The Holy Lance
I may be deviating from the norm on this post but as a person very interested in the link between superstition, history and mythology, I couldn’t help but be intrigued when reading about Hitler’s suicide on April 30, 1945 at the end of chapter six (Brose, 264). What immediately came to my mind was the legend of Hitler and the Holy Lance (commonly referred to as the Spear of Destiny). When Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, he did not have his legs broken (as was commonplace to speed death) because he was already dead. To prove he was dead, a blind centurion named Longinus stabbed Jesus in the side with a spear and blood and water poured out land on Longinus’ eyes, supposedly healing the centurion’s blindness. At this time it is said that Longinus believed in Christ.
The spear became known as the Holy Lance and is said to have special powers. Supposedly the person who has the spear will have great success and power, but as soon as they lose the spear, death immediately follows. Many leaders supposedly are linked to the spear; Charlemagne, Frederick I, Napoleon and Alaric to name a few. There’s also one more person linked to the spear: Adolf Hitler. After annexing Austria in 1938, Hitler, who was apparently obsessed with the object, was able to obtain it. According to legend, on April 30, 1945 American soldiers under the command of General Patton were able to retrieve the object from Hitler. That same day Hitler and his wife committed suicide.
It’s interesting to note that in July of 1944 Hitler escaped serious injury when Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg planted a bomb underneath a conference table in an attempt to kill Hitler. (Brose, 258) Hitler also managed to escape coups. Was this all coincidence or luck? Or was the Holy Lance working according to legend? The same legend that made many conquerers crave and seek the Holy Lance.
Of course none of this will never be proven but I did find it very interesting.
Brose, Eric Dorn., Europe in the 20th Century. (New York: Oxford University press, 2005), 251.
Veronese, Keith, ” What is the Spear of Destiny, and where can you get it?” http://io9.com/5889471/what-is-the-spear-of-destiny-and-where-can-you-get-it Accessed March 6, 2014.
“Search for the real Holy Lance” http://www.bibleprobe.com/holy_lance.htm Accessed March 6, 2014.
Angelico, Fra, “Freskenzyklus im Dominikanerkloster San Marco in Florenz, Szene: Kreuzigung mit Lanzenstich des Hauptmanns Longinus” Image, 1446. Museo San Marco, Florence.