substudY "WORLD wAR II"
Einführung zu den "Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus"
(K.E. Krafft, Frankfurt am Main, 1940)
- T.W.M. van Berkel -

Nederlandse versie


General information 
The brochure Einführung zu den "Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus" was written by Karl Ernst Krafft, a Swiss astrologer/statistician who in World War II wrote national-socialist propaganda, based upon the Centuries.[1] The Einführung..., as this brochure is entitled in this article, was published in the second half of autumn 1940 as a supplement to Les Prophéties de maistre Michel Nostradamus - Bildgetreuer, vergrößerter Abdruck einer Ausgabe der "Prophéties", erschienen bei Benoist Rigaud Lyon unter dem Datum 1568, a photocopy of a 1568-B.Rigaud-edition of the Centuries, made by Fotokopist GmbH in Frankfurt am Main, which on this website is called the 1940-Krafft-copy. Its circulation number was 299 copies.[2]
The Einführung...  is a brochure without illustrations. It counts 30 pages. Roman numbers were used for the page numbering.  
The Einführung... contains references to various early editions of the Centuries, the 1850-Roesch-translation and the 1938-Piobb-copy. There are also references to the Century-comments of Bareste, Loog, Le Pelletier, Nicoullaud and Wöllner. A couple of times, Krafft paid attention to the ideas of one of them about the meaning of a quatrain. 
The text in the Einführung... has no footnotes. There is no bibliography. 


Einführung... p.XXVI
Einführung..., p.XXVI

Origins of the Einführung...
It looks as if the origin history of the Einführung... dates from February 1940. In a letter, censored by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, dated on March 14, 1940, to Viorel Virgil Tilea, the Rumanian ambassador in London with whom he corresponded since 1937, Krafft had written that since five weeks, i.e. since the beginning of February 1940, he was occupied with the production of a new Century-edition for a society in Berlin, in connection with a German government office. This new edition would be accompanied by a scientific-critical introduction to this controversial topic.[3] With the new Century-edition, Krafft meant the 1940-Krafft-copy, with the scientific-critical introduction, he meant the Einführung... 
On a postcard, dated on February 19, 1940, Krafft wrote that he expected to finish his work by mid-March. In the censored letter to Tilea of March 14, 1940, it read that the production of the photocopy of the Centuries and the writing of the Einführung...would be finished in the beginning of April. 
On April 2, 1940, the manuscript of the Einführung... consisted of 200 typewriting pages. According to Georg Lucht, who in the first quarter of 1940 supported Krafft as a secretary during his propagandistic research on the Centuries, Krafft had come to a series of startling conclusions, among which the conclusion that a German occupation of Belgium and the Netherlands was imminent. The Reichssicherheitshauptamt however was not pleased with such striking speculations. Numerous lines were deleted and on a given moment in spring 1940, the Reichssicherheitshauptamt delayed the publication of the Einführung...[4]
The main text of the Einführung... carries the date mid-August 1940.[5] This period more or less coincides with the period in which the final text of another Nostradamusbrochure, written by Krafft, became available for translation: the brochure Nostradamus sieht die Zukunft Europas.[6] It is not clear what happend with the text of the Einführung... between April and mid-August 1940. As far as can be seen, there have been several adjustments. On page IV for example, Krafft noted that despite numerous difficulties, a 100% copy of the oldest accessible complete edition of the Centuries had been made. The words "100% copy" refer to the 1940-Krafft-copy. On page 64 of the IGPP-version of Nostradamus sieht die Zukunft Europas, it reads that a re-edition of a 1568-edition of the Centuries was prepared in Frankfurt am Main. The original text of this version dates from June 1940, i.e. after the capitulation of France.[7] A second indication that the text of the IGPP-version is older than the text of the final version of the Einführung... is the linking of the name of the French city of Boulogne in quatrain 05-94 to Poland. This link is present in the final version of the Einführung... and in Comment Nostradamus a-t-il entrevu l'avenir de l'Europe?, Kraffts own translation, dating from October 1940, of Nostradamus sieht die Zukunft Europas, but not in the IGPP-version and the other translations of Nostradamus sieht die Zukunft Europas.[8] The linking on page XIV in the Einführung... of quatrain 10-67 to mid-May 1940 and quatrain 09-83 to May, 10, 1940, in connection with quatrain 10-67, dates from after the German invasion on May 10, 1940 in Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Closing, we note that two times in the final version of the Einführung..., Krafft referred to the fall of Paris on June 14, 1940. On page XVIII he translated Rome incité, a part of the third line of quatrain 05-30 (Donner l'assaut Paris, Rome incité) into Nachdem Rom (zur Beteiligung) veranlasst worden war. On page XIX, he translated the word assaut into die überraschende Besetzung. The Einführung... does not contain an explanation of the meaning of these words. Their meaning is revealed on page 42 in Nostradamus sieht die Zukunft Europas, where Krafft translated the third line of quatrain 05-30 into Nachdem Rom veranlasst wurde (zur Beteiligung) wird (der Befehl) gegeben, Paris überraschend zu besetzen, a translation with which he linked to Italy's declaration of war to England and France on June 10, 1940, and the fall of Paris on June 14 1940, four days later.
On the backside of the cover page of the Einführung... is mentioned that the Einführung... was printed on October 12, 1940 by Paul Funck, Berlin SW68. Its circulation number was 299 copies. The information above means that the contents of the final version of the Einführung..., printed on October 12, 1940, differed from the contents of the version which in spring 1940 was forbidden by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt.
The 1940-Krafft-copy and the Einführung... were sold together for 30 Reichsmark. Astra publishers in Leipzig, who in 1926 published Wöllners Das Mysterium des Nostradamus, acted as a agent.[9] However, the 1940-Krafft-copy and the Einführung... were not meant for free sale. The Deutsche Arbeitsfront sent a number of copies to prominent members of the NSDAP.[10]


