Death by Nazi, yet again.

Thank you to Lisa’s post Dark Reality and My Writing Journey for inspiring this blog.

Do you believe in past lives?

I am not sure.  Part of me believes 100%.  The other part of me doubts.  Perhaps we’ve lived past lives.  Perhaps we’ve not.  What do you think?

From the time I was a wee elementary student–probably soon after viewing Sound of Music for the first time–I dreamed over and over and over again the same horrific nightmare.

As the Von Trapp family prepares to flee the Nazis...

As the Von Trapp family prepares to flee the Nazis…

Each nightmare was the same. Running from the Nazis.  Running, running, attempting to escape, please, God, let me escape, they’re coming, they’re just around the bend, they’re taking over our town, please, please…

The nightmares started at age nine or ten.  They continued for most of my adult life, although in recent years they’ve abated considerably.  It took deep spiritual work to ease the fears triggered by these nighttime dreams.

Perhaps it’s not simply a past life rearing its painful head.  Perhaps some of us white Anglo Saxon children growing up after the Holocaust, after the crematoriums and World War II, after the forced ghettos and Nazi gunshots, simply need to come to terms with what happened, if not for ourselves, then for humanity.

Who knows?

Heil Hitler!

Heil Hitler!

I only know that I’ve run from way too many Nazis in this lifetime.  What helped heal the nightmares?  In my 30’s and 40’s, exhausted from the repeated running heart-pumping dreams, I decided to go back into the dreams while awake.

Have you tried this?  You imagine yourself back in the dreams.  Then you either face your worst fears (i.e, getting shot or gassed) or consciously change the ending.  Most of the time facing my most painful fears proved more valuable than attempting to alter the scenario.

Camp children

Camp children

The first attempt at going back into the dreams in the early 1990’s:  The Nazi is approaching the front door of our little cabin in the woods.  I am locking doors, trying to keep him out, heart palpitating, frightened.  In active imagination, I decide to simply let him kill me.  A bayonet slashes through the front door (sounds like World War I, doesn’t it?)  Instead of running any more, I simply consciously open the front door.  His bayonet instantly penetrates through the heart.  In the “imagination” my spirit spirals upwards.

It was fascinating to learn that “I” didn’t cease to be. However, intriguingly enough, it soon became apparent that I wasn’t ready to die and returned to earth to learn.

The nightmares eased after this active imagination.  However, they did not stop entirely.  Time after time I would return to the dreams after awakening and turn to face the suffering, the running, the horror.

Several times, about a decade ago, I had day-nightmares.  Once, driving by a Red Lobster restaurant early in the morning, saw smoke pouring from the chimney.  Suddenly, was transported back to the early 1940’s and it was smoke rising from the crematoriums and I was crying, crying.  It was as if I was actually there for a few minutes.

Photos like this still bring tears.

Photos like this still bring tears.

This blog post could be 20,000 words long about Nazi-related visions and actual serendipitous  experiences that happened in this lifetime.  Once, under hypnosis, began to talk about Dachau.  Another time witnessed a long story about growing up as a Jewish girl in Poland.

Real past life memories?  An overly active imagination?  Suggestibility?

Eventually, all these years later, the unconscious pain connected to the Holocaust seems to have abated or become more conscious.  I rarely run from the Nazis during midnight dreams any more.  In fact, can’t recall the last escapist dream.

My heart still hurts for all the people killed by those who don’t understand, those who label and judge and despise.  My heart also hurts for those who aim the gun, pull the trigger.

When will we learn not to demonize one another, to create wars?

P.S. Just finished searching for some images to add to this post.  Many of them were so heart-breaking it’s impossible to imagine that we live in a world where humans can treat one another thus.  Such sadness…



About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in March 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Death by Nazi, yet again.

  1. Elisa says:

    I do Kathy. Dreamwalking can be interesting too.

    • Elisa says:

      Ok, what I really wanted to say was how hard flashbacks are to deal with. No one wants to know about them. They want a …let go, and a fake smile and a fake life of joy. I try to be compassionate and realize their minds would probably break to have to attempt to hold that, so they run. It doesn’t really help me to understand this. It just adds to the real that can’t be real because everything must be happy and positive. Thanks for sharing this Kathy.

      • Kathy says:

        You are welcome, Elisa. I am actually appreciative of this experience in my life. It brought a knowledge of depth and suffering and awareness that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Fake smiles and fake joy of life don’t usually serve us. It’s the wholeness of all that we’ve experienced that seem to make us who we are, that create a rich texture of being. Even though it can be hard, terribly hard, when we’re experiencing flashbacks. It seems there is a way to come to terms with them, to allow them to exist within us, and then they ease… At least that’s been my experience.

