Leah Hirsig and Norman Mudd
Does any member happen to have the exact text of the letters of Mudd (from February 24, 1926) and Leah (from August 18, 1927) in which they retracted their signature to "Ein Zeugnis der Suchenden" ("The Testament of a Seeker"), which was penned at the Weida Conference in 1925 and proclaimed Crowley as the new World Teacher? I only have the German translation and would love to see the original text.
Many thanks in advance
Had any luck? Although I am afraid I haven't come across them - it might make for any interesting thread if you could post the German translation here....
Stephen Flowers published "The Testament of a Seeker" on page 19 of Fire & Ice. The History, Structure and Rituals of Germany's Most Influential Modern Magical Order: The Brotherhood of Saturn. (Llewellyn, 1994)
Not the letters of Mudd and Hirsig though.
"The Testament of a Seeker" is just a short paragraph - is that all there is?
Crowley's "Statement of relations between myself, Aleister Crowley, and Heinrich Tränker" (1925), appears on pages 165-175.
Here it is:
Norman Mudd on February 26, 1926:
„Ich schreibe Ihnen als einem Mitunterzeichner von „Ein Zeugnis der Suchenden”, um Sie zu benachrichtigen, daß ich nicht länger mein Zeugnis für die Wahrheit desselben aufrechthalten kann und meine Unterschrift mit dem heutigen Tage zurückziehen muß. Ich kann keine weiter Veröffentlichung der existierenden Dokumente gestatten, sofern meine Unterschrift darauf nicht vernichtet oder als Zeugnis in irgendeiner Weise ausgestrichen ist. [...] Meine Auffassung von To Mega Therion hat manche Umwandlung seit jenem August 1925 erfahren, wo ich mithalf, das Zeugnis zu entwerfen und meinen Namen unterschrieb. Meine Ansichten sind bestimmter geworden und nunmehr unvereinbar mit den Ausdrücken des „Zeugnisses”, bei jeder Auslegung derselben, die ich als natürlich oder vernünftig ansehen könnte. Die Hauptsache ist, daß ich nicht länger glaube, daß To Mega Therion in gegenwärtiger Zeit mit Recht als der Weltlehrer bezeichnet werden kann.”
Rough translation: ”I am writing to you as a co-signee of The Testament of a Seeker to inform you that it is impossible for me to abide this testament any longer and therefore must retract my signature on this day. I cannot allow any further publication of the existing documents, as long as my signature as a testimony on them is not deleted or made irrecognizable and void in any other fashion. [...] My perception of Crowley has in many regards changed significantly since August 1925, when I helped to pen the testament and signed it with my name. My notions have become more definite and are now incongrouos with the expressions of the testament, interpreting them in any plausible and intelligent manner. The main point is that I am no longer of the opinion that To Mega Therion can be rightly identified as the World Teacher.”
Leah Hirsig on August 18, 1927:
„Ich kann nicht länger mein Zeugnis aufrechterhalten und muß meine Unterschrift vom heutigen Tage ab durchstreichen. Als Gründe für diese Entschließung führe ich kurz an: Ich fühle, daß in Anbetracht meines Mangels an wirklichem Wissen es töricht und skrupellos von mir war, mein Zeugnis unter eine so absolute Erklärung wie ,und wir wissen ohne Lügen gewiß’ in Verbindung mit einer so ernsten Angelegenheit abzugeben. Ich verstehe von solchen Dingen gar nichts.”
Rough translation: ”I no longer can maintain my testimony and require hereby to delete my signature from this day on. Here is a summary of the reasons for my decision: I feel that considering my lack of real understanding it has been foolish and unscrupulous of me to bear out such an absolute statement as ’we know, certainly and without lies’. I don‘t know anything of such things.”
I have no idea to whom these letters were written. Henri Birven claims that he "has them in front of him now" (1930 in "Hain der Isis").
Thanks for your input!
aha, should have known Birven would be involved somehow 😉
After being sucked more deeply into the new Traenker biography (not only another blue brick, but a blue super-brick - absolutely impossible to read this heavyweight in bed) I am convinced that unfortunately no-one will be able to help me with my request. It seems the letters in questions were sent to the co-signee of the Weida conference Traenker (much new light on this "conference" in the Traenker bio!) and then were "stolen" (meaning borrowed without being ever returned) by Birven who quoted them in his "Hain der Isis" articles, and then were destroyed by Birven's widow later.
So if - what seems possible - Mudd and Hirsig didn't send these letters to other Weida signees also, the quotes in "Hain der Isis" might be all that has survived.
If you are able to read German, the Tranker biography will be highly interesting, I promise.
Anyway, thanks to all who tried to help and will continue to try...
Ah, but Lutz - are you certain they were destroyed by Frau Birven? There had been robberies of Birven library, as well visits by tightly uniformed officials of the New Regime. Perhaps the letters were seized as proof of ..something ..., and are still 'out there'.
If I remember correctly Germer always felt that it was Birven who had informed on him, which ended up with him getting free vacations at Columbia Haus & Esterwegen.
As the current case of 1500 found paintings of "degenerate art" shows, quite a few widows seem to like to bend the truth a little when something worthy is at stake. I only hope that you are correct (and I wouldn't be surprised also), I just wanted to make clear that I don't think these letters have been published anywhere so far (before anyone starts to dig too deep into his library just to be nice to me and help me out).
The Traenker bio is great. I am convinced there will also be some surprises in Churton's book. Germany and the Beast will become a quite interesting (relatively) new chapter in AC's biography. Which is quite fair, because without Crowley's experiences in Germany there would have been no Thelema at all.*
* I speak of course about his experiences in 1896 or so in Berlin, where he was so disgusted with the attendants at the chess congress that he decided not to pursue his career as a diplomat and chessmaster - and became an occultist!
indeed. yes, exciting news about the degenerate art eh?
i did a bit of research into that 1897 Chess Congress for a presentation on AC in Berlin which I gave not long ago - there were some characters in that one indeed. To bad AC gives only the briefest of reviews in Confessions.
i also recently came across information indicating that AC may have been in Berlin again between the wars, but am looking for corraborative information to support my source. Churton's book will be interesting - if only because he loves to spin an exciting yarn!