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Spain wants the return of Visigoth artifacts handed over to Heinrich Himmler in 1940

Ian Harvey

Spain is looking for the return of wartime gifts that were presented to Nazi Germany. They were intended to prove the Aryan ancestry of the nation and the supremacy of its people.

The Fascist dictator Francisco Franco gifted the Visigoth artifacts to the SS chief Heinrich Himmler, a man that was obsessed with proving the superiority of the Aryan race above all the others on earth.

They had been presented to him after he visited Madrid in 1940. This included bronze and gold cups, necklaces, and even human bones that were excavated from a Visigoth city close to Segovia.

Francisco Franco Photo Credit

Francisco Franco Photo Credit

Heinrich Himmler and his daughter visited Madrid in 1940, where he met with the archaeologist Julio Martinez Santa Olalla, who handed over the Visigoth artifacts which he had hoped would prove that Spain and Germany share similar Aryan heritage.

The Visigoths were Germanic tribesmen who controlled much of the Iberian peninsula around the 5th and 8th centuries before they were ousted by the Moors.

Archaeologist Julio Martinez Santa Olalla, who was Franco’s aide, had wanted to present the items to Himmler as a part of his mission to prove that the Visigoth presence in Spain indicated the Spaniards shared the same Aryan ancestry as the Germans; that the Spanish people were, therefore, “Übermensch” like the Germans.

Julio Martínez Santa-Olalla Photo Credit

Julio Martínez Santa-Olalla Photo Credit

The archaeologist had accompanied Himmler on a visit to the Montserrat monastery close to Barcelona in 1940. Himmler, who would oversee the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews, thought he would discover the Holy Grail there.

The chalice was said to have been used by Christ at the Last Supper. Himmler would end up killing himself with a cyanide pill after being captured by British troops in 1945.

 Heinrich Himmler Photo Credit

Heinrich Himmler Photo Credit

They had searched the area for tall blonde natives so that Himmler could witness Spaniards’ the Germanic trace for himself. This was stated by a professor of prehistory at the University of Barcelona named Francisco Gracia.

The trip had been called off because of bad weather, and so the items were sent straight to Berlin. They ended up in museums there and in Austria.

Now Spain is making a formal request for the items to be on public display in Madrid’s National Archaeological Museum. Sergio Vidal, who is head of medieval antiquities at the National Archaeological Museum has stated that dozens of fragments were sent to Germany and have never been returned.

Now they are trying to find proof to display that the material was sent to Germany only on a temporary basis.