One of the most culturally significant reincarnation cases involves Barbro Karlen, who I have had he honor of doing joint presentations with since 2001. I first met Barbro in 2000 and I now consider her a very good friend. I would like to share her experiences with you. At the end of this article, a video may be viewed in which Barbro tells her story in her own words. Enlarge images by clicking on them.
A Toddler’s Past Life Memories of being Anne Frank
Anne Frank died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. Less than ten years later, in 1954, Barbro Karlen was born to Christian parents in Sweden. When she was less than three years old, Barbro told her parents that her name was not Barbro, but “Anne Frank.” Barbro’s parents had no idea of who Anne Frank was, as they were unaware of the book, Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, also known as The Diary of Anne Frank.
During her childhood, Barbro told her parents details of her life as Anne, which her parents thought were fantasies. In addition, Barbro had nightmares in which men ran up the stairs and kicked in the door to her family’s attic hiding place. An image of the exterior of the Frank family’s attic hiding place, which has the red tile roof, is provided below and to the right.
Barbro is evaluated by a Psychiatrist
Barbro’s past life memories worried her parents and at one point, when she was a child, they had her evaluated by a psychiatrist. Barbro, though, by this time, had learned that it was not wise to talk about the other world she lived in, the world of Anne Frank, as she noticed that everyone “got tense” when she described her memories to them. When she saw the psychiatrist, she made no mention of her memories of being Anne and was deemed a perfectly normal little girl.
Barbro’s Elementary School Teacher Discusses Anne Frank
When Barbro was seven or eight years of age, she became confused when her schoolteacher began talking about Anne Frank in class. Barbro thought to herself, “How could my teacher know about Anne Frank?” Barbro knew that she was Anne Frank. Barbro began to realize that Anne Frank was a famous person. “How could that be,” she thought? Describing her confusion as a child, Barbro has related “all this didn’t work for me.”
Imagine how hard it must have been for Barbro to have spontaneous memories of a past lifetime and to have no one to talk to, no one who could help her with her confusion, traumatic memories and nightmares.
Barbro’s Past Life Phobias Related to Anne Frank’s Holocaust Experience
Since childhood, Barbro has had a fear of men in uniforms. Even as an adult, if stopped for a traffic violation by a police officer, Barbro would have such anxiety that she would consider fleeing. In order to get over her phobia of uniforms, as well as to work with horses, Barbro in adulthood, decided to become a mounted Swedish police officer. After completing her training with the Swedish Police Authority, Barbro did become a mounted police officer and she worked with police horses for over a decade.
In addition, Barbro has had an aversion to eating beans since childhood, which the Frank family existed on for nearly two years. Barbro would also only take baths, not showers. In concentration camps, Nazi’s would bring prisoners into large rooms telling the prisoners that they would be given showers. Instead of water, poison gas was piped into the room to kill the prisoners. Anne was first taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where such gas chambers were used to kill those too feeble to perform forced labor. Later, she was transferred to the Bergen-Belsen camp, where she died.
Barbro also resisted having her hair cut. In concentration camps, new arrivals were stripped naked and heads were shaved, followed by a process of disinfection.
At 10 Years of Age, Barbro’s Geographic Past Life Memory Leads her Parents to the Anne Frank House
Barbro received her first validation of being Anne Frank when she was ten years old, when she was able to find her way directly to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam without directions.
The graphic to the right, which can be enlarged, shows how circular the streets of Amsterdam are. It is easy to get lost wandering the streets of this city, yet Barbro’s past life memories of the streets of Amsterdam were clear. I will now describe the scene, utilizing excerpts from And the Wolves Howled.
When she was ten, Barbro’s parents took her on a tour of the major cities in Europe, including Amsterdam, the city where the Frank family lived. During World War II, Otto Frank and his family had to go into hiding in the attic of the building where Otto had his business, for the Nazi’s had invaded the Netherlands and were persecuting Jews. The Frank family hid in this attic for about two years, until they were discovered by the Nazis, arrested and sent to concentration camps.
The only survivor was the father, Otto Frank, who subsequently was given Anne’s diary, which he later had published. After the war, the hiding place was made into a museum, which is called The Anne Frank House.
By the time Barbro was ten, the Diary of Anne Frank had been published and distributed in Sweden and her parents had became aware of who the historical Anne Frank was. While in Amsterdam, her father wanted to visit the Anne Frank House. At their hotel, he took the phone off the hook and asked for a taxi to take them there.
