literature, Switzerland, 1940
politic which is so characteristic for Switzerland, originates from the
nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, Switzerland maintained her
neutrality. As a result, the country was neutral in World War I. One of
the results of the Versailles Treaty was the founding in 1920 of the
League of Nations, succeeded in 1946 by the United Nations Organization.
The League of Nations became seated in Geneva.
Switzerland also remained neutral in World War II, but its position was
not enviable. The country was surrounded by national-socialists and
their allies; in the course of the war, Switzerland had to made some
concessions. Economic cooperation with Germany and the deliverance of
war material injured the neutrality of Switzerland. The Swiss
government's attitude in the years before World War II towards German
Jews was controversial.
In Geneva in April 1940, shortly before the German invasion in Belgium,
France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, the astrologer/graphologist
Antoine Rossier published the brochure Que se passera-t-il entre le printemps 1940 et le
printemps 1941? as a special edition of his monthly Prédictions.
This brochure, which from Switzerland was spread in a.o. France, was the
French version of a national-socialist text, written in
November-December 1939 by Hans-Wolfgang Herwarth von Bittenfeld, prof. Karl Bömer
Gutterer, working at Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda. Que se
passera-t-il...? was printed by A. Mayor in Geneva, who also
printed the monthly Prédictions. The circulation number was 20.000.
I do not know if it was tried in Switzerland to stop the spreading of
In autumn 1940, when the Germans consolidated their positions on the
European continent, Les éditions utiles in Geneva published two
books about the Centuries.
One of these books was entitled Les vrayes Centuries de Me Michel Nostradamus.
It was a reprint of the 1649-Rouen-edition of the Centuries
and did not contain references or comments. In a
preface, the publisher wrote not having been allowed to convert the
old-French texts into modern-French or to add comments. This can be
explained as a statement of the publisher to keep himself on distance of
what happened around Switzerland in 1939 and 1940. Despite this
inconvenience, he was convinced that the readers, with a little
attention and a little thinking, easily could manage to grasp the real
meaning of the Centuries. He also wrote that he would publish a
glossary which would help the readers in interpreting the Centuries. This
glossary, entitled Initiation à Nostradamus. Méthode et
Glossaire pour l'interpretation des "Vrayes Prophéties",
was also published in 1940. In the preface, it read that a glossary was
not enough to fathom the Centuries. Therefore, Initiation à
Nostradamus... also contained a chapter in which a method was
explained to study and interpret the Centuries. In 1941, Les
éditions utiles published the series Nostradamus en français
moderne - Les Centuries, a ten-volume edition of the Centuries,
commented by André Stivène. After the war, Stivène translated a
number of book in French, among which a novel by Pearl S. Buck
Nostradamus and the Centuries were also discussed in the press,
as shown by a remark of dr. Gunter Altenburg, head of the Information
section of the German Ministry of Foreign
Affairs in a letter, dated on March 8,
1940, that the Swiss astrologer Karl Ernst Krafft in the Geneva
newspaper La Suisse refuted some remarks about Nostradamus and
the Centuries and took the opportunity to make propaganda for
Unsere Stellung zum Schicksal
- Unsere Stellung zum Schicksal (Werner Zimmermann,
By the end of 1940, after
the edition of the reprint of the 1649-edition of the Centuries and
Initiation à Nostradamus..., Fankhauser publishers in
Zielbrücke-Thielle published the brochure Nostradamus - Die Weissagungen des
grossen französischen Sehers - Unsere Stellung zum Schicksal. On
the cover and the title page, the question Was wird uns die
Zukunft bringen? was added to the title.
Nostradamus - Unsere Stellung zum Schicksal as this brochure is
named in this article, was printed at Fritz Marti's book printing office, Ryffligässchen 6 in
Bern. The author, Werner Zimmermann, basing himself upon his philosophy
of life, wanted to answer the question if the many fulfilled predictions
in the Centuries meant that the future can be foretold, the fate
of individuals and nations is predestined and if there is no free will.
