"Zag" Nostradamus dezen oorlog?
("Troubadour" in De Telegraaf, Amsterdam, October 5, 1939)
- T.W.M. van Berkel -

Nederlandse versie

Studien (jaargang 1939, boekvorm)The issue of July 1941 of the Dutch monthly Studiën - katholiek cultureel tijdschrift contains an article, entitled Tijd van oorlog. Tijd van voorspellingen (tr.: Time of war . Time of predictions). In this article, dr. G. Gorris SJ, a Roman-Catholic historian, turns himself againgst circulating predictions about the course and the end of the war. He criticizes their contents, the ones who composed them, their publishers and clergymen who sustain rumours about them instead of encourage their parishioners to persevere to trust God. 
According to Gorris, it is highly doubtful if war predictions enforce the trust in God and contribute to a well-balanced inner peace. In times of heavy troubles, in which the future perspectives are frightening, many people tend to look for prophecies. This has been the case in 1870 during the French-German war, this was the case in 1914-'18 during World War I and in the years of which World War II, it is the same. Many people listen to the prophecies, slightly laughing. Nevertheless, these prophecies have some kind of impact. "You'll never know...", "In case they are true..."and in such a way, the already stong emotions are raised to a higher level of stress, Gorris writes.[1]
A number of publicatons show that after World War I, the interest in the Prophecies of Nostradamus declined, to raise again at the end of the '30's,when slowly the shape of a new European conflict became visible. In the first part of an article in the series Letter from Paris, dated on October 29, 1939, and published in the issue of November 4, 1940 of the American weekly The New Yorker for example, Abbott Joseph Liebling paid attention to the fact that next to the German invasion in Poland on September 1, 1939, the Parisian bookseller sold 3.000 copies of De Fontbrune's Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - expliquées et commentées. He wrote that such a boom also occured in other French bookstores. In other words: in France, after the outbreak in September 1939 of World War II, the interest in the Prophecies of Nostradamus and comments upon them increased, if not already increased in the months before the outbreak. About this interest, Liebling wrote that only few people admitted to him that they took Nostradamus seriously. This might indicate that many people silently believed in what in relation to the Prophecies of Nostradamus was written about the war.[2]


"Zag" Nostradamus dezen oorlog?
In september 1939, The Netherlands were more or less witnessing the German invasion in Poland. Althought Germany promised to respect the neutrality of The Netherlands, the Dutch army was mobilized by the end of August 1939. The question is if after the German invasion in Poland, people in The Netherlands were afraid of what future might bring and turned themselves to the Prophecies of Nostradamus and/or comments upon them. Perhaps articles on the Prophecies of Nostradamus, published in dailys and weeklys in the second half of 1939, might contain information. 
Page 2 of the morning issue of October 5, 1939 of the Dutch daily De Telegraaf, contained an article, entitled
"Zag" Nostradamus dezen oorlog? (tr.: Did Nostradamus "see" this war?), carrying the name of "Troubadour".[3]   
Underneath the title, a bold printed header in frame read : 

Een commentaar die tot .... commentaren leiden kan en een revolutie in Engeland met Duitschen steun (!) waarvoor 1939 als jaar genoemd wordt.
(tr.: A comment which could lead to .... comments and a revolution in England with German support (!) which is situated in 1939).