Barbro suddenly exclaimed: “We don’t need a taxi, it’s not far to walk from here.” Barbro was so certain that it didn’t occur to her parents to object, they just meekly followed her as she walked off.
“We’ll soon be there, it’s just round the next corner,” Barbro told her parents. She herself wasn’t at all surprised when they arrived at the Anne Frank House after a ten minute walk through the twisting streets of the city. An image of the Anne Frank House is provided to the right. Upon their arrival, her parents stood there speechless and just looked at one another.
Past Life Memories: Barbro Knows Where Anne Frank’s Pictures should have been Found
“That’s strange,” Barbro said, when they stood in front of the steps up to the house. “It didn’t look like this before.” She looked wonderingly and her parents didn’t know what to say. They entered the house and went up the long narrow staircase. Barbro, who had been so carefree when showing them the way, suddenly went white in the face. She broke out in a cold sweat and reached for her mother’s hand. Her mother was horrified when she felt Barbro’s hand, which was as cold as ice.
When they entered the hiding place, the same terrors overcame Barbro that she had experienced so many times in her dreams. She found it hard to breathe and panic spread through her body. When they went into one of the smaller rooms, she suddenly stood still and brightened up a little.
Barbro looked at the wall in front of her and exclaimed, “Look, the pictures of the film stars are still there!” The pictures of the movie stars that Anne had clipped and affixed to the wall, which Barbro saw at that moment, made her feel happy, almost as if she had come home.
Her mother stared at the blank wall and couldn’t understand this at all. “What pictures? The wall is bare?” Barbro looked again and she saw that this was true. The wall was bare! Her mother was so confounded that she felt driven to ask one of the guides whether there had been pictures on the wall at one time.
“Oh yes,” the guide replied, “they had only been taken down temporarily to be mounted under glass so that they wouldn’t be destroyed or stolen.” Barbro’s mother didn’t know what to say.
“How in the world could you find your way here first of all, then insist that the steps outside were different and then see the pictures on the wall when they weren’t there?”
Barbro’s mother was full of questions, but Barbro was quite incapable of saying even a single word. She just wanted to get out of there; she couldn’t stand it a moment longer.
Her legs felt like jelly as she went down the stairs. She had never before in her life felt so wretched. The tears ran unrestrained down her face, and her legs would not carry her. When she reached the bottom step her legs folded under her and she fell.
Barbro’s Parents Accept that She had a Past Life as Anne Frank
Barbro relates that these incidents in Amsterdam finally made her parents believe that she is the reincarnation of Anne Frank. After all, how else could she know how to get to the Anne Frank House on the family’s first trip to Amsterdam, and without directions? How could she know that the stairs had been modified? How did she know that pictures of movie stars, which Anne Frank had clipped from magazines, should be found on a specific wall inside the house, when these pictures had been removed so that they could be mounted behind glass?
In time, Barbro’s mother responded by becoming very spiritual and a believer in reincarnation. Barbro’s father, on the other hand, seemed annoyed. Barbro relates that her father responded by saying: “I can’t deny that you have somehow been here before. Perhaps you have lived before and have reincarnated, but you are the only one!”
Barbro understood that by being faced with the reality of reincarnation, her father’s Christian world view, where “everything was set right,” was threatened. Barbro was much happier, though, as from this point on as she could talk to her mother about her past lifetime as Anne Frank. She had her mother’s support.
Past Life Talent: Barbro Karlen is a Childhood Writing Prodigy, like Anne Frank
Anne Frank was a childhood writing prodigy. She is not the most famous victim of the Holocaust because she had the worst death. Rather, she become the most famous victim because as a teenager she wrote a book, a diary, that was readable and addressed universal themes, such as the nature of man and man’s tendency to be good or evil. Children around the world have been instructed to read The Diary of Anne Frank to learn about prejudice, which has made Anne’s diary the second most read book in the world, next to the Bible.
Like Anne Frank, Barbro Karlen was a childhood writing prodigy. Barbro relates that learning to write was a great gift. As a child, she could not speak to anyone about her past life memories, but once she learned to write, she could have discourses on her writing tablet.
One day, when she was eleven or so, a family friend read a few of her compositions and realized that this was worthy prose. Barbro was asked if her casual writings could be sent to a publisher, which she agreed to.
At the age of twelve, her first book of prose was published. This book, Man on Earth, became the best-selling prose/poetry book in Swedish history. Barbro became a child celebrity, debating theology with ministers and theologians on television programs. In her teenage years, she had a total of nine books published. These books, written in her youth, have been translated into multiple languages, much like the Diary of Anne Frank.
