Karl Johannes Germer was born on 22 January 1885 in Elberfeld, Germany.
His brothers and sisters were named Elisabeth, Margarete, Otto,
Wilhelm, Gustav and Alfred. From 1900-1904 he was living in London. For
his military involvment in 1908-09 in Dixmuiden, Lemberg, Stochod and
Armentières-Lens he received the Second and the First Class Steel
Cross. Between 1912 and 1914 he became representative of the Alfred
Herbert Lt (Coventry) in Berlin. During World War I he served in Belgium,
Russia and France.|
In 1919 Germer met Heinrich Traenker in Leipzig.
In 1923 he sold his house in Vienna and moved to Munich in order to publish the magazine "Pansophia", together with Otto Wilhelm Barth and Traenker. In 1925, while visiting Germany, Crowley first stayed at Traenker's home but soon moved to the Germer's. In the same year, Germer was a patient of Alfred Adler in Vienna [there exist no surviving papers on this in any of the Adler-Institutes]. In 1926 Germer got a divorce from his first wife Marie Wys in Mexico in order to marry the rich Cora Eaton in New York on 15 January 1929. Back in Germany he was arrested on 13 February 1935 by the Gestapo. His wife Cora (who was staying in the US) and Martha Kuentzel (in Leipzig) unsuccessfully tried to have the American Ambassador to complain about the arrest.
Between February and August 1935 Germer was a prisoner in a Concentration Camp in Esterwegen.
[From: 'Materialien Zum O.T.O.']
In October he fled to England and arrived in Dublin on 1 December 1936 where he worked as an Engineer. Between 1939 and 1940 he wrote 223 pages of his autobiographical book "Protective Prisoner No 303" about his experiences in the Concentration Camp. At the outbreak of WWII Germer stayed in Belgium and was deported on 10 May 1940 to France. He was released on 1 February 1941. On 13 July 1942 the rich Cora died. Two months later he married the rich Vienna piano teacher Sascha Ernestine André (born 1891) who, alias Elly Aszkanasy also had given singing lessons. With her money, Germer supported Aleister Crowley.
Das Milieu des Templer Reichs — Die Sklaven Sollen Dienen. Hanns Heinz Ewers — Lanz von Liebenfels — Karl Germer — Arnoldo Krumm–Heller — Martha Kuentzel — Friedrich Lekve — Hermann Joseph Metzger — Christian Bouchet — Paolo Fogagnolo — James Wasserman. Unbequeme Aspekte in der Geschichte des O.T.O. und Thelema.
After Crowley's death on 1 December 1947 a lot of surviving members
wanted Germer as OHO of the Crowley-O.H.O. but Germer always neglected
the job. |
In 1956 he was living in the house of Ero Shivonen, in Barstow, California. Here he initiated Marcelo Ramos Motta into the IX°. Motta remembered that Germer "told us sadly that Crowley had loved him, and had wanted to have sex with him, but he had refused his Instructor's advances all his life." Only during Germer's stay in the Concentration Camp while receiving the Conversation with his Holy Guardian Angel, Germer allegedly learned the joys of "passivity" and eventually, 20 or more years later, made sexual advances towards Motta, who refused. Motta: "Mr Germer recounted that, when in a Nazi concentration camp, he was ascribed a number which was the German symbolic number of the passive paederast, and his fellow prisonsers mocked him for it. He told us that previously he would have felt affronted; but at this time he took it as a message of his Angel to become passive (cf. LXV i 44-46). Soon afterwards he was put in solitary, and whole in solitary applied himself to remembering the Holy Books of Thelema and reconstructing them, verse by verse, in his mind." Allegedly, Germer had suffered from Syphilis from Crowley. Also the FBI suspected "I do feel something is wrong with these two men [Crowley and Germer] being in contact with each other. Mr. Crowley secured the brains behind Germer. The latter seemed to be a tool in his hands".
Germer wasn't very much interested in O.T.O. matters: You must have realised that my heart and soul are not very deeply in this. A.C. knew this. He suggested to me that after his death I may either drop this form or system of working, or devise my own entirely independent method." [Germer to C.H. Petersen]
"O.T.O. does not interest me too much; mine is only the A.A. and ... A.C. wanted me to set up an entirely different system." And he didn't "read books". A fact which very much disappointed the more educated O.T.O. members (e.g. Frederic Mellinger) and caused them to leave the Crowley-O.T.O. under Germer.
Karl Germer died from prostatic cancer on 25 October 1962
and left a chaos as to the successor of himself or Crowley. When Hermann Joseph Metzger proclaimed himself OHO of the O.T.O. in
January 1963, he published a "Memento Mori" and declared Germer to
having been a X°. Henry Birven, "the
closest friend of the deceased" strongly protested because Germer
never should have seen himself as either a X° or
This is an outline from the German/English "Der O.T.O. Phänomen RELOAD" (2011) and Abramelin & Co. (1995).
Of Booksellers And Other Grand Masters Of The O.T.O.: Detailed biographies on Heinrich Tränker, Karl Germer, Henri Birven, Spencer Lewis, C.H. Petersen, Eduard Munninger — and their relation with the O.T.O. under Reuss, Crowley and Metzger — containing Henri Birven's "Obituary on Karl Germer" with interesting details about Crowley in Berlin in 1930.
To another biography on Karl Germer
Karl Germer's own autobiographical outline
Last Will and Testament.
History of the O.T.O. in the U.S.A.
Photographs of Karl Germer
More about all this in: Andreas Huettl and Peter-R. Koenig: Satan - Jünger, Jäger und Justiz
To the main page of Photographs and Documents
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