionist works, antedating Paul Rassinier by 15 years.
After trouncing the cynical and hypocritical “Democrats” for their “plunder, lies, and shallowness”, she paints an apocalyptic vision, where “the elite of the world”—fanatical Nazi Aryans—inflict “divine vengeance” on those responsible for bringing about the military defeat of National Socialism, and the ensuing hunger, humiliations, and oppression of Aryandom’s elite. Of course, the Jews are in the list, but first and foremost are the traitors, the “damned anti-Nazis.”
“Divine Vengeance” is a highly entertaining chapter, where we see that Savitri Devi—speaker of eight languages and holder of a PhD in history—was not a lady to feel intimidated by “beer hall toughs” and rough, auroch-like working class men: she recounts how, while sitting at a café to work on one of her books, she was teased from afar by one such individual, a former Wehrmacht soldier whom she describes as “an awe-inspiring force in human garb”; giving as good as she took in the banter, she was soon joined by him and his companion, whence a long conversation ensued. Vengeance was avowed, and a triumphant return of National Socialism was envisioned.
Conclusion: Allied phosphorous fire might have wiped out millions of National Socialists, but, as the authoress sees it, it also wiped out its indifferent adherents and exposed the unworthy; what remained in the Allied furnace, therefore, was pure gold: the strongest National Socialists, whom nothing could destroy. Allied fire had been, in the end, a purifying fire.
Savitri repeatedly tells us that Germany after National Socialism had become “the land of fear”, and her account certainly conveys a grim panorama of terror, paranoia, regret, and devastation. So grim is post-World War II Germany here, that even once righteous anti-Nazis—now crushed, humbled, impoverished, and guilt-ridden—have realised the error of their ways, and long for the glorious return of Hitler and National Socialism.
Yet nothing, it appears, was as grim as the Russian Zone: if life in Germany was already intolerable under French, American, and British occupation, nothing in them could remotely compare with the horrors of Communism behind the Iron Curtain! Savitri Devi manages to converse in the West with visiting Germans who resided in the Russian Zone in the East, but information is fragmentary and she is forced to rely on self-censored testimonies and pavorous hearsay.
Gold in the Furnace is a bleak and gloomy work, an angry work, and a culturally pessimistic and deeply misanthropic philosophical work. However, it is not devoid of hope and humor, and its apocalyptic meta-narrative contains the possibility of a post-apocalyptic palingenesis, or rebirth. Savitri Devi detested the modern, liberal, egalitarian, democratic world, as for her it was synonymous with hypocrisy, mediocrity, and degradation. She yearned for its ruthless destruction, and the foundation of a new golden age, dominated by brutal strength, physical beauty, unbreakable character, superior intellect, and a ruthless elite in touch with the cosmic and the eternal, the “iron laws of life”. Her vision is a society of Olympian of demi-gods, of hierarchical harmony, of a superhumanity engaged in a constant struggle to overcome and perfect itself, reaching ever higher, from the peat to the stars.
This vision does not, contrary to what Savitri Devi’s detractors on the Left would likely argue, exclude peoples of lesser ability: rather, Savitri’s emphasis is on where humanity ought to be going, rather than where it went wrong, with each individual afforded dignity in his station, and seeking, with personal pride, to be the best person that he or she can be. This might seem almost incomprehensible to modern minds, especially those who have only known the world after 1945, but it represents an order that existed in Europe in ancient and Mediæval times, and which Savitri Devi observed still surviving in India.
Sixty years after it was written, and herein made available in a professional centenary limited edition, Gold in the Furnace lives on as probably the most profound and impassionate articulation of the National Socialist account of Allied victory and the genesis the post-World War II dispensation. Although the voice of a non-German, it is the voice of a self-identified Aryan who embodied the National Socialist philosophy of man and life in its purest and most radical form. As with Defiance, this text will remain a primary source in understanding the mentality of those who opposed Allied goals during and after the war, although it is unlikely it will be read without emotion—purely as a text in Western cultural history—for at least another generation.