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Else Christensen, editor of The Odinist, is depicted before the cover page of the most recent issue of her publication. This photo of Else was taken on May 31, 1992 during a visit by Thor Sannhet and Paal Filssunu for a Vor Tru interview. They visited Else six months before a tragedy unfolded that surprised and saddened the Odinist and Asatru community. The cover title above was "Do What You Can."

An Interview With
Else Christensen


And postscripts regarding her prison sentence
and the demise of her publication The Odinist


William B. Fox

Originally published in
Winter, (Runic Era) 2243 (1993) Vor Tru Magazine
under pen name "Thor Sannhet"

If evil though knowest, as evil proclaim it
and make no friendship with foes
The Havamal, St. 127

"It's a tragedy when anyone [such as Else Christensen] commits these crimes and ends up facing these penalties. At her age, it's an ev-en greater tragedy --and the crowning touch of tragedy is that she had every every opportunity not to be here." Assistant U.S. Attorney and prosecutor Mike Simpson in his comment to the Gainesville Sun after Else's trial.

[Editor's 1993 Note: This interview is provided as a continuing interview series to document the views and background of significant personalities in the Odinist and Asatru movement. Last issue we covered Freya Aswynn, author of Leaves of Yggdrasil, and in an upcoming issue we hope to cover Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson and Thorsteinn Gudjunsson of Iceland. As the usual caveat, the views or personal activities connected with an interviewee do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Asatru Alliance or even of its principal officers or members. Our ultimate objective is to grow Vor Tru to the point that it can become the "journal of record" of the Asatru Movement and cover important news stories that impact on our religious community, even if it means honestly and openly dealing with any distasteful or derogatory information about Asatru people or their beliefs that have become a public issue. This is similar to the open editorial policy of Reverend Herman Otten who publishes The Christian News (RR 1, Box 309A, New Haven, MO 63068). In recent years CN has honestly reported scandals and political turf battles within the Christian Church, such as the Jimmy Bakker PTL [Praise The Lord] Ministries financial shenanigans, homosexuality in the Catholic Church (cf. the 2 Sept 91 CN which claims that 10,000 priests may be homosexuals and half do not practice celibacy), the Rev Tom Bird murder trial and conviction (the topic of an allegedly libelous and sensational CBS-TV mini-series titled "Murder Ordained" aired July 29 and 31, 1990; there is also another controversy based upon emergent evidence that Rev Bird was framed), and the factional strife within the Lutheran Church (eg. the 18 Feb CN reported that the President and VP of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod charged conservative theologian Dr. Robert Preus with "persistent conduct unbecoming a Christian" and "a persistent and recurring pattern of untruthfulness and unbrotherly treatment of other Christians"). The editor of CN also covered the December 1992 bust of the Anti Defamation League (ADL) of B'Nai B'rith by San Francisco Police, U.S. Marshalls, and the FBI in San Francisco and Los Angeles. This has uncovered a vast and illegal domestic spying network on the part of the ADL. Yes, Christians and Jews have plenty of their own dirty laundry to deal with in the open media. We must also deal with it in Asatru as a necessary avenue of self-criticism and self-correction. ]

Vor Tru originally intended to publish this interview in its fall 2242 or winter 2243 issue. However, after my parents, who live in Gainesville, FL, sent me clippings beginning in Nov 1992 from The Gainesville Sun which reported Else Christensen's involvement in a drug trial, we decided to put everything on hold until all the facts of the trail surfaced. In this interview, I try to be objective by minimizing my own explanatory comments and simply present Else's written or verbatim comments. However, to make this interview more readable, I reorganized the taped interview conducted with Else to present events in her life in chronological order. Edit points in the continuity of the taped interview are indicated by paragraph breaks. I have also inserted written comments made by Else after she reviewed a transcript of the interview in the late summer of 1992. In the postscript section, I simply report verbatim text from Gainesville Sun articles about the drug trial that appeared from Nov 21, 1992 to April 17, 1993. This case, incidentally, is not completely over. Else still claims that she is innocent and thinks she has a chance of winning an appeal and being released from prison. I will leave it to the reader to look at the nature of Else's comments, the Gainesville Sun articles, and other information and draw his or her own opinions. My personal opinions about this affair are stated in a separate ten page guest editorial piece that follows this article.
Approximately one month prior to when I first met Else at her home, Shirley Keller, a New Jersey-based radio and TV personality, traveled to Crystal River while visiting relatives in Florida to do her own taped interview. Shirley had already interviewed Oak Thorgeir and myself for "The Folk People" radio show and subsequently broadcast our talk about Asatru on June 27, 1992 on WFDU-FM 89.1, Teaneck, NJ. Shirley recommended that I visit Else myself. Shirley mentioned that Else seemed like a nice person, however, she was reluctant to give out very much on her background. Shirley's description of Else made me very curious and desirous of gaining my own impressions first hand.
On May 31, 1992, I flew into Tampa and met Paal Filssunu at the airport. After meeting Paal's parents at his home in Clearwater, we proceeded to drive north to Crystal River. We made our way across a number of country roads outside of Crystal River before we finally arrived at Else's trailer home located amidst scattered pine trees. Else gave both of us a friendly greeting at the door. She invited us into her living room and offered us Danish pastries and coffee. We ended up discussing a wide variety of religious, political, and philosophical topics.
On one of her walls was a Frank Franzetta-style painting of a Viking warrior woman by a flying dragon made by an appreciative Odinist inmate. Over a chest of drawers was a model of a dragon ship made of match sticks, in front of which she kept a candle burning. On another wall was a Confederate flag tapestry with a motorcycle in the center. (Having grown up in the South and having had a grandmother who belonged to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, I could relate to this symbol of States' Rights, decentralized government, red-blooded regional identity, manly defense of property and soil, and resistance to out-of-control Federal monopoly power and "Big Brother" moralistic indoctrination that was hanging on Else's wall).
Last but not least, books on a wide range of political, historical, religious, and philosophical topics were everywhere in her house. Even along her dining room wall were file cabinets and book shelves filled with Odinist Fellowship materials. Her place was actually more of a library and mission center than a home. She really opened up to me and Paal and even gave me invaluable copies of photographs of her past life and of A. Rud Mill's group in Australia that had been mailed to Else by Mill's widow.


Paal and Else on the back side of the trailer home

Else told us that a neighbor was doing a "rig" job on her aging car to get it up and running again. Her trailer home itself was rusting in numerous places. Some of the wood steps to the entrance behind her trailer had rotted away and we had to watch our step going down it. All of the furnishings could have been bought second hand from the Salvation Army. There was nothing about Else's lifestyle that suggested to Paal, myself, or even Shirley Keller that Else was anything other than what she represented herself to be; namely a little old lady scraping by on her retirement income as a former medical records worker at a hospital in Toronto, Canada who was devoting the last decades of her life towards editing and publishing The Odinist and promoting Odinism out of love and devotion to our Gods and folk.
However, Else was controversial in the Odinist and Asatru community even before the drug trial. Valgard's Arizona Kindred was originally incorporated as a member of Else's Odinist Fellowship before it became a mainstay of the Asatru Alliance. Valgard Murray once helped to pay Else Christensen's flight fare to an Althing in Arizona. Later, his group broke with the Odinist Fellowship. Else explained in a letter to me: "The split between Valgard and the Fellowship I see as a difference in emphasis more than in overall substance. One person/publication cannot cover all aspects, at least not at this point where we're still feeling our way ahead."
In many respects, Odinist and Asatru organizations have the same problem in preventing deep infiltration and take-over by neo-Nazis and/or counterculture "Hippie-Wiccans" that America's labor unions have faced in preventing takeovers by Communists and/or the Mafia. Valgard's organization split from the Odinist Fellowship because he wanted to bend over backwards to emphasize the purely religious aspects of Asatru. Both he and Steve McNallen had bad experiences with neo-Nazis. According to Valgard, a neo-Nazi group provided the "straw that broke the camel's back" behind the demise of the AFA and the lack of an Althing for 1987. According to Steve, "The reasons were more mundane --fatigue in particular." Whatever, he remained in a period of "productive dormancy" for five years until he resurrected his old publication The Runestone in the fall of 1992.
Else's primary achievement was the publication for twenty one years of The Odinist from issue no. 1 in August 1971 until its demise with issue no. 150/151 in 1992. It came out eight times a year, and was always ten full typed pages long. Sample titles on a variety of religious, political, and philosophical topics included "New Values From the Past," "Ynglinga Saga," and "Havamal" (No.1), "The Beginning of Art" and "Morality" (No.2), "Is Man an Animal?," "Nationalism," and "Summer Solstice" (No.4), "The Beginning of Religion" and "Love and the Odinist" (no. 15), "A Hypostasis: Mysticism, Naturalism, and Science" (No. 24), "Stages of Christianity" (No. 26), "Genetics --Source of Destiny" (No. 32), "Odinism and Existential Realism" and "Thor" (No. 41), "Frey" (No. 80), "Against Capitalism, Against Marxism" (Nos 117-120), and "Zen Buddhism" (No. 124). All of the articles in The Odinist tended to be far more erudite in nature than the photocopied production values of the periodical would suggest. Taken together, the ideas offered by the many different authors who wrote for The Odinist over a period of 21 years comprise a valuable encyclopedia of Odinist thought.
In scanning through all of the back issues, I can find no suggestion whatsoever that Else supported drug use, glorified marijuana (it is not even mentioned), or ever encouraged breaking drug laws; to the contrary, a number of articles talk about eating only healthy foods and reducing the intake of any unnatural chemicals contained in food preservatives. Although she emphasized Nordic folk values, she also opposed various forms of monopoly power, to include the Nazi kind. Ideologically, Else claimed to be fairly close to the viewpoint of Willis Carto, author of the classic book Profiles in Populism. This book outlined the nationalistic philosophy of great Americans such as Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson who opposed any form of monopoly power by financiers, mediacrats, or ideologues on any end of the political spectrum. A similar ideological bent was held by Phil Ward, one of her primary contributors.


Else was always a deep conversationalist

Else adhered to a biological world view and unabashedly used the word "Aryan" in her publication. She felt that an ideal society for our people would necessarily have to be a homogeneous society that would permit maximum self-determination and expression of innate traits. She included many scientific tracts on human genetics from Mankind Quarterly in the Giallarhorn Book Service that served The Odinist. However, her approach to racial issues was hardly "extreme." For example, The Odinist made an important position statement in issue no. 122 with the lead story: "Odinism: Religion, Cult, or Hate Group?"

