Born a Methodist, Baum and his wife, Maud Gage, “converted” to Theosophy three years before “Oz” hit bookstands.
Modern Theosophy formed in 16th century Germany, as practitioners drew on ancient myths and occult sciences to create symbolic meanings. The universe could be unveiled and fully understood, adherents believed, if only people learned to read its hieroglyphs.
Theosophical Society leader Helena Blavatsky organized a ritual and communal infrastructure into which Baum and his wife entered in 1897. Blavatsky preached about a world filled with interracial struggle, where a superior Aryan race toiled against “semi-human” Jews.
“Judaism is a religion of hate and malice toward everyone and everything outside itself,” wrote Blavatsky in her “Secret Doctrine.” Decades later, this and other Blavatsky teachings resurfaced in Nazi racial doctrine.
Notice how adroitly the argument is developed: Baum accused of inciting genocide for his comments about Native Americans (made only in one editorial), his bigotry reinforced by his acceptance of Theosophy (“formed in 16th century Germany”), its leader H.P. Blavatsky “preached about a world filled with interracial struggle, where a superior Aryan race toiled against ‘semi-human’ Jews,” and then the coup de grâce, “this and other Blavatsky teachings resurfaced in Nazi racial doctrine.” Ergo: Baum was bad, and, possibly worse, as shown by his having Blavatsky as a mentor.
That Theosophists, who are always ready to criticize each other in the name of Blavatsky, should allow this charge go unanswered, is a shameful commentary on the state of their movement.
The full quote from The Secret Doctrine (2:471) reads: Judaism, built solely on Phallic worship, has become one of the latest creeds in Asia, and theologically a religion of hate and malice toward everyone and everything outside themselves.