The Wewelsburg castle was not built by the Nazi regime; its history started several centuries before the National Socialists came to power in 1933. In its current form, the castle was built from 1603 to 1609, as a secondary residence for Fürstbischof Theodor von Fürstenberg, the prince-bishop of Paderborn, whose primary residence was the castle at Neuhaus.
Himmler viewed Wewelsburg as the Grail Castle, and believed that when the Nazis were the rulers of the entire world, artefacts from the castle would radiate magical power. Much work was put into acquiring such artefacts as the Spear of Destiny, which Hitler himself had claimed showed him his future.
It was Hermann Bartels, Himmler’s architect, who used the construction plans completed by the district building authority, hoping to convert the Wewelsburg in the SS Reich Leaders’ School – Reichsführerschule SS. In the spring of 1933, Himmler had tried to acquire Schwalenberg Castle, but negotiations broke down in the autumn.
During the 12 years that the SS had control of Wewelsburg, the castle was far from finished and the grand plans Himmler had in mind were not completed. Himmler had hoped to design a castle with a circular fortification around the hill, and a gigantic moat. To create the moat, the SS had ordered the evacuation of the surrounding town, and were intending on flooding the entire valley around Wewelsburg.
It is where SS leader Heinrich Himmler brought together his senior officers. He even installed a round table, coats of arms for his SS ‘knights’ and pagan ceremonies exalting his movement above all other world religions.
For the first time since the SS used the place the room where Himmler met with underlings to plot the occupation of Eastern Europe, visitors will be allowed into the ‘knights’ room’ where torch lit pagan rituals were carried out.
In his capacity as supreme leader of the SS, Himmler consulted seers, fortune tellers, amassed the biggest private library of witchcraft books outside of the Berlin University – and immersed himself in the legends of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
As the Nazis were losing the war, Himmler ordered the castle demolished and a fire was set inside. Although most of the interior was destroyed, the exterior walls were preserved and Wewelsburg was turned into a museum for reflecting on the horrors of the Nazi regime and Himmler’s bizarre plan for world domination.