The first lines of "Zag" Nostradamus dezen oorlog? shows that the motivation for the writing of this article was the increased interest in the Prophecies of Nostradamus in the past months. The article does not at all make clear that in The Netherlands, the interest in the Prophecies of Nostradamus had increased. "Troubadour" does not refer to The Netherlands, but to "a book of 300 pages, published in Paris in 1938, in which the Frenchman De Fontbrune comments the twelve books of Les Vrayes Centuries et Prophéties".[4] The article Frankrijk zoekt inspiratie bij de astrologie (tr.: France looks in astrology for inspiration), published in the issue of February 9, 1940, of the Dutch weekly De Groene Amsterdammer, contained information about a boom in the selling of Nostradamusliterature. This article is a translation of the first part of the article in the series Letter from Paris, dated on October 29, 1939, and published in the issue of November 4, 1940 of the American weekly The New Yorker. The editors of De Groene Amsterdammer did not add information about Dutch sales figures of Nostradamusliterature. This might imply that back in 1939/'40, there was no boom in The Netherlands in the selling of Nostradamusliterature. In other words: this might mean that the majority of the Dutch people did not consult the Prophecies of Nostradamus. An inventarisation of numerous libary catalogues shows that in the Netherlands, not one book about Nostradamus and his Prophecies (wheter or not original or translated) was published between 1715 and 1940. The book, published in 1715, was translated from the English; the book, published in 1940, was a translation of a German national-socialist brochure. The attention for Nostradamus in Dutch daily's and weekly's in this period was minimal. In other words: for ages, the majority of the Dutch people were not interested in the Prophecies of Nostradamus. This might explain the absence of a boom in the selling of Nostradamusliterature in The Netherlands by the end of the '30's.[5]  
One can imagine, however, that in September 1939, a number of Dutchmen, hearing about the German invasion in Poland, questioned themselves if Nostradamus had "seen" this. "Troubadour" scrutinized two comments upon the Prophecies of Nostradamus about what was written for 1939 and further and if these comments made sense. He compared the comments in De Fontbrune's Les Prophéties [...] with the comments in Uittrekzel der voorzeggingen van Michael Nostradamus, publised in 1715 by Hendrik Blank in Amsterdam, which book was considered by "Troubadour" to be the Dutch translation of a book, written by an anonymous Englishman.[6] Regarding tot French texts of the quatrains which in both of these books were discussed, "Troubadour" consulted the 1938-Piobb-copy of the 1668-Amsterdam-edition of the Prophecies of Nostradamus. 
"Troubadour" notes that the predictions in the Prophecies are composed in a gloomy language and arranged at random. Because of this, he writes, there are numerous explanations of these predictions; people derive what they consider to be appropriate. This does not make it easy to derive from the Prophecies of Nostradamus his visions about the war which had begun in September 1939.
Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus expliquées et commentées "Troubadour" writes that according to De Fontbrune, an imminent downfall of England is predicted in the quatrains 10-100, 03-57, 02-68, 08-37, 03-01, 02-78, 03-32, 03-71, 04-15, 02-51, 08-76, 02-100, 09-49, 10-22, 10-38, 10-39 and 08-97, pointing towards the contents of chapter XXII. He compares this with the comment upon quatrain 03-57 in Uittrekzel der voorzeggingen [...], in which is stated that in England, by 1939, the last revolution will occur in a series of seven which began in 1649 and that the British dynasty will continue to rule. The third line of quatrain 03-57 ends with the words appuy Germanique - German support. "Troubadour", who writes that he has no idea about the meaning of these words, notes that the year 1939 involutarily attrackts the attention, which is caused by the German invasion in Poland in September 1939. Regarding the meaning of the words appuy Germanique, he does not take into account the fact that on September 3, 1939, England (and France) declared war to Germany, which in my opinion excludes every form of German support of a revolution in England, except a national-socialist support of an attempt to put an end to the rulership of George VI...
According to "Troubadour", the time span of the Prophecies of Nostradamus runs up to 2000 AD. Therefore, we must assume that the fulfillment of the predictions of Nostradamus concerning England must be situated in either the 1940's or the 1950's. De Fontbrune situates them in 1940-'42. "Troubadour" raises the impression to be an untouched witness from aside, who between all obscurity in the Prophecies of Nostradamus (German support for England, for example) notes something striking: the year 1939. He does not seem to ask himself what consequences the war will have for The Netherlands, whether or not The Netherlands will become involved in this war or what in the Prophecies of Nostradamus is written about the imminent future of The Netherlands. 

