substudY "WORLD WAR ii"
Information on dr. Max Pigeard de Gurbert alias dr. De Fontbrune (1900-1959)
- T.W.M. van Berkel -

Nederlandse versie

Dr. de Fontbrune
Dr. de Fontbrune, 1954
signing books
(photo: Neyens)

Some facts about dr. De Fontbrune
The name "De Fontbrune", name of an extinct branch of the family Pigeard de Gurbert, is the author's pseudonym of the French physician and Century-scholar dr. Max Pigeard de Gurbert.
De Fontbrune was born in Castres on February 6, 1900. His father was justice of the peace. After successfully accomplishing his study in Greek and Latin, De Fontbrune, who wanted to please his father, studied legislation in Bordeaux and promoted. At the age of 21, he started to study medical science in Bordeaux and specialized himself in dermatology and veneric diseases. At the end of his study, he met with Marie-Thérèse Fonteneau, whom he married on September 8, 1931. From this marriage, three children were born. Jean, born in 1935, studies Nostradamus like his father and uses the author's pseudonym Jean-Charles de Fontbrune. The name of one of the other two children was Alain. In 1981, Alain accused his brother Jean-Charles of damaging the reputation of their father by his book Nostradamus - Historien et prophète, which was published in 1980 and which raised much commotion in France in the summer of 1981.
In 1932, De Fontbrune started a medical practice in Sarlat in a 16th-century hotel. The first time he was confronted with the Centuries was in the summer of 1934. One of his patient gave him a Lyonese edition of the Centuries, dating from 1606. While reading, De Fontbrune's attention was drawn to a remark in the Epistle to the French king Henry II that in three regions (Romania, Germania and Spain) several sects would come into existence as a result of military acts. De Fontbrune linked this remark to the rise of fascism and national-socialism and concluded that general Franco, in 1934 appointed to Chief of Staff of the army, would become Spain's dictator, something which became reality a couple of years later. 
Between 1937 and his decease in 1959, De Fontbrune wrote five books abuot Nostradamus. The announcement in 1938 in Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées that Germany would loose the coming French-German war, was reason for the Vichy-government to ban this book in November 1940. By that time, the sixth, seventh and eighth edition were already published. The letter of Ch. Nismes, censor in Cahors, to the owners of Coueslant printers/publishers, seated in Cahors, dated on November 13, 1940, raises the impression that banning De Fontbrune's book was a matter of precaution, since his comments might provoke vehement reactions of the occupying authorities. All copies which were part of library collections in the Vichy region were confiscated and burned, so was the matter. In vain, the Gestapo several times tried to arrest De Fontbrune.
In August 1945, De Fontbrune started a dermatological practice in Périgueux and was appointed as the head of the dermatology / venereal diseases section of the local hospital. He did research on dermatologic and venereal treatments and educated nurses. In 1955, he left Périgueux; his philosophical and political ideas were not accepted by some noblemen. After some time, he managed to settle in Aix-en-Provence as a dermatologist. 
After a long sick-bed, De Fontbrune died in a hospital in Montpellier on June 6, 1959.[1]


Publications [2]

Les Prophéties de Nostradamus dévoilées - Lettre à Henri II (1937 and 1939)
First of De Fontbrune's books about Nostradamus. It contained a transcript of the Epistle to Henry II and a translation into modern-French by De Fontbrune. There were two editions, in 1937 and 1939. It looks as if Jean-Charles de Fontbrune did not mention this book in the biography of his father. 

Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées (1938-1975)
Second of De Fontbrune's books about Nostradamus. In February 1938, the manuscript was handed over to the printer/publisher. The first edition was published on September 8, 1938 by Michelet publishers in Sarlat in the department of Dordogne. It contained comments by De Fontbrune in which he linked a number of events which occurred in the past in Europe and the Mediterranean region to Century-quatrains, Présages and Sixains. By means of other Century-quatrains, Présages and Sixains, he described events which according to him would happen in the future until Judgment Day, which would be in or around 1999. A copy of the first edition, printed on vellum, was sent to the Vatican Library. According to his son Jean-Charles, De Fontbrune predicted in the first edition the decease in February 1939 of Pope Pius XI, the outbreak of the French-German war and Germany's defeat.[3]
From the first edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, De Fontbrune explicitly made a link between the predictions in the nostradamic oeuvre and biblical prophecies. In his eyes, the contents of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées were in full correspondence with the Roman Catholic doctrine.
In the course of the years, De Fontbrune continuously revised the contents of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées. In 1939, Michelet publishers published the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth edition. The fifth edition, its manuscript handed over to the printer/publisher in May 1939, was made as a tribute to Pius XII, who on March 2, 1939, was elected as Pope
[4] In November 1939, parts of this edition were used in a German national-socialist text on Nostradamus, in order to demonstrate that Nostradamus predicted the imminent downfall of England. In the second quarter of 1940, this brochure was published in eight languages, among which a French version (Que se passera-t-il entre le printemps 1940 et le printemps 1941?). I do not know if De Fontbrune was informed about the contents of this brochure and/or his reaction upon it.[5]  
In 1940, the seventh and eighth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées were published. To the eighth edition published around September 1940 with a preface, dated on August 15, 1940, an index of geographical names was added and a list of quatrains, Sixains and nostradamic texts, which were linked to events in 1939 and events in France after the German invasion in May 1940. In an inserted chapter, numbered XIV, De Fontbrune discussed events in France at the time of the German invasion and presented a scenario in which Russia would become involved in the war. 
It is not clear whether or not in the period 1940-1945 a ninth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées was published. This edition is not included in online catalogues of antique book sellers and libraries. De Fontbrune and his son never have referred to this edition. The edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées which was published in Sarlat in 1946, was numbered as the tenth edition. Parts of the text were revised and new texts were introduced. This was due to a.o. what happened during World War II. 
In 1958, one year before the decease of De Fontbrune, the eleventh edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées was published in Cahors, its contents revised and updated by De Fontbrune. The twelfth edition, partly revised by De Fontbrune jr., who also added a biography of his father, was published in Aix-en-Provence in 1975. In 1976, this edition was published again in Paris, entitled Ce que Nostradamus a vraiment dit, with a preface by Henry Miller (1891-1980), who was very interested in Nostradamus and astrology and who was a close friend of the astrologer Sydney Omarr. Next, De Fontbrune jr. started to write books about Nostradamus by himself. Ce que Nostradamus a vraiment dit was translated into German. This translation, entitled Was Nostradamus wirklich sagte - die authentischen Exegese des französischen Forschers, was published in Vienna in 1981 and from 1983 reprinted in Germany.

Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées

Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus, 5th edition
Les Prophéties...,
5th edition, 1939
Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus, 12th edition
Les Prophéties...,
12th edition, 1975 
Ce que Nostradamus à vraiment dit (1976)
Ce que Nostradamus 
a vraiment dit
Was Nostradamus wirklich sagte... (1991)
Was Nostradamus wirklich sagte... (1991)

Les prophéties en marche - La prédiction mysterieuse de Prémol (1939)
A book in which De Fontbrune elaborated his supposition that knowledge of Nostradamus was the most important source of the "Predictions of Prémol", a series of predictions, part of the papers of a notary, died in 1792, who was a solicitor for the Carthusian monastry in Prémol.

Des Hébreux à l'Antechrist in "Dies Irae"- visions prophétiques de Zacharie le Voyant, suivies de l'Apocalypse appliquée à notre temps (Parijs, 1948)
Des Hébreux à l'Antechrist precedes the first part of "Dies Irae"..., written by Honoré de Temniac. This book consists of two parts. In the first part, De Temniac annotated the text of Le Jour de la colère, ou la Main de Dieu sur un empire, visions prophétiques d'un voyant de Juda, publiées par l'abbé A. Fatacioli (1856). The second part is entitled De l'Apocalypse appliquée à notre temps.

