Dietrich Eckhart

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Dietrich Eckhart (also Eckart) (1868-1923) was a German politician and playwright, who, with Anton Drexler, Gottfried Feder and Karl Harrer, was a founder of the German Workers' Party, which became the Nazi Party. He also belonged to the occult and nationalist Thule Society.

When Adolf Hitler attended his first meeting of the party, Eckhart gave him a political pamphlet he had written, My Political Awakening. It traced "corrosive Jewish influence" on Germany. Hitler found it resonating with his views:
Once I had begun, I read the little book through with interest; for it reflected a similar process to the one which I myself had gone through twelve years before. Involuntarily, I saw my own development come to life before my eyes.[1]

He became an early mentor to Hitler, introducing Hitler and Drexler to Peer Gynt and his own play. Hitler credits him with helping him see a link between Jews and Bolshevists. He was the only person cited as a mentor by Hitler, acknowledged him in the second volume of Mein Kampf as "that man, one of our best, who devoted his life to the awakenening of his, our people, in his writing and his thoughts and finally in his deeds." Dawidowicz characterized him as an older version of Hitler, with a matching rootlessness and agitated mental state, but a more "Bohemian" one, addicted to alcohol and drugs.[2]

Eckhart also recruited Alfred Rosenberg to the Nazis and the Thule Society. He started the Nazi newspaper, Voelkischer Beobachter, and also wrote the Nazi anthem, "Deutschland erwache" (Germany awake).[3]

Eckhart participated in the Beer Hall Putsch, but died from a heart attack in the same year, exacerbated by morphine addiction. Hitler dedicated the first volume of Mein Kampf to him.

References

  1. Timothy W. Ryback (2008), Hitler's Private Library: the Books that Shaped his Life, Alfred A. Knopf, ISBN 9781400042043, pp. 7-8
  2. Lucy Dawidowicz (1975), The War against the Jews, 1933-1945 (10th Anniversary ed.), Bantam Books, ISBN 0-553-34532-X, p. 15
  3. Dietrich Eckhart, Jewish Virtual Library