The Third Reich of Dreams
by Frank Berube
"Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind."
Ruby Tuesday, The Rolling Stones
third reichThe dreamer is describing not only how one comes to accept conditions as they are but also the state of mind in which such acceptance grows. This consists of a readiness to be deceived and a tendency to construct alibis for oneself; once one has been conditioned long enough by the right combination of pressure and propaganda, he has become so receptive and malleable that all will to resist disappears.
During the 1930's, Nazi Germany's rise to totalitarian power was well under way. Warning signs of the terror to come was being felt by increasing numbers of people. Among them was a young woman of great courage and insight. Charlotte Beradt recorded and collected people's dreams about the Nazi government's domination of their lives; dreams that tell of the painful political realities of the emerging Nazi State. In his essay at the conclusion of the volume, published in 1966, Bruno Bettelheim remarked that it was a shocking experience reading this book of dreams and seeing how effectively the Nazis murdered sleep, "forcing its enemies to dream dreams that showed that resistance was impossible and that safety lay only in compliance."
The following dream was dreamt by a man in his 30's living in Berlin during the early years of Nazi rule. It demonstrates the potential of our dreamworlds to produce stories that reflect the psycho-political conditions under which we live. Something within us is registering these disturbing vibrations and sending out signals of danger to the frightened conscious mind.
The author of the dream was told by the Nazi authorities to report to the Berlin Railway Station on a Sunday morning to collect money for the Party. Before leaving he said to himself, "What the heck, I won't be bothered." So he brought along a pillow and blanket - no collection box - and took it easy.
After about an hour Hitler appeared, wearing high patent-leather boots, dressed as a comical cross between a circus clown and a lion tamer. The dreamer watched Hitler use exaggerated, artificial gestures to win the hearts of schoolchildren. Then he adopted a stern attitude as he lectured a group of older boys and girls. At last he turned to impress a group of old maids by acting coquettish. Suddenly the dreamer began to feel uncomfortable under his blanket. He grew afraid that Hitler would notice that he had no collection box - he might be recognized as one of "the group of those who pretend to sleep." If caught, he imagined confronting Hitler and telling him that he doesn't approve of concentration camps.
Hitler continued his appearances around the station with different groups of people, and the dreamer was amazed to see that no one seemed to be afraid of him. He noticed that someone even kept a cigarette in his mouth while talking with him, and many more were smiling! After completing his stint at the station, he picked up his pillow and blanket and went down the main stairway in the station. Then the dreamer saw Hitler standing at the top of the stairs, concluding his appearance with a song from the imaginary opera, Magica, making extremely theatrical gestures, which had the crowd mesmerized. Everybody applauded. He bowed and then went tearing down the stairs, looking foolish in his purple trousers and holding his trainer's whip. Hitler passed by with no bodyguards and stood in line at the cloakroom like everyone else, waiting patiently to get his coat. At this point the dreamer thought, "Maybe he's not so bad after all. Maybe I needn't take the trouble to oppose him." All at once he realized that instead of a pillow and blanket, he was carrying a collection box.
This dreamer sees Hitler as a manipulator par excellence - an animal trainer - and yet the big act that Hitler puts on works in the end: the dreamer begins to feel that things are not half bad and maybe he doesn't have to worry about Hitler after all. Winston Smith, sipping his Victory Gin with tears of gratitude in his eyes, reached a similar conclusion about Big Brother, although he got there by a different route. The average person struggling with their conscience in the face of dehumanizing conditions, is, like Orwell's hero, "a hero who is basically neither good nor bad, up against the effects of a political system which in the end leaves open but one direction in which he can move - the one toward the movement." Individuals are embedded in a repressive psycho-political system, unable to act independently or resist the forces that are propelling the motion of society in the direction of Nazi domination.
The Third Reich of Dreams is a book that tells a compelling and revealing story about the hidden side of WWII. It portrays how the German subconscious mind was invaded by totalitarian fear as the Nazi's plans reached fever pitch during the 1930's. The grooming of Hitler and his evil cadre, the rise to power of the Nazi State, and the mobilization of the country for Total War, were all carried out with cold-blooded determination and ruthless precision by human beings whose very souls had been violated and whose minds were controlled.
