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 Nachrichtenbüro, 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 so-called Labor Front.
In June, 1941, a month after Rudolph Hess' dramatic flight to Scotland, Krafft and hundreds of German astrologers were arrested. It was supposed that Hess had received astrological advice prior to his departure. The Gestapo was instructed to find the astrologer whom Hess had allegedly consulted, but this mysterious person was never identified, probably because he or she never existed. Almost all the arrested astrologers were released after a few weeks or months, but Krafft was never freed; he died at Buchenwald in January, 1945. I knew about Krafft's imprisonment, but my efforts to help him were in vain. Not even Himmler dared order his release without the Führer's approval.
Like nearly all my professional colleagues, I too was severely persecuted from 1933 to 1945. Even before the outbreak of war I had discovered what it meant to be interrogated and imprisoned by the Gestapo, and after Rudolf Hess' ill-starred flight to Scotland in 1941 I suffered the same fate as the other German astrologers; I was arrested and taken to the infamous police prison in Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel. It was thanks only to the machinations of an ambitious manufacturer and an old party member who worked for the SS and wanted to ingratiate himself with Himmler that I, just another concentration camp detainee, was employed by Himmler and his accomplices during the final phase of the war, and although this meant that I was released from prison, I was anything but a free man. On the contrary, I continued to live as a prisoner on an estate belonging to Himmler's masseur, Kersten, an estate which served as a secret work camp for specialists and, as such, was affiliated with the Ravensbrück concentration camp. I was no longer physically maltreated, but I worked under the constant threat of severe punishment should my calculations prove inaccurate.
All this happened at a time when the Nazi regime was facing certain defeat. Today it may well appear incongruous that the leaders of the "master race", who claimed to believe only in the race and its historical mission, should have suddenly placed their hopes in astrology, as if astrology were some secret weapon that could save them from their fate, and yet these events form part of this darkest chapter in German history.
The fact that I have now decided to set down my experiences in writing is not due to the promptings of friends or to the wishes of the publishers who have been urging me to do so for years. In fact, for any insight my readers may now gain into my life as an astrologer and into some of the events of recent German history, they will be indebted primarily to Hugh Trevor-Roper.
Trevor-Roper published his book The Last Days of Hitler in London in 1947. It was soon translated into many languages and sold around the world. In this book both my name and the work that I did for Heinrich Himmler during the final phase of the war were mentioned on several occasions. The claims Trevor-Roper made about my activities included so much fantasy that I finally decided to speak. Let me give just one example. On page 93 of his book Trevor-Roper writes:
In Hamburg he [Walter Schellenberg] had discovered a promising astrologer called Wulf, a student of poisons, Sanskrit, and other interesting subjects. Wulf's prophecies, as seen by Schellenberg in retrospect, seemed remarkably accurate. He had prophesied that Hitler would survive a great danger on 20th July 1944; that he would be ill in November 1944; and that he would die a mysterious death before 7th May 1945. His prophecies concerning Himmler were equally remarkable, though discreetly enveloped in diplomatic silence. Schellenberg found that in politics Wulf was sound; he introduced him to Himmler as a counterweight to the unsound Kaltenbrunner; and this introduction was so successful that before the end of the Third Reich, according to Schellenberg, "Himmler seldom took any steps without first consulting his horoscope.
Anyone reading this passage is forced to conclude not only that I was a sound Nazi but that I also fulfilled a function in the top circles surrounding Himmler which enabled me to oppose a man like Kaltenbrunner. It is time to set the record straight.