According to a remark on page 14, he wrote the text of this brochure by
the end of 1940.
Prof. dr. h.c. Werner
Zimmermann, born in Lyss in Switzerland on June 21, 1893 and died in Ringgenberg in
Switzerland on August 28, 1982, is known as the most outstanding Swiss
social reformer of the twentieth century and had a huge reputation, in
Switzerland as well as abroad.
In 1915, working as a teacher on a high school, Zimmermann became a
member of the Schweizer Freiland-Freigeld Bund, an organization
which pursuits land reform and financial reform. Zimmermann got the
conviction that young people in every sense should be able to grow in
freedom and to develop themselves, something which had to be preceded by
a social liberation. The ideas of Silvio Gesell, the founder in Germany
of the reforming movement Natürliche
Wirtschaftsordnung (NWO), who he met in 1919, and
Mahatma Gandhi, who made him familiar with the mystic aspects of Taoism,
played an important part in Zimmermann's development of his philosophy
of life and his social-political ideas.
In October 1934, apparently as a reaction to the developments in Germany,
Zimmermann founded the Wirtschaftsring (WIR), an
organization of self-support which at the same time was a practical form
of free socialism.
Zimmermann wrote a number of guide-books, made translations of a.o. the
book Wu Wei, in which Henri Borel explained the teachings of Lao
Tse and wrote numerous brochures about economy, health, nudism, pedagogic,
politic, psychology, sexuality and well-being. In his
brochure Sei Meister deines Schicksals (1937), he discussed
factors which put a restraint to human freedom and ways to deliver
oneself from these restraints.
Even in high age, Zimmermann searched for ways to build bridges
between western and eastern spiritual values.
division and bibliography
Nostradamus - Unsere Stelling zum Schicksal is a brochure which
consist of 32 pages and has no illustrations. The text of Nostradamus
- Unsere Stellung zum Schicksal is divided into the following
Revolution und Napoleon
zweite Weltkrieg 1939 - ??
Uebersetzung und Auslegung
||Können wir durch
Nostradamus die nähere Zukunft voraussehen?
Zwangslaüfigkeit des Schicksals
||Gibt es einen
Quellenwerke contains a
bibliography of works on Nostradamus and the Centuries, consulted
by Zimmermann while writing Nostradamus - Unsere Stellung zum Schicksal heeft
- Fontbrune, dr. de:
Les Prophéties de maistre Michel Nostradamus - expliquées et
commentées. Sarlat, 1939.
- Loog, C.: Die
Weissagungen des Nostradamus: erstmalige Auffindung des Chiffreschlüssels
und Enthüllung der Prophezeiungen über Europas Zukunft und
Frankreichs Glück und Niedergang, 1555-2200. Pfullingen in
Württemberg, 1921 (1920).
- N.N.: Les
vrayes Centuries de Me Michel Nostradamus. Geneva, 1940.
- N.N.: Initiation
à Nostradamus. Méthode et Glossaire pour l'interpretation des
"Vrayes Prophéties". Geneva, 1940.
- Noah, B.: Nostradamus
- Prophetische Weltgeschichte von 1547 bis gegen 3000. Berlijn,
- Ruir, Em.: Le
grand carnage d'après les prophéties de "Nostradamus".
- Ruir, Em.: L'écroulement
de l'Europe d'après les prophéties de "Nostradamus".
contents of Nostradamus
- Unsere Stellung zum Schicksal
In a short
introduction, Zimmermann tuned the contents of his brochure. Nostradamus
made one thousand predictions, many of them were fulfilled strikingly in
detail, as the reader will see. The question which results from this is
if the future can be foretold and if the fate of individuals and nations
is predestined, which means that free will does not exist. Zimmermann
informs his readers about the life of Nostradamus, the value of
predictions and their features, predictions in the Centuries
which until 1940 were fulfilled and problems which occur while
explaining these predictions. Then, he proceeds to discuss the far away
future and to answer the question if the future already is determined
and the question about the relationship between fate and free will.
life of Nostradamus
Zimmermann has tried to give a maximum exposure of Nostradamus and the Centuries.
