Black Sun: The Mythological Background of National Socialism

Directed by Rudiger Sunner

90 minutes / Color
/ English subtitles
Release: 2009
Copyright: 2009

film poster

For more than sixty years, thousands of historians, political scientists, psychologists and others have attempted to explain the murderous ideology of National Socialism-in particular the theories of its founders Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Alfred Rosenberg-and their dreams of a "Thousand-Year Reich" of Aryan world domination, which led to the Holocaust, war crimes and other atrocities.

BLACK SUN sheds new light on the sources of Nazi ideology by examining its occult roots in the world of myths, symbols and fantasies. It traces this development from the writings of various mystics in the early 20th century, which located the original home of the Germanic peoples in sunken continents such as "Thule" and "Atlantis," and propagated the mythology of a superior Nordic race whose heroes fought the forces of moral decadence and racial impurity.

The film uses interviews, rare archival footage and contemporary scenes shot in historic locales throughout Germany to chronicle how the Nazis used these mythological foundations to develop Nazism as a political religion, with the SS conceived as a "Holy Order" defending "Aryan light" from the "Jewish-Bolshevik darkness." It profiles some of the more eccentric members of the SS-including Karl Maria Wiligut, Richard Anders and Otto Rahn-plus cofounders of the Ancestral Heritage Society-Wolfram Sievers and Herman Wirth-who conducted anthropological and archaeological research to confirm their theories of a "master race."

film still

While BLACK SUN documents the nationalist mystical beliefs that infused National Socialism, the film also reveals the disturbing perpetuation of these beliefs among certain cult groups in Germany today, reflecting an ongoing search for salvation, inspiration and messianic leaders.

"An intelligent, intensely focused study tracing the roots of Nazi ideology in German legend, religion, and mythology."—David Sterritt, Cineaste

"Rudiger Sunner's film is enlightening in the best sense of the word."—Berliner Stadtmagazin

"Fascinating"—Hamburger Abendblatt

"The mythological morass of Nazism … is seemingly impenetrable.... And yet the picture becomes clear when one makes the effort - as Rudiger Sunner does in his documentary 'Black Sun' - to closely examine the tangled thicket of arguments in Nazi mythology."—Die Welt

"An important documentary"—Frankfurter Rundschau

"Definitely worth seeing"—Stern

"Instructors of sociology of religion may appreciate the union of mysticism, the occult, and political ideology. Instructors of social movements and political sociology may find compelling the development of the National Socialist ideology and a novel explanation for the rise of one of recent history's most fascinating and troubling regimes. Instructors of race and ethnicity can use the film to teach about scientific racism, the social constrictions of race, and how racial policy and programs develop."—Teaching Sociology, November 2011

Other Ways to Watch


Available online from:

Colleges, Universities, Government Agencies, Hospitals, and Corporations

Purchase DVD for $398.00

Available for educational streaming from:


The story of Dr. Hans Prinzhorn (1886-1933) and his collection of art by schizophrenic patients.

Christian Beetz | 2008 | 75 minutes | Color | English subtitles

Stretching from the dawn of World War I to the present day, Thomas Heise’s monumental essay film reflects on the fraught evolution of Germany’s national identity through the prism of one family’s history.

Thomas Heise | 2019 | 218 minutes | Color | English subtitles

Marcel Ophuls' Academy Award winning examination of the Nazi officer Klaus Barbie, the infamous "Butcher of Lyon," weaves together 40 years of footage and interviews.

Marcel Ophuls | 2010 | 114 minutes | Color | English subtitles