Beradt collected hundreds of dreams during 1933 through 1939, referring to them as "diaries of the night," providing a view into the inner world of fear and confusion people were feeling as their personal integrity disintegrated and their lives fell apart. The dreams she selected for the book are drawn from the lives of ordinary people who found themselves confronting the mental terror of The Third Reich during the early years of the Nazi regime. These dreams show that this was a war on the human spirit. It was secretly about capturing inner ground and blowing apart the national psyche, destroying all the ground gained over centuries of psycho-spiritual development, doing away with a whole generation of artists, writers, and scientists, and burying the work of these creative people underneath the rubble and ruin of Total War.
As American citizens who live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we should have learned from Nazi Germany that psychologically terrified people can be pressured into giving up their democratic rights and living in a police state, once their political power has been stolen from them and their lives have been turned upside down. We now know that Nazi propaganda was bolstered with psychotronic technology that fostered an atmosphere of psycho-political terror, desensitizing feelings and thought control. We have to remember that for over a decade, the frightened minds of average German citizens were unable or unwilling to resist the insane domination of Nazi terror, and so could not, or would not, think for themselves and question authority. The horrifying things that were happening were beyond anyone's control, and so the public was swept along by overpowering Nazi propaganda and State terror, too much in fear to object to the abuse of power, or to do anything about the atrocities carried out against Jews and Communists or others who threatened to undermine The Third Reich.
The Nazis imprisoned and executed people whom they considered sub-human, and those considered enemies of the State. Getting the public to accept this, however tenuous their consent, is something not entirely explainable or understandable by simply saying that Hitler hypnotized the masses. How can human beings stand by and allow their government to enslave and kill people in such a brutal manner and find an acceptable justification for it? Such inhuman behavior cannot be explained merely in terms of people being numbed into apathy for the fate of their fellow humans and allowing themselves to be herded into the mass hysteria of a faceless mob. We must look for the causes of this herd mentality beyond the explanation of "nationalistic frenzy." Racism and Ideology only go so far in explaining the soul-boggling horror involved in their participation in mass slaughter. Patriotism and Blood are the "front men" for the Nazi State, providing a vessel for the forces of the collective unconscious to pour into.
It's because of the work of renegade researchers and writers like Charlotte Beradt that we are able to see beyond the conventional historical perspective and open our minds to reviewing controversial material, and hopefully coming to understand, however vaguely, the underground forces and occult underpinnings of The Third Reich. Propaganda and state terror carried the population along on a wave of animistic hysteria, with millions obeying the rules and regulations of the Nazi mental status quo. Yet, Beradt writes, "from the very beginning people from all walks of life and in all their fear and anxiety were able, dreaming, to recognize the aims and principles of totalitarianism and foresee their consequences, so that their dreams ring prophetic in retrospect."
Today, sixty years later in the USA, the technology of mass mind control has vastly improved and is deadly in its effectiveness. Consequently, the population of the United States is in a worse situation in terms of being forced into mental slavery than were the inhabitants of Germany, Italy, or Russia earlier in the century. American citizens are facing the 90's form of totalitarian fear, and just like the German people thought sixty years ago, we believe that it could never happen here. But it's clear by now that the vast majority of Americans still do not possess an adequate understanding of how their minds work, nor are many citizens any closer to comprehending how the national psyche is being manipulated; in short, we're unable to come to terms with the fact that our subconscious minds are being controlled.
Only century-spanning, trans-generational, psychic genocide can account for the subjugation of the mind that made possible the appalling events of the 20th century. Mass mind control technology has made leaps and bounds of progress over the past half-century; it has succeeded in keeping millions bound to lower levels of consciousness and a self-absorbed existence. Our minds are sinking into the paralyzing stupor of the mental status quo, while our freedom slips away from us and we come closer to facing the apocalyptic abyss that the German people faced over a half century ago.