From Noah's Nostradamus -
Prophetische Weltgeschichte von 1547 bis gegen 3000, he copied the
biography which was published in the 1668-Ribou-edition of the Centuries:
the Brèf discours from Ianus Gallicus. He meant he could
derive Nostradamus' methods from the quatrains 01-01 and 01-02 and the
Preface to Cesar: the phrasing of visions, obtained in a somnambulistic
state of mind, using the tripod and a divining-rod.
Zimmermann also mentioned the story that Nostradamus went down on his knees for
a monk in which he saw a pope, the later pope Sixtus V.
of a prediction; features
According to Zimmermann, predictions prove their value if they are
confirmed by corresponding events. The more predictions become fulfilled,
the greater the chance that predictions, not fulfilled yet, will be
fulfilled, except for some failures.
One of the features of a prediction is that it can be explained in many
ways and that names and fulfilment dates are not given in detail. As a
result, the prediction can only be understood if the predicted event has
taken place. Nostradamus chose to phrase his predictions in a gloomy way
in order to prevent abuse or to prevent being persecuted by the
Inquisition. Scarcely, he gives years, names or astrological
configurations which are suited for verification.
fulfilled between 1555 and 1918
From the one thousand predictions for the period 1555-3797, Zimmermann,
basing himself mainly upon Noah's Nostradamus
- Prophetische Weltgeschichte von 1547 bis gegen 3000, considered
about four hundred to be fulfilled. Until the end of World War I,
predictions were fulfilled about the decease of Henry II and the end of
the Valois dynasty, the beheading of Charles I, the French Revolution,
the beheading of Louis XVI, the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte and his reign
of fourteen years, the murder of Umberto I, the murder in 1914 of
archduke Franz-Ferdinand, resulting in the beginning of World War I, the
failing German submarine attacks on England and the end of World War I,
when Germany, not defeated, had to give away Elsace-Lorraine.
fulfilled between 1918 and 1939
In Nostradamus - Prophetische Weltgeschichte von 1547 bis gegen 3000,
Noah situated a number of quatrains next to 1927, the year in which he
wrote his book. According to Zimmermann, a number of them wre fulfilled,
such as the prediction in quatrain 03-76 about the rise of new sects and
the prediction in quatrain 03-67 of the rise in Germany of a new
philosophical movement. He did not specify if these quatrains actually
dealt with the rise of national-socialism. Further, Zimmermann mentioned
the circumstances in Russia after World War I, leaving it up to the
reader to decide if in quatrain 01-14 the end of the Romanov-dynasty and
the rise of communism was predicted. Closing, Zimmermann discussed
quatrain 01-47 as a prediction of the failure of the League of Nations
and quatrain 06-20 as a prediction of the rise of Mussolini.
In the eyes of Zimmermann, these quatrains are a proof of the clairvoyance of
Nostradamus and the ability of Noah to fathom the Centuries, not
only in connection with the past, but also in connection with the
In connection with World War II, Zimmermann first discussed quatrain
03-57 as an example of the precise mentioning of the year in which World
War II began. He based himself upon Noah, whose version of quatrain
03-57 and comment he quoted literally, and upon Carl Loog, who in 1921
(1920) in Die Weissagungen des Nostradamus
had written that Nostradamus in quatrain 03-57 wanted to tell that the
last and most severe crisis for England was accompanied by a crisis for
the resurrected Poland. In Noah's comment upon quatrain 05-51,
Zimmermann saw the decline of the "Small Entente" and in
quatrain 05-26, which Noah had not interpreted in detail, the Russian
invasion in Finland. According to Zimmermann, Nostradamus also predicted
the arms which were used in World War II, such as the bomber and the
Zimmermann further gave the text of about ten quatrains, among which the
quatrains 02-78, 02-83,
05-94, 10-51, and 10-100 and wondered if these predictions would be
fulfilled in World War II or somewhere after.
problems; interpretation problems, the fate of Switzerland
Reminding his readers that it is difficult to understand the meaning of
a prediction as long as the episode is not completed, Zimmermann
discussed the question if the word Hister
in the quatrains 02-24, 04-68 and 05-29 indicates Hitler as a person, as
supposed in French Century-comments.