Odinism does not promote racial hatred or "anti-Semitism." Odinism supports self determination for all races, peoples, and cultures, and opposes the imposition of a genocidal one-world monoculture. We believe that every racial group and subgroup, every folk, is a unique, non-repeatable biological-historical phenomenon that should be preserved, just as much as any endangered animal species. We hold that ethnic groups, like individuals, merit a right to privacy to carryon and further develop their way of life as they themselves see fit, without un welcomed interference from alien outsiders. At the same time, we reserve the right to expose; criticize, and defend ourselves against any ethnic interest group that threatens or attacks our Folk; this is the basis, e.g., for our stance against Zionism.

Else qualified her views with the following statement in a letter to me:

The 'racial purists' will eventually have to accept that some 'beautiful blond people' are rotten on the inside and that brunettes may have a far more realistic understanding of our ancient beliefs and as such will be more valuable for the overall picture; All branches of our Folk are within the realm of our common moral and religious attitudes, so to speak. They were held over our territories; we refer to northern Europe only because they survived there the longest and we know about them because historians have written down some of the concepts although much was destroyed. If we were able to research Russian folklore we would probably find concepts close to ours. Indo-Aryan ideologies are certainly similar in many essential areas. Greek mythology has been somewhat distorted but we find many philosophical concepts pretty close to the Nordic.
I prefer a brunette with the right attitudes to a rotten person with a perfect "Nordic" appearance. Substance rather than an empty shell. Now that is controversial in some circles.

In addition to persistently publishing her intellectual journal, Else steadily networked to try to build Odinist religious communities. In the Jan 92 issue of Odinism Today, No. 5 [BM Edda, London, England, WC1N 3XX], Stubba wrote in his article "Odinism Restored:" [After describing the collapse of the main brands of orthodox Christianity]

Who then could we turn to for help and advice? Neither I nor my colleague Hoskuld had ever heard of Rud Mill's already defunct Church of Odin {although Hoskuld had known John Harvey, the architectural historian, and the Potocki brothers --London-based New Zealanders of Polish descent--whose faith would now be regarded as Odinist even though they seem to have accepted uncritically the eccentric theories set out in Waddell's so-called British Edda; and I had myself recently exchanged signals with the incredibly pathetic Anglo-Saxon Church of Woden}. Thus inspired by the personal faith and fully convinced of the validity and potential of our native heathenism we were still without practical help or advice about taking even the first steps, until we found this through a journal that we both received periodically from Toronto. Else Christensen, editor of The Odinist, willingly let us have the names of her English subscribers. After we had contacted them the number of adherents of the putative Odinist Committee had risen to five --an increase, almost overnight, of 150 per cent! Thus, on 23 April 1973, the Committee for the Restoration of the Odinic Rite was formed in England.

As a personal note, I might add that my first introduction to Odinism and Asatru came through Else's publication. I became aware that Odinism existed only after it was mentioned in a letter to the editor of Instauration magazine. After writing the editor, I obtained Else's address. With some additional networking, I discovered Vor Tru.
Over time, the subscription base of The Odinist grew to over 800 individuals, to include a large proportion of prisoners who often received their subscriptions for free. Else came to know Paal Filssunu early on, and even drove all the way down to Miami, Florida to meet with him and his parents while he was still in high school. That was over three hundred miles away. However, amidst all of this missionary activity, Else had trepidations about adopting a high profile in public. She believed that the ADL and other organizations had files on her and would try to make her life miserable if she became too visible.
[Editor's Note: When the ADL got busted by the San Francisco police and FBI in December 1992, authorities discovered that the ADL not only spied on conservative and rightist groups, but also on leftist, environmental, and citizens' activist organizations. According to Robert I. Freedman in his article: "The Enemy Within: How the Anti-Defamation League Turned the Notion of Human Rights on Its Head, Spying On Progressives and Funneling Information To Law Enforcement" in the May 11, 1993 Village Voice, the ADL spy targets included "the NAACP, the Rainbow Coalition, ACLU, the American Indian Movement, the Center for Investigative Reporting, ACT UP, Palestinian and Arab groups, Sandinista Solidarity groups, Americans for Peace Now, and anti-apartheid organizations." The ADL was notorious for feeding distorted information to local police, FBI agents, or newspaper editors that was designed to smear political or religious adversaries.]
As a consequence of Else's not unjustified feelings of paranoia towards "The Establishment," prior to my interview, her life story remained something of a mystery even among most fellow Odinists.

A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF ELSE CHRISTENSEN

Else Ochsner was born in 1913, the daughter of two school teachers, in Esbjerg, the only harbor on the west coast of Denmark. Her father was a conservative and politically active. He had fine blond hair and handsome features.

THOR: ... What was your maiden name, Else?
ELSE: Ochsner ... my father's family came from the German-Swiss border. It is a very common name there, I understand. But in Denmark there was only my family with that name.
THOR: Where did your mother come from?
ELSE: My mother was country stock in Denmark. But I would suspect there was some Polish connection in the early time of the family there. But both of my parents were born in Denmark. So were my grandparents. But a few generations back they came from the European mainland. I believe. I have part of the history of my father's family on his mother's side, but I have no real history or family tree on my mother's side. They were just Danish peasants.
THOR: Well, I still think that a Danish peasant stacks up favorably compared to peasants anywhere else in the world.
ELSE: They were good people.

Else, as is common in Denmark, was confirmed in the Lutheran Church at age 14. She said that she made an honest effort to study and believe in Christianity, but after not too long she gave it up and began to consider herself an agnostic or atheist at age 15. She was not enthused about the rituals, which were too long and elaborate. Else pointed out that at age 17, you don't believe what your Dad says, and in high school she slipped over to the political left. There were large socialist parties in Denmark in the 1930's, and even to this day the Scandinavian countries tend to be very socialistic.
At age 21, Else elected to call herself a non-Christian to avoid paying the national church tax. In Denmark one becomes a Lutheran by birth. If one does not want to pay the tax to help with the upkeep of the Church, one has to declare oneself a non-Christian. Once electing this option, one forfeits the right to be buried on Christian "holy ground" in Denmark. Else said that if she wanted to feel religious, she preferred a walk in the woods to feel the presence of the old Gods rather than sit through a Lutheran service. She does not lose much sleep over the forfeiture of burial rights on Christian ground.
Else's views were not that unusual. She said that in Denmark people tend to not to be particularly religious by nature, and take a more rationalistic approach to life relative to other peoples. This is consistent with the rationalistic spirit of Asatru. [2009 additional note: For more insight into this rationalistic spirit, please see Dr. Han Gunther's book The Religious Attitudes of the Indo-Europeans and my article "Asatru: Questions and Answers"]. She said that Danish newspapers reported once that when the Fundamentalist Christian Evangelist Billy Graham first came to Denmark, he was shocked to learn that only 5% of the population goes to Church.
Else wrote: "I am not an agnostic now; I was when I started out; it was a rational decision to see if Mills' idea of Odinism would work. I have since learned that our Gods have great power. By this I mean that if you are in contact with your instincts which express the essence of our 'folk soul' or the subconscious elements of Urd, which we have given mythological names such as Odin, Thor, Frey, or Baldur, we are in contact with life itself. And that is a powerful reality that you can feel, if you can ever 'feel' a reality (!). The power of the Norns is real, their truth is empowered in our Gods, you just have to dig down deep, below the induced Christian, politically deceptive surface we have been trained to follow, and you'll find the wisdom of our pre-Christian forefathers which we today call Odinism, and which expresses the essence of our folk on the moral and religious plane."
When I think of Asatru, I often conjure up positive images of Norway based upon my experiences in visiting the relatives of my mother who comes from Bergen. Norway is still a fairly homogeneous, nearly all-white society with Nordic traditions. [2009 note: Or at least it still was back when this article was first published in 1992 prior to continued efforts by evil New World Order manipulators to swamp indigenous Nordic habitats with Third World peoples]. People are generally self-sufficient, happy, and productive. Life is in balance. Every year, during the Summer Solstice, people still burn bonfires across Norway. They still call Christmas "Jul." It is a society that works and that most people find not only orderly, efficient, and clean, but charming as well.
One could hardly say the same thing about New York City, where I currently live, which effete liberals publicly extol out of one side of their mouths as a "multi-cultural paradise" and privately condemn out of the other side of their mouths as an increasingly degenerate, crime-ridden, bankrupt, and corrupt social miasma.

THOR: I know in Sweden they have the Maypole celebrations. Were there any celebrations that reflected your indigenous folkways that you celebrated?
ELSE: No. The only thing that we did where I lived were two different things. We went up and saw the sun dance in the early morning at, what do we call it in English? Fingstan? Is that right? No, that is German. Whitsun morning. Whitsun Sunday morning.
THOR: How do you spell that?
ELSE: Oh. W-h-i-t --I think, Whitsun.
THOR: And what was that all about Else?
ELSE: Well, that was just an old tradition. We were just greeting the sun in the morning.
THOR: Was that done during the summer solstice?
ELSE: No. Whitsun is forty days after Easter. That was a tradition. And then we had a bonfire at the summer Solstice, or St. John's, or what you call that?
THOR: What did that entail?
ELSE: It was just a bonfire. Nothing else. A bonfire.
THOR: Did you have any awareness of the possible revival of the old religion?
ELSE: No. There was no connection. It was just an old tradition.
THOR: Were you aware of any people in, say, Germany or Denmark who were attempting to revive the old Norse religion?
ELSE: Well, everybody had a bonfire at the summer solstice. But there was no tradition apart from that. What you are thinking of is some speeches or some dancing or whatever?
THOR: Well, for example, there was a Thule Society in Germany that we read about in history books. Were you ever aware of the Thule Society?
ELSE:
Not at the time, no.

Else later wrote to me that, "Whitsun is the Christian Pentecost; I don't know exactly where the pre-Christian connection is or why it was/maybe still is, done at this time; the tradition is some form of sun worship. At sunrise when the sun comes up over the horizon and it is almost fully up, the last part seems to jump up, because of the earth's atmosphere or whatever; this is referred to as (the sun dancing. If you talk about a sun dance, to most people that would mean something different, like an Indian dance."

Else gave me a photo that shows her when she graduated from high school in 1932 wearing her high school cap. She is pictured in the center looking over her left shoulder.

ELSE: Well, that it is just the high school cap, and it was customary at the school there, that the students on graduation drove out in horse-drawn cherubangs to a location. To a hotel or restaurant some few miles out of the city. And had a dinner and a party. In the late evening we went on a tour to all of our teachers. And in the dark they knew approximately when we were coming. And we ended up usually at one of them who served breakfast! We arrived there at five or six in the morning. That was a celebration we had.
THOR: What did you do after you graduated in '32?
ELSE: Well by that time I had enough of school and as a matter of fact I lived on one for several years because my mother was a mistress of a high school. A private school. So I had enough of that, and so I decided to learn hand weaving and become a professional hand weaver. I had my own work shop, eventually. I went to weaving school for two years. That was directly after high school. I finished there in '34. I moved to Copenhagen where I went to work in a work shop there to learn the more practical things of the trade. And I worked there for --I can not remember-- probably a couple of years. After that I had my own work shop with together with a girl friend. We continued to work for the same place, which was, let me just think what it was called --I have to translate that --a shop in an organization that promoted all kinds of handicraft, embroidery, lace, and knitting, and whatever you made of all kinds of hand craft. It was sponsored by the queen. At that time it was the old queen. The wife of Christian the Tenth. Queen Alexandria.

THOR: I have a picture here with your husband wearing suspenders. When did you meet him?
ELSE: Probably '37. I guess. Maybe '38.
THOR: What was his profession?
ELSE: He was a professional wood carver.
THOR: So you have a certain artistic streak, I guess.
ELSE: To a degree, I guess.
THOR: Do you miss working in the trade or with your hand weaving?
ELSE: Not really. It's hard to make a living. I had to give it up as a matter of fact because I hurt my back lifting something. Since you use both your arms and your feet, I was told my back would not be able to take it, so I was advised to find some other job. And that is actually when I started to teach.
THOR: When did you start to teach?
ELSE: I can't really remember when. And when I say teaching, it was in a private institute, it was not in a school. At an institute for dyslectic people, both children who stayed in the school system. And we had night classes for adults.
THOR: You became politically active at some point in the '30's?
ELSE: Yes.
THOR: You mentioned, for example, Syndicalism. What was your attraction to it at that time?
ELSE: I happened to get to know one of the old [leaders]. He was old at the time. He was about eighty I guess when I met him. One of the active activists. How can I say it? He was one of the active Syndicalists in the right after the First World War. Or in that period there. But I met him in the late thirties. He was about 75 or 80.
THOR: What was his name?
ELSE: Christian Christensen.
THOR: No connection?
ELSE: No connection.
THOR: So then you began teaching in the late '30's. How active were you in terms of the Syndicalist movement?
ELSE: Oh no, let us not go into that.
THOR: Had your work experiences as a hand weaver had a radicalizing influence on you at all? What was your major motivation to get interested with politics?
ELSE: Well my parents were [involved]. They were conservatives. But they were active. And my mother was active in the women's liberation of that time. Of that period. My father was active in the Conservatives, which would be something like the Republicans here, but not quite. And so I was sort of brought up with it. Not on the radical fringe, though. But still interested in politics.
THOR: What about your husband?
ELSE: He was definitely, when he was a young fellow, he organized the union for apprentices, and his father, who died when he was quite young, was in the labor union movement, and so was his brother, whom I never really met, because his brother was quite a bit older than he was. As a young, let us say, when he finished his training he went down to Germany and to France and worked as a wood carver to finish his education. His training. He was a good wood carver.
THOR: Was that a pretty good living?
ELSE: No. Neither is weaving. During the war, the occupation it was good, because at that time we had lots of money. But in times where there is a shortage of money all kinds of arts and crafts, and so on, that's luxury.
THOR: Wait a second. That is interesting. You are saying during the occupation there was more money at the time?
ELSE: Oh yes, we had lots of money then.
THOR: Why was that?
ELSE: I don't really speculated ever on that. I was teaching at the time, so I had my job there. But my husband was making good money because people had money and then you want to have nice frames on your pictures and cedar chests with hand carved panels and so forth, and people had money to pay for it.
THOR: My mother claims when she was growing up in Bergen [Norway] that the Germans shipped a lot of foodstuffs from Norway back to Germany. [She also said that many Norwegians went hungry as a result, to include one of her growing cousins. My Norwegian grandfather escaped to England to run a seaman's academy and some other relatives served as crew for the Allies on the Murmansk run. My mother helped distribute an underground paper with BBC information before a member of her group got apprehended by the police, and she had to escape to Sweden].
ELSE: They probably did.
THOR: Did they do that in Denmark?
ELSE: Well, we were rationed, of course, but we could buy everything we needed on the black market. Since we had money to spend, there was no problem. But the German soldiers came up to be fed in Denmark. Because we had food. There was no problem in that.
THOR: Did you mention that at some point your husband ran into trouble with the police?
ELSE: Yes.
THOR: What happened?


Aage Alex Christensen, 1904-1971

ELSE: Someone snitched and told the German police that we had handguns. So they came and they told me, fortunately, that they knew we had two hand guns, so, they asked if I would like to hand them over or would rather that they found them themselves. So obviously I handed them over because I did not want them to know about the other weapons that we had. So rather than losing the two hand guns, which of course were illegal; we were not supposed to have them; we were not supposed to have any weapons. So at the time we had several rifles, and a shotgun, and a machine gun. So I did not want them to find those plus quite a bit of ammo.
THOR: Well, now, did you acquire the machine gun in connection with your involvement with the Syndicalists?
ELSE: No, no. The Syndicalists, that was just an acquaintance. There was no activity within the Syndicalists at that time. Not as like today. The Syndicalists over here are quite active. At that time there was nothing there. No, it was just that at that time we did not know how things would turn out, so obviously we wanted weapons for self-defense. Possibly. And also we thought that whatever was available, we would stock them so that they could be used in a way that we thought was proper rather than have some crazy fellows running around shooting.
THOR: What was the gun control policy in Denmark before the occupation? Were individuals free to walk into the stores to buy guns?
ELSE: No, you could not have guns.
THOR: Even before the Germans moved in? Was it illegal to possess a pistol and rifle in Denmark prior to the German occupation.
ELSE: I would think you could have shotguns, because there was some hunting, but I don't really know. You could not have handguns for sure. Rifles, I do not think so. I don't know, really.
THOR: What kind of machine gun was it?
ELSE: Don't ask me about it. It was so long time ago.
THOR: Was it a large machine gun. A belt-fed type?
ELSE: Belt-fed.
THOR: Was it water cooled --was it a large bulky thing? .
ELSE: It was a large heavy thing. And I tried to shoot it at one time. And it RRRrrrrrrrrrroarrrrooomed!!! (laughter).
THOR: When did you acquire the machine gun?
ELSE: You know, how many years was it ago?
THOR:
Was it before the occupation?
ELSE: No, it was during the occupation. You could buy them on the black market. You could buy them at. the black
THOR: There was so much war material?
ELSE: Yes, you could get all kinds of things. Whatever you wanted. There was nothing --it was not a big deal.
THOR: What happened--did not your husband serve some time?
ELSE: Oh yes, well, when they came and got the handguns, we were taken down for questioning. Obviously, yes, they kept my husband for a couple of days, I think. Two or three days or so. And they only kept me for ten hours and let me go. They said that we had been accused of being leaders of an underground group. A cell. Which we weren't. So there was not really much to discuss. For me, they wanted me to write a certain sentence, and I can not remember what it was, because apparently a slip of paper or something had been found and they were interested in finding out how my hand writing would compare with that. So I was writing umpteen times these same words, and I still can not remember them. They also talked and asked questions about what we had been doing and what we were doing and so forth. And since we were not really doing anything, there was not very much to talk about. And they were quite nice and polite and let me go at about midnight or maybe one or two in the morning. They even offered me an escort home if I was afraid to walk the streets at that time. But I was absolutely safe on the streets. We lived in the west end of town and there was no problem.
THOR: The west end of Copenhagen?
ELSE: Yes, Copenhagen.
THOR: Safer then than today?
ELSE: I would think so. I do not know how it is right now. Maybe I would not venture out at 2:00 in the morning in Copenhagen today. But at that time I was quite safe. I knew a lot of fellows living downtown so there was no problem.
THOR: What were your attitudes or feelings towards National Socialists in Denmark or in Germany at that time?
ELSE: Well, we had quite a large party, a National Socialist party. I did not like the leader of the party. For one thing he had been a lieutenant to the first National Socialist leader we had in Denmark. And during a sort of a palace revolution, the original leader was dumped. This Dr. Clausen took over as the Fuhrer of the Danish National Socialist Party. I was not really that interested in Danish National Socialism because the government in Germany itself said that it was a German thing and not for export. But I did not particularly like Dr. Clausen either, so I kept out of that kettle of fish.
THOR: What was your interpretation of the behavior of the Germans during the occupation. Were they somewhat well behaved?
ELSE: Oh, very disciplined. Very disciplined. No problem.
THOR: What was the extent of the resistance activity against the Germans? When did that begin to pick up? Was there very much?
ELSE: The first year of the occupation, there was not really anything going on at all. Very, very little. Then the Allied propaganda set in. And there were underground activities. There were some sabotage. There were sniper activities and so forth. But in Denmark there was nothing really compared to places in Norway and/or in Holland or Belgium, not to talk about France. In the Eastern part of Europe I do not know much about. But there were a very active underground in those other countries. But in Denmark there were some executions because of sabotage. But not nearly to the extent that the other countries did.
THOR: What was your relationship to the Resistance towards the end of-the war?
ELSE: Well, we stayed neutral during the occupation. We did not want to support the Germans because they were a foreign power on Danish soil. We did not want to work against them either. Because we were not really that interested. We did not approve of the war as such. The German population had elected legally Hitler as their leader. And we thought that it was their business and not ours. Nor anyone else's.

Alex and Else spent a considerable amount of time organizing on the political fringe in the late 1930's. They ran a coffee house/meeting place in Copenhagen that gained attention in the Danish newspapers when a brawl broke out; however she did not go into details. There were a lot of unemployed Danes at that time who were receptive to their message. The bent for organizing came from Alex. "He taught me how to think," said Else, which is no doubt an overstatement, given Else's intellect and knowledge in her own right.
I looked up "Syndicalism" in my 1957 edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, and discovered that it. is a very slippery term to get a handle on, since it has had many different permutations and variations at different times in various countries, such as France, Spain, England, Ireland, and the United States. According to Britannica, "Both in France and elsewhere many of the leading syndicalists went over to Communism; but the movement was never entirely submerged, and it tended to reappear in recent years in hostility to Communist party discipline and centralized control." In contrast, the leader of the national syndicalist movement in Spain, Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, organized the Falange, a "third force" workers movement between Capitalism and Communism that fought street battles against Spanish Reds. It played a key role in organizing the nationalists and the Franco forces prior to the Spanish Civil War which lasted from 1936-1939. In the United States, it included unionists who promoted the idea of the general strike but stoutly denied any unconstitutional objectives. American syndicalists have advocated various forms of worker participation in company management and forms of sweat equity participation in productive enterprises (some might call it a form of "worker capitalism").
Else described Syndicalism as a trade unionist movement that relied on worker organization. It was distrustful of centralized state authority. The Christensens viewed themselves as socialists but not as Marxists. They were heavily influenced by the French syndicalist movement and by authors such as P.J. Proudhon and Jeremy Riffkin. Else wrote, "The connection between Syndicalism and Odinism is that they both opt for decentralization. The Syndicalists want local government, or as it is called, management of community affairs; maybe similar to our `States Rights' rather than Federal Power. The difference is that Syndicalism is international, whereas Odinism is seen as tribal." Else added, "Poudhon, yes, also Peter Propotkin who centered around Mutual Aid, with the `village;' in a tribal community there should also be mutual aid and concern for the folk as a whole. Rifkin is a contemporary American. Syndicalism also advocated `no pay without work,' usury is theft, and that money should only be a medium of exchange, not a commodity. It is anti-Marxist and the concepts have therefore been deliberately distorted."
When the Germans occupied Denmark, they rounded up all Syndicalists, anarchists, and Communists and put them in internment camps. Else's husband served time in such a camp in addition to the time he spent in jail for illegal possession of weapons. She wrote that, "I would rather say that the German Occupation authorities rounded up all known political activists and included Alex in that category instead of specifying." As William Shirer goes out of his way to point out in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, the German National Socialists promoted the state control of all labor, social, and cultural organizations. Since the syndicalists were essentially hostile to state control of labor organizations, the German authorities did not know which way political activists like Alex and Else were going to go, and wanted to keep a sharp eye on them.

THOR: Incidentally, did you mention that your husband had been interned by the Germans for something like six months?
ELSE: Yes.
THOR: Where was he interned?
ELSE: At the time the camp was in Elsinore. Just outside Elsinore.
THOR: Elsinore. That was made famous [by William Shakespeare]. That is where Hamlet's castle was located.
ELSE: Yes, that is right. But not at the castle, but somewhere in the vicinity of the town they had the concentration camp at the time. The Danish one.
THOR: What year was that?
ELSE: That was in '42-'43. The fall of '42 and he was there for about half a year.
THOR: Why was he interned?
ELSE: As a political activist. At one time the police rounded up all the known political --on the political fringe, let us put it that way.
THOR: What was fringe about his political activities?
ELSE: I can not explain that unless you know the political climate. It would not make sense for people here. It was just that we were politically active, just as there are small groups here that are politically active. And that is all. And obviously the occupation powers had no idea which way we would turn, so at one time they rounded up all Communists, other extremists of various types, and Alex was in that bunch also.

Today there is a movement in the United States for outright repeal of the Second Amendment right to bear arms (eg. H.J. Resolution 438 submitted by Congressman Major Owens, D-NY in spring 1992). If this repeal ever becomes law, many American Odinists may have to relive the terrifying police search for weapons that Else went through. It might be worth remembering that the trigger point of the American Revolution occurred when the British conducted a search mission for Patriot arms supplies at Lexington and Concord in a country that was once upon a time over 80% Anglo-Saxon in origin.
The part of German National Socialism that was really alien to the Scandinavians was the totalitarian and dictatorial "Fuhrer Principle," as mentioned. The Scandinavian tradition of tribal democracy goes back to ancient times and classical civilizations. However, in comparing peoples and cultures, we have to bear in mind that even the Nordics had to abandon tribal democracy in emergency situations. In the days of the Nordic Roman Republic, the Senate elected dictators in times of crisis. However, the Nordic tradition has been to dismantle dictatorial powers once a crisis has passed and revert to the more restrained and judicial approach entailed in tribal democracy and parliamentary government. It was alien to indigenous Indo-European practices to have dictators for life after a crisis had passed. Hitler lost his moral respectability before the American and English public in 1933 and 1934, when he implemented the famous Book Burning and Blood purge episodes and seized complete dictatorial powers. Americans and Englishmen failed to see the necessity of these extreme measures.
Once various labor movements dissociated themselves from Moscow and declared themselves to be reform parties rather than revolutionary parties in the early 1930's, militant far right groups in Scandinavia simply fizzled away. The closest thing to a Nazi Party in Norway was the National Samling, which never recruited more than 5% of the national population. It collapsed after the Norwegian Labor Party convinced the Norwegian people that it had severed all of its links to Moscow and it publicly renounced a violent revolutionary agenda. In any event, during the trying times of the 1930's, when the Communist threat was very real in Europe, the Christensens did not have the sense that if they dealt with or even befriended any Danish National Socialists, they were dealing with people who had horns.

THOR: After the war, what prompted you and your husband to leave Denmark, or when did you leave Denmark?
ELSE: We left Denmark in '49 or '50.

THOR: I have a picture here of a sailboat. Did you leave by boat from Denmark?
ELSE: Yes we did. We had a nine ton yawl at the time. An old boat, but good enough to actually cross the Atlantic in. And we had thoughts that we might just do that. But we didn't. But we left Copenhagen and went down between the Danish islands in the south and went through the Riel canal and went through the major canal in Holland and eventually got over to southern England. And that's where we stopped. We thought about going along --you see if you go by sailboat over the Atlantic, one route is to go along Europe and pick up the trade winds. And we were thinking about that. But it turned out that the storms came quickly early that year. We were a little bit delayed. As a matter of fact my parents thought that we were lost in a storm. But we had just turned around and went back to southern England where we eventually sold the boat and came over on this side of the big pond.
THOR: What made you decide to leave Denmark and migrate first to Canada?
ELSE: Well, to see the world, I guess. Denmark is a small country. It is good in many ways. But I don't really know. We just wanted to see other shores, I guess. (laughter). Something like that.
THOR: When did you arrive in Canada and get set up?
ELSE: '51. February the 22nd, '51.
THOR: Where did you settle down?
ELSE: In Toronto.
THOR: Did your husband continue to work as a wood carver?
ELSE: Yes he did.
THOR: How did he do?
ELSE: He did all right, but it wasn't really that much. We were doing all right. But nothing particular.
THOR: Did you continue to teach in Canada?
ELSE: No.
THOR: What did you do while you were in Canada?
ELSE: I did office work. My life started out like everyone else does when they do not speak the language and don't have any connections. I worked in a restaurant. After that I got the job at the [two] hospitals that I mentioned before. And I stayed there until I retired. And that is it. (laughter). [In another conversation Else said that in the first hospital she worked for a Catholic Nun who ran the hospital. In the second hospital she was in charge of the film library in the X-ray department. She remained there for twenty years until she retired.].
THOR: You have done so much that is great [for Odinism] since you retired, let us move on to that. How did you first become aware of Odinism or Asatru? I have pictures here of A. Rud Mills.
ELSE: Well, we heard about his books and his idea of Odinism and his little group in' Sydney, Australia. We heard about that in the beginning of the '60's. And we picked up on the idea and talked about it with some friends and found that this might be a good idea to pursue.
THOR:
What happened to Mill's group in Australia?


Odinist Festival in Croydon, Australia around 1938
Rud Mills stands on the far right

ELSE: I really do not know. When we heard about it, Mr. Mills himself had died. As far as we know, he died in the middle of the 50's. His wife was still alive and we had some contact with her. She sent us some of the books. And a couple of the pictures there that you have that I have shown you. They apparently had a son who did not seem to be interested in his father's project. So I do not know what happened. We lost contact with Mrs. Mills some years later. She wrote and said that her eyesight was failing and she could not longer read our material. A very nice letter thanking us for sending The Odinist to her. THOR: When was it that you became aware of Odinism and Mills? What year was that?
ELSE: The early 60's some time.
THOR: About '63 or '64?
ELSE: Probably. At approximately the same time that Imperium was published.
THOR: - What a coincidence.
ELSE: Yes. Kind of.
THOR: Was it about the same year that he was imprisoned, Yockey [the author of Imperium]?
ELSE: I can't [tell you]. That was one inspiration. It was about the same time. J Editor's Note -- Imperium was first published in 1962 by the Noontide Press (1822 1/2 Newport Blvd, Suite 183, Costa Mesa, CA 92627) in 1962, with a forward by Willis Carto, founder of Liberty Lobby. It is still published by the same source]
THOR: What did you begin to do when you became aware of Mills? He came out with that book, The Call of Our Ancient Nordic Religion, as I recall, was that one of the first things you read?
ELSE: The Call of Our [Ancient] Nordic Religion. Yes, we read that at the time, and talked with some of our friends about the idea. And we sent out a little newsletter to plumb the interest along that line. It wasn't a very good effort, but it was the best that we could do at the time. We got enough of a response to think that it would be something to pursue. But at the same time we also realized that we had to know a lot more than we did at the time before we could do anything decent. So we started reading and talking. We had some little group meetings at the time.
THOR: This was when?
ELSE: In the mid-60's.
THOR: How did you first become aware? Who introduced you to Mills and Odinism and so on?
ELSE: That was through a friend who knew and had contact with James Warner. He was the one who had the books. Went down to talk with him.
THOR: Where did you meet him?
ELSE: He lived in Kingston at that time. Kingston, New York.
THOR: Did he later move to the South?
ELSE: He is now working out of Metairie, Louisiana.
THOR: Well, now Warner has not apparently stayed with it?
ELSE: No.
THOR: What is Warner doing today?
ELSE: Ask him.
THOR:
OK (laughter). No, you are right [I should let people speak for themselves]. I think he has [a publication called] The World Intelligence Review. He has some kind of Christian Crusade Church.
ELSE: Yes, he is doing a pretty good job there, as a matter of fact.
THOR: But he has decided to push in the direction of Christianity.
ELSE: Yes.
THOR: So really the Odinism to him was something like a merchant who buys and sells [varieties of religious and ideological software] off the shelf?
ELSE: (Laughter). Well, I don't know. I think that he was probably interested at the time in the idea, but he did not stay with it. I do not know how he felt about it. I shouldn't speak for him.
THOR: Well, at least you took the ball and ran with it. The main thing is just that he made you aware of Mills. That was the big connection. Now [with] Mills, when you talked with his widow, what sort of information did she give you about [A. Rud] Mills? .
ELSE: Nothing. Just a nice letter.
THOR: How did she, the widow of Mills, become aware of you?
ELSE: Oh, we had the address and wrote. Because we did not know anything. I can not remember how, actually. I can not remember whether we sent the newsletter that we did, or what. I do not remember.
THOR: Was this address in Australia?
ELSE: Yes. They lived in Sydney.
THOR: Are there any surviving Odinists in Australia?
ELSE: Not that I know of.
THOR: So as far as you know, the movement has died out?
ELSE: I would think so, yes.
THOR: From what you know about Mills, what was his conception of Odinism or his group, what kind of effort did he put forth?
ELSE: I really don't know much about it, because it was already past tense when we heard about it. And he had died when we heard about it. So there was no personal contact with him. And all I understand is that he had made up a list of holidays. Some of them political. Not political, really, rather cultural and historic. Otherwise the change of the seasons. That apparently they celebrated. I do not know what else they did.

