Otto Wilhelm Rahn (February 18, 1904—March 13, 1939) was a German medievalist and a Obersturmführer (First Lieutenant) of the SS, born in Michelstadt, Germany.
Speculation still swirls around Otto Rahn and his research. From an early age, he became interested in the legends of Parsifal, Holy Grail, Lohengrin, and the Nibelungenlied. While attending the University of Giessen he was inspired by his professor, the Baron von Gall, to study the Albigensian (Catharism) movement, and the massacre that occurred at Montségur. Rahn is quoted as saying that "It was a subject that completely captivated me''".
b. February 18, 1904; Michelstadt, Germany.
d. March 13, 1939; Tyrolean Mts.
Poet, mystic, and Nazi researcher. Rahn was obsessed with two ideas--the Holy Grail and the Cathars, medieval French heretics; while in college, he had intended to write a dissertation on the hypothetical Kyot, the supposed troubador who gave Wolfram von Eschenbach the story of Parzival.
In 1929, he made a special trip to the Languedoc region of Southern France, a hotbed of Catharist activities in the thirteenth century. He began excavating at Montsegur, the last Cathar stronghold to fall to the Inquisition. Legend had it that the Cathars had a great treasure which was never found, but hidden deep in the mountainside. Rahn was convinced that this treasure was the Holy Grail, and he intended to find it.