The contents of the Einführung... 
The Einführung... consists of a main text and an epilogue. The main text covers 26 pages and is divided into blocks, separated from each other by stars. The postscriptum covers four pages and is divided in the same way as the main text.
In the main text, Krafft dealt with a.o. the gloomy, controversial nature of Nostradamus and the Centuries, early editions, copies and forgeries, he evaluated Century-comments and described methods Nostradamus used to phrase his visions and to determine fulfilling moments. In this explanations, Krafft resumed material from earlier publications such as Traité d'Astrobiologie, among which astrology, dreams, linguistics, the psychology of the unconsciousness, the Sprachgeist and word associations.
On the pages III and IV, Krafft told his readers that there was an extraordinary, mysterious connection between the Centuries and the Reich, Hitler's Großdeutschland. According to Krafft, Nostradamus made allusions to Hitler's Großdeutschland in the quatrains 05-74 and 09-90, in a time where the difficulties of the Thirty Year War were still far ahead. He thought that it was not a coincidence that in Germany, in 1940, the decision was made to bring the oldest complete edition of the Centuries into circulation once again.
Krafft thought that a good understanding of the Centuries was hindered by the many misconceptions in countless Century-comments. He argued that not one key which in the course of the years was derived from the Centuries, worked properly. This was caused, he explained, by the fact that the deep, hidden unconsciousness, from which the gift of prophecy emerges, did not allow order. As an alternative for these useless keys, Krafft pointed to the fact that Nostradamus dealth with those historic persons whose birth charts had a clear relation with his own birth chart and that his sound and word pictures could be investigated by means of modern linguistics and the research on dreams. As an illustration, he explained the meaning of what he called word-contraction, such as the word Lonole in quatrain 10-40, which he considered to be a contraction of Old Nole and therefore an allusion to the nickname of Oliver Cromwell. He also discussed multiple meanings, such as the meanings of the word cap in quatrain 09-20, which word was an abbreviation of caput (head) as well as Capet, the family name of the French king Louis XVI. He linked the word Lusitains in quatrain 10-100 to the passengers and the crew of the Lusitania and to Portuguese troops which on April 9, 1918, were attacked near Armentières by troops, commanded by the British general Crozier.
According to Krafft, a number of quatrains contain a strong, emotional way of describing events. In other quatrains, dramatic events were described in a striking sober way. Profoundness and nonsense were also present. In a number of cases, the application of Krafft's Sprachgeisttheorie would result in a striking revelation of the meaning of words. In one example, Krafft argued that the French word esclandre would point towards a Skandal.
Krafft further wrote that Nostradamus not only predicted political events and catastrophies. He also predicted technical inventions such as the engine and the use of coal and water-power for the production of electricity.
For Krafft, it was beyond any doubt that Nostradamus knew about the planet Uranus, knew its orbit and considered him to be the ruler of the zodiacal sign of Aries. It was also a given fact for Krafft that the Epistle to Henry II contained a line in which was referred to the dictatorships which in the thirties were founded in Germany, Italy and Spain.
Numerous parts of the Centuries showed, as Krafft wrote, that Nostradamus was familiar with astrology, but in a way which was not classical, but astromantic, founded upon an early form of the experience of cosmobiological relations. As a result, Krafft argued that the Centuries did not contain clearly defined ideas, but images of the primeval ages such as heaven and earth, in and out, gods and constellations etc.
