Synopses & Reviews
A groundbreaking history of the Nazi research institute whose work helped lead to the extermination of millions
In 1935, Heinrich Himmler established a Nazi research institute called The Ahnenerbe, whose mission was to send teams of scholars around the world to search for proof of Ancient Aryan conquests. But history was not their most important focus. Rather, the Ahnenerbe was an essential part of Himmler's master plan for the Final Solution. The findings of the institute were used to convince armies of SS men that they were entitled to slaughter Jews and other groups. And Himmler also hoped to use the research as a blueprint for the breeding of a new Europe in a racially purer mold.
The Master Plan is a groundbreaking exposé of the work of German scientists and scholars who allowed their research to be warped to justify extermination, and who directly participated in the slaughter--many of whom resumed their academic positions at war's end. It is based on Heather Pringle's extensive original research, including previously ignored archival material and unpublished photographs, and interviews with living members of the institute and their survivors.
A sweeping history told with the drama of fiction, The Master Plan is at once horrifying, transfixing, and monumentally important to our comprehension of how something as unimaginable as the Holocaust could have progressed from fantasy to reality.
"Considering the thousands of volumes covering every aspect of the Nazis, it's becoming increasingly difficult to say anything new about their dreadful era. Nevertheless, Pringle (The Mummy Congress), a contributing editor to Discover magazine, gamely steps up to the plate and has produced a fascinating volume detailing the Nazis' crackpot theories about prehistory and the Indiana Jones style lengths they went to prove them. Employing a team of researchers, Pringle investigates Heinrich Himmler's private think tank, the Ahnenerbe, which dispatched scholars to the most inhospitable and distant parts of the world to discover evidence of ancient Aryan conquests and the Germans' racial superiority. Some believed their own bizarre garbage; others perverted the facts for personal advancement or prostituted their reputations for the greater glory of Hitler. While it would be otherwise easy to laugh off the Ahnenerbe's ludicrous theories, Pringle argues that the institute provided the 'academic' justification for the Holocaust and assembles a powerful body of evidence to that effect. Though one may wonder just how central the Ahnenerbe actually was to Hitler's thinking, when Pringle meets one of the most sinister of Himmler's scholars, his pride about the institute's 'research' is distinctly disquieting. This is first-rate popular history supported by an immense amount of scholarly apparatus in a range of languages." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
This text is a groundbreaking expos of the work of German scientists and scholars who allowed their research at a Nazi research institute to be warped to justify extermination of Jews and other groups.
Now in paperback, the groundbreaking history of the Nazi research institute whose work helped lead to the extermination of millions
For those who thought the zealous Nazi archaeologists in Raiders of the Lost Ark were a screenwriter's fabrication, journalist Heather Pringle has the chilling, real story. In 1935, Heinrich Himmler--chief of the SS and architect of the death camps--founded the Ahnenerbe, a research institute that manufactured archaeological evidence to support the notion of Aryan superiority. His team of adventurers, mystics, and reputable scholars was charged with traveling the globe to compile "proof" that a race of blondhaired, blue-eyed conquerors had dominated the world in prehistoric times. The identification of their descendants and the eradication of all others became the cornerstone of the Nazi agenda.
Drawing on Pringle's extensive original research, including interviews with surviving members of the Ahnenerbe, The Master Plan is a page-turning story of delusion and excess, of scientific and political abuse on a global scale.
About the Author
Heather Pringle is the author of The Mummy Congress. Her work as a journalist has appeared in Science, Geo, New Scientist, and Discover, where she is currently a contributing editor. She has lectured across the United States and Canada--from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., to the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. She lives in British Columbia.