Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Andean Atlantis: Race, Science and the Nazi Occult in Bolivia

fascism Nazi politics military pseudoscience archaeology Atlantis white supremacy

As the train steamed around the bend, Lake Titicaca became visible far to the north. The morning sun danced on the water. The majestic Cordillera Real towered beyond. The whistle howled. The engine lurched. After an arduous journey from Berlin, amateur archeologist and future SS commander Edmund Kiss had finally reached his destination: the ruins of the ancient city-state of Tiwanaku.

Tiwanaku had been an object of western fascination since 1549, when a motley band of Spanish conquistadors encountered the ruins deep in the Andes, in what is today Bolivia. Massive stone gateways, enormous granite megaliths, colossal earthworks, intricately-carved stele, mysterious glyphs—the Spaniards marveled at their discovery. Asked of the origins of the ruins and the fate of the civilization that constructed them, local indigenous caciques, or lords, stated that they were from a time long past, and that their original inhabitants had been destroyed by a great flood.

Its antiquity so obvious, its provenance so uncertain, Tiwanaku became one of the great mysteries of modern archeology. During the nineteenth century, the ruins attracted a host of European naturalists that speculated on the civilization that built the monumental structures. Some attributed the site to ancient Egyptians, others to bearded Europeans. All agreed that the ancestors of Lake Titicaca’s local peoples, the Aymara, would have been incapable of accomplishing such a magnificent feat. But if native Andeans hadn’t constructed Tiwanaku, then who had?

Kiss disembarked at Tiwanaku with a bold theory. Tall and bespectacled, his face pink from the unrelenting Altiplano sun, he stood out among the Aymara porters shuffling past. Their rural, ‘uncivilized’ condition only strengthened his conviction that the ruins were built a million years ago by his Aryan ancestors—an ancient Nordic race—who had migrated from the Lost City of Atlantis.

Kiss’s Atlantis theory may have been strange; but stranger still was the fact that it was hardly new. For decades, Bolivians themselves had been pondering their Altantean ancestry—in fact, for many of the same reasons that Kiss had. A connection to Atlantis empowered Bolivia’s European-descendant aristocracy for the very same reasons that it attracted Nazis. It gave them their own private Garden of Eden; and it reinforced the myth of white supremacy.  (more...)


fascism Nazi politics military pseudoscience archaeology Atlantis white supremacy

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