La divine tragédie de Louis XVII (1949)
Since the French Revolution, people wonder if Louis XVII, the son of Louis XVI, the last French king, survived the revolution or not. In La divine tragédie de Louis XVII, De Fontbrune describes the events in 1795, false crown princes and he comments quatrains which according to him are related to the escape and flight of Louis XVII. According to De Fontbrune, pope Pius XII was a descendant of Louis XVII.

L'Etrange XXe Siècle vu par Nostradamus (1950)
By means of the research methods, used in Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, De Fontbrune linked a number of quatrains to World War III, which according to him was at hand.

Preface to Les Derniers jours des derniers temps - regards critiques sur les prophéties (1959)
Les Derniers jours des derniers temps - regards critiques sur les prophéties was written by Yves Dupont-Fournieux and published by La Colombe publishers in Paris (Éditions du Vieux Colombier). Dupont-Fournieux has written several books on Roman-Catholic prophecies, notably on those, related to the end of the world. Volume 97 of Les Cahiers Astrologiques (A. Volguine, ed.), published in 1962 and dedicated to Nostradamus, contains a contribution, written by Dupont-Fournieux.

Essai sur les évènements de demain (unpublished manuscript, 1959)
On page IX-XI of his biography about dr. De Fontbrune, his son Jean-Charles described the contents of a manuscript of his father, dated on February 20, 1959. In this manuscript, De Fontbrune focused himself upon the future. In his comments on predictions by Nostradamus, he describes an era in which western civilisation is threatened with destruction. De Fontbrune expected among other things that Paris would be destroyed by fire and that a part of Marseille would be wiped out by a tidal wave. There also would be heavy earthquakes and a plague epidemic, which would wipe out two-third of humanity. The Pope would be expelled from Rome, which would result in a schism. In France, there would be a conspiracy, with the result that the socialist government would resign and the House of Bourbon would be restored. There also would be a war between East and West. 
De Fontbrune jr. noted that the events which his father described, were in contrast with the actual situation. Nevertheless he argued that his father correctly foresaw Russian maritime manoeuvres in the Mediterranean Sea in 1967 at the time of the Six-Day war between Israel and the Arab countries, when he wrote in 1959 about presence of a Russian fleet in the Mediterranean Sea, something which at that time was unlikely, since the Mediterranean Sea was controlled by the American Navy.

Articles in magazines
De Fontbrune wrote a number of articles on Nostradamus. The titles, found:

  • Le docteur Nostradamus vous parle (Cahiers de Marottes et Violons d'Ingres, Paris, 1953, nr. 10)

  • Nostradamus (Synthèses, 1955, nr. 3 [August])

  • Pourquoi je crois en Nostradamus (Ecclesia, 1956, nr. 82)


