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Germany: Externsteine defaced

Out of Germany comes very disturbing news. Apparently on New Year’s Eve some enterprising but misguided people broke into the nature reserve at Westphalia that contains the historic Externsteine rock formations, scaled a 180′ pillar of stone, and erected a 20′ tall wooden Irminsul painted red, white, and black. It was removed almost immediately.

Links to the news (in German):

Let us be blunt. This is a defacement of an historic site. As such, it is an abominable act, and the people responsible need to be caught and punished to the fullest extend of the law, period. There’s no telling the damage that could have been done in hauling a 20′ Irminsul up a 180′ rock face, which could have rock carvings, artifacts, etc. that could have been damaged in the attempt.

Naturally, the Norse Neopagans here in America and some German media are predictably focusing on potential connections with right-wing pagans in Germany. While this is a connection which, it must be conceded, quite likely given the colors of the pillar, which echo those of the Nazi and Imperial flags of pre-1946 Germany, it’s not at all the point, and those who are using it as a political club to hit their political opponents should be ashamed. This sort of thing transcends politics, and should be something that everyone can agree is wrong.

Personally I don’t care about the politics of the idiots who did this. I care about the stupidity of defacing an historical landmark to make some sort of statement. It would be just as wrong if a Norse Neopagan took a pick-axe to one of the mounds at Uppsala because Loki told him to. Politics is no excuse for stupidity.

And this stupidity is compounded by the fact that the connection between the historical Irminsul and the site at Exernsteine is completely spurious. The image found there is a palm tree, bent over to represent nature weeping over the death of Christ. It is not the Irminsul, which was described in the sources as a pillar. Not a pillar with wings. Hel, for that matter, the sources say that there were many Irminsuls, each the center of worship for a particular local group. Not one at some great pan-Germanic cult center that is otherwise completely unattested, and especially not one at Externsteine.

That makes this act all the more tragic. These idiots broke the law and endangered an historical archaeological site to haul a 20′ palm tree painted in the colors of two failed states to the top of a mountain. All that effort and risk for an unintentional joke. Morons.

Update: here’s a photo showing where the Irminsul was planted.

 (© Torben Gocke)

2 thoughts on “Germany: Externsteine defaced

  1. "Very Disturbing News" ?? No reason for "Moral Panic" here, I would be lead to believe. Very clearly, you must be aware of the fact that if a loose wooden ornament, which was removed by the local fire brigade after a scant few hours ( the original german language source openly states this) then, Externsteine was hardly "defiled" by the event, except perhaps symbolically so… Through several centuries, the place has alrady been subject to much worse vandalism, grafitti, tourists collecting rocks, and whatnot. In 2011 I photographed some evidence, and as for Hugin's Heathen Hof and Xander (what is his name again ?) plus a ban on the Irminsul for ever – well – NO ! Are you aware, for instance of the Vasa Dynasty in Sweden, the ruling monarch of which has the Irminsul in the "heart shield" of his coat of arms, the City of Vasa in Finland (pop 64 000 +) having the same in its coat of arms etc etc… As of usual, HHH is very, very inaccurate, does a sloppy job of its sources and postulates the impossible. From an European standpoint, there is no need for a "ban" of this symbol at all… And how come even kabbalists use it, on some occations ? is it "anti-hebrew" then, or what is the (Xander) problem here ?

  2. We disagree, then (although I will point out I never used the word "defiled;" that was your wording). The fact that other vandalism has taken place over the years is a piss-poor excuse to be accepting of it in this instance; vandalism is vandalism, and as I stated above I don't care a whit for the politics of the vandals or what symbols they used to commit the vandalism, it was wrong and they should be punished.

    As for HHH, they can go fuck themselves. They've demonstrated time and again their disregard for facts and their disdain for folks who disagree with them.

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