Basing himself upon interpretation features, Krafft divided the quatrains in a number of groups. One of those groups consisted of quatrains which were applicable to more than one situation, such as quatrain 10-22, which according to Krafft could be applied to both Charles I and Edward VIII. Another group of quatrains was characterized by their references to the descent of notable persons, and cities were mentioned without any unclearity. As an example, Krafft referred to quatrain 08-76. A third group of quatrains were characterized by the fact that names of notable persons were either clearly mentioned, such as in quatrain 09-34 (Narbonne and Sauce), or more or less hidden (quatrain 08-41: Renad = Reynaud; quatrain 09-16: castel Franco = Spanish Franco). A fourth group of quatrains was more difficult to understand. Often, these quatrains contained predictions of a symbolic/apocalyptic nature, such as quatrain 06-20: Liépart
Krafft also distinguised a group of quatrains in which data were given by means of astronomy or astrology. In his opinion, the quatrains 03-44 (January 31, 1912), quatrain 01-51 (1940/41), quatrain 04-68 (spring 1940), quatrain 10-67 (mid-May 1940) and quatrain 09-83 (May 10, in connection with quatrain 10-67: May 10, 1940) belonged to this group. Krafft argued, following a theory, formulated by Wöllner, that Nostradamus had based himself upon very old cycle theories, most notably a 36-year cycle, which would point towards a Saturn-Neptune cycle.
Krafft also argued that in a number of cases, Nostradamus rephrased the quatrains after the predicted events. Further, the order of the quatrain lines had to be changed in a number of cases if one wanted to grasp their meaning, for example, in the case of quatrain 03-71. Krafft also noted that quite frequently, the third line of a quatrain contained the beginning of a fulfillment period and the fourth line the heigth of the predicted events. In a number of cases, Nostradamus would have applied the ablativus absolutus, a grammatical rule which refers to a subordinate clause. The examples Krafft gave were La trève feinte in quatrain 05-94, which he translated into "Because the armistice was feignted" and Rom incité in quatrain 05-20, which he translated into "After Rome (to participation) was incited".
In a number of cases, it was necessary, according to Krafft, to explain a word on the basis of its original root-word. As an example, he discussed the words assaut in quatrain 05-30 and assaillira in quatrain 05-93. According to Krafft, assaut could not be translated into "storm". A translation of the root-word ad saltus gave a better result: "the leap forwards" or "the surprising occupation".
Closing, Krafft wrote that Nostradamus united the traits of a magician and a mystic, He also gave examples of quatrains which were fulfilled in his own lifetime, such as quatrain 03-57 (Nicoullaud: drastic revolutions for Engeland in 1939; Loog: crises for Engeland and Poland) and the quatrains 05-94 en 03-53, about which he himself had written that they dealt with Hitler's Großdeutschland and military developments which in 1940 took place in a way which he, Krafft, had described in earlier publications.
In the epilogue, Krafft described himself as a romantic in the field of Century-research, because he applied elements, originating from linguistics and the interpretation of dreams. By doing so, he opposed himself to those who favoured a more classic approach to the Centuries, basing themselves upon clearly defined ideas. Krafft also wrote that new publications were prepared, such as an index of names of cities and rivers (indexed until the letter -M-) and a bibliography of the older and oldest Century-editions. Further, he argued the necessity of making indexes of words and the various ways to interpret them and the necessity of the critical study of the "leftover quatrains" and the Sixains
In the closing lines, Krafft wrote that the Deutsche metapsychische Gesellschaft E.V., seated in Berlin in the Pragerstraße 17-IV, was willing to offer friends and researchers on Nostradamus to meet each other and to exchange ideas about the Centuries. This society already made an address list in order to spread information about imminent publications. It was Krafft's wish that all these efforts would result in a critical study of existing comments and in new, solid insights, so that the important field of prophecy could stand a scientific examination. 