Coloured glasses
"Troubadour" does not evaluate whether De Fontbrune or the anonymous British author is right about the imminent future of England. Frequently, he reads them that they scrutinize the Prophecies with coloured glasses. De Fontbrune, a Frenchman, has a French point of view and concludes that England will fall while France, by its new king, will have great power. The anonymous British author is read to look at the Prophecies from a British point of view and to present the eternal rulership of the British dynasty. 
Merckwürdige Fata [...] In a number of comments in Les Prophéties [...], De Fontbrune expresses his royalist attitude. Here, the critic of "Troubadour" is justified. In the case of Uittrekzel der voorzeggingen [...], his critic is not justified. The book, written by the anonymous British author, is a translation of
Merckwürdige Fata der Gross-Britannischen Crone, sint der Zeit, da die Religion reformiret worden, schon damahls verkündiget durch den Welt-berühmten Propheten Michael Nostradamus, der Anno 1566 gestorben, jetzt aber aus dessen Vaticiniis, so in jedermans Händen mit Fleiss zusammen gesuchet, und mit einer kurtzen Erzehlung der Geschichten erleutert von D.D. (Hamburg, 1714). The initials D.D. stand for the German merchand Dietrich von Dobbeler (1663-1718), seated in Hambourg. Von Dobbeler also wrote Der Göttliche Raht-Schluß das Haus Chur-Braunschweig auff den Groß-Britannischen Thron zu erheben - Schon vor Neunzig Jahren beschrieben In den bekannten Kötterischen und Poniatovischen Revelationen - Versiegelt befindlich - Jetzt mit Fleiß daraus excerpiret, entsiegelt und erkläret von D.D. (Hambourg, 1714).


The dating of the time span of quatrain 03-57
In "Zag" Nostradamus dezen oorlog?, the French text of quatrain 03-57 reads as follows:

Sept fois changer verrez Gent Brittannique,
Tainte en sang en deux cents nonante ans:
France? non point! par appuy Germanique,
D'Ariès double son Pôle Basharian.

In the second line, the words en deux cents nonante ans indicate the time span of quatrain 03-57: 290 years. The years in which this time span begins and ends, are missing. It therefore is simply totally unclear which period the composer of this quatrain had in mind. According to my opinion, it is therefore impossible to date this period. In quatrain 03-57, there is not one reference to the year 1939. This reference can only be found in the comment upon this quatrain in Uittrekzel der voorzeggingen [...]
In "Zag" Nostradamus dezen oorlog?, "Troubadour" described the differences between Les Prophéties [...] and Uittrekzel der voorzeggingen [...] in the case of the comment upon quatrain 01-51. According to De Fontbrune, the words vingt trois et six in the second line of this quatrain are a reference to the fact that George VI (six) was the 23rd (vingt trois) king, counting from the rulership of Henry VII. In Uittrekzel der voorzeggingen [...], quatrain 02-51 is linked to the great fire in London in 1666 (vingt trois et six: 20 x 3 + 6 = 66). 
"Troubadour" paid attention to what in Uittrekzel der voorzeggingen [...] was written about quatrain 03-57, but he wrote nothing about what was written in Les Prophéties [...]. In the table underneath, the series of events, mentioned in both comments, are listed. One can see the differences between both comments regarding the datation of the time span of 290 years and the differences in the nature of the events which according to these comments are hidden in the words Sept fois changer in the first line of quatrain 03-57.
From Uittrekzel der voorzeggingen [...], it can be derived that the second line of quatrain 03-57 is interpreted as a reference to a massacre (Tainte en sang) which marks the beginning of a period of 290 years (en deux cents nonante ans). According to Uittrekzel der voorzeggingen [...], this is a reference to the beheading in 1649 of the British king Charles I, meaning that in Uittrekzel der voorzeggingen [...], the time span of quatrain 03-57 runs from 1649 to 1939. After the revolution in 1939, which is not supported by France, but by Germany, the British dynasty will continue to rule.
De Fontbrune begins his comment upon quatrain 03-57 with a reference to a British-French alliance against Spain in 1657. He seems to consider the year 1657 as the year which marks the beginning of the time span of 290 years. This means that in the eyes of De Fontbrune, the time span of quatrain 03-57 ends in 1947. In the six wars which De Fontbrune has taken in consideration for this period, England alternately was at the side of France or against France. Because of the fact that in World War I, the sixth war, England was at the side of France, De Fontbrune supposed that by 1947, in the seventh war, England would be at the side of the enemies of France, with the disastrous result that England would lose both her fleet and her empire


