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Zodiac and Swastika - Wilhelm Wulff

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Zodiac and Swastika is an account of the extraordinary life of an astrologer during the troubled and hysterical period of Nazi domination in Germany. When the Nazis first came to power, Wilhelm Wulff, painter, sculptor and astrologer, found himself under Gestapo scrutiny. In May 1941, during the purge that followed Hess's flight to Scotland, Wulff was placed in a concentration camp, but was released a few months later on condition that he work as an astrologer for SS leaders throughout the rest of the war. He was then allowed to live on the estate of Felix Kersten, Himimler's physician, and, in the last two years before Germany's defeat, cast horoscopes for Kersten, Walter Schellenberg, Arthur Nebe and finally Himmler himself. As the German military position worsened, Himmler and his staff desperately came to rely more and more on Wulff's astrological predictions. According to internet sources, Wulff died June 8th 1984 aged 91.

FOREWORD by Walter Laqueur "It is the stars above us who govern our conditions" - from the Chaldaeans to the Jungians, and most recently the American counterculture of the 1960s, astrology has had its practitioners, faithful believers and fellow travelers who thought it at least worthwhile to investigate the phenomenon noted by King Lear. Politicians and strategists in particular have been among the addicts, even though, as a rule, it did not do them much good. According to Josephus Flavius, the rebellion against Roman rule in Judaea came at the wrong time, as a result of astrological advice. Perhaps the most famous horoscope of all was Wallenstein's; he insisted on it, despite Kepler's warnings that it was quite pointless to look at the stars for causes and explanations of any kind of earthly event. How could he possibly know if Wallenstein would die from apoplexy, and whether this would happen abroad? If someone contracted venereal disease (Kepler wrote), was the planet Venus really responsible? But Wallenstein wanted his horoscope and Kepler needed money and so the transaction took place anyway. Beyond general statements Wallenstein wanted day-to-day guidance from the stars, and he installed Battista Senno, an Italian, as his private astrologist, who was to be available at any time of day or night. Senno participated in the conspiracy against Wallenstein which resulted in his murder. Nor have astrologists been of any apparent help to Mr. Sukarno or to certain Burmese rulers in our time.


Successful or not, astrology was practiced for many centuries; its heyday was in the Middle Ages when it was taught in many Italian universities. In the eighteenth century, however, it suffered a total eclipse and did not undergo a revival until around the turn of the century. As the European humanists had rediscovered the Greeks in the fifteenth century, so European astrologists uncovered Nostradamus, the Cabala (or what they thought represented it) and the Rosicrucian tradition. There was an astrologist revival in France and in England, but nowhere was the impact more strongly felt than in twentieth-century Germany. There were more astrologists per square mile in Germany than in any other European country, to quote Ellic Howe's pioneering study Urania's Children (London, 1967). One of its adepts was Wilhelm Wulff, who, as a young art student before the first world war, had discovered astrological literature in Italy while doing research on Leonardo's drawings. He worked as a sculptor and astrologist in Hamburg, and through some of his clients, he came to know Kersten, who was Himmler's masseur and friend. Kersten, who appears in this book in a somewhat less savory light than in his own memoirs, put him in touch with high SS dignitaries, such as Nebe, Schellenberg and eventually Himmler. The Nazis took a dim view of astrology, which was suspect both for its Oriental origins and its universalist character; horoscopes that did not differentiate between Aryans and non-Aryans, between higher and inferior races could not possibly be accepted. Neither Hitler nor Goebbels, contrary to widespread belief, took astrology seriously, and its only official use was in German psychological warfare. A suitably edited version of Nostradamus' prophecies which had originally appeared in 1568) was published, proving that Germany was to win the war. Unknown to the Germans, "Captain" Louis de Wohl was simultaneously preparing material in his Park Lane apartment for an Allied edition of Nostradamus which would prove exactly the opposite. Neither publication seems to have had a decisive influence on the course of the war. Many German astrologists joined the Nazi party in 1933, but this did not help them; there was no room for rival ideologies in the Third Reich and Hitler had a monopoly, as far as political predictions were concerned. The astrological associations were dissolved, their journals gradually disappeared, and most astrologists were not permitted to practice. True, Nazi policy was not quite as consistent in this as it was in other respects; in certain regions of Germany the ban on astrology-as on jazzwas not strictly observed. As far as the Nazis were concerned, it was a marginal issue, and it was only after Hess' self-imposed mission to Scotland that the Gestapo stepped in and arrested all known active astrologists. Hess' circle included certain astrologists, and it was believed that they had somehow influenced the Fuehrer's deputy. Among those arrested was Mr. Wulff, who spent four highly uncomfortable months in a concentration camp. Later he was forced to join one of the many "research institutes" which were part of the German war effort. One of his first major assignments was to locate Mussolini, who had disappeared following his ouster from power in 1943. Mr. Wulff claims to have provided the correct answer-about fifty miles southeast of Rome - at a time when no one else knew. As the tide of the war turned against Germany, the 58 leaders gradually became more interested in horoscopes, and their requests more and more embarrassing. Himmler wanted to know whether the Fuehrer would live much longer and how he would die. By that time, at the latest, Mr. Wulff must have realized that he was skating on very thin ice