Barbro’s Past Life Memories Recede, then Reemerge when She encounters Reincarnated Nazi Guards
After her adolescence passed, Barbro’s past life memories began to fade, which was a relief to Barbro, as now she could finally lead a normal life. As she pursued her career with the Swedish Police Service, Barbro thought that she never would be public regarding her memories of being Anne Frank. As Barbro wistfully states in her video interview, though, “never say never.”
It was not until she was in her forties that past life memories began to emerge again. Barbro began having negative interactions with another mounted police officer, who seemed to be persecuting her. It was these interactions that triggered the rekindling of her memories of being Anne Frank and in particular, she recalled scenes from a concentration camp. Barbro realized that this police officer was a reincarnated Nazi guard from the Bergen-Belsen concentration.
Though these past life memories were painful, they gave Barbro the will to write her book, And the Wolves Howled. Barbro relates that she wanted to show that though these guards, these wolves, participated in her persecution in the Anne Frank lifetime, she would not allow them to hurt her again in contemporary times. She wanted to share with others that the soul perseveres and in this way, to provide comfort to others.
Barbro Meets her Past Life Cousin, Buddy Elias, President of the Anne Frank Foundation
As she prepared her book, And the Wolves Howled, for publication, Buddy Elias, President of the Anne Frank Foundation and at the time, the last living relative of Anne Frank, heard about Barbro’s claim to be the reincarnation of his cousin, Anne Frank. Through her publisher, Buddy invited Barbro to his home for dinner, though he asked Barbro’s publisher not to reveal who he was in relation to Anne Frank or the Anne Frank Foundation. Buddy advised the publisher to tell Barbro that their dinner host was a fan of the books she wrote as a child and adolescent. Though he did not believe in reincarnation, Buddy wanted to meet this person who claimed to be the reincarnation of Anne. Buddy and Anne Frank, as cousins, played together in their youth.
Barbro describes her first face to face meeting with Buddy, which occurred in 1995, in the Barbro Karlen: Reincarnation of Anne Frank video, which is provided at the bottom of this web page.
Barbro relates that when they first saw each other, she and Buddy fell into each others arms and cried together. Barbro says she had instant recognition that Buddy was someone she knew and loved from the Frank lifetime. They spoke for two hours at the time of this first meeting and they continued to be very good friends for 20 years, until Buddy’s death in 2015. Barbro would stay at Buddy’s home in Switzerland when she visited Europe and Buddy had stayed in Barbro’s home when he visited her in the United States.
Buddy Elias Speaks at Barbro Karlen’s And the Wolves Howled Book Event
An article from the leading German magazine, Zeitspiegel, was published regarding this event on May 19, 1998;
“Buddy Elias, actor in Basel, is the cousin of Anne Frank and the President of the Anne Frank Foundation. Buddy Elias met with Anne Frank the last time just before the war broke out. She mentions him as “Bernd” in her Diary many times.
Anne’s father, Otto Frank, returned to Amsterdam after his liberation from Aushwitz. He then lived with his nephew, Buddy Elias, in Basel until his death.
Two years ago, Buddy Elias and Barbro Karlen met for the first time. At the presentation of the autobiography by Barbro Karlen, Buddy Elias read parts of it for the audience.
Bruckenbauer: “Buddy Elias, what memories do you have of your cousin, Anne Frank?”
Buddy Elias: “She was a very pleasant person, a lively child with her head full of ideas how to live. We loved each other very much, when the war began, we corresponded with each other.”
“Do you believe in reincarnation?”
Buddy Elias: “Yes, I do.”
“So how is it for you when a woman claims she is the reincarnation of your cousin? Barbro Karlen is not the only one!”
“I have been very skeptical, but Barbro is different from everybody else.”
“How was the first meeting with Barbro?”
“It was very emotional. First time I saw her, I had heard about her. I had a very strange feeling, a very positive impression. It felt like we had a soul connection. Barbro seemed absolutely trustworthy to me. I could very well imagine she was Anne. More than that I can not say. I have Anne too close in my memory to say anything more.”
“Do you see any similarities between Anne and Barbro?”
“The black hair is obvious!”
“Will you stay in touch with Barbro?”
“Of course, I have developed a very deep friendship with her.”