Uittrekzel der voorzeggingen[...] in "Zag" Nostradamus dezen oorlog? Les Prophéties [...] (De Fontbrune-1939-V, p.258)
1 1649 Beheading Charles I 1667 Spanish Succession War. England, The Netherlands and Sweden against France
2 1660 Return Charles II 1672 Dutch War. France, England and Sweden against The Netherlands
3 1685 James II restores the rights of the catholics 1688 War of the Ligue of Augsbourg. England against France
4 1689 Depositon of James II by William III 1716 Signing of a British-French alliance to keep the Peace of Utrecht
5 1711 Restoration and new conflics between Tories and Whigs 1744 Austrian Succession War.England against France
6 1714 George I restores order  1914 World War I. England and France are allies
7 1939 Last revolution, the British dynasty continues to rule 1947 England against France. England will lose her fleet and empire

The linking in Germany of quatrain 03-57 to the German invasion in Poland
In "Zag" Nostradamus dezen oorlog?, "Troubadour did not discuss the opinions in Germany about the Prophecies of Nostradamus. He also did not discuss what happened after the German invasion in Poland.
Shortly after the German invasion in Poland, a number of Germans concluded that this event was the fulfillment of quatrain 03-57. They based this upon either the comment upon quatrain 03-57 in Die Weissagungen des Nostradamus or the quotation of parts of this comment in Mysterien von Sonne und Seele.
Die Weissagungen des Nostradamus In Germany, a number of comments upon the Prophecies of Nostradamus, published in the years between World War I and World War II, showed anger against the humiliation which Germany felt because of the Treaty of Versailles. According to Carl Loog, the author of Die Weissagungen des Nostradamus, Germany would slowly recover and after 200 years would become a world power. In his comment upon quatrain 03-57, he wrote that in England in 1939 the last crisis in a series of seven would occur. At the same time, there would be a crisis in the restorated Poland. Loog thought that the words Pole Bastarnan referred to the former region of Bastarnia, which in his days was part of Poland. Loog silently copied the datation of the time span of quatrain 03-57 and the nature of the six crises which occured between 1649 and 1714 from Von Dobbeler's Merckwürdige Fata der Gross-Britannischen Crone [...]He wrote that he had no idea about the nature of the crises which in 1939 would occur in England and Poland; he wrote that around 2100 a great conflict in Europe would begin, in which Germany would be involved, and that Germany, because of some historical pattern, would need 200 years to become a super power.
[8] One year later, in 1922, dr. Hans-Hermann Kritzinger, writing on page 136 of Mysterien von Sonne und Seele about the imminent downfall of England, quoted parts of Loog's comment upon quatrain 03-57. The year figure 1936 was bold printed, the only bold printed year figure in the book. In his comment upon quatrain 03-57 in Nostradamus - Prophetische Weltgeschichte von 1547 bis gegen 3000 (Berlin, 1928), Bruno Noah copied from Loog's comment upon quatrain 03-57 the series of six crises in England in the period 1649-1714 and closed with the remark that before 1939, God's punishment of England would not be executed.[9] 
In 1939, Regulus publishers in Görlitzpublished Nostradamus und seine Prophezeiungen für das zwanzigste Jahrhundert. In this book, which was finished in the summer of 1938, dr. Bruno Winkler described that the birth and raise of Hitler was predicted in quatrain 03-58. According to Winkler, Germany faced a magnificant future, in harmonious relations with her neighbour countries such as Poland. He noted that Loog was wrong, thinking that Germany, counting from 1918, would need 200 years to recover. Winkler, while scrutinizing the Prophecies of Nostradamus, concluded that it only had taken twenty years.[10]
After the German invasion in Poland, Loog's comment became well-known in Germany, something which was also mentioned in countries outside Germany.[11] In 1940, Johannes Baum publishers in Pfullingen in Württemberg, who originally published Die Weissagungen des Nostradamus (six editions), published two re-editions of Die Weissagungen des Nostradamus, which since 1922 was out of print. When by the end of 1940, rumours circulated in Germany about a flight of the British king from England, Loog claimed in a letter to the German weekly Der Reichswart, meant as a reply to a debunk of the Prophecies of Nostradamus, that Nostradamus had foreseen the beginning of World War II and the downfall of England and that in Die Weissagungen des Nostradamus, he, Loog, had explained this in detail.[12]


