Author(s): Christopher Hale
In 1938, on the eve of war, a Nazi expedition set out through British India on a mission sponsored by Himmler himself. Their aim was to find the roots of the Aryan people, high in the sacred mountains of Tibet. It was led by two complex individuals - one, Ernst Schafer, a swashbuckling naturalist who was using the Nazis to pursue his own ends, the other, Bruno Beger, so committed to the cause he ended up conducting experiments on prisoners in Auschwitz. The expedition quickly found itself battling hostility from the British, being manipulated by the Tibetans and struggling with the primitive conditions of Lhasa. Every step was recorded in diaries, letters and reports back to Delhi and London by the suspicious British, and to Berlin by the Germans. It was also documented in masses of extraordinary photographs, many of which are reproduced here for the first time in decades. This first encounter between the British and the Nazis so close to World War II sheds interesting new light on the history of the Third Reich.
At the same time, it aims to demonstrate the Nazis' ideological obsession with racial theory and the occult, and Himmler's bizarre view of the world from his sinister, fantasy castle at Wewelsburg. Although mentioned in other books, the full story of Schafer's ill-fated expedition has never been told. Chris Hale uses the wealth of source material, and interviewing war criminal Bruno Beger for the first time in recent years. "Himmler's Crusade" is fascinating and horrific. It provides an unusual insight into the workings of Nazism, and so into the most important period in 20th-century history.
Chris Hale Chris Hale is an award-winning writer, television producer and director for the BBC. He was educated at the University of Sussex and graduated with a first in English and History. He has made numerous films about both science and the arts. He has travelled and filmed in literally unmapped regions of Mozambique and the Yemen in search of the 'lost tribes of Israel' as well as in a previously unexplored canyon in Borneo and one of the most remote islands in the Pacific. This is his first book.