Famous and abused
In the preface to the eighth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, dated on August 15, 1940, De Fontbrune described the impact of his book. The reactions to the contents of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées were rather controversial. In his preface, De Fontbrune wrote that from the first edition, there were enthousiastic reactions as well as bitter reviews. Sceptics smiled ironically. In 1940 however, De Fontbrune could produce a list of statements he had made which meanwhile had become true. De Fontbrune emerges from the preface as a Century-scholar who can look back upon his achievements with satisfaction.
The opinions about De Fontbrune are quite divergent. According to his son Jean-Charles, De Fontbrune was the first Century-scholar who established a complete translation of the Centuries. Jean-Charles qualified the comments of his father as superb. He claimed that his father had managed to interpret in the spirit of Nostradamus and that he was the first who was able to read between the lines and to discover events which at the time of discovery had not yet occurred. In the eyes of De Fontbrune jr., the numerological clue, developed in the '20's by the French Century-scholar P.V. Piobb, had no significance.[6] The biography about his father which Jean-Charles has written as an introduction to the (posthumous) twelfth edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, shows that he, unlike his father, had the opinion that it was not possible to determine in advance the fulfilment year or date of nostradamic prophecies, since dates and periods were scarcely given in nostradamic prophecies.
In 1940, Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées was quite known in France and abroad. De Fontbrune received many letters of his readers.[7]In The Netherlands, Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées was also fairly well known. The copy of the fifth edition, owned by, contains Dutch margin notes. In the edition of February 9, 1940, of the weekly De Groene Amsterdammer, it has been noted that in "the last month", the Parisian bookstore Flammarion sold 3.000 copies of it. This article is a translation of an article, dated on October 29, 1939 and published in the edition of November 4, 1939, of the American weekly The New Yorker, which implies that the words "the last month" refer to a period which started at the time of or shortly after the German invasion in Poland on September 1, 1939, which means that out the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the interest in France in the Centuries increased significantly. In two articles on Nostradamus and the Centuries, published in the editions of April and May 1940 in the monthly Astrologische Wereldschouw, the author, one Van der Willigen, described an imminent seven months lasting French-German war, at first successful for Germany, eventually resulting in a smashing defeat and a dictated peace. Van der Willigen copied this perspective from Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées.[8]
According to mr. dr. Hendrik Houwens Post, whose first, Dutch translation of the Centuries was published in 1941, De Fontbrune was the scholar who most best developed the theory that Nostradamus frequently indicated future persons and events by the names of similar persons and events of the past. Houwens Post also was convinced that De Fontbrune's symbolic approach was the right method.[9]
The French Century-scholar and bibliograph Robert Benazra thought little of the biographic and bibliographic knowledge of De Fontbrune of Nostradamus and the Centuries. Until at least the fifth edition, De Fontbrune argued in the chapter Le frontispice de l'édition d'Amsterdam that the upper picture on the cover of the 1668-Amsterdam-edition represented the death of Louis XVI and the lower picture a great fire in Paris, whereas in reality the upper picture represented the beheading in 1649 of the British king Charles I and the lower picture the great fire in London in 1666. Actually, the editor of the 1668-Amsterdam-edition explained in his introduction the meaning of the cover-illustrations. On the other hand, Benazra emphasized that the interpretation methods which De Fontbrune had developed (philological, symbolical, cryptical) had produced remarkable results. He did not appreciate De Fontbrune's treatise on the Predictions of Prémol.[10]
In Nostradamus et les Catastrophes, edited by Paul-Eric Blanrue, De Fontbrune and his son are described as crooks who turned Nostradamus into a family-affair and who continuously, without scruples, passed over their comments, filled with disasters, to the course of history, in order to demonstrate that Nostradamus was a great prophet.[11] on Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées
In some ways, De Fontbrune was a remarkable Century-scholar. He did research on the nostradamic oeuvre, not only the Centuries but also the Présages and Sixains. He made links between the nostradamic oeuvre, biblical prophecies, the Predictions of Prémol and the Prophecies of Orval. His knowledge of the nostradamic oeuvre was not that well, but he nevertheless was an erudite man.
De Fontbrune was especially focused upon France. In his eyes, France would play an important part in the world after the war; France once again would be ruled by a mighty king and Pius XII, whom he considered to be a descendant of Louis XVII, would be the great ruler of christianity.
The Centuries were quite important for De Fontbrune in World War II. In 1934, shortly after he read the Centuries for the first time, he concluded from the Epistle to Henry II that Franco would be dictator in Spain, and after hearing De Gaulle's speech in London in June 1940, he associated him with the "second Thrasybulus". He deduced from the Centuries that France would win the war, an opinion he maintained, even when in May-June 1940 the battle in France turned out to be disastrous. One can imagine that in his research on the nostradamic oeuvre, he felt himself enforced in his opinion, since important statements about Franco, France and Germany turned out to be true.
The prefaces to Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées and the biography by his son Jean-Charles show that De Fontbrune was quite open about his opinion of the Centuries and his ideas about the future. He corresponded with his readers, did not hesitate to explain to his colleagues what the future had in mind, according to the Centuries, and sent copies of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées to Pius XI and Pius XII, popes who in in eyes marked the beginning of the many revolutions which would take place between 1939 and 1999.
De Fontbrune's explanation methods can be described as a consequent application of decoding ad infinitem of abbreviations, astrological and astronomical names, mythological names, names of persons, neologisms, numbers and time indications. Not seldom, the infinity and the absurd went hand in hand. Some remarkable elements are that De Fontbrune linked Présages to years in the 20th century because of the mentioned months and considered numbers in the Sixains as years, regardless the context of these numbers. In abbreviations, he recognized numerous anagrams, he considered astrological indications as symbols which had to be decoded instead of e.g. planetary figures. Then, there were also the Latin root words which he derived from the quatrain texts and explained. De Fontbrune was convinced that his approach, based upon what he called philology and analysis of symbols and anagrams, enabled him to grasp the meaning of the yet not fulfilled quatrains and that his time analysis, based upon periods, mentioned in the Centuries, months, mentioned in the Présages and numbers in the Sixains which he saw as years, would unveil in a number of cases when certain events were going to happen.
De Fontbrune first was confronted with the Centuries in 1934. In 1958, one year before his death, the eleventh edition of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées was published. De Fontbrune studied the nostradamic oeuvre for more than twenty years. The various editions of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, all of them revised, are the result of the ideas he developed in the course of the years, carried out and in a number of cases dropped. In some editions of Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - Expliquées et commentées, it was mentioned in the preface or a footnote that there were changes, compared with previous editions. De Fontbrune never described these changes in detail. He also did not mention the fact that he would continue his research and that a next edition would contain new insights, which could differ from those he had described until then. The course of history made it necessary for him to revise some of his statements, such as when German troops invaded France by Belgium in May 1940 instead of by Switzerland in 1941, or when Pius XII died in 1958 and not in 1970. As far as I can see, these changes were not opportunistic or made for his own benefit. 
I wonder if De Fontbrune, being confronted with his failing statements about the future, asked himself if his explanation system was right or not. It looks as if he saw no reason to revise it.