  2. dorannrule says:

    Kathy, this is a remarkable post. I too, had a recurring dream well into adulthood. I was standing with my parents and my little brother on a bridge over the ocean. My brother fell in and both my parents jumped in after him. They were all drowning. I knew if I jumped too, I would drown, so I ran away. The guilt upon awakening was overwhelming. I do not dream that anymore, but the guilt lingers.

    • Kathy says:

      That sounds very scary, my friend. Yours would be a perfect nightmare to return to while awake. To realize that *perhaps* it was OK that you did not jump in and die. That perhaps the Universe had different plans for you. Perhaps the guilt might, just might, dissolve a little.

  3. debyemm says:

    It feels to me as though there is something real here. My most troubling dream was of being shot for my purse, in a robbery, when I stopped for directions on Market Street in St Louis. I was really upset that someone would kill me for something I would have handed over quite readily – I never have all that much to lose except the aggravation of replacing the necessary stuff.

    That Christmas Eve, I was nervous being there, even though my husband was with me; and in my dream, I was alone. It felt more like a premonition than a past life. I have gotten over it. In a sense, it was part of my own overcoming any fear of death (which was augmented by experiencing the deaths of my in-laws, up close and personal).

    Though it is un-provable, I do have what feel like past life memories. These are not like your troubling nightmares. Mine are waking daydreams, deep perceptions that have arisen from somewhere within, in response to my direct inquiries of. They are somewhat vague and bits of and pieces. My favorite ones are the ones that make me feel MORE connected to my virtual tribe of Zaadz/Gaians. That is the best part. I always “allow” that it is an illusion but a nice one, regardless.

    The work of Brian Weiss, MD regarding past lives (he had conventional medical training and became a “believer” experientially) was quite “convincing” for me, that there is something real to past lives.

    • Kathy says:

      I read Brian Weiss (a couple of his books) and found them very fascinating. In fact, just recently gave them away to others who might appreciate his thought. Very interesting dream/nightmare about your purse being stolen, and how you learned so much from the experience.

      As I just typed to Elisa, am so grateful–in a strange sort of way–for all those years of nightmares. A deep healing seemed to rise from being present to all of it. And then the nightmares have almost completely disappeared in the last 10 or more years, so that feels like something was completed, something fulfilled.

      Waking daydreams seem most helpful to be able to penetrate into the unconscious, as well. Thank you for your comment, Deb. (I also enjoyed reading the link you sent on the Gaia page.)

  4. This is very powerful – I understand the part of you that believes 100% that there are past lives; I also understand the part of you that thinks it may just be compassion that you feel so deeply; feeling deeply is hard but it is what make you more than human; they always says “well, they are only human” as if that is a reason to make mistakes–if it is then we should strive to be more than human.

    • Kathy says:

      LouAnn, you sound very wise. Feeling deeply is a gift. It can connect us with one another in deep ways. I’ve heard that the enlightened ones feel their humanity so openly and completely. That compassion is felt so strongly because they realize that we’re all really One essence… Thank you, my friend.

  5. me2013 says:

    I don’t know about having lived before but I do get very vivid dreams of the past and the future. I am never sure if it is a past life of mine or some echo trying to reach someone in this time.

    • Kathy says:

      me2013, I know what you mean. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter if it happened to us–or if it’s an echo. It’s how we come to terms with it in our feelings and thoughts and beings. Just a thought… thank you.

  6. Wow, Kathy. I hope my post didn’t trigger a return to the dreams. Whatever you are experiencing your words are powerful. Thank you so much for sharing them. Maybe through sharing we can finally learn the lessons humanity needs to learn.

    • Kathy says:

      No, Lisa, your powerful post did not trigger a return to the dreams. Instead, it triggered a memory of all those nightmare years, and a desire to write about it. Thought that perhaps others might understand, or have similar experiences, or might be wanting to deepen into their nightmares/feelings to find out how to ease them. And yes, may we continue to share, may we continue to learn what we need to know to open our hearts and feel the deep love that we all are beneath the wounds and suffering.

  7. Kathy – As Deb said, it seems like there is a very real element to this. Rather than dreaming, it more like remembering. That component alone would suggest (at least to me) the very real possibility of it being a past-life experience.

  8. Stacy says:

    I don’t know if I believe in past lives either. But my mom does and says that I have an “old” soul – one that has been around for eons. This is how she explains my old lady tendencies, and how deeply I feel things, how I’ve known things about life since childhood….and how dark my thoughts can be. I don’t know, but it’s as good an explanation as any.

    Maybe you’re an old soul, too, Kathy. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Perhaps we are old souls, Stacy. I like the sound of that. It has been deeply satisfying to integrate some of these more painful experiences–even while it hasn’t been particularly fun or pleasant. Your mom may indeed be right.

  9. masqua says:

    I was born in the Netherlands in 1946 and this is my earliest remembered dream at age 4:

    —Smothered by a tangle of naked bodies, I struggle to free myself of the weight of wet, lifeless arms, legs and torsos that cover me. There is no air to breathe. After a prolonged period of time, I free myself—

    At that point I awakened in a very frightened state. The dream contained horror and fear to such a degree that I told my grandfather that morning. His reaction to it was one of astonishment for good reason; he knew about the death camps and the showers by 1950, but I did not.

    Since this dream has now haunted my memory for more than 60 years (I never had it again), I am convinced it is related to a child who perished in a Nazi concentration camp. It has also established within me a relationship between the ‘soul’ as conceived in Christianity and the ‘Atman’ of eastern religions.

    I do not know whether I am an incarnation of that poor child or if it is their experience which was picked up in my unconscious dream. Whichever it was does not matter to me so much as the belief that there is more to life than what our senses reveal.

    And, to those who would see something psychologically Freudian in this, all I can say is that my 4 year old mind related nothing sexual in this dream. I do not even know if the child who died was female or male, nor do I remember any details of genitalia in that very vivid dream. It was not sexual.

    All I do know is that, after researching stories of survivors who were tasked with removing bodies from the chambers, it was common for children to be covered up by adults in an attempt to protect them from the gas and that some were found still alive.

    • Kathy says:

      Masqua, thank you for sharing your dream. I believe it was a “real” impression of what happened. Whether it was yours or another child’s memory…that may not be possible to know. There IS indeed more to life than our senses reveal. I believe we’re all interconnected in ways that our conscious minds can not even understand. Thank you again for sharing this. It is very powerful.

  10. Heather says:

    I’ve had recurring dreams, too, but usually more obviously connected to something in my past that still haunts me. I spent time as a younger girl acquainting myself with the horrors of the Holocaust, and I can see how you could place yourself in the path of that storm. I’m glad you’ve faced those dream demons and mostly broken free.
    I look forward to the day when “we learn not to demonize one another, to create wars.” I used to think violence was an acceptable choice, but the older I get, the less tolerance I have for it. I’m just not sure it’s ever very helpful. I would much prefer to see us – this country “us” – walk away from our blood-soaked initiatives and give that a try. You know what they say – only a crazy person expects a different result when trying the same thing repeatedly.

    • Kathy says:

      What wisdom, Heather! See, you, too, are such an “old” soul. We are a crazy bunch of humans, doing the same things over and over again and wondering why we get the same results… Wishing you well in your delving into the incident in your past which still haunts. There is often so much we can learn about ourselves through moving deeper into the dreams, when the time is right.

  11. Kathy, I have a memory of Nazi terrorism that I’ve had since I was quite young. It’s a memory, not a dream. Later in life I discovered exactly how to uncover such memories of past lives and totally ease their residual trauma, pain and upset. I read and practiced “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.” It is amazing and I was able to discover for myself, with great certainty, that yes, I have lived many lives before this one.

  12. Fountainpen says:

    There is a very painful, yet lovely book of camp children’s art entitled:
    I NEVER SAW ANOTHER BUTTERFLY. Have you seen it?

    • Kathy says:

      Fountainpen, I think I have seen that book. Pretty sure I looked through it at one time. Very sad; very beautiful. Hard to imagine what the children went through. It’s interesting to contemplate that this art was saved and later made available to the world.

  13. john says:

    I think that those of us over the age of 50, children of those who fought in WWII and who watched TV shows like Combat, Twelve O’clock High, movies like The Longest Day, The Diary of Anne Frank have a mental scar that they live with.

    When Jenny and I lived in Germany in the 1980’s several times Jenny had panic attacks when put in a situation similar to those things we remembered from our childhood. The first time I took Jenny to the “Altstadt” (Old Town) section of the city we lived in, Jenny had to stop and catch her breath. She said that the similarity was so great to what she had watched on TV as a child she was afraid of Nazi’s coming around the corner. Another occasion during a nighttime parade for the Lantern Fest a German Navy band started the parade with torch bearers lighting the way and the band playing “Deutschland über alles”. There were the eagle topped standards carrying the banners and the crowd broke into their national anthem. Jenny grabbed my hand so tight I thought she would cut off the circulation.