The Mental Status Quo
There are many inexplicable things about our volatile century that beg understanding, that are more often than not left without answers, or even end up producing more questions. Nothing much can be understood without knowing oneself within. Our inner world is much bigger than we imagine, as our dreams allow us to see. There is a hyper-dimensional world of vast inner space within your mind that is beyond the reach of the senses, accessible only by transcendent means. This hidden inner world exists beyond the perceptual horizon of the mental status quo - it is the undiscovered realm of the deep psyche where our dreams originate. Unknown to the programmed mind, your awakened perception has access to other dimensions beyond the brain and the senses, and hidden somewhere in that vast uncharted territory is your inner self, your true self. But ego-bound people are afraid that if they sail too far beyond the perceptual horizon of the mental status quo (MSQ), they'll fall off into an inner abyss, like the ships of the flat earth that sailed too far beyond the ocean's horizon and plunged over the edge into bottomless space.
During earlier centuries, people from Europe knew nothing of the existence of the continent that would become known as America. These days we're prevented from exploring higher states of consciousness by an ocean of unconsciousness that isolates us on an inner island, limiting our perceptual horizons to a short egotistical range. There are still too many people in this world who are unaware that these other dimensions of consciousness are part of our inner geography.
Be warned that there are political consequences for living in our own worlds, as life in Nazi Germany has shown us. As citizens of America we can already see ourselves losing our right to privacy, and we have to retreat further and further away from society in order to escape from the ubiquitous intrusions of the media and other silent invasions of our psyche. Soon there will be nowhere to hide and no privacy for anyone, and we will be facing the horrible political conditions faced by the citizens of Germany during the 30's and 40's as their world fell apart around them, a scary situation illustrated by the following dream.
In 1934, a forty-five-year-old doctor dreamt that he was relaxing on the couch after his consultations reading a book, when suddenly the walls of his apartment disappeared. He looked around and saw, to his horror, that all the other apartments didn't have walls anymore either. Then he heard a loudspeaker boom, "According to the decree of the 17th of this month on the Abolition of Walls..."
Some time later he realized what had provoked the dream. His block warden came around to ask him why he had not hung a flag at his window. Putting him off, he thinks, "Not in my four walls..." In another dream he finds that the only real escape from the "Life Without Walls" was withdrawing from the public realm, because those who give in and go along become part of the Nazi scene and must surrender their autonomy and conform to whatever mental and social conditions that are required of them. "Now that no home is private any more, I'm living at the bottom of the sea."
The Nazi MSQ
Conforming to the Nazi MSQ means that you're going along with a set of rules for inner behavior - thought control - while conforming to political conditions means that you're doing what the authorities say - social control. As a result of having to deal with the rules and regulations of the Nazi regime, people were being coerced into maintaining the mental status quo, a state-approved way of thinking and behaving that came to be known and practiced by everyone, because to say or do otherwise meant getting into trouble with the authorities and putting your life in danger.
The Nazi mentality provided the mind with the linguistic rules and regulations of the German MSQ, which enabled its citizens to think and speak in standard terms. This manufactured mindset channeled thought and conversation in the direction of conformity, and accounted for the underlying set of beliefs that made up the dogma of The Third Reich, a state-sanctioned view of reality.
In 1933 the author of the following dream was a 30-year old, liberal-minded, pampered woman with no profession. In the dream, street signs had been abolished and posters were set up in their place on every corner, proclaiming the twenty words people were not allowed to say. The words were listed in English, the first was "Lord" and the last was "I," and the rest were unclear. This dream anticipates the radical restrictions on freedom of expression about matters relating to one's identity and beliefs that totalitarian regimes have exploited during the 20th century. The posters were substituted for the prohibited street signs, conveying the idea that people had lost their direction, were looking for signposts in their lives, and were finding that they couldn't speak about God or reflect on who they were. The dream is a parable that illustrates "the dialectical relationship that exists between the individual and the dictatorship."
The Untold Story of The Unconscious Mind
"What if something should go wrong with the psyche?," asked psychologist Carl Jung over 30 years ago. Jung was a cartographer of inner space and provided humanity with maps and charts of the lost realms of the deep psyche. Without the knowledge and inspiration of Freud and Jung and other pioneering psychologists, we would still be crawling around in the dark of the mind, classifying altered states of consciousness in religious terms and dumping any kind of transcendent experience into the psychotic and delusional category. During this century it became possible to study the psyche scientifically, enabling us to understand the subconscious basis of conscious awareness, whereas before this century you could only talk about the unconscious mind in occult or religious terms.