Barbro Moves to California, where Walter Semkiw, MD observes that Anne Frank and Barbro Karlen have the Same Facial Features
Barbro and a female friend of hers took a vacation to experience California’s coastal Highway 1. While on that trip, based on an intuition, Barbro decided to open a Swedish import shop in Carmel, even though she had no prior experience in business or retail sales. Barbro moved from Sweden to Northern California, where I met her. When I first received the phone call in 2000, in which I was told about a woman who claimed to be the reincarnation of Anne Frank, I was very skeptical. When I met her and listened to her story, I came to believe that she is genuine and that I had truly met the reincarnation of Anne Frank.
In her book, Barbro never mentions that she has the same appearance as Anne Frank, as her memories are what are most meaningful to her, not appearance. Upon meeting her, I realized that Barbro has the same facial features as Anne.
In the image comparison featured on this website, Barbro as a seven year old girl is featured on the left side, Anne Frank as a teenager is in the center and Barbro as an adult is on the right side. It appears that we are looking at images of one person in three stages of life. In actuality, we are looking at one soul in two different lifetimes.
Anne Frank & Barbro Karlen: Reincarnation & Similarities in Personality
In addition to facial features, there are many character similarities between Barbro and Anne. These include:
“Spiritual insight rarely falls from the lips of a thirteen or fourteen year old girl. Indeed, as many of the new entries in the diary will show, Anne Frank was essentially a physical being, a lover of nature, intrigued with her own sexuality.”
These traits are reflected in Barbro Karlen, who at sixteen years of age used her book earnings to purchase a cottage in the woods. She soon populated her property with her horse, two dogs, two cats, a sheep and a flock of hens and chicks. Barbro especially loved her horse and horseback riding, which eventually led her to pursue a career as a mounted policewoman.
Her sexuality is evidenced by an early marriage and her pregnancy at the age of 18. Indeed, many of Anne’s desires seem to have come to fruition early in the life of Barbro Karlen.
B. Natural literary skills
Anne Frank had natural gifts as a writer. Similarly, Barbro Karlen was a childhood literary prodigy. Her first book, Man on Earth, which was published when she was 12 years of age and became the all time best-selling poetry book in Sweden. Between ages 12 to 17, nine books written by Barbro, including When the Storm Comes and a Moment in the Blossom Kingdom, were published.
It is interesting to note that Anne Frank always hoped to be a published writer. On May 11, 1944, Anne wrote that her “greatest wish” was to become a journalist, “and later on, a famous writer.” Once again, it appears that Anne’s desires were fulfilled early in the life of Barbro Karlen.
C. Similar Writing Themes
Similar themes are found in the writings of Frank and Karlen. Though one may argue that these similarities are intentional, Barbro Karlen maintains that she has not studied Anne Frank’s works.
Anne Frank, due to the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis, reflected extensively on issues of good and evil. Anne also had a tendency to personify human qualities, as seen in the quotation cited below regarding “Lies.” Anne’s legacy is based on her ability to maintain hope in the face of dismal circumstances. Anne Frank’s most famous quote affirms the basic goodness of man.
Barbro Karlen also writes of good and evil in her book, And the Wolves Howled, in part due to her memories of the Frank lifetime and in part due to persecution experienced in this lifetime while working for the Swedish Police Service. Barbro also has a tendency to personify human qualities, like Anne. Let us compare passages written by Frank and Karlen regarding evil:
Anne Frank-On Evil
“There’s in people simply an urge to destroy, an urge to kill, to murder and rage.”
“I get frightened myself when I think of close friends who are now at the mercy of the cruelest monsters ever to stalk the earth. And all because we are Jews.”
“Yesterday evening, before I fell asleep, who should suddenly appear before my eyes but Lies! I saw her in front of me, clothed in rags…Her eyes were very big and she looked so sadly and reproachfully at me that I could read in her eyes: Oh Anne, why have you deserted me? Help, oh help me, rescue me from this hell!”
Barbro Karlen-On Evil
“If only she could write about how important, even vital it is never to give up in the face of evil, regardless of how dark and wretched everything may seem. Evil was present on the earth and would probably always be there. It would always try to conquer Good.”
Anne Frank-On Good
“In spite of everything, I still really believe that people are really good at heart.”
Barbro Karlen-On Good
“But the more people there were who believed in Good, and in the Good Force within themselves, the greater the possibility of keeping evil under control. If only they could believe in Good, and in the presence of the inner Force, many unhappy people would be able to fight their way up from the darkness.”
“Most people on earth were not yet aware that they could find the Good Force within themselves and that it could help them if they only sought it out.”