Basing himself upon Loog, Zimmermann gave a series of anagrams and
symbolic names which occur in the Centuries. Although he could
not deal with the explanation in Initiation
à Nostradamus... that the word Hister was an ancient
name of the Danube, he considered it too early to take this word as an
anagram for Hitler.
Given the fact that Switzerland was not mentioned in the quatrains which
Zimmermann had discussed, he concluded that Switzerland would not play a
special part in the events in and around 1940.
For the far-away future, Zimmermann wrote that Nostradamus had
announced in the quatrains 10-75 and 04-31 the coming of a world teacher
and in other quatrains, among which the quatrains 10-42 and 01-48, the
coming of a golden age of peace after immense suffering and countless
Nostradamus enabling us to look into the future?
According to Zimmermann, a prediction can only be explained when the
predicted event has occurred or is starting. Whoever runs ahead of this,
is at risk of projecting his own desires, hope and fear upon the
predictions. This has happened to Noah, who considered the period
1930-31 to be dangerous for Italy, and Em. Ruir, who in Le grand carnage d'après les
prophéties de "Nostradamus" announced a war in July 1938
between Germany and France, and to some compartriots of Zimmermann, who,
basing themselves upon Nostradamus, expected that Germany would invade
France by crossing Basle.
The brief and gloomy phrasings of the quatrains and the fact that they
were not ordered according to their fulfilment dates, makes it extremely
difficult to fathom them. Loog referred to a system to arrange the
quatrains, but did not explain it in detail. According to quatrain
03-94, the nature of the key to the quatrains would become clear around
and free will
Fate is compulsive. In the eyes of Zimmermann, this compulsiveness
is caused by the laws of cause and effect in the life of individuals and
the existence of nations. Fate is the result of things which happened in
the past. If one recognizes this, one understands the meaning and the
necessity of present events and even will be able to look ahead.
Zimmermann stated that man in some way can change his fate. All living forms
contain a sparkle of spiritual life-force, by which a seed or egg grows
into e.g. a huge tree or a unique human being. Here, Zimmermann refers
to his brochure Redende
Form - Die Schrift über praktische Menschenkenntnis nach der
Hutter-Lehre (1940). From the outside, man is the product of his
past and inheritance, his education, acts and failures. From the inside
however, man can decide by himself if fate will be favourable or not.
This is related to what man expects of life. The outer, material world
is transient. In his inner world, man must orient himself upon becoming
a true, brave and good individual, in other words: return to God. It is
also related to the fact that man is a spiritual creature which on earth
is hidden in a physical body. Whoever sees death as a transition to
another form of existence, has no longer fear for death and will look
upon fate from a different perspective. Even in the most heavy
circumstances, one can free oneself from outer matters, chains and weaknesses.
Then, the fearful things offer the possibility of inner growth. As a
result, one changes the impact of fate and becomes master of his fate,
as described in Sei Meister deines Schicksals
In the eyes of Zimmerman, Nostradamus was familiar with this truths and
remained calm in his spiritual life, despite the terrifying events he
foresaw. Zimmermann wrote that Nostradamus was aware of the fact that
God uses scourges or even satanic forces to teach people and nations and
to let them live according to the Great Laws of Life.