Telling the story of the unconscious mind is difficult because it's not so easy to put into words. All the words that could be useful have been taken over by the authorities and corrupted to the core. The reason we find it so difficult to think clearly or speak coherently about the hanky-panky going on in the unconscious mind is because most of the terms used to describe renegade states of consciousness have been stripped of their original meaning and painted over with a glossy sheen. Dictionaries and encyclopedia's give descriptions of altered states of consciousness and non-sensory dimensions of the mind like they were psychotic episodes to be neuro-chemically controlled or rendered inactive by psycho-surgery.
It's useless to depend on words when they have so little power over the shackled thoughts of the mentally enslaved, who wouldn't dream of leaving the prison even if they had the keys to unlock their cells. Talking about alien ideas is something so full of verbal booby traps that it just about ruins any chance of seriously investigating what's really going on in any other world except this one. The terms used to describe our inner world as natural and sacred have lost their ability to inspire and guide us, because their meaning has been changed and now we have no structure of thought upon which to build an understanding of ourselves.
Controlling thought in this way reduces the threat that the mind might be led astray by renegade thinking, perhaps discovering the inner curtain and pulling it aside, exposing the shady dealings of the subconscious mind and putting an end to the long-running ego drama. Inner explorers who want to throw some light on the darker side are forced to use matches to illuminate the way, because orthodox religion, behavioral psychology, and materialistic science are drawing most of the illumination from these concepts through their domination of consensus reality and control of language. You can't talk about mind control, can't talk about a secret government, can't talk about hyper-dimensional realities, can't talk about hidden history, can't talk about the age-long story of the Human Spirit, and you can't so much as whisper the naked truth that a big chunk of our mind is missing. Whatever is enforcing unconsciousness must be very powerful because it will not allow any self-reflection or renegade knowledge to threaten its subliminal authority and challenge its hold on the conscious mind.
The Guilt of The Guiltless
The woman who dreamt about the twenty words that couldn't be spoken considered herself to be quite self-centered, yet her dreams reflect a deep understanding of what was at stake if one surrendered their mind to the Nazis. She had a series of dreams between April and September 1933. Not long after her dream about God and Self, she dreamt that she was all dressed up sitting in a box at an opera house with several tiers, being admired by many people as she watched her favorite opera, "The Magic Flute." When it came to the line, "This is the devil certainly," some policemen came stomping in and told her a machine had registered that she thought about Hitler when she heard the word "devil." She looked imploringly to the crowd for some sign of help, but they all just ignored her. She glanced over to the old gentleman in the adjoining box trying to get his eye, but he turned and spit at her.
This dream manages to capture the way so-called respectable people behave when they're called upon to respond to unfairness and injustice in their midst. The opera house with its levels of curved tiers is filled with people who do nothing but sit there and stare straight ahead when someone who they could help is in trouble. Later, the woman described the thought-control machine in her dream as being electric with a maze of wires, envisioning remote-control devices and other electronic methods of monitoring and control that were coming into use during the 30's and 40's.
One night, after being deeply disturbed by radio reports about book burnings, in which the words "truckloads" and "bonfires" were used repeatedly, she dreamt that all books were being collected and burned. Not wanting to part with the copy of "Don Carlos" that she had since her schooldays, she hid it under the maid's bed. When the Stormtroopers arrived to take away the books, they marched straight to the maid's room, pulled the book out from under the bed, and threw it on the truck. At this point she discovered that she hid an atlas and not her copy of "Don Carlos," and felt guilty.
When we dream, there are psychological mechanisms that censor our unconscious motives by distorting them, preventing us from realizing that which we do not wish to be aware. If people are being subjected to extraordinary conditions of control caused by political repression, their dream content will be distorted. One explanation is that the mind is attempting to alter the circumstances that are leading to surrendering control of our lives. Because of this self-censorship, many dream scenarios that deal with themes of submission and complicity have bizarre overtones, in an attempt to change the character of threatening thoughts before they manifest themselves in our dreams.
