Revealed: Himmler's secret quest to locate the 'Aryan Holy Grail'

Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Nazi SS, made a secret wartime mission to an abbey in Spain in search of what he believed was the Aryan Holy Grail, a new book claims.

Himmler visited the famous Montserrat Abbey near Barcelona where he thought he would find the Grail which Jesus Christ was said to have used to consecrate the Last Supper.

According to The Desecrated Abbey, by Montserrat Rico Góngora, the Reichsführer-SS thought if he could lay claim to the Holy Grail it would help Germany win the war and give him supernatural powers.

The book claims that, far from being the King of the Jews, Himmler shared the outlandish belief with other leading Nazis that Jesus Christ was actually descended from Aryan stock.

Góngora writes that Himmler, Hitler's right-hand man, believed Jacob was of Aryan blood and his descendants, including Jesus Christ, were Aryan too.

Góngora has interviewed a former monk who was ordered by his superiors to greet Himmler during the visit in 1940.

Now a pensioner living in an old people's home near Barcelona, Andreu Ripol Noble was at the time the only German-speaker in the abbey and was asked to help Himmler with his odd quest.

Antoni Maria Marcet, the abbot, knew Himmler had launched public attacks on the Catholic Church in Germany and had no time for him, the book claims. But Ripol related how Himmler came to Montserrat inspired by Richard Wagner's opera Parsifal, which mentions the Holy Grail could be in kept in "the marvellous castle of Montsalvat in the Pyrenees".

It was widely believed in Nazi circles that this castle was Montserrat, a belief strengthened by the fact the first performance of the opera was held at the Liceu Opera House in Barcelona in 1913. Others have said it was Montségur in France.

Wagner is thought to have been inspired by the writings of the 13th troubadour Wolfram von Eschenbach and scores of other writers who claimed to know where the sacred chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper lay.

According to Góngora, Himmler was also inspired by a folk song from Catalonia, the north-eastern region in which Montserrat lies, which has a cryptic reference to a "mystical font of life" situated in the area.

Himmler, a former chicken farmer who rose through the Nazi ranks to become Hitler's most trusted lieutenant, is known to have an interest in racial mysticism.

After initially proclaiming himself a Catholic, Himmler had started to attack the German church more publicly, and increasingly turned to a fanatical belief in racially based paganism.

But, the book claims, despite his quest to find the Grail, he came away from Montserrat empty-handed.

Himmler was in Barcelona while Hitler was holding a conference with the newly installed Spanish dictator, General Francisco Franco, in October 1940. Hitler believed he could persuade Franco to join the war on Germany's side.

But with Spain ravaged after three years of civil war, Franco refused to take sides and officially at least, remained neutral.

Hitler was said to be furious and told the Italian leader, Benito Mussolini, that Franco was a "coward". The Spanish press at the time reported Himmler's visit in bland terms, noting only that he had given 25,000 pesetas towards the repair of a local reservoir.

The Reichsführer is known to have stayed at the Ritz hotel in Barcelona and made his hour-long journey to Montserrat surrounded by "blond-haired SS men", reports at the time said.

The Desecrated Abbey by Montserrat Rico Góngora is published by Planeta in Spanish today

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Recruitment Consultant

competitive + incentives + uncapped comms: SThree: Did you know? 98% of our di...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Did you know? 98% of our directors started with SThree as...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sa...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Sales Executive - OTE £28,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen