Savitri Devi was a philosopher, a religious thinker, and a tireless polemicist and activist for the causes of animal rights, European pagan revivalism, Hindu Nationalism, German National Socialism, and — after the Second World War — pan-European racial nationalism. She also sought to found a religion, Esoteric Hiterlism, fusing National Socialism with the Traditionalism of René Guénon and Julius Evola. All told, she was one of the most extraordinary personalities of the 20th century.
She was born Maximine Portaz born in Lyons, France on September 30, 1905. Her mother, Julia Nash was English, descending from Viking stock. (She claimed that the name Nash is derived from Ash, as in the World Ash Tree.) Her father, Maxim Portaz, was three fourths Italian from Savoy, one fourth Greek. Because of her mixed-European heritage, she identified herself simply as “European.” She also described herself as a “nationalist of all nations,” what Frank Salter called “universal nationalism.”
For an account of her life and work, read R. G. Fowler’s tribute to Savitri Devi on her 100th birthday: “Woman Against Time: Remembering Savitri Devi’s 100th Birthday.” German translation here, French translation here, Norwegian translation here.
Savitri Devi died on October 22, 1982 in Sible Hedingham, Essex, England at the home of her friend Muriel Gantry. For a sad account of her passing, see Muriel Gantry’s “The Last Days of Savitri Devi,” selected from her correspondence by R. G. Fowler.
For more information on Savitri Devi’s life, work, and influence see R. G. Fowler’s website The Savitri Devi Archive.
Four of Savitri Devi’s books are currently in print in English and available for purchase here. For an ideal introduction to Savitri Devi’s life and work, see And Time Rolls On: The Savitri Devi Interviews. For her views on animal rights, vegetarianism, and Deep Ecology, see her manifesto Impeachment of Man. For accounts of her clandestine propaganda activities in Occupied Germany see Gold in the Furnace: Experiences in Occupied Germany. On her subsequent arrest, trial, and imprisonment, see Defiance: The Prison Memoirs of Savitri Devi. (Also check out Alex Kurtagi?’s reviews of Gold in the Furnace here and Defiance here.)
For information on forthcoming volumes by Savitri Devi, including the long-awaited republication of the complete and unabridged edition of The Lightning and the Sun, see The Savitri Devi Archive News page.