Annette Lantos meets Barbro Karlen & Invites Barbro & Me to Washington, DC
Annette Lantos is the wife of the late Tom Lantos, who served in the United States Congress for 27 years. Tom, whose picture is featured to the right, was the only Holocaust survivor to be elected to the US Congress. When President George W. Bush traveled to Germany for a Holocaust memorial, he took Tom with him. U2 singer Bono was a close friend, as he admired Tom’s dedication to bringing justice to the darkest corners of the world.
It was Annette and Tom who nominated the 14th Dalai Lama for a Nobel Prize, which he won.
When Annette heard about Barbro’s case, she wanted to meet Barbro, as Annette is also is a Holocaust survivor. Annette, Barbro and I spent almost 3 hours in Tom’s Congressional office in San Mateo, California. Tom and Annette were very much in love and while we were in a conference room, Tom repeatedly poked his head into the room to ask his beloved wife whether she was finished. Annette, fascinated with Barbro’s story, kept sending Tom away.
By the end of our meeting, Annette was intrigued enough by the proposal that Barbro is the reincarnation of Anne Frank that she asked us to attend a “by invitation only” benefit concert at the Kennedy Center, in Washington DC. At this event, Tom and Annette’s granddaughter, Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick, would sing and Condoleezza Rice would accompany Charity on the piano. We did attend, sat in the front row and later met Dr. Rice at a reception.
Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice and the Tom Lantos Tunnels
Annette now serves as the Chairman of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. In honor of Tom, recently constructed tunnels along Highway 1 between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay have been named the Tom Lantos Tunnels. Every time I traverse these tunnels, I fondly reflect on Tom, Annette and Charity, and our experiences in Washington, DC.
Children’s Past Life Author Carol Bowman supports the Anne Frank | Barbro Karlen Reincarnation Case
A person who supports Barbro’s case is Carol Bowman, who is a pioneer in studying children who spontaneously recall past lives. In 2006, Carol and Barbro attended a reincarnation conference in Colorado Springs. In addition to Carol learning about Barbro’s case, Carol and Barbro had the opportunity to spend an afternoon together horseback riding. Carol has stated that she judges Barbro’s reincarnation case to be a strong one.
Carol shared an amusing anecdote regarding the time they spent together. To go horseback riding, Carol and Barbro had to take a taxi from the hotel to the stables. Carol was raised Jewish and both women were taken aback when their taxi driver turned out to be a bearded Hasidic Jew wearing the traditional black hat and clothing. Carol reflected, “What are the odds of getting a taxi driver who is a Hasidic Jew in Colorado Springs?”
Anne Frank & Possible Reincarnation Prophecy: God Will Raise Us Up Again
I will cite one last quotation from Anne Frank’s diary, which refers to the perseverance of the Jewish faith and people. It also has a poetic ring of truth regarding reincarnation, perhaps not intended by Anne, yet beautiful all the same.
“Who has inflicted this upon us?
Who has made us Jews different from all other people?
Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly up till now?
It is God who had made us who we are,
but it will be God, too, who will raise us up again.”
Past Life Physical Resemblance: Anne Frank and Barbro Karlen have the same facial features. It is of interest that Barbro never mentions this physical resemblance to Anne in her book And the Wolves Howled, though others had told her that she looks like Anne Frank. The physical resemblance between Anne and Barbro was first published in 2006 in my book: Born Again
Past Life Talent: Barbro Karlen was a childhood writing prodigy, as was Anne Frank.
Phobias from a Past Lifetime: Barbro had an irrational fear of men in police uniforms, which seems to stem from Anne’s experience with Nazi soldiers and concentration camp guards. Barbro also had an aversion to showers, did not want to eat beans and resisted having her hair cut, which also reflect incidents in Anne Frank’s life, as described above.
Geographic Memory: On her first visit to Amsterdam at the age of ten, Barbro was able to spontaneously lead her parents from their hotel to the Anne Frank House, without directions.
If the Nazi’s during World War II knew that one could be born Jewish in one lifetime and Christian in another, the Holocaust could never have happened. Similarly, when Muslim Palestinians realize that then can be reborn as Israeli Jews, when Sunni’s know they can reincarnate as Shiites, Christians understand they can be reborn into an Islamic culture and vice versa, then conflict based on these cultural differences of identity will be mitigated.
Barbro Karlen’s case dramatically demonstrates how reincarnation research and evidence of reincarnation can transform the world in a positive way.
Anne Frank | Barbro Karlen Video Full Length-35 Minutes