In her next dream, the milk man, gasman, news vendor, baker, and plumber are standing around her in a circle, holding out their bills. This did not upset her until she noticed a chimney sweep among them. The 2 S's in the German word for chimney sweep, Schornsteinfeger, along with his black outfit, made him appear like a threatening gestapo character. It reminded her of the children's game, Schwarze Kochin, holding out their bills with arms uplifted in the familiar gesture, chanting, "Your guilt cannot be doubted." What had provoked the dream was that, just the day before, her tailor's son showed up wearing the uniform of a Stormtrooper, to collect the bill she owed his father. She was outraged because, before Hitler, it had been customary to send the bill through the mail, and she demanded an explanation for a government official collecting the money. The embarrassed young man replied that it had no special significance, he just happened to be in the neighborhood and wearing his uniform when he stopped by. "That's ridiculous," she said, but paid the bill anyway.
The woman was aware of how the newly established block warden system functioned and how intrusions were sanctioned by the party uniform. Her dream indicates that she felt guilty about yielding to slight pressure and settling the account. A minor sin of omission, but a significant one, if it leads to more grievous abdications and lapses, "barely recognizable injustices" which keep building up, producing a repressed state of mind that is hard to describe. "The guilt of the guiltless," comes from the accumulation of these tiny abdications and hiding them away in the subconscious, where they show up in disguise in dreams.
The Language of Consciousness
It's simply not possible to think about and discuss matters of importance such as the survival of the life of the mind and the preservation of our democratic rights, if the terms and concepts used to describe psychospiritual freedom have had their original meaning squeezed out of them. Today, we cannot speak of threats to our inner freedom, because terms like mind control, secret government, conspiracy theory, the unconscious, paranoia, hidden history - have negative connotations attached to them and deflect the mind away from investigation and study. It's an academic "given" that all these subjects are not to be taken seriously. The inner world beyond the borders of the MSQ appears incomprehensible to people who have never experienced other dimensions of their psyche. But there is no question that an unconscious realm of the human psyche exists. Its psychological conquest and subliminal colonization has been the deepest darkest secret of the 20th century.
Influencing how we think by controlling language keeps our thoughts safely within the bounds of the MSQ, leaving us quite content with ourselves and perfectly willing to spend the rest of our lives like this. Unable to seriously address things like psychotropic warfare and a global cryptocracy, is a good example of language controlling thought, because if you speak of these things you'll be classified as a "conspiracy theorist" or you'll be thought of as downright crazy by members in good standing of the MSQ Club.
The dream-author had several dreams that repeatedly dealt with the new environmental conditions of total control. The woman's dreams pictured her neighbors sitting in a large circle around her, silent and expressionless, leaving her more imprisoned and lost in each one. Finally, one dream says it all by containing no images, only words: "Am going to bury myself in lead. Tongue is already leaden, locked in lead. Will lie immobile, shot full of lead. When they come, I'll say, 'The leaden cannot rise up.' Oh! They want to throw me in the water because I'm so leaden..."
She had this dream on New Year's Eve, 1933, after the traditional pouring of molten lead. Like the doctor's dream of seeking refuge at the bottom of the sea, she wishes to become buried in lead, wanting to completely withdraw from the public realm and hide from herself in the process. These dream-fables are a warning of the insidious mental intrusions that are gradually taking over the consciousness of the people, interfering with the relationship one has with their inner self.
The profusion of prohibitive regulations, along with the steady control the population, were placing increasing pressure on people's lives, which wore down their will and tore away their defenses, leaving many people compliant slaves at the feet of their mental masters in only a few short years. Yet while this may have been taking place imperceptibly, so that people became gradually accustomed to the takeover of their minds, their dreams were showing this process taking place quite clearly. All the small steps it took to get to this groveling position are there to be seen in their dreams. If one reflects on such dreams and discerns their wisdom, perhaps people wouldn't allow themselves to become disconnected from their inner selves, and they wouldn't make very good Nazis. Which is why even dreamland is invaded by The Third Reich.
The MSQ Renegades
Drowning people's lives in prohibitive regulations drove some people to the brink and others into denial. If they had no way of dealing with these forces of coercion and repression, the only thing they could do is surrender to the authorities and submit their lives to the will of the Nazi State. But some people must attempt to resist these insidious intrusions into their minds and try to stop this domination of their lives by performing simple acts of defiance. Everyday refusals to take part in the ritual destruction of human dignity show the Spirit surviving in the midst of dehumanization. These are the free thinkers who the authorities fear the most, because people who have discovered their inner power and are willing to stand up to The Third Reich are more threatening to the stability of the Nazi State than all their other enemies combined.