Zimmermann states that the one who lives according to his impulse,
always will be delivered to the compulsive nature of fate. On the other
hand, one who grows will not try to avoid his fate. He will not be
worried about tomorrow, as every moment has its own fulfilment. It is
not important what is about to come, but the way in which we experience
it and deal with it.
superfluous nature of the Centuries
Unsere Stellung zum Schicksal was written in a time when the Centuries
were quite sensational because of the war in Europe which had begun in
1939. Despite the fact that Switzerland did not suffer from the war,
they were also sensational there, given the addition of the question Was
wird uns die Zukunft bringen? to the title of this brochure and Zimmermann's
remark that some of his compatriots, basing themselves upon Nostradamus,
expected or feared a German invasion in France by crossing Basle or an air raid on
the Expo in Zürich. Zimmermann's remark that the discussed quatrains
lead to the conclusion that Switzerland would not play an important part
in the events in 1940 and later, might have reassured some of his
compatriots. His remarks about dealing with fate and growing spiritually
might have helped some of his compatriots in keeping their head and
heart high and raising themselves above the everyday misery.
I have no idea about the impact in 1940-45 of Nostradamus
- Unsere Stellung zum Schicksal. However, the spiritual message
raises questions. According to Zimmermann, the man who grows spiritually
will not worry about tomorrow. It is not important what is about to
come, but how man experiences it and deals with it. Such an attitude
implies that the Centuries are not important for spiritual life.
If it is not important to know what is about to come, knowledge about the
future is also not important, so there is no need to deepen oneself in
the Centuries. Like this, the Centuries are superfluous.
The question is if Zimmermann has thought like this and if not, for what
reason he considered the Centuries to be a matter of importance.
Prophetische Weltgeschichte von 1547 bis gegen 3000
In the eyes of Zimmermann, the predictions in the Centuries are
reliable. In the past, hundreds of them were fulfilled, which means that
the remaining part also will be fulfilled. Zimmermann noted that the
fulfilment of a prediction only becomes clear when the predicted event
or episode is about to happen or occurred.
Zimmermann based his positive evaluation of the predictional value of
the Centuries on mainly Noah's Nostradamus - Prophetische Weltgeschichte von 1547
bis gegen 3000. He observed that Noah described how until 1927, the
year in which he wrote his book, quatrains were fulfilled and that
events in the period 1927-1940 corresponded with Noah's comments upon
quatrains which he situated in that period. In the eyes of Zimmermann,
this not only demonstrated Nostradamus' clairvoyance, but also the
precision of Noah's comment.
From Nostradamus - Unsere Stellung zum Schicksal, it does not
become clear if Zimmermann compared Noah's comments with the comments of
De Fontbrune, Loog and Ruir and concluded that Noah's comment was the
most precise of them. The problem which is at stake, is that Noah copied
his dating of quatrains for an important part from Loogs Die Weissagungen des Nostradamus,
whereas Loog in his turn copied the dating and explanation of a number
of quatrains from Le Pelletier's Les oracles de Michel
de Nostredame (Paris, 1867).
In his comments in Nostradamus - Prophetische Weltgeschichte von
1547 bis gegen 3000, Noah projected events and expectations on
quatrains, whether or not basing himself upon other publications,
instead of calculating fulfilment dates with some kind of prediction
system and next verify if events, occurred on these dates, corresponded
with the contents of the involved quatrains.
In Nostradamus - Unsere
Stellung zum Schicksal, the comment upon quatrain 03-57 plays an
important part. Because of being on bad terms with the Versailles
Treaty, Noah stated that God's judgement on England would not be before
1939. Zimmermann copied this, without realizing himself that by autumn
1940, the Germans started air raids in the night on England without
getting England on her knees. Looking back upon what happened in World
War II, we can add that England finally got the victory, which is not
corresponding with "God's judgement". Moreover, Noah had
described the nature of this judgement: first internal confusion and
fight, next small revolutions in the British colonies and the gradual
decline of colonies and dominions, next a war.
In 1939-1940, none of this happened. Moreover, Noah had not written
anything concrete about a German part in the events in Poland in 1939.