The national-socialist brochure Was bringt das Jahr 1940?
The comments of Loog and Kritzinger became also known to Germans who supported national-socialism. This resulted in the use of the Prophecies of Nostradamus and comments upon them for propaganda, in order to undermine the morale of Germany's enemies
Mysterien von Sonne und SeeleOn September 25, 1939, Konrad Schuppe, president of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für wissenschaftlichen Okkultismus, brought a photocopy of page 136 of Mysterien von Sonne und Seele to the Ministry of Propaganda, on which Kritzinger had quoted parts of Loog's comment upon quatrain 03-57. In conversation with an employee of the Propaganda Ministry, Schuppe emphasized the bold print of the year figure 1939. 
From the giving of a copy of page 136 of Mysterien von Sonne und Seele to the Propaganda Ministry, it can be derived that Schuppe linked quatrain 03-57 to the German invasion in Poland, which would be the beginning of the downfall of England. He was asked to held a lecture for the employees of the Auslandspresse department of the Propaganda Ministry. The employee of the ministry who talked to Schuppe, considered to spread this rumour in England by means of a radio program, given the superstition among many British.
[13] I do not know whether or not Schuppe held a lecture on quatrain 03-57 for the Auslandspresse department or that a radio program was made. I also do not know if Schuppe later talked with dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, the minister of Propaganda. According to Kritzinger, it was shortly after the German invasion in Poland that his comment in Mysterien von Sonne und Seele drew the attention of Goebbels' wife. By her - and by four other people - his attention to Mysterien van Sonne und Seele was drawn.[14]
The first time that the Prophecies of Nostradamus occurred in the Goebbels diaries, was in the entry of November 22, 1939, regarding the evening of November 21, 1939. Goebbels wrote that that evening, tired and ill, he went to bed early and read Nostradamus for a long time. He thought it very interesting for Germany. If the bolded comments would turn out to be true, he wrote, England had nothing to laugh about. On November 22, he discussed Nostradamus with Hitler. Next, he discussed with a.o. prof. dr. Bömer, chief of theAuslandspresse department, the intensivation of the propaganda abroad. 
On November 23, 1939, he ordered Hans-Wolfgang Herwarth von Bittenfeld, an employee of the Auslandspresse department, to write a Nostradamusbrochure, meant for the neutral countries. The world was full of superstition. Why not taking advantage of it in onder to undermine the adversaries?[15]
The result of the order of Goebbels was a typescript, entitled Was bringt das Jahr 1940? Die Antwort geben uns "Les vrayes Centuries et Propheties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus. For the major part, the text of Was bringt das Jahr 1940? was copied from five comments upon the Prophecies of Nostradamus. Die Weissagungen des Nostradamus was one of these comments. From this comment, Herwarth von Bittenfeld copied a.o. the list of changes in England between 1649 and 1714 which Loog, as described previously, had copied from the comment by Dietrich von Dobbeler on quatrain 03-57, of which "Troubadour" got knowledge by means of the Dutch translation. From De Fontbrune's Les Prophéties [...], Herwarth von Bittenfeld copied the comments upon the quatrains 08-57, 02-78, 03-32, 03-74, 08-97 and 02-85, in which De Fontbrune had argued that these quatrains predicted the imminent downfall of England and which "Troubadour" in October 1939 in had mentioned in "Zag" Nostradamus dezen oorlog?. "Troubadour", scrutinizing the comments of De Fontbrune and "the anonymous Englishman:in their original context, observed and described contradictions. Herwarth von Bittenfeld took these comments out of their original context and arranged them in a new context: the course of history in favour of "the German cause", in order to scare the enemies of Germany.[16] 