    There were a number of Nazi sympathizers still living at that time, we met a few of them and it made both of us very uncomfortable. I do believe our minds are scarred from our upbringing (Not that it was wrong) and those issues will always effect the way we think and feel.

    • Kathy says:

      John, you could be right. We did grow up with a lot of books and movies about World War II. Many of may have scars deepened at an impressionable age. Can totally relate to Jenny’s pain while you were in Germany. When we drove through the Netherlands, I actually had a similar sensation and had to breathe deeply while we passed through a certain area of the country. If many of us were scarred, it’s good that we can consciously bring some light and peace to those dark times which destroyed so much of the world and our psyches.

  14. The blog and all the “stories” were compelling. I have many thoughts.

  15. sandiwhite says:

    Kathy, I share your dread of recurrent nightmares, I’ve often been awakened in the night by a pounding heart and shaken feelings. Yes, I do believe in past lives, I also believe the Source draws a Veil of Forgetfulness for the very reason that a Human Cannot sustain so many distressing memories and still function. Perhaps there are rents or windows in the Veil for a reason, that we might learn something useful in our present incarnation, I can’t say, I only know that I have been here before and will most likely return again.

    • Kathy says:

      You are probably very right, Sandi, that humans may not be able to handle lifetimes of distressing memories. It’s like perhaps the slate is wiped mostly clean as we come into a human body. Perhaps, if we’re ready, the window opens a bit so we can resolve some trauma. It’s a possibility…

  16. Dana says:

    I am a believer in past lives, Kathy, though I don’t have any experiential evidence or even a compelling story that can support this belief. It’s just something I feel in my core. Your experiences with nightmares, confronting your fears in daytime, etc. support the unprovable idea that we have all lived thousands of times before this. Just because we don’t know how to explain something doesn’t make it any less plausible or real…

    • Kathy says:

      That is certainly true, Dana. I agree with you 100%. Just because our logical mind doesn’t have a clue…doesn’t mean it’s not real. It’s so interesting that you can feel this in your core. I used to feel the truth of reincarnation very deeply. Lately, however, as I sense the Oneness that we are…something else seems more probable. But can’t put it into words. And could be 100% wrong so won’t even try. Thank you, Sauerkraut Lady!

  17. sybil says:

    Kathy, my world used to be so easy to understand. Now I don’t know. I wonder. I marvel, and I fear.

    I have never experienced anything like your dreams. I am sorry that you experience them, and yet, are they a window ?

    • Kathy says:

      YES! Sybil, you’ve just described what often happens to people as they spiritually mature. First we think we know a LOT. Then we realize we don’t know Two Hoots and kinda just slowly become OK with that. I think of these nightmares as blessings now, actually. A window that opened these eyes and healed something. Maybe. Don’t know. 😉

  18. Brenda Hardie says:

    Kathy, this hits so close to my core that it’s difficult to find words right now. The only thing I can say is that during the years of deep depression, I came face to face with my “memories” and nightmares. And since I was going through some intensive therapy (DBT) at the time, it helped me to process the memories and nightmares and allow them to exist without causing me such pain. Gosh..I haven’t thought about this for several years…but I do remember just how disabling those “memories” and nightmares were for me. Those remembered lives are now a part of me, without the pain and terror. I pray this can happen for you as well.

    • Kathy says:

      Brenda, this did happen for me. I was able to integrate the “memories” or feelings and the nightmares pretty much disappeared. They did cause a lot of pain over the years, but now have a much more peaceful acceptance around it all. It’s still sad, but feels integrated. Interesting that you had similar experiences. Glad that you were able to move through this, too.

  19. I do believe in past lives, but reserve a dose of skepticism of people who claim they were the famous, legendary so-and-so in one of their past lives. My own recurring nightmare involves being swept away and drowned in a flood, or perhaps a shipwreck. The details are hazy but the fear is palpable… Then there are my spider nightmares, with way too much detail, but unless I was a human bitten by a poisonous spider in a past life, I have to conclude that I was instead, a very unfortunate fly. I found it interesting the process you describe of imagining yourself back in the dreams – will have to try that sometime. Thank you for sharing your story again.

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, what is interesting is that different things trigger different people. Why would a flood/shipwreck disturb you so much, and the Nazis disturb me? That’s one reason it seems a good possibility that perhaps we did experience past lives. Why a spider and not a snake? Who knows…but I did get a chuckle about thinking of you as an unfortunate fly. (Except that isn’t funny when one is a fly, is it?) Was glad to share this story and thought that others might want to try the technique which helped so much.