The function of the Einführung...
The 1940-Krafft-copy and the Einführung... were made for a society in Berlin and thus meant for use in Germany itself. In connection with the origin history of the Einführung..., Howe noted that the Einführung... was a heavily thinned version, in which one would look in vain for interesting speculations about Germany's future. Krafft was only allowed to published a harmless treatise on the problems which occurred when one wanted to explain the Centuries.
Indeed, the text of the final version of the Einführung... appears to be incomplete. It contains numerous remarks about the meaning of words and quatrain lines, but no quatrains is presented completely and explained in detail. This seems to be the result of the censoring in spring 1940 about which Howe wrote in Uranias Kinder... 
As far as I can see, the contents of teh final version of the Einführung... are not that innocent as Howe thought and Krafft did not discuss problems which occurred when one wanted to explain the Centuries. I suppose that he gave instructions to explain them in a propagandistic way. In the Einführung..., Krafft placed the Centuries within a national-socialist framework by telling his readers that there was a mysterious connection between the Centuries and Hitler's Großdeutschland and that the circulation of the 1940-Krafft-copy had to be seen from this point of view. Further, he linked quite an important number of quatrains in one way or another to the rise of Hitler and national-socialism and to events in Europe in the thirties and in 1940. Almost all of these quatrains were discussed in Nostradamus sieht die Zukunft Europas.
The censored letter to Tilea, dated on March 14, 1940, shows that the 1940-Krafft-copy and the Einführung... were produced for a society in Berlin. According to Howe, the society in Berlin was a reference to the Deutsche metapsychische Gesellschaft, mentioned on page XXX in the Einführung... The members of this society met each other in the house of its president, Konrad Schuppe, a retired officer, living in the Pragerstraße 17-IV in Berlin. More than once, Krafft and dr. Hans-Hermann Kritzinger, the author of Mysterien von Sonne und Seele and involved in the production of national-socialist propaganda, based upon the Centuries,  discussed the Centuries in Schuppe's house.
According to the German astrologer Wilhelm Wulff, the Deutsche metapsychische Gesellschaft was founded by order of Goebbels. According to page XXX of the Einführung..., this society was willing to make it possible for friends and researchers on Nostradamus to meet each other and to discuss about Nostradamus. The society made an address list, in order to inform them about new publications.[11]
Howe's information does not show when the Deutsche metapsychische Gesellschaft was founded, for how long it was active, her aims, the nature of the "metapsychical matters", details about Konrad Schuppe, her president, and who had joined this society. In 1922 and 1923, Schuppe, who had the rank of Oberstleutnant a.D., was president of the Psychische-Studien-Gesellschaft, seated in Berlin.[12] In connection with January 8, 1940, Goebbels wrote in his diary that he had a group of experts on Nostradamus and astrology, which should provide the material he needed for his propaganda.[13] The question is if Goebbels had the Deutsche metapsychische Gesellschaft in mind when he wrote about this "group of experts". Another question is if and if yes which was the function of the 1940-Krafft-copy and the Einführung... within this society. The author of this article considers the possibility that the 1940-Krafft-copy and the Einführung... were a guideline or manual for the writing of propaganda, based upon the Centuries, meant for abroad. 