The following dream was dreamt by a student whose brother had been arrested, which caused considerable strain and difficulty in his life. There was a party going on in a large building. People who could be arrested for political crimes against the Nazi State, for example degenerate artists and performers, one-time socialists, and relatives of concentration camp inmates, were all sitting in a small attic room, making fun of the well-dressed guests arriving downstairs. The dreamer crept downstairs and overheard someone say that the whole house was filled with tension, and that the stairs to the attic had caught fire as a result.! "The suspects have to be saved " he yelled into the bedlam. But they only shrugged, "Why shouldn't the suspects go up in flames?" Suspects are to be defined by the State, and so they get to say who are suspects. In short, everyone is a potential enemy of the state, lumping together internee and relative, artist and friend, activist and employer, into the single category of suspect.
Communists can be dealt with using terror tactics and political subversion, but ordinary people who are inner freedom fighters are another matter altogether. They're not so easy to dominate and they remain a threat to the State by defending the Individual Human Spirit. They won't allow their mind to be taken over by any outer authority and they will not participate in any activity where they have to betray themselves or hurt others. As long as such people exist, there is a force for the Nazis to reckon with that is beyond their capacity to deal with and control, because the inner worlds of these human beings have not been violated by the insidious effects of mass mind control.
The following dream, which occurred in the autumn of 1933, was dreamt by an elderly woman who was a mathematics teacher. In her dream it was forbidden under penalty of death to write anything having to do with mathematics. This woman took refuge in a night club, which in waking life she would never have set foot in. The place was filled with drunkards and prostitutes and the music was blaring on. She took a piece of tissue paper from her pocketbook and wrote down a couple of equations in invisible ink, all the time being frightened to death.
Her dream reflects how absurd it is to attempt to ban something that people naturally do everyday. When asked to comment on her dream, she replied simply, "It is impossible to forbid what they are forbidding here!" In her dream, she chose a nightclub to perform her act of defiance, someplace no one would expect to find her, and a place where other forbidden things are going on.
Sitting at a table in the dimly-lit club, she works with the tools of spies to copy the equations that will ensure that her profession survives the destructive forces set against it. As the environment is being transformed by the machinations of the Nazi State, people are becoming alienated from one another and disconnected from the activities that make up their daily lives. Individuals are being taken away from their communities and being turned into obedient servants of the Reich. Yet there are always defiant ones who resist becoming dehumanized, because they are keeping alive within themselves the flame of the Individual Human spirit.
The American MSQ
Our media-saturated minds are being anesthetized with overdoses of doublethink and overflowing mouthfuls of newspeak. And our beleaguered brains are being subliminally and vibrationally assaulted everyday, to the point of dangerous psychic depletion and extreme spiritual vulnerability. New dimensions of language are needed to orient our minds to hyperdimensional realities and to provide a para-linguistic structure to work with these renegade ideas. The transcendent dimensions of language that address the life of the mind are kept out of reach of our thought processes and continue to remain inaccessible to most of us. There are powerful occult forces keeping people unconscious, so it may be expecting too much to think that we could overcome our intense fear of waking up to the transcendent dimensions of our lives.
As Orwell warned, once you take over the language, there is thought control, and then it becomes impossible to think for oneself or question the authorities. What is needed is for each mind to take back the language and personally get rid of all the hype and trivia given to terms whose meaning relates to secret dimensions of consciousness and hidden aspects of history. We need a viable language that is equal to the hyper-dimensional realities it is attempting to describe. In a mathematical way, physics was confronted by the same problem earlier in the century, when its formulas and equations ran up against hyper-dimensional phenomena it just couldn't explain with current theories. There had to be a bigger picture to see what was happening, and relativity and quantum theories provided that greater perspective.
With the new world order closing in fast, our language needs to undergo a corresponding revolution, as the written word attempts to define and conceptualize other dimensions of reality beyond the range of the MSQ and the prevailing consensus reality. There is no other way to approach this perceptual transformation of our minds: the power of the word - freely thought, spoken, and written. Our psycho-spiritual freedom depends upon their survival.