Therefore, it is inconceivable that Zimmermann, who criticized Noah for
his failed expectation for Italy in 1930-31, did not criticize him for
his failed expectation for England in 1939.
In his discussion of quatrain 03-57, Zimmermann also quoted Loog's
statement that in 1939, according to Nostradamus, the last and most
sever crisis in England would be accompanied by a crisis in the
resurrected Poland. Zimmermann's discussion does not show that Loog had
no idea about the nature of the crises in England and Poland and that
according to him, a world war in which Germany would be involved would
not begin before 2100. In Loog's comment in Die Weissagungen des Nostradamus
upon quatrain 03-57, Germany played no part at all. Therefore, it cannot
be attributed to Loog that he, basing himself upon quatrain 03-57,
predicted the German invasion in September 1939 in Poland and the
subsequent British declaration of war to Germany. This means that it
cannot be attributed to the author of quatrain 03-57 that at the time he
wrote this quatrain, he had the German invasion in September 1939 in
Poland in mind. In a certain way, Loog's comment took the place of the
original predictions in quatrain 03-57 and it is because of the
interpretation of Loog's comment upon quatrain 03-57 that it was
attributed to Nostradamus that he predicted the beginning of World War
II, an idea which Loog finally subscribed but despite adjustment of his
comment not could make plausible.
Zimmermann's remarks on quatrain 03-57 are an example of the frequent occurring
phenomenon that not an event is presented as a proof of fulfilment, but
an interpretation of a comment, without interpreting this comment in the context of which it
is part (the world war which according to Loog only would begin in 2100
and the problems England would have with its colonies). In Century-comments,
it also frequently occurs that a comment upon a quatrain or the
interpretation of a comment dominates the
actual predictions, which results in the attribution of the contents of
the comment or its interpretation to the author of the quatrain (Nostradamus supposed to have
predicted the beginning of World War II). One should be aware of this
when reading Century-comments.
According to Zimmermann, one of the features of a Century-quatrain
is that information about persons and fulfilment dates are kept vague
deliberately. As a result, the meaning of the prediction in a quatrain
only becomes clear if the predicted event or episode is either at hand
or if it has occurred. I prefer another phrasing: the major part of the
quatrains do not contain fulfilment dates, which means that the
intentions of the author cannot be verified. The possibility of linking
in retrospect an event to a quatrain which does not contain a fulfilment
date, is not the slightest guarantee that the author, when writing this
quatrain, had the event in mind which later was presented by
Meern, the Netherlands, November 10, 2007
T.W.M. van Berkel
updated on December 17, 2007
The author wishes to thank mr. Wilhelm Zannoth for sending a copy of Nostradamus - Unsere Stellung zum
Schicksal and the Historische Drucke section of
the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin for sending information about the
books on Nostradamus and the Centuries, published in 1940
and 1941 by Les éditions utiles.
The titles, places and
year of issue of the mentioned authors are listed in the bibliography.
Berkel: Que se
passera-t-il entre le printemps 1940 et le printemps 1941? Geneva,
- Zimmermann-1940: Quellenwerke.
- Maichle: Die
Nostradamus-Propaganda der Nazis 1939-1942. [text]
- The information on
Zimmermann is taken from the following sources:
- Bartsch, G.: Werner
Zimmermann und die Lebensreform;
Zimmermann - Lebensreform in der Schweiz. [text]
- Em. Ruir did not discuss the Hister-quatrains.
De Fontbrune consequently linked the word Hister to the
Danube and as such to Germany (De Fontbrune, p.172). [text]
- Noah-2005 (1928), p.157. [text]
- Van Berkel:
03-57 and Die Weissagungen des Nostradamus (C. Loog, Pfullingen
in Württemberg, 1921 );
- Prophete rechts -
Prophete links - War Nostradamus wirklich Scharlatan und Betrüger?
(C. Loog, Der Reichswart, December 12, 1940). [text]