De Meern, the Netherlands, August 9, 2013,
T.W.M. van Berkel


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

  1. The article Tijd van oorlog Tijd van voorspellingen - de ongezonden voorspellingsdrift van heden, published in the issue of July 23, 1941 of the Limburgsch Dagblad, contains many quotes from the article of Gorris which previously was published in Studiën. [text]

  2. The New Yorker, November 4, 1939. See also: Van Berkel: Around the world with dr. De Fontbrune: New York, 1939; Amsterdam, 1940; Willemstad, Dutch West-Indies, 1941. [text]

  3. The article "Zag" Nostradamus dezen oorlog? is online available on It is not clear which author used the author's pseudonym "Troubadour". [text]

  4. The first edition of De Fontbrune's Les Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus - expliquées et commentées was published in 1938 by Michelet publishers in Sarlat and contained about 300 pages. [text

  5. Van Berkel: Nostradamus literature: list of titles in The Netherlands 1649 - 2001. [text]

  6. Uittrekzel der voorzeggingen [...] is the Dutch translation of The prophecies of Nostradamus concerning the fate of all the kings and queens of Great Britain since the Reformation. Now made in English by D.D. (Londen, 1715). [text

  7. In the 1938-Piobb-copy of the 1668-Amsterdam-edition, the text of quatrain 03-57 reads as follows:
    Sept fois changer verrez gent Brittannique,
    Tainta en sang en deux cents nonante an:
    France, non point par appuy Germanique,
    Ariez doubte son pole Bastarnan.
    It is not clear from which publication the French text of quatrain 03-57, as quoted in "Zag" Nostradamus dezen oorlog?, was copied.
    In Uittrrekzel der voorzeggingen [...], the Dutch translation of Van Dobbeler's version of quatrain 03-57 reads as follows: 
    Zeven Revoluties zullen in de Britsche Natie gezien worden 
    Binnen den omtrek van tweehonderd en negentig Jaaren, van de tijd af, dat die met bloed besmet wierd.
    Dezelve zal op generly wyze door VRANKRYK, maar door een HOOGDUITS HUIS ondersteund worden
    Totdat de Gemini hunne loop van Ariës tot de dubbele Kruiskringen zullen geëindigd hebben.
    This translation contains many elements which are not present in the old-French text of quatrain 03-57 in e.g. the 1668-Amsterdam-edition. [text]

  8. Loog-1921-VI, p.68-69 and p.84. [text]

  9. Noah, p.156-157. [text]

  10. Winkler-1939, p.45. [text]

  11. Kritzinger in conversation with Howe in: Howe-1995, p.221; Salamar (Stockholm, 1940), p.71. [text]

  12. Van Berkel: Prophete rechts - Prophete links War Nostradamus wirklich Scharlatan und Betrüger? (C. Loog in Der Reichswart, December 12, 1940). [text]

  13. Schuppe to the chief of the Berlin municipal police, September 25, 1939 (Landesarchiv, Berlin, A.Pr.Br. Rep. 030-04 Nr. 327). [text]

  14. Kritzinger in conversation Howe in: Howe-1995, p.220. [text]

  15. Fröhlich, p.206-209. [text]

  16. Van Berkel: Was bringt das Jahr 1940? Die Antwort geben uns "Les vrayes Centuries et Propheties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus (Hans-Wolfgang Herwarth von Bittenfeld, prof. dr. Karl Bömer, Leopold Gutterer, Berlin, 1939)
    In 1940, Was bringt das Jahr 1940? was brought into circulation in eight languages. The English translation, meant for the United States of America was entitled: What will happen in the near future? For an answer we must turn to "Les vrayes Centuries et Prophéties de Maistre Michel Nostradamus" -The prophecies of the ancient French astrologer Michel Nostradamus and the present war (Stockholm, 1940). [text]


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