The Upraised Arm
During the 80's & 90's, American citizens have lost, and are still losing, more of our political power and rights through the encroachment on the freedom of the individual of frightening federal laws, but many of us are waking up to what's going on behind our backs, or maybe I should say, beyond our comprehension. People today are confronting the same fear of unknown forces that the German people were facing during the 30's, and the subconscious minds of individuals are registering the steady erosion of freedom and its debilitating effects on their daily lives. As the new world order is closing in fast, perhaps people in the United States are dreaming similar dreams.
Three days after Hitler seized power in Germany, Herr S., a 60 year old factory owner, dreamt that he was under so much pressure trying to reconcile his worldly ambitions with his conscience, that he "cracked" from the stress, "breaking his backbone," leaving him a moral invalid, and no one even laid a hand on him. In the dream, Goebbels was visiting his factory and had all the workers line up in two rows facing each other. Herr S. had to stand in the middle and raise his arm in the Nazi salute. It took him half an hour to get his arm up, inch by inch. Goebbels showed neither approval nor disapproval as he watched him struggle. When he finally got his arm up, Goebbels said, "I don't want your salute" then turned and went to the door. There the factory owner stood, arm raised, in the midst of his workers, only able to keep himself from collapsing by staring at Goebbels' clubfoot as he limped out of the factory. As so he stood until he woke up.
This dream recurred many times and in one version, "The effort of lifting my arm was go great that sweat poured down my face like tears, as if I were crying in front of Goebbels." And in another: "I looked to my workers for a sign of comfort but their faces showed absolute emptiness, not even scorn or contempt." Finally, while struggling to lift his arm, his back - his "backbone" - breaks. This was a man with lifelong political convictions and who had a strong paternalistic attitude toward his employees. Through several demeaning episodes he is forced to humiliate and debase himself in his own domain in front of his employees, by having to submit to conditions that make him lose his self-respect, and through being coerced into conforming to laws that are unfair and immoral. Herr S. was once a proud man who commanded respect, but now "he feels alienated not only from all that is real in his life but also from his own character, which has lost its authenticity."
Dreams such as the ones Beradt collected were dreamt by ordinary people confronting repressive conditions, who were looking for psychological ways of dealing with the silent impact of explosive social changes. Charlotte had difficulty gathering material because people were afraid to confide their dreams, and she often heard them say, "I dreamt it was forbidden to dream, but I did anyway." She states that the dreams produced by German citizens during the 1930's, unlike the dreams of the victims of wars and revolution of previous centuries, were distinctive in character and content, because "their origin in time and place is explicit: they could only have sprung from man's paradoxical existence under a twentieth-century totalitarian regime, and most of them nowhere but under the Hitler dictatorship in Germany."
At some point during her investigation, Beradt realized that these dreams were important seismic readings registering the debilitating effects of totalitarian stress on the minds and lives of ordinary German citizens. Looking at how each dream reflected a personal journey toward dehumanization, with the dream-authors backing away step by step from their former way of life, demonstrated to her that "the minor incident, the personally relevant factor, shows how Nazi totalitarianism functioned." She wrote:
"It occurred to me from time to time that a record should be kept of such dreams, a thought that now became a plan. They might one day serve as evidence when the time came to pass judgement on National Socialism as a historical phenomenon, for they seemed to reveal a great deal about people's deepest feelings and reactions as they become part of the mechanisms of totalitarianism. When a person sits down to keep a diary, this is a deliberate act, and he remolds, clarifies, or obscures his reactions. But while seeming to record seismographically the slightest effects of political events on the psyche, these dreams - diaries of the night - were conceived independently of their author's conscious will. They were, so to speak, dictated to them by the dictatorship. Dream imagery might thus help to describe the structure of a reality that was just on the verge of becoming a nightmare."
At the end of her book Beradt says that these dreams contain a warning, "the warning that totalitarian tendencies must be recognized before they become overt - before the guise is dropped ... before people no longer may speak the word "I" and must guard their tongue so that not even they understand what they say, and before we begin to actually live the "Life Without Walls