De Meern, the Netherlands, August 4, 2008
T.W.M. van Berkel
updated on October 17, 2008


The titles, places and year of issue of the mentioned authors are listed in the bibliography.

  1. The biographic information is founded upon the biography by Jean-Charles de Fontbrune in De Fontbrune-1975, p.I-VIII. The photo of De Fontbrune is a cut-out of the photo in this book. [text]
  2. Unless otherwise indicated, the bibliographic information originates from the descriptions of Robert Benazra in Repertoire Chronologique Nostradamique. [text]
  3. De Fontbrune-1975, p.V. On this page, the name Pius IX is printed erroneously instead of the name Pius XI. [text]
  4. De Fontbrune-1975, p.5. [text]
  5. Van Berkel: Was bringt das Jahr 1940?. [text]
  6. De Fontbrune-1975, p.VIII-IX. [text]
  7. De Fontbrune-1975, p.VI. Jean-Charles wrote nothing about the fact that in 1927 in Le secret de Nostradamus et de ses célèbres prophéties du XVIe siècle, Piobb (author's pseudonym of count Pierre Vincenti da Piobetta) elaborated the idea that the quatrains originally were written in Latin and next translated into a primitive kind of French. [text]
  8. Van Berkel: De Profetieën van Nostradamus. Van der Willigen in: Astrologische Wereldschouw, April and May, 1940. [text]
  9. Vreede, p.14-16. [text]
  10. Benazra, p.484 and p.486-487. In his review, Benazra did not mention the fact that De Fontbrune in at least the fifth edition in a note on page 44 discussed the opinion that the cover-illustrations of the 1668-Amsterdam-edition dealt with the beheading in 1694 of Charles I and the great fire in London in 1666. [text]
  11. See [text]

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