End of the War

On July 29, 1943, the Royal Air Force's firebombing of Hamburg led Himmler to order the immediate evacuation of the main Ahnenerbe headquarters in Berlin. The extensive library was moved to a castle in Ulm while the staff was moved to the tiny village of Waischenfeld near Bayreuth, Bavaria. The building selected was the 17th century Steinhaus. While much of the staff was not ecstatic about the primitive conditions, Sievers seems to have embraced the isolation.
Waischenfeld finally fell in April 1945, at the close of the war.

On 27 June 1944, Rascher was replaced by Plötner as head of the Ahnenerbe Institute for Military Scientific Research at Dachau.

Kurt Friedrich Plötner (19 October 1905 – 26 February 1984) was a Nazi Party member and doctor who conducted human experimentation on Jews and Soviet prisoners of war in German concentration camps. American intelligence recruited him to work for the United States in 1945. He returned to the medical field as a professor at the University of Freiburg in West Germany after working for the Americans and living under an alias.

Kurt Friedrich Plötner was born in Hermsdorf on October 19, 1905. A devoted Nazi as well as a Leipzig lecturer and researcher, he joined the SS as a physician in the 1930s, reaching the SS rank of Sturmbannführer.

Plötner participated in a series of research tasks involving human experimentation at the Dachau concentration camp during the Second World War II. These included participation in the malaria experiments of Claus Schilling, in which prisoners were injected with drugs at lethal doses. In 1944, he was given Dachau physician Sigmund Rascher's role as head of the "Department R" of the Ahnenerbe project for carrying out experimental work on living subjects. Plötner also administered the hallucinogenic mescaline to Jews and Russian prisoners, watching them display schizophrenic behavior as part of the Nazi search for a truth serum that could be employed as an aid in interrogations.

Plötner's work in the concentration camps came to the attention of Boris Pash, an American intelligence officer who would go on to work in the CIA at the time of Operation BLUEBIRD in the late 1940s, and the United States Navy's intelligence officers recruited him in 1945, permitting him to continue his interrogation research. Plötner proceeded to live under the name of "Schmitt" in Schleswig-Holstein into the early 1950s.

Despite Plötner's actual residence in this western German zone, when the French government sought to have Plötner prosecuted in 1946 and appealed to the United States for assistance, the Americans replied that he could not be located, and was probably being shielded by the Soviet Union. He subsequently was able to quietly resume his real identity in 1952, at which time he was hired by the University of Freiburg in West Germany. He became an associate professor in 1954.

Plötner died on February 26, 1984.


Sievers was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity in the Doctors' Trial and hanged in 1948. Hirt was never found after the war, though reported sightings occurred in Chile and Paraguay.

During a bombing raid on Strasbourg on 25 September 1944 Hirt's wife and son were killed. After the liberation of Strasbourg at the end of November 1944 August Hirt fled with his daughter to Tübingen, where he stayed until the occupation of Württemberg by the Allies when he went into hiding with peasants in the Black Forest. On 2 June 1945 he shot himself in Schönenbach and was buried in the cemetery of Grafenhausen buried.

In Switzerland he was still wanted by the end of the 1950s and a French military tribunal at Metz sentenced him to death in absentiaon 23 December 1953 .

Thule member Prof. Krönen, from the 2004 Hellboy

Fantasy vs. Reality

Much misinformation about the Ahnenerbe has circulated, due in part to adaptations of the group in fiction, and historically dubious conspiracy theories which sometimes confuse the Ahnenerbe with the roughly contemporaneous Thule Society, or the historically unverified Vril society.

Ahnenerbe in fiction

The Ahnenerbe organization was the basis for the Nazi archaeologist villains in Steven Spielberg’s "Indiana Jones" films.

The Hellboy series of comics’ main antagonists are Project Ragna Rok, a fictionalized version of Ahnererbe who were focused on summoning supernatural aid to change the course of World War II.

The Delta Green sourcebook for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game claims the Ahnenerbe spawned another organization, “Karotechia,” which practiced ritual magic.

The video game Return to Castle Wolfenstein portrays an organization (SS Paranormal Division) based on the Ahnenerbe practicing occult rituals and magic.

Charles Stross features fictional Ahnenerbe activities in his novel The Atrocity Archives.

The Ahnenerbe, led by Sievers, and former Grand Master of the Thule Society, Rudolf von Sebottendorf, are portrayed as the driving force behind a secret holocaust of vampires in Nazi death camps in Juan Miguel de la Torre's novel Las Increíbles Aventuras de Rex Stark y el Holocausto Secreto.

The Ahnenerbe was portrayed as the Nazi organization behind the development of the "1st SS Nazi Vampire Brigade Ostmark" in the Fantasy/Horror Short The Golden Nazi Vampire Of Absam 2.

The video game Uncharted 2: Among Thieves features an Ahnenerbe expedition in Tibet, led by Karl Schäfer.

Kinoko Nasu's multiverse of fiction features a café called "Ahnenerbe" which can be accessed from either subverse.

In the Russo-Japanese anime First Squad, Ahnenerbe is the Nazi occult organization who is attempting to raise from the dead a supernatural army of crusaders from the 12th-century Order of the Sacred Cross (i.e. the Teutonic Knights) and enlist them in the Nazi cause;


Alan Baker's 160 page dissertion that contains details of several expeditions and key figures

Kater, Michael,. Das “Ahnenerbe” der SS 1935–1945. Ein Beitrag zur Kultur-politik des Dritten Reiches, Munich 1997

Christopher Hale. Himmler's Crusade: The Nazi Expedition to Find the Origins of the Aryan Race