  20. Robin says:

    Those photos (and the stories of the people involved) bring tears to my eyes, too. I don’t know about past lives. I waffle back and forth on the idea. Sometimes I think Yes, Of Course. Other times, I’m just Not Sure. I used to have a recurring dream, too. Nightmare, actually. A friend, an elder, taught me how to be present in my dream (or walk in my dreams), and long story made short, I found a way to resolve it (for lack of a better term) and it has not come back since. Gee, I hope thinking of it now doesn’t bring it back.

    • Kathy says:

      Interesting that we both waffle on this, Robin. When one dreamwalks, is one awake in one’s dreams? Is this lucid dreaming? I am glad you were able to resolve it. Have felt much more of a feeling of peace and integration around my own nightmares, and am so glad that nights of endless running have pretty much ended. It still feels horrifically said, but not with any “residue” anymore. I think you’ll know what I mean.

  21. Joanne says:

    Wow Kathy, I feel like you need to be hugged! Recurring dreams can cause concern during our waking hours, even when the subject isn’t frightening, when we simply feel uneasy about the dreams we are having. It must be horrific having nightmares about Nazis.

    In tracing my family history I have discovered many parallels between the lives of some of my ancestors and my own. Have you ever researched your own family history? I ask this because I am wondering if you have actually lived in the situation of your nightmares before, in your same family but as a different person. You will guess from that comment that I do believe in reincarnation, which is one of the reasons why I started my “A Sense of Spirit” blog. You have clearly shared your thoughts here in way less than 20,000 words too! One of the reasons I don’t ever seem to end up adding many posts to my “Spirit” blog is not through lack of content, but rather lack of clarity to express the thoughts in my brain, using less than 20,000 words!

    • Kathy says:

      Joanne, fortunately, I don’t really have the dreams any more. But the younger Kathy who experienced all those nightmares could have used a zillion hugs! So glad that so much of the pain seems to have been integrated and “healed” over the years.

      No, it doesn’t seem that any of my known ancestors were connected with World War II or the Nazis. I believe that family memories can be unconsciously passed down, too…

      And yes, it can be so challenging to write a spiritual blog. It’s so hard to find the words to express what can be so hard to express. I don’t visit your Spirit blog too often–if you ever write a post you would especially like me to see–please email!

  22. sonali says:

    My! This is very scary. Don’t the Nazi’s dare do anything to you.
    Well, I think we have had a past life. I think my life was very sweet. I have loads of sweet dreams – I never dreamt of being shot or murdered. May be a kind soul, I dream of angels, of goddesses, of pleasant places around the world and so forth. The same I day dream too.
    But imagination about the escaping from the Nazi’s or something like that is scary!

    • Kathy says:

      You are very fortunate, Sonali to have such beautiful dreams! I love dreams like that… In some ways, though, I am grateful for the nightmares. They somehow gave me a depth of understanding about the human condition, and taught me how to turn darkness into light. So they were gifts, although not fun gifts when they were happening.

  23. Thought-provoking blog, and I have so many things to say, so many ways to respond, that I’m going to have to keep it short. I believe in the ‘soul’ and that we’re ALL connected, as several of your commenters have suggested here. I don’t know about ‘past lives’ – but I don’t discount it at all. I do know that those of us who are empathic (able to put ourselves in other’s place, and feel their pain and their joy) hurt more and love more. Cry more and laugh more. I have had problems with nightmares and ‘feeling’ too much, so I’ve built a light wall around me, to protect myself from too much feeling. I wonder if you’ve done that, if only a little, to stop those nightmares. Because as wonderful as it is to ‘share’ with all of humanity, it’s also extremely hard to feel so much.
    Thanks for sharing your nightmare with us. It’s a nightmare we ALL should have, because of the horrors that humans have caused other humans. But then again. perhaps we were built to build some of those walls, because otherwise we’d have a hard time going on…

    • Kathy says:

      Pam, it’s interesting that so many commenters have perceived that I’m still having the nightmares, when they’ve been gone for mostly a decade, very rarely cropping up again. Perhaps it was the headline that I put on: Death by Nazi, yet again. I wrote that headline to describe the feeling of how it used to feel to wake up from those awful dreams.

      I so agree that some of us can be extreme empaths and feel so deeply. Protecting ourselves can be the way to go, especially if its going to be debilitating in our everyday lives. For me, it seemed necessary to go more deeply into the pain until it was integrated and resolved. I am actually strangely grateful for the nightmares, because they helped me feel more connected with the suffering of people around the globe. My heart feels softer and more open as a result of this.

      Thank you so much for sharing.

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