National-socialist critic
Some wings of the NSDAP disapproved the fact that the Deutsche Arbeitsfront sended copies of the 1940-Krafft-copy to prominent members of the NSDAP, as can be read in a non-dated report about war prophecies, based upon Nostradamus. The critics referred to a prohibition, issued in January 1940 by dr. Alfred Rosenberg, leader of the NSDAP, to quote the Centuries within the party. Further, it was not approved that the 1940-Krafft-copy and its Einführung... were produced by a professional astrologer who thought he could raise astrology to a scientific level, and thus placed the Centuries in a pure astrological context. 
According to the critics, those who paid attention to the Centuries handed themselves over to fatalism, which would undermine the readiness to fight. Such an attitude was not desired. 
The report was closed with the urgent call to suppress war predictions, especially those by Nostradamus.[14]


I would like to thank Wilhelm Zannoth for sending a photocopy of the Einführung..., parts of the 1940-Krafft-copy and for his additional information.
On the occasion of the 500th birthday of Nostradamus, Zannoth wrote the trilogy Michel de Nostredame (1503-1566) genannt Nostradamus - der neue Weg zu den Prophezeiungen des Meisters, using the author's pseudonym Guillaume Thonnaz. In 2003, this trilogy was published by Rhombos-Verlag in Berlin (ISBN's:  3-930894-97-1, 3-930894-98-X and 3-930894-99-8). Volume 1 (Die Grundlagen), contains a facsimile of the 1940-Krafft-copy.









De Meern, the Netherlands, October 9, 2008
T.W.M. van Berkel
updated on February 15, 2009


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

  1. Van Berkel: Information on Karl Ernst Krafft. [text]
  2. Van Berkel: Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus (1940-Krafft-copy). [text]
  3. Howe, p.241. [text]
  4. Howe, p.242 and 247. [text]
  5. Krafft-1940b, p.XXVI. In August 1940, Krafft lived in Berlin-Nikolassee, according to this page. In January 1940, Krafft and his wife lived in the house of the author Carl Maria Holzapfel, Joachim-Friedrich-Straße 54, Berlin-Halensee. That address was mentioned in the letter to Tilea, dated on March 14, 1940 (Howe, p.233 and 241). [text]
  6. Van Berkel: Nostradamus sieht die Zukunft Europas. [text]
  7. The Danish, French, Hungarian, Rumanian, Spanish and Swedish translations of Nostradamus sieht die Zukunft Europas were accomplished after August 19, 1940 and published in the second quarter of 1941. Only in the French translation, made by Krafft himself and dating from October 1940, the remark about the preparing of the 1940-Krafft-copy was replaced by the remark that this copy was already published. Its title was also mentioned in the bibliography (Krafft-1941-FR, p.151 and 199). The other translations contained the remark that the preparation was still going on. [text]
  8. Krafft-1940b, p.VII and Krafft-1941-FR (1940c), p.145-146; cf. Krafft-1940c, p.62, Krafft-1941-DK (1940c), p.71 and Krafft-1941-ES (1940c), p.110. [text]
  9. List in the edition of January 1941 of van Sterne und Mensch of articles, by Krafft, published in this magazine (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, nr. 4“ Ok 1354/6). [text]
  10. Maichle: Die Nostradamus-Propaganda der Nazis, 1939-1942, document 22. [text]
  11. Howe, p.245-248. [text]
  12. Psychische Studien, volume 49 (1922), February, p.120. In 1930, Schuppe contributed to Dennis H. Bradley's Die Sitzungen mit Valiantine [George Valiantine, an American psychic] in Berlin - Kritischer Kommentar zu dem Aufsatz "Valiantines Entlarvung" von W. Kröner, unter mitarbeitung von Florizel von Reuter, Johannes Kasnarich, Gustav Zeller, Konrad Schuppe und Paul Sünner. In World War II, according to  Wilhelm Hartmann 1893-1965), Astrologe und Berufsastronom, Schuppe was also member of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für wissenschaftlichen Okkultismus. [text]
  13. Fröhlich, p.263. [text]
  14. Maichle: Die Nostradamus-Propaganda der Nazis, 1939-1942, document 22. [text]

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