indeed. Yet the worse the situation at the front line, the more he was in demand; during the last months of the war he had to be constantly in attendance. His account of his meetings with the leader of the SS does not offer any sensational new revelations, and it may be recommended as altogether reliable. It shows that lunacy in the higher ranks of the SS manifested itself in many ways, some of them quite unexpected. Most of Mr. Wulff's readers will not be impressed by his theories. They will show no more sympathy to the "serious" astrologists (the category to which he belongs) than to the charlatans who have brought disrepute on the craft and whom he denounces. For neither the signs of the zodiac, nor the planets, nor the twelve houses seem to have provided much guidance to him in private life. Surely he must have looked at one time or another at his own horoscope; if so, it is difficult to understand how he could have overlooked the dangerous configuration and why, after 1933, he did not move as fast and as far away as possible from his own profession-and, above all, away from the SS leadership. It would have saved him a great deal of danger and unpleasantness. Inasmuch as the historical value of this account is concerned, such considerations are, of course, quite irrelevant. This book was not written to make converts, and in the last resort it does not matter in the least whether the horoscopes prepared by Mr. Wulff and his colleagues were correct, but rather whether the recipients believed in them and acted accordingly.

Introduction: Why I Wrote This Book One of the strangest features of the National Socialist regime was that while it persecuted astrologers and murdered some of them in concentration camps, it saw no harm in employing them for its own purposes at the same time. The fate of Karl Ernst Krafft, the Swiss astrologer, provides a tragic example. He was a strange and gifted man, a pioneer in the application of statistics to astrological investigations, and something of a mystic. He more or less emigrated from Zurich to the Black Forest district in southern Germany in 1937, largely because he felt that his abilities were not appreciated in Switzerland. He had an uncritical admiration for the Nazis and hoped to make a career of some kind in Germany. When the war began in September, 1939, he was on the point of returning to Switzerland but then changed his mind and remained in Germany. He was already acquainted with a junior member of Himmler's staff who worked in Section VII, which kept an eye on groups who were generally suspect as far as the Nazis were concerned: "fringe" religious sects, astrologers, occultists, former Freemasons, and so on. Section VII recruited him on a free-lance basis during the autumn of 1939 and then during the first week of 1940 brought him to Berlin, at the request of Dr. Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry, to work on the prophecies of Michael Nostradamus, the famous sixteenth-century French seer. Krafft, however, soon regretted his connection with Section VII and the Propaganda Ministry and during the spring of 1940 found himself a job as a translator in the Deutsche Nachrichtenbro, the official government news agency. Early in 1940 the British learned that Krafft was in Berlin and immediately jumped to the completely false conclusion that he must be working for Hitler. Krafft never met Hitler-though he would have liked nothing better-but he did achieve very brief contacts with two important Nazi bosses, namely Dr. Hans Frank, the governor-general of Poland, and Dr. Robert Ley, the leader of the socalled Labor Front. In June, 1941, a month after Rudolph Hess' dramatic flight to Scotland, Krafft and hundreds of Ge

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