Francis Parker Yockey, the author of Imperium, had an interesting background that bears some elaboration, since everything about his life provides a counterpoint to the career of Else and Alex on the political fringe. Born in Chicago in 1917, Yockey graduated cum laude with a degree in law from Notre Dame in 1941. According to Willis Carto in his forward to the Noontide Press edition of Imperium, "In 1946, Yockey was offered a job with the war crimes tribunal and sent to Europe ... The Europe of 1946 was a war-ravaged continent, not the prosperous land we know today. Viewing the carnage, and seeing with his own eyes the visible effects of the unspeakable Morgenthau Plan [named after FDR's Jewish Secretary of the Treasury who promoted the plan until America eventually abandoned it in 1947] which had as its purpose the starvation of 30 million Germans [by destroying all German industry and reducing Germany to an agrarian state], and which was being put into effect at the time, he no doubt found ample reinforcement for his conviction that American involvement in the war had been a ghastly mistake."
Among other things, since "Uncle Joe" Stalin was our ally, the KGB assisted in the interrogation of German P.O.W.'s to determine "war crime" guilt at Nuremberg. There was also a high proportion of Jewish people at senior levels of America's Office of Strategic Services and military intelligence who were obviously embittered towards the Germans. According to Yockey and other sources, the Allies tortured Germans to extract fabricated "confessions." A number of historians today, to include Jewish historians, claim that there were outright fabrications and exaggerations created in a deliberate effort to totally demonize the Germans, to include gross exaggerations of Holocaust fatalities and means of death.
After eleven months with the tribunal, someone in Washington complained about Yockey's refusal to cooperate in falsifying reports to frame German "war criminals." Rather than yield, Yockey quit. In 1947, Yockey retired to the seclusion of Brittas Bay, Ireland, to spend six months writing Imperium without the benefit of notes. His tome took a biological view of Western civilization and saw the U.S. as a degenerate country possessed by "culture distorters" who caused Americans of Nordic stock to naively and unwittingly participate in the destruction of Western civilization. Although part II of the work was only printed in 200 copies, it later became a seminal work among an expanding pool of intellectuals with the European and American Right. These people were encouraged by Yockey's optimistic view that the European cultural organism could eventually revive, in contrast to the scenario of terminal decline described by Oswald Spengler. At the same time that Yockey wrote Imperium, he also wrote a short sequel titled The Enemy of Europe which he later tried to print in its German language form in Germany in 1953. Yockey also became a political organizer, and in 1949 he and some friends created a group called The European Liberation Front and issued a manifesto called The Proclamation of London.
Although Yockey was brilliant to the point of genius, his ideas were too divergent from the post-war milieu to really catch on and inspire a growing social movement. Yockey remarked, "My enemies have evaluated me better than my friends." Yockey was tracked very closely by the FBI and a network of domestic and foreign gumshoes for the rest of his life. In 1952 the U.S. State Department refused to renew his passport after he went to Prague, Czechoslovakia to observe trials of eleven Communist leaders. (Because all of these leaders were Jews, Yockey saw this trial as a declaration of war by Russian nationalists in the Soviet Government against Zionism and Jewish interests in the Soviet Union and the West.) When he tried to have 200 copies of The Enemy of Europe printed in 1953 in West Germany, the German police destroyed all copies. Only a few advance copies in German sent to the U.S. survived, from which an English translation is now available from many rightist sources in America.
A revolutionary in search of a revolution, Yockey became involved in a number of international intrigues, and surfaced for a short time in Egypt assisting Anwar El-Sadat in the Egyptian Information Ministry while networking with European expatriots within the country, to include a large population of German technical advisors for the Nasser regime.
In June 1960, the FBI arrested Yockey immediately upon his arrival at the airport in Oakland, CA after a suitcase of his had gone astray and was found to have three doctored passports. According to Willis Carto, a Commissioner set his bail at $50,000, or ten times the normal amount for passport fraud. He was ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluations.
"When I visited him in jail," Yockey's sister told an interviewer at the time, "I couldn't see him through the mesh screens that separated us, but the first thing he told me was `My constitutional rights have been violated eight times to date.'"
Eleven days after his arrest, Yocker was found dead in his cell, killed by a minute dose of potassium cyanide. According to Willis Carto, some weeks after Yockey's death, the U.S. Attorney who had been charged with railroading him into an insane asylum suddenly and inexplicably resigned his job, left his wife and children, and joined a monastery.
Else wrote to me in a letter dated Nov 5, 1991: "From a historic viewpoint it seems that our Christian High culture is in its senility phase (Spengler/Yockey); and we have to get our act together, for the cultural seeds of the next High Culture must already be sown now. In view of the fact that this culture has been international in structure (Christianity, capitalism, labor unions, Communism) and these ideologies have come to the end of their life cycle, and looking at the present fighting going on along natural racial/national/religious lines, it doesn't take much vision to suggest that those spiritual/cultural sentiments might have a strong enough carrying force and become dominant in the future; especially if we can put them into a `pagan' form in which we follow the old dictum, `do what you will and harm none.'"
The enormous impact of Yockey on Else's thinking was explained in an early series of articles in The Odinist beginning with "Culture" (issue No.6, Dec 1972) and continuing with "Destiny Thinking" (No.7), "The Relativity of History" (No.8), "Historical Facts" (No.9), "Our View of History". (No. 10), "The Structure of History" (No. 11), "More Yockey" (No. 12), and "Yockey" (No 14, Dec 1974).


Francis Parker Yockey, 1917-1960, during
the brief period between his arrest and
untimely death.

The background of James Warner also merits some comment. Warner has been in and out of many different rightist movements, to include a stint alongside David Duke during his Klan days. Warner currently heads the New Christian Crusade Church based in Metairie, Louisiana and puts out the Sons of Liberty book catalog. Although Warner claims to be a Christian now, he once founded an Odinist organization. It is interesting that he listed Mill's book in addition to Fundamentalist Christian literature in his spring/summer 1991 Sons of Liberty catalog (P.O. Box 426, Metairie, LA 70004).
I provide this address with the same caveat that Else used in her No. 143, 1992 issue of The Odinist when she provided the addresses of The Appalachian Forum and National Vanguard Books as sources of some books on Norse mythology as well as rightist topics. As The Odinist puts it, "As always, we don't necessarily endorse the 'Views and opinions of anybody we might recommend as a book source, whoever they may be."
Else wrote: "To understand my approach to Odinism, one simply has to realize that only when one knows all aspects of an ideology, can one choose wisely; if you only know half of it, you're out of balance."
She also wrote. "Odinism, to the consternation of many people, Odinists as well as non-Odinists, is not dogmatic. We will have to agree upon and tolerate several main interpretations of Asatru/Odinism (denominations?!?). Eventually I believe it will all come together. Although I at present do not deal with rituals and rune lore, I'm certainly aware of both and agree that they are part of our ancient religion. I'm simply not able to deal with them, so I leave them be until somebody appears who can do so in an way I can accept as the closest to `the real thing' when my instincts tell me they are."

THOR: You have been active with the prison chaplains to get Odinism accepted?
ELSE: Yes. It is working quite well.
THOR: Well now, how is it working well?
ELSE: Well, we are getting Odinism known to many of the inmates. Also through them to their families. I have been doing that now for just about ten years. Maybe even more. Yes, I started in the early 80's. I went not quite at the beginning, but not too many years after, I went up to Tallahassee and spoke with the main chaplaincy there and had them officially accept Odinism as a proper religion.
THOR: This is the main chaplaincy in Florida's capital in Tallahassee?
ELSE: Yes.
THOR: What did you have to go through in order to get that acceptance?
ELSE: Nothing. I called up and made an appointment with the assistant Chaplain, I guess it is, I can't remember his name, I have it somewhere but it escapes my mind. I had sent some of our literature. I had discussed with him some aspects. He certainly agreed that Odinism has what it takes to be accepted as a proper religion. It has mythology. It has a world picture. It has an idea about the world and cosmology and so forth. Therefore the reason, to backtrack, the reason that I did that was that some of the chaplains were not too happy with getting our material into the prisons for those of the inmates who had asked about it. So this was the best way of doing it. And the main chaplaincy in Tallahassee agreed, and so therefore the local chaplains couldn't really say anything about it. They had to accept both the literature and also that I have been holding some seminars and services in some of the prisons.
THOR: Didn't you mention that you spent a couple of hours with a group of about twenty prisoners?
ELSE: Well, there is really not much to describe. Because I can not handle any more, I just at present go to three prisons. And I only come once a month because it involves quite a bit of driving. We have discussions, and that is really all. The men have questions and we talk about the Gods and the ideals. The code of conduct. They all have the little pamphlet we have, The Wisdom of the Edda, as the main code. And we are just talking. That is all.
THOR: Do you get very much into Northern European history in your discussions?
ELSE: Well, the men come from all kinds of background. And I like to have their questions rather than me choosing any special subject. But of course if there is no questions or there is nothing in particular that they want to discuss there is always something that I can come up with in connection with our beliefs, and with the mythology, and with history, and various ways --there is always something to talk about.
THOR: ... Are you indicating now that there are more prisoners who are interested in Odinism?
ELSE: Oh yes. Oh yes. Now we will always have to remember that they have nothing better to do. Obviously this is something new and interesting. And for those who are intelligent, it is something new that will take their interest, they have time to talk about it. Yes, they are interested. But I am not fooling myself into thinking that they will be in the forefront when they get back out of the prison situation. But some of them are very, very good. And I am sure that some of them will be our future leadership. Or I should say, some of them are definitely leadership material. No doubt about it. Intelligent, well read, and so forth. They just got in the way of the laws one way or the other. And considering some of the silly laws we have, maybe that is understandable in some cases.
THOR: Did you say in one of our prior conversations that one fourth [of the prisoners] you found to be intelligent and good leadership material and some other fraction [are not that way] ... how would you characterize the prisoners?
ELSE: Those I have contact with? That is a little hard to say. Probably maybe a fourth or third are leadership material. But when they do get out of prison they have to start at rock bottom with no transportation, no job, no clothes, no whatever. So you can not expect them to start a kindred or be concerned about Odinism for the first time when they get home. So it takes a while before we hear from them again. They usually drop out for a while, then after a year or two we hear from them.
THOR: Did you mention that there is one prisoner in particular you think when he gets out he may help to provide some leadership to the Odinist Fellowship? Inherit many of the. materials that you have.
ELSE: Oh yes, there is one person that I am quite close to. But that is quite a separate thing.
THOR: What prisons do you go to visit for your visits? How far a drive are they?
ELSE: Well, the closest is about fifty miles.
THOR: What is the name of that prison?
ELSE: That is Marion County. The place is called Lowerly. It is just north of Ocala. At the present time I also go to Timoca which is in Daytona, in between Deland and Daytona. It is a little over a hundred miles. The third one that I have just started is Able Park, which is quite a ways from where I live. It is about a hundred and sixty miles or something like that. So it is quite a long trip. Usually I would like to go once a month as a minimum, but I don't know if I can handle that much driving. It is just a matter of time. Also money, of course.
THOR: How did you get involved with the prisoners? How did that start out?
ELSE: Well first of all, I want to say that I do not want the Odinist Fellowship to be conceived as a group of cons. We have many other people as the members of the Fellowship. There is really no reason for concentrating on that. But I simply got in contact with them the same way as I get in contact with everybody. They write. They find the address some where. Our address appears in many magazines. Many newsletters. People write and ask for information. And that is how I got in contact with them.
THOR: Did you mention that some prisoners complain that there is a black history month but not a white history month?
ELSE: They all have that. And we have here locally black events, and I would like to see how our local commissioners would react if I suggested that we have a white history week in the local county. I don't think they would go for it.
THOR: Well, given demographic trends, I think that within thirty to fifty years whites will became a minority within the United States.
ELSE: Then you can claim minority rights.
THOR: (Laughter) Right now we don't have rights!
ELSE: (Laughter) No.
THOR: (Laughter) At least not in the minority sense!

Else wrote: "No packed rooms in the prisons; in each institution I have only a few people; occasionally about a dozen, but 5-6 is more common. I certainly do not want the Fellowship to be a club for cons, or ex-cons; the advantage is that when in prison the inmates have time to discuss and digest what they read, a point that often is lost to people on the outside in the hubbub of daily concerns."

POSTSCRIPT ONE: GAINESVILLE SUN ARTICLES ABOUT HOW ELSE BECAME A PRISONER HERSELF:

In the late Summer of 1992 I sent a copy of my interview with Else Christensen to my parents who live in Gainesville, Florida. On Nov 22, 1992 my mother called me up long distance. "You will never believe this! You know that woman you saw in Crystal River? There is an article in the Gainesville Sun that she is going to court on drug charges! It is horrible!!"
My mother proceeded to send me the articles as they came out. I have copied them below in full, so that no nuances are lost for those readers who want to try to read between the lines or understand the full scope of this affair. The progression of clippings have a certain drama to them. They almost seem like something out of a Jon Dos Passos or Tom Wolfe novel, except that here the truth is almost stranger than fiction:


Facing drug-trafficking charges, Else Christensen, 79, sits with Assis-
tant Federal Public Defender Thomas Miller on Friday in court

RETIRED NURSE, 79,
CHARGED IN CITRUS DRUG TRAFFICKING

Nov 21, 1992, by Karen Voyles, [Gainesville] Sun Staff writer:
The arrest of a 79-year old retired nurse on a federal drug-trafficking charge was the latest development in a case that started with a 1991 motel room murder in Chiefland.
On Friday, Else Christiansen [sic], a native of Denmark and a retired Canadian nurse, turned herself in to authorities after being indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to traffic in marijuana and hydromorphine, a synthetic heroin.
Another person nailed in the indictment, Hilton Bennet Payne, 54, of Moultrie, Ga, was arrested earlier this month after meeting with undercover officers in Tallahassee posing as drug buyers. Payne was charged in the same indictment as Christiansen with conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana and possession and distribution of hydromorphine.
Christiansen, who has lived in Crystal River in Citrus County for the past eight to 10 years, and Payne, who owns a used-car lot known as B and R Motors in Moultrie, are accused of being involved in a ring that transported drugs from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Inglis, according to state and Federal investigators.
Agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration linked Christensen and Payne with the drug ring that was uncovered as Chiefland Police and FDLE were investigating the February 1991 murder of 31-year old Philip Martin "Marty" Cryer in a Chiefland Motel room.
Investigators said Cryer was shot to death for refusing to pay more than $100,000 he owed for 117 pounds of marijuana that had been shipped to him in December 1990.
Charged with the murder were Edward Arnold Garcia, 31, and David Randall Alley, 32, both of Corpus Christi, and the woman who adopted Cryer when he was in his 20's working for her in a Mississippi bar, Gloria Dena Cryer, 53, who was also known as Gwen Calibor
Garcia was arrested in Canada and is being held there pending extradition proceedings. Alley pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Gloria Cryer pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 10 years.
While authorities investigated Marty Cryer's murder, details about the drug ring began to surface, and the federal grand jury started handing down drug indictments.
Earlier this month, Cryer's widow and his biological mother were sentenced to federal prison for their roles in moving drugs from Corpus Christi to Inglis.
Cryer's widow, Nancy Ruth Cryer, 31, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and trafficking in marijuana. She was sentenced to 40 months in prison and five years of probation and fined $6,000. The plea agreement also required Cryer to forfeit to the federal government a motorcycle and an acre of land.
Cryer's biological mother, Lola Rebecca Ash, pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced to 40 months in prison and five years' probation and fined $2,000. She was required to forfeit her property in Gilchrist County and her mobile home.
Authorities believe that Marty Cryer and his relatives and associates shipped at least a dozen loads of 100 pounds or more of marijuana from Corpus Christi to Inglis in 1990.
Along the way, Christiansen and Payne got involved with the operation to help with transportation.
After Christiansen turned herself in Friday, she appeared in court before Alachua County Judge A. L. "Buck" Curtain, who was acting as federal magistrate for Wade Hampton. At the request of federal prosecutors, Curtain set an unusual special condition for Christiansen to follow until her trail.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Jenkins asked that Christiansen be ordered to stay away from any county, state or federal detention facilities because of evidence Jenkins claimed the government had of Christiansen smuggling marijuana and other drugs into detention facilities in Florida.
Curtain agreed to the special condition and urged Christiansen to avoid prisons and jails; "I would suggest that a person of your maturity doesn't want to spend any time locked up in any of these facilities," Curtain said. Christiansen nodded her agreement.
Payne has been held without bond since his arrest because of a criminal history dating to 1953. He has served time in federal and state prisons, including a sentence for escape from a state prison in Georgia and remaining on the loose for four years.
Christiansen and Payne are expected to go on trial at the federal courthouse in Gainesville early in 1993.

VICTIM'S MOM BLAMES FRIEND
FOR SON'S DEATH

February 11, 1993, by Karen Voyles, [Gainesville] Sun Staff Writer: "The biological mother of murder victim Marty Cryer took the stand again on Wednesday and laid some of the blame for his death on a family friend.
Lola Rebecca Ash, 50, became a confidential informant for the government last year after investigators determined that Cryer's death in a Chiefland hotel room in February 1991 was the result of a soured drug deal.
Ash is serving a 30-month federal prison term for her role in the drug case and is the prosecution's star witness in the case against Else Christensen, 19, of Crystal River and Hilton Bennet Payne, 54, of Moultrie, Ga. Christensen, a Danish-born retired medical office worker, and Payne are charged with drug trafficking.
During the first days of testimony in the federal trial, Ash explained how the marijuana-dealing business she and her son operated from their adjacent Inglis homes increased in size and risk over several months. Ash also explained how Payne, the long time friend who had been "like a father to Marty," appeared to have taken the 117 pounds of marijuana that cost Cryer his life.
Ash said that Payne and another man, Ed "Tarzan" Singletary, picked up 117 pounds from Cryer and took it to Georgia, leaving Cryer vulnerable to Edward Arnold Garcia and David Randall Alley, the Texas men who gave Cryer the marijuana on credit.
"That's what caused my son to get killed right there, that pot that was ripped off," Ash said.
Defense attorneys spent more than an hour trying to pin down exactly how Ash spent her share of the money made in the marijuana business. She said she netted $600 to $700 a pound on the more than 50 pounds she had to sell, but could not recall exactly how much she had at any specific time or which sales were used to pay which bills.
"You know, when Marty was killed, it messed me up really bad for a while there," Ash said.
Defense attorneys also focused on what Ash would get in return for helping prosecutors. Ash voluntarily served as a confidential informant, introducing Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Tom Turk to Payne and Singletary's wife, Mary Kay Singletary. Turk was portrayed by Ash as a "weird, loaded buyer" who would buy as many tablets of synthetic heroin as they could supply. Payne was arrested late last year while making a sale to Turk in Tallahassee.
For her assistance, including testimony about how Christensen acted as a driver and provided storage for marijuana until it could be sold, Ash was sentenced to just half of an otherwise mandatory sentence for her drug offenses. She could have her sentence trimmed further at the end of the trial if such a move is recommended by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The trial will continue on 9 a.m. today at the federal courthouse in Gainesville, then recess until Wednesday because of scheduling conflicts."

DRUG-TRAFFICKING TRIAL:
RELIGIOUS EVIDENCE OMITTED

February 12, 1993, by Karen Voyles, [Gainesville] Sun staff writer:
Else Christensen's ties to a fellowship that believes in a Norse god were omitted from the evidence, but a phone call between the 79-year old woman and one of the witnesses against her was presented to the jury in her drug trial Thursday.
The Danish-born Christensen, who moved to Crystal River 12 years ago after retiring as manager of the X-ray department in a Toronto hospital, and her co-defendant, Hilton Bennet Payne, 54, of Moultrie, Ga are on trial for drug trafficking charges. The federal indictment was issued after local state and federal investigators linked a drug ring to the 1990 murder of Marty Cryer in Chiefland motel room.
Christensen was among those called to testify before a federal grand jury against members of the ring --including several of Cryer's relatives. Prosecutors claim she lied to the grand jury about what she was paid to drive to Texas to pick up marijuana and about her knowledge of the drug deals at the time she made the trips.
To prove that Christensen lied, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Simpson wanted to read a transcript of Christensen's grand jury testimony, which included references to her involvement in the Fellowship of Odinists. Her attorney, Tom Edwards, objected to mention of the fellowship, claiming the affiliation might unfairly reflect on his client during jury deliberations.
U.S. Judge Maurice Paul permitted all references to Odin omitted before the transcript was read to the jury.
Odin is a dominant figure in Scandinavian myth and legend. Symbols associated with hill are abundant in the pre-Christian art of the Viking era. Odin has been portrayed as a patriarchal authority known as Alfather (Father of All) with his children being the gods. Because, as legend has it, Odin fought against some of those god-children, he is also known as Valfather (Father of the Slain).
Christensen has been identified by state prison officials as a representative or spiritual leader of the followers of Odin and has, for the past several years, been permitted to minister to prisoners who were also believers. She has traveled to Union Correctional Institution and Cross City Correctional Institution as part of her prison ministry work.
Chaplain Frank Metcalfe, administrator of the state's prison chaplaincy, estimated that 25 to 50 inmates throughout the state worship Odin and have the right to request that they be allowed to meet with Christensen. Metcalfe said his knowledge of Christensen's work made him believe that she cared deeply about people.
The quality of caring was noted by one of the witnesses against Christensen on Thursday.
Dan McKenzie, 30, of Hernando, Cryer's half-brother, testified that he had called Christensen at her home Wednesday night, despite Paul's admonition to all witnesses only to discuss the case with attorneys.
"I was mainly just trying to find out about my mother's condition," McKenzie said.
McKenzie's and Cryer's mother, Lola Rebecca Ash, testified for two days about the drug ring. McKenzie tried to speak directly to Ash following her court appearance, but was rebuffed by the U.S. marshall because Ash was in custody, she is serving a 30-month sentence for her role in importing marijuana into Florida.
"After I called her (Christensen), I knew it wasn't right," McKenzie said. Both Christensen and McKenzie said the call was not adversarial, even though McKenzie's purpose in testifying was to discredit Christensen's claims that she did not know about the drugs involved when she drove members of the Cryer family to Texas on two occasions.
During the phone call, Christensen reassured McKenzie that his mother was fine.
The trial recessed unexpectedly Thursday afternoon when a juror became ill. Due to scheduling conflicts, the trial will not resume until Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the federal building in Gainesville.

ELDERLY SUSPECT TESTIFIES IN POT TRIAL

February 19, 1993, by Karen Voyles, [Gainesville] Sun Staff Writer:
Else Christensen had some trouble making up her mind, but she finally decided to testify in her own defense Thursday. The 79-year old Crystal River resident said she unwittingly got involved in the marijuana importation scheme and then lied about it to protect her friends.
Christensen is being tried on federal trafficking charges for driving cars carrying marijuana to Florida from Texas and Georgia. Several other people involved have reached plea agreements with prosecutors and are serving prison terms.
The investigation into Christensen and the others began as state and federal agents were unraveling the February 1991 murder of Marty Cryer in Chiefland motel room.
Christensen, a widow, is a native of Denmark and a retired Toronto hospital worker. Her attorney, Tom Edwards, told the jury during his opening arguments that Christensen would testify, but on Thursday afternoon he did not call a single defense witness -- not even Christensen -- to the stand.
U.S. Circuit Court Judge Maurice Paul sent the jury out of the courtroom and called Christensen to the bench to remind her of her rights.
"Whether you testify or not is a personal decision, it's going to be your decision, not your lawyer's,"
Paul also told Christensen that if she changed her mind later and regretted not testifying, "It's too late. It's all over. You may be in prison a long time, I know there are reasons sometimes not to testify -- I was a lawyer, too."
Christiansen finally decided to testify and then proceeded to tell jurors that she lied to the grand jury about what she was paid to drive the cars carrying the marijuana to try to protect her friends.
"It was a snap decision. It was the wrong decision. I regret that I made it," Christensen said.
Christensen told the grand jury that she had been paid $50 to drive from Inglis to Corpus Christi to pick up the marijuana. But on Thursday said she had been paid $500. She also said Thursday that she knew the women who rode with her to Texas were smoking marijuana in the car, but that she was unaware the women had loaded marijuana in the trunk.
"I really didn't look at what it was," Christensen testified. She said she began to suspect that marijuana was involved during her second trip to Texas because the women with her "worrying so much about my driving." Other witnesses had earlier testified that Christensen was asked to be a driver because as a senior citizen, she did not fit the profiles of people transporting illegal drugs.
When asked why she had never confronted the other people involved in the trips about her suspicions, Christensen said, "There was not much sense in doing that --it couldn't be undone." Christensen said she no longer considered the other people involved to be her friends.
Christensen was the last person to take the stand in the six day trial. After closing arguments by attorneys this morning at the federal courthouse in Gainesville, the jury will begin its deliberations.

WOMAN, 79, FOUND GUILTY IN DRUG TRIAL

February 20, 1993, by Karen Voyles, [Gainesville] Sun Staff Writer: "A juror wept softly and 79-year-old Else Christensen sat in stunned silence as the foreman of a federal jury Friday announced the verdict -- guilty.
Christensen was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and hydromorphine, a synthetic heroin. Her co-defendant, Hilton Bennet Payne, 51, was found guilty of the conspiracy charge and three counts of distributing.
The jury of eight women and four men deliberated three hours and 50 minutes before returning the decision.
The case against the pair stemmed from the 1991 murder of Marty Cryer in a Chiefland motel room. While searching for a motive in the case, Chiefland police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement discovered that Cryer's family was involved with importing drugs and that Cryer was killed for failing to pay for a 117-pound shipment of marijuana.
Christensen, a Danish-born retired medical office worker living in Crystal River, was identified as the driver of the car that hauled two loads of marijuana to Levy County from Corpus Christi, Texas. She maintained that she was unaware of the marijuana in the trunk, but said those riding with her were frequently smoking marijuana while she drove. Several others already sentenced in the case said Christensen was asked to do the driving because her age would make her an unlikely target to be stopped and checked for drug violations.
After the verdict was read, U.S. District Judge Maurice Paul ordered that Christensen --who was free on her own recognizance prior to the trial -- be taken into custody by the U.S. Marshall Service.
She was taken to the Levy County jail in Bronson and is expected to be held without bond until her sentencing. A date for the sentencing will be set after federal officials conduct a pre-sentence investigation into Christensen's background.
"It's not that I like beating up on little old ladies," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Simpson in closing arguments to the jury. "It's sad, but the evidence is that she's guilty."
Christensen's attorney, specially appointed public defender Tom Edwards, maintained that the government's witnesses against Christensen --primarily people who had already been sentenced for involvement in various aspects of the case -- had a lot to gain by giving the testimony that the government wanted, to reduce their prison sentences.
If they are going to be involved in the murder of one of their own (Marty Cryer), there's nothing to prevent them from coming in here and lying on their own behalf," Edwards said.
Simpson characterized Christensen as someone who was involved with the drugs "on a pretty low level --she was hired help, but being 78 or 79 years old is no defense for committing crimes."
After the trial ended, Edwards railed against prosecuting people in situations like Christensen's. He said the people who are the people who are the most culpable in drug conspiracy cases are usually the first to be offered plea-agreement deals by the federal government, leaving those with the least involvement in the case to stand trial.
The result, he said, is that those most involved have been sentenced by the time they testify against those with lesser involvement, and are willing to testify to the government's advantage to have their own sentences reduced.
Simpson pointed out that Christensen had been told she would not be prosecuted if she testified truthfully before a federal grand jury --but she admitted during the six day trial that she lied to the grand jury. Among other things, she told the grand jury she was paid $50 to drive to Texas and back, but during her trial she admitted she had been paid $500.
"It's a tragedy when anyone commits these crimes and ends up facing these penalties," Simpson said "At her age, it's an even greater tragedy nand the crowning tragedy is that she had every opportunity not to be here."

79-YEAR OLD GETS PRISON IN DRUG CASE

April 17, 1993, by Karen Voyles, [Gainesville] Sun Staff Writer:
A federal judge refused to let Else Christensen's age be used as a reason for shorter prison term and sentenced the 79-year old woman Friday to five years and four months for her role in a drug-smuggling scheme.
Christensen, a Danish-born Crystal River woman who turns 80 in September, was convicted by a federal jury in February of conspiring to distribute and possessing with the intent to distribute marijuana and synthetic heroin. A co-defendant --Hilton Bennett Payne, 54, of Moultrie, Ga. -- was found guilty on those charges and three counts of distributing drugs. He was also sentenced Friday.
The case started in early 1991 when Marty Cryer was murdered in a Chiefland hotel room. While looking for a motive for the murder, Chiefland police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement uncovered a drug-importation scheme being operated by Cryer's family. Investigators concluded Cryer was killed because he failed to pay for a 117 pound shipment of marijuana.
Prosecutors offered Christensen a deal, but withdrew the agreement when she lied to a federal grand jury about how much she was paid to drive to Texas to pick up drugs.
Christensen's attorney argued she should be sentenced to probation, not prison, because of her advanced age. But U.S. Circuit Court Judge Maurice Paul was adamant that she be sent to prison.
"She is here because she chose to be. She lied to the grand jury," Paul said. "Her age is the reason she got involved. She was the perfect decoy."
Paul sentenced Christensen and banned her from contact with any federal or state prisoner or inmate because of allegations she had smuggled marijuana and attorney into institutions while in prison ministry work.
Paul allowed Christensen to remain free until May 14 so she could arrange her personal affairs before beginning her prison work.
Her co-defendant, Payne, did not fare as well in front of Paul. The former used car dealer had a criminal history dating back to 1955, prompting Paul to describe Payne as a "career criminal."
Payne was sentenced to 17 years and six months in prison."


