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Dr. Hans Bender of the University of Freiberg in Germany - Case studies of premonitions during World War II



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Premonitions: A leap in to the future – Herbert Greenhouse [1971]

Dr. Hans Bender of the University of Freiberg in Germany compiled many cases of premonitions during World War II and wrote about them in Tomorrow magazine (Winter, 1956). In three of the cases described below, "cries for help" sent out before the event - in one case many years in advance - were answered by some of the most dramatic premonitions on record.


February 8, 1945. The Soviets have captured a young German soldier, who has a bullet wound in his neck. He and his fellow prisoners are taken out to a field in the Ukraine and ordered to get down on their knees. Searchlight beams systematically criss-cross the field, exposing each of the men in turn. A shot rings out, and one of the prisoners slumps to the ground, dead. A beam lights up the face of another prisoner. He, too, is shot.

The young soldier starts to perspire as the searchlight beams come closer. The young man wants to live, not die so wretched a death. He thinks of his mother and the rest of his family back in Germany. Outwardly impassive, he is crying inside.

Now the two searchlight beams cross his face and body, revealing a shoulder strap loose and a large dark grey mark on his neck. The Russian soldier points a gun at him. His eyes grow large with terror and he cries for his mother. . . .

At the same moment his mother is praying for him. She has had a close-up vision of her son on his knees in a field, and she sees the torn shoulder strap and the dark grey bullet wound, and his terror-stricken eyes as he cries out to her. Her prayers are answered. A Russian officer intervenes and takes her son to headquarters for interrogation. The next morning he is placed in a tank turret, his life saved. All the other prisoners have been shot.

How did the soldier's mother know where he was on February 8th ? For years, long before the war began, she had had a recurring dream: She saw him with the wound in his neck, kneeling on a "fallow field," his eyes turned to her in mute appeal. On February 8th she felt that the "fateful day had come," and she prayed through the night for her son. The soldier returned from Russia in 1948 and verified every detail of his mother's vision.


Did an infant asleep in his crib send a "cry for help" to his mother to find his body in the sand twenty-seven years later?

This story started back in 1919, just after the close of World War I. Two weeks after her youngest son was born, a German mother had a frightening dream. She was walking along a beach completely unfamiliar to her, looking for her child. She knew he was buried there. She ran her fingers through the sand trying to find him.

The young woman woke up screaming and shouted at her husband, "You must help me look for our Hans! He is lying by the sea under the sand." He calmed her down, and she realized she had been in the grip of a nightmare. The child was sleeping peacefully in his crib.

As the boy grew up, the same dream kept coming back to her - Hans Iying beneath the sand, while she frantically dug into it with her fingers as she looked for him. When World War II began, the boy was twenty years old, and he was drafted into the German army.

Seven years later, in the fall of 1946, the mother received word that Hans had died in a French prison camp. She tried to contact the other soldiers in his unit and finally located two who had been with him when he died. The sketch they sent to her was accompanied by this note:

"Hans' grave lies in the dunes near Fort Mahon, 800 meters from the sea."


Another German mother dreamed that her daughter was trapped in a railroad train during an air raid. In her dream she saw the frightened girl start to leave the coach to lie on the ground at the edge of the railway embankment. The mother knew that certain death was waiting for her daughter there, and she cried out to the girl to go back.

When mother and daughter were reunited later, the girl recalled the incident. Dr. Bender writes: "On the night of January 30, 1945 she sought frantically to get out of a railway train under a dive-bombing attack. All at once she felt herself drawn back into the coach.  Another woman passenger, seeking refuge in the same spot on the embankment, was killed outright."

"As a result of deep emotional anxiety," says Dr. Bender, "a reciprocal telepathic condition seems to have come about, by which the mother's warning premonition was conveyed to the daughter and made the latter feel she was being drawn back into the train."


In another of Dr. Bender's cases, the collective fate of a community seemed to generate a premonition. In 1939 a resident of Freiburg had a waking vision of the destruction of his city. As he walked briskly down the street, the buildings appeared to melt away into a pile of ruins, with only the cathedral standing. Upset by his vision, he moved away from Freiburg that year. On November 27, 1944-five years later - the main section of Freiburg was destroyed by bombing, with only the cathedral untouched.

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