Nazi Quest for the Holy Grail

In the final days of the Second World War, American troops discovered a vast hoard of mysterious Nazi files hidden in a cave in Southern Germany. Buried deep in these secret documents were the details of one of the Third Reich’s most shadowy projects: the hunt to discover the lost Aryan civilization from which the Nazis believed they had descended.

This film explores Heinrich Himmler’s personal mission to find the historical proof for the Nazis’ extreme racial beliefs. Believing that the mythical Aryan “master race” was a historical fact, he helped launch an array of pseudo-scientific expeditions to find evidence of their lost civilisation and retrieve their ancient wisdom.

Drawing on previously unseen photographs and rare archive film, this programme tells the extraordinary story of three of these missions; a global search for the lost island of Atlantis, an expedition to find traces of the master race in the Himalayas, and an astonishing Nazi-sponsored quest for the mythical Holy Grail. Interviewees bring the story to life, including modern day Grail hunter Richard Stanley who expands upon the mysterious life of Nazi explorer Otto Rahn, and author Christopher Hale who reveals the darker side of Himmler’s Tibet mission.

The film examines how the so-called proof of the historical master race played into the horrors of the Holocaust. And how the very same scientists who’d helped identify the Aryans became embroiled in one of the Nazis’ most macabre war crimes: The Jewish Skeleton Collection.

This is the story of how fantastical theories and far-flung archaeological adventures helped legitimise a fiction of the German master race, a fiction that was used to help justify one of the greatest crimes in history.

Produce by Nerd TV in association with Group M for Channel 5

Director: Tom Barbor-Might
Executive Producer: Jago Lee
Executive Producer: Tony Moulsdale
Executive Producer: Abigail Adams