Rudolf von Sebottendorf was the alias of Adam Alfred
Rudolf Glauer who also occasionally used another alias, Erwin Torre.
He was an important figure in the activities of the Thule Society, a
post-World War I German political organization that was a precursor
of the Nazi Party.
Glauer was born in Hoyerswerda, Germany,
the son of an engine driver from Dresden. He used the alias Sebottendorf
because he claimed that he had been adopted by the Sebottendorf family
and had a claim to the title of count. After a career as a merchant
seaman, Glauer settled in Turkey in 1901 and became the supervisor of a large estate there.
Glauer was deeply influenced by Sufi mysticism, other
Eastern philosophies, and in particular, the writings of Madame Blavatsky.
He used Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine to launch his own recreation
of ancient Germanic myth, positing a coming historical moment in which
he theorized that the Aryan race would be restored to prior glories
by the appearance of a race of Supermen. Glauer eventually became the
prime mover behind the Thule Society, which was one of the most important
precursors of the Nazi
Party, although the Nazi
Party itself, once it had become ascendant, obliterated the Thule
The Thule Society, which espoused ideas of extreme
nationalism, race mysticism, virulent anti-Semitism,
and the occult, was formed shortly after the end of World War I in Munich by Glauer. It attracted about 250 ardent followers in Munich and about 1500 in greater Bavaria. Members of the Thule Society included Rudolf Hess, Dietrich
Eckart, and Alfred Rosenberg.
Thule agents infiltrated armed formations of the Communist Party in Munich and plotted to
destroy the party, hatching plans to kidnap the party's leader, Kurt
Eisner, and launching an attack against Munich's Communist government on April 30, 1919. The Thule Society also started
its own newspaper, Müncher Beobachter, in 1918, and eventually
approached the organizer Anton
Drexler to develop links between the Society and various extreme
right workers' organizations in Munich.
Drexler was instrumental in merging the Thule Society
with a workers' party that he was involved with. The merged organization
became known as the München Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP). It was
the DAP that Adolf Hitler was introduced to in 1919. By April 1, 1920, the DAP had been reconstituted
as the Nazi Party,
and Glauer, who was accused of negligence in allegedly allowing the
names of several key Thule Society members to fall into the hands of
the Communists, resulting in the execution of seven members after the
attack on the Munich government in April 1919, had fled Germany for Switzerland and then Turkey.
He returned to Germany in
but fled again in 1934.
He was an agent of the German military in Istanbul during the period
19421945 (while apparently also working as a double agent for
the British military). Glauer allegedly committed suicide by jumping
into the Bosphorus on May 8, 1945.