POSTSCRIPT TWO:

After I saw the April 17 Gainesville Sun article about how Else was headed for jail in a matter of weeks, I gave her a phone call on May 9, 1993. I had not spoken with her in over eight months.
Having been a victim myself of malicious and ignorant hearsay that contributed towards unjustified administrative actions, I wanted to get information straight from the source. I emphasized that I knew that I was in a very delicate position by calling her and was mainly motivated to wrap up some unfinished Odinist business such as the disposition of our interview before she went to jail.
Else confirmed the general outline of the stories contained in the Gainesville Sun articles and relayed to me the information that was later sent out in a mass distribution letter (reprinted after this section.)
She said that all of her Odinist files and 31 boxes of books were being put into storage, and that she had given a person in Brooksville, FL power of attorney to look after everything, to include her trailer. She gave me permission to keep the original photos of A. Rud Mills and his early Odinist group and various photos involving her life she had loaned to me.
Else said that her public defender is handling her appeal, and she is optimistic that it will succeed. Since her case is still active with the appeal, there were particulars I did not ask about and she did not want to disclose either.
She said that her case was purely criminal in nature, and that socially she has been made a felon. She said that for someone like myself it would not be good for my career to associate with her. She insisted that the allegation that she had smuggled marijuana into prisons was completely false and that she was not crushed or ridden with guilt. She also said that she had no knowledge of the marijuana or pills she was accused of transporting.
She did not feel that she did anything wrong. The Federal government tried to get her to "snitch" on two friends. These people that she tried to protect turned on her. If two people testify against you, that is taken as the truth. She said that she has never smoked marijuana, but in regard to the claim in the court record that some friends smoked pot in the car and a hotel room, she felt that as long as the government allows people to kill themselves by smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol, she wouldn't get disturbed because some friends smoke pot. She was trying to maintain a positive attitude as she headed for prison in Texas. She understands that the prison has a computer course, and she plans to spend her jail time doing a lot of writing.

POSTSCRIPT THREE:
A MASS DISTRIBUTION LETTER MAILED BY THE ODINIST THAT I RECEIVED ON 24 MAY 1993

Dear Fellow Odinist:
The Publication of The Odinist has ceased effective immediately, The reasons for this sudden interruption are as follows: Without going into details, your editor has been sentenced to 5 years for "Conspiracy to move an illegal substance (marijuana) across state lines."
This stems from three trips I took 2-3 years ago with some local people (non-Odinists). On the way home, unbeknown to me, the trunk was filled with pot. The people from one trip confirmed in court that I knew nothing about the pot, nor was I aware that anything illegal was taking place. However, two females from the other trip swore in court that I was part of the "conspiracy." They made a deal with the F.B.I. known as a "5-K-1" and a "rule 35" which cuts their sentence to a fraction of what it other wise would have been. The case is being appealed and the prospects for a reversal are good, but the process will take time and is not possible to continue normal operations. The Odinist has therefore joined with Steve McNallen's Runestone.
The Runestone is published quarterly for $10/year. Paid subscriptions will receive 1 Runestone for each 2 issues that are still on the books. Those who already have a subscription to The Runestone, will have it extended accordingly. The Giallarhorn Book Service is shipping all supplies to The Runestone and it's books will be available there. We are doing our best to make this a satisfactory arrangement for everyone; and of course we will arrange for a refund if asked.
We are not out of commission. When the present difficulties have past, we have plans into the next century. We shall meet again in the pages of The Runestone, and in many other times and places before the work of the folk is done.
(P.S, The Fellowship's P.O. Box [Box 1647, Crystal River, Florida 32623] will remain operational [Editor's 2009: This address was terminated following Else Christensen's deportation to Canada following her prison sentence and her subsequent death in 2005).


POSTSCRIPT FOUR (JAN 2009):


The 19 Sept 2008 update for the Wikipedia article on Else Christensen consisted of the following:

Else Christensen (1913–2005), affectionately referred to as the Folk Mother, was a pioneering Danish figure in the emergence of Asatru and Odinism in the Post-World War II Era.

Else Ochsner was born in Esbjerg, Denmark in 1913, and met her husband Alex in 1937. She and her husband became syndicalist activists before the war and thus were under heavy scrutiny by Nazi occupation troops. An informant tipped off the German Police that Else and her husband possessed numerous firearms and they were arrested and detained under suspicion of being involved in the partisan underground. They were released, but toward the end of the war Alex spent six months in a camp outside of Elsinore for his alleged syndicalist involvement.

After the war, the Christensens emigrated to Canada. In the early 1960's they heard of a Proto-Odinist named Alexander Rud Mills who had an Odinist group in Australia and had written a small book called The Call of Our Ancient Nordic Religion.[1]

In 1969, Else and her husband founded a group called The Odinist Study Group which later evolved into The Odinist Fellowship.[2] Alex died in 1971, and Else continued her work, relocating to the United States. Else published a newsletter called The Odinist for many years.

Work

Christensen was one of the earliest advocates of revitalizing Germanic Paganism in the modern age. She was preceded in the 1930s by the Australian Odinist pioneer, Alexander Rud Mills, whose writings she frequently quoted in her journal "The Odinist".

Her writings greatly influenced many of her contemporaries in groups like the Asatru Folk Assembly, the Asatru Alliance, the Odinic Rite, Comunità Odinista. Christensen is probably best known for her successful lobbying to get Odinism and Asatru recognized by the prison system in the United States, as well as her networking and letter writing campaigns. For several years Else's xeroxed and stapled Odinist newsletter were the only thing linking the scattered Odinist community across North America.

Else was very well regarded for helping many ex-convict Asatruar and Odinists reintegrate as functional members of society, as well as corresponding with hundreds of inmates who adhered to Asatru. Christensen herself, later spent 36 months in a Federal Prison over a narcotics related conviction, allegedly because she had been manipulated into being a drug mule without her knowledge. Christensen was a Canadian citizen, and after serving her prison sentence, she was without transportation, homeless and totally destitute.

The Asatru community held a fund raiser to help her get re-established in British Columbia. She resumed her involvement with The Odinist Fellowship and continued publishing The Odinist as the Midgard Page newsletter. In 2005, at the age of 91, she retired from running her organization. Else died a few days later, on May 5th.

Criticisms

Critics have claimed that Christensen advocated National Socialism, however, it can be clearly seen from her own writings that she actually advocated the Anarcho-syndicalism of her youth. She idealized a decentralized folkish communalism with a heavy emphasis on race, ecological awareness and advocated a pagan back to the land movement.[1]

Christensen's Odinist Fellowship along with other racially-oriented groups which were active in the early days of Germanic Neopaganism contributed to the rise of what has been called "Aryan revolutionary paganism" in the United States and the subsequent infusion of the racist right with pagan religion.[2]

This is distinctly different from the Folkish beliefs of most Germanic Neo-Pagans who distinctly eschew affiliations with Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists, although sometimes the lines are blurred by terminology and semantics.[3]

In a 1986 exchange with Ben Klassen, who was researching materials for his book A Revolution of Values Through Religion, Christensen wrote:

It is our destiny to be born in a historic period where the present cultural period is dying; it will still take maybe a couple of more centuries before the final collapse. The new has not been born yet, but I hope and believe that we are today doing the groundwork for the foundation upon which the new basis for the religious/philosophical moral concepts will be built. They will have to be racial, discriminatory, self-assertive, proud.

Klassen, then dismissed Christensen and Odinism as incompatible and counter-productive to the white supremacist cause and his anti-Christian agenda, and stated:

A religion that failed to withstand the Jewish-Christian onslaught a thousand years ago cannot reasonably be expected to roll it back now, under conditions a thousand times more adverse.[4]

After her time in prison, Christensen was adamant about not infusing politics or race with Odinism. The policies of the newly revived Odinist Fellowship and the tone of her writings were distinctly apolitical and non-racially oriented.[5]

Notes

1. Gardell, p.173
2. Gardell, ch.4
3. Gardell, p.273
4. Klassen, Book 1, Part XII
5. Gardell, p.177

1. "The Odinic Rite - THE CALL OF OUR ANCIENT NORDIC RELIGION". Retrieved on 2008-02-20.
2. Kaplan, Jeffrey (2000). Encyclopedia of white power: a sourcebook on the radical racist right. Walnut Creek, Calif: AltaMira Press. ISBN 0-7425-0340-2.

See also

* Ásatrú
* Germanic neopaganism
* Odinic Rite

References

* Gardell, Matthias, Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism, Duke University Press (2003), ISBN 0-8223-3071-7
* Klassen, Ben, A Revolution of Values Through Religion (1991) ISBN 0-9636094-8-3 Book 1, Chap Part XII
* An Interview With Else Christensen by Thor Sannet, Vor Tru issue #49, 1993, reprinted in issue #71, 2005

External links

* Kindred Folk of the Odinist Fellowship
* Odinic Rite announce Else' official retirement
* Odinic Rite Memorial
* Else Christensen's Grave Stone, commissioned by the Odinic Rite
* Hail the Folkmother! by Osred
* Odinist Library Memorial Page
* Minnatranc for the Folk Mother by Steve Anthonijsz


Update References:

2011-01-08 Else Christensen and The Odinist archive. Sample issues of The Odinist are now available online at America First Books.

 

 

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William B. Fox is a former Marine Corps officer with experience in logistics, public affairs, and military intelligence. He is an honors graduate of the Harvard Business School and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of Southern California. He is also publisher of America First Books at www.americafirstbooks.com

 

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