Hari's Reviews

Hari's reviews on books, movies, television and more

Zodiac and Swastika by Wilhelm Wulff

Created: Wed Oct 24 15:52:05 2012 | Last modified: Wed Oct 24 16:02:29 2012

Rating: *******---

Zodiac and Swastika "Zodiac and Swastika" by Wilhelm Wulff is an obscure book; so obscure that I wasn't even aware of its existence before I stumbled upon it on the internet when searching for something related to the history of Nazi Germany. The book was written by one of Himmler's astrologers.

This book focusses on the personal history of the author during the era of Nazi rule in Germany and how astrology was ultimately outlawed and its practitioners persecuted and thrown into concentration camps. Wilhelm Wulff was a remarkable survivor, because he had certain skills and knowledge that the SS chief, Himmler valued. The book briefly touches on the early life and history of the author and some aspects of astrology, but what would really interest students of history is his subsequent adventures following his arrest and confinement in a concentration camp which led up to his meeting with the SS Reichsfuehrer himself.

The author lays great stress on his being forced to work for the Nazis on pain of death and it rings true to some extent: Himmler certainly wouldn't have taken kindly to a refusal by the author to read his charts and also participate in the bizarre and secret occult experiments that the Nazis were conducting at that time. But what really is of interest to students of Nazi Germany and its secret obsessions with the occult is the revelation that many top Nazi leaders had their horoscopes analyzed by expert astrologers to determine the future course of events. On the one hand, astrology was officially banned in the Third Reich and on the other, the top leaders had a fascination for the supernatural and the occult. This is evident as the war became increasingly hard on Germany and the Allies closed in on all sides, the Nazi leaders, Himmler especially, became increasingly out of touch with reality and grasped at the reading of the stars.

This book rings true on several aspects, although I think the author might have slightly exaggerated his importance and influence over Himmler. Where this book scores is that it reveals a few interesting incidents that took place towards the end of the Second World War, particularly the author's personal meetings with Himmler in late 1944-45; and paints a picture of the death, devastation and state of utter confusion that Germany found itself in as Hitler became isolated in his bunker and the other Nazi leaders scraped and floundered to rescue their personal fortunes in the face of total, unmitigated defeat.

The author also has some interesting insights about Himmler's closest associates, the SS General Walter Schellenberg and Himmler's personal masseur, Felix Kersten. In particular, Kersten -- who was hailed as a hero of the Jews after the War for his role in convincing Himmler to release several thousand Jews from concentration camps in the last days of War -- is portrayed unflatteringly by the author. The SS Intelligence Chief Walter Schellenberg is treated more sympathetically but he too comes across as a scheming, self-serving man who desired to portray himself in the best possible light to the Allies with regard to the worst aspects of Nazi atrocities. Certainly from all accounts of Walter Schellenberg, there is no concrete evidence that he directly participated in the atrocities of the extermination squads or the Holocaust and this book doesn't exactly add much to that part of the story. But this book being a personal account of a persecuted astrologer who was forced into working for the Nazis, one cannot expect a panoramic view of the events of the time.

The book does have several references to astrological concepts that might be of interest to students and practitioners of astrology (particularly Indian astrology) but lay readers won't be much interested in those references. The author also makes several unsupported claims of his predictions that came true throughout the book, but sceptics may safely ignore them without losing much. All in all, this book does drag a bit, especially in the early stages. Avid students of history, especially those interested in researching occult practices in Nazi Germany will find this book quite interesting for the characters portrayed and the roles they played in the last days of World War II. Others won't. It's simply too long a read and doesn't have any earth-shattering revelations to those who are familiar with this portion of history.

All in all, an interesting, but bizarre read, on an arcane topic. I rate it 7/10 simply because it is a truly unique viewpoint of a critical period in history.

The book can be read online at this site.