transcript (some links and illustrations will be added)
C: Catherine Austin Fitts
J: Jan Ott
C: Jan Ott, welcome back to Stavoren. Wonderful to see you again. Two and a half years ago, you educated me about the Oera Linda Book and I was fascinated. You spoke at our dinner. We were in Leeuwarden. I said: "We have to do an interview." One thing led to another, and you said: "I'm about to publish a new English edition", and you did. We started to prepare an interview. Then you published a second English edition in paperback. For the people watching, what is the Oera Linda Book?
J: It's a manuscript – a handwritten text – that became known in the 1870's. We are in Friesland here, one of the Dutch provinces. In the Frisian archives there is this manuscript. Even before the first translation was published in the newspapers and magazines there was already consensus that it was fake and that anyone who'd take it seriously was a fool.
J: Yes. The critics would say it's an imitation of Old Frisian, but it most resembles the Old Frisian of the old laws that are known. This would be so old that German, English, Dutch, and Scandinavian languages descend from it. Many of the words have cognates in all the Northern European languages. But there are also words that have only survived in particular dialects. When I discovered this book and read all the discussions about it, I recognized it as something really significant. The theories about it did not make sense. There are no good reasons to reject it as inauthentic. And even if it were a 19th century fictional creation, it would still be so significant in the history of literature for the Netherlands. Because it's a book of 190 pages in the original manuscript, all in this supposedly reconstructed old language, even in a script that is not familiar. Some letters are recognizable like the W, A, R. There are letters you can recognize, but also some letters that are different. There are three different A's, two different E's, different O's, etc. There is one letter for 'NG', like in the runes. This would be such a unique piece of work that it would also deserve attention if it were a forgery. The way in which the people who studied it, who took it seriously were marginalized or ridiculed... It was a red flag that there was something interesting there.
C: If you look at the attacks like that, it is very similar to some of the attacks that we see today. They have been using these attacks for a long, long time. You see this when they are trying to destroy something they don't want to endure. It's a real effort to delete something from the public mind.
J: We know that in our history there have been many book burnings. After every war, the victor decides what the history would become and what parts would be erased. It's the same when you study a family history or a genealogy. You find that certain stories are ignored or have been changed. That also happens in big history. When you read these texts, it is easy to imagine why the cultural establishment in the 1800's would have not wanted this to become big.
C: The challenge is that, over the centuries, the secret societies do plant manuscripts. They really do and they have resources to make them impressive. So you always run into the problem: Is it planted? It's not only some person with
their imagination coming up with it; it's a real plant. So is it planted or is it real? I think what you are saying, which is very important, is that it is significant either way.
J: I would think so, yes. And for it having been planted there needs to be a motive. What would the purpose have been for the people who planted it? There is one theory that a preacher who was also a poet — a vicar or parson — created the narrative and that a friend of his who was a linguist would have transferred it into Old Frisian and that another, who came out with it, would have made the script. A conspiracy of these three people, but it's not realistic. I've written a short article...
C: It doesn't make sense.
J: No, for different reasons. They would all have lied and also people around them. Even posthumously, they didn't leave anything that points to this. The linguist would have left — because he wrote about etymology... It should be possible to recognize his signature. There have been meticulous studies to try to prove him guilty but there is no good evidence for it. Cornelis Over de Linden — 'Oera Linda' would be an older version of that name — was a navy shipyard superintendent. He was a generation older than the other two. In the time they would have gotten to know each other they were about to get married, remarried: they had a life. They had to work for a living. They would have had to communicate by mail about this all the time because they lived very far apart. The linguist who would have cooperated would have risked, not only his career, but also criminal prosecution. Because, at some point, he asked the government for money to purchase the manuscript and have it translated. If it would have come out that he was involved, that would have been a crime.
C: Let's assume that it is authentic. The person who brought it forward was the pastor?
J: No, the pastor was one of the suspects of the official theory. The navy shipyard superintendent brought it forward.
C: He had it from his family?
J: He said that he had it since 1848 as an inheritance, a family treasure. He had inherited it. He had tried to read it himself, to translate it. When he was older, at some point, he got the idea to ask for help at the Frisian Society for Language and History. That was a group of people in Leeuwarden in high positions; notable people. The linguist, who would later become one of the suspects, first judged it to be authentic and of significance. Later, he withdrew that position – probably for obvious reasons.
C: That often happens!
J: Eventually, one of the older members of the society translated it and he became convinced that this was authentic.
C: Let's dive in, because you can't understand why someone might want to censor this until you understand the contents. Tell us what the Oera Linda Book says.
J: It says that in the 6th century BC in our common timeline – there are reasons to doubt that the first millennium was really 1000 years... In the 6th century before our year zero texts would have been brought together from the various burgs or strongholds that there were in Friesland and what is now the Netherlands, or even Germany. There was a threat of invasion. They decided to copy all the texts that were inscribed on the walls of burgs, mostly. Some of those texts already were very old. The oldest events that are described are from a cataclysmic event in which the old land, or the 'Atland', the 'Ald-land', had submerged. That would have been 2200 years BC. But that's the oldest text. These texts were brought together in the 6th century BC, and later texts were added by the people who had that manuscript in their possession. The youngest of the reports are from about the year zero. Then there are two letters of instruction – one page each. One from the year 803 and one from the year 1255. Most narratives are from the time of Alexander the Great, 300 BC and what happened when many people re-migrated back here. Much of it is 6th century BC. There is also a part which is mainly laws.
C: One of the reasons I got very interested when you first said 600 BC was that I've been reading about Zoroastrians. One Frisian told me the king that founded Stavoren had gone to Persia and had studied Zoroastrianism. That group, when they came back, re-introduced that philosophy. We are talking about a group of people who were phenomenally well-traveled around the globe.
J: Yes, it was a sea-faring nation. They founded colonies in the Mediterranean, already in 1500 BC, and later on, there was a colony in northwest India, in the Indus Valley region. At some point, many of them also re-migrated back if this is true.
C: Spice traders?
J: It would explain language similarities with Sanskrit; the Indo-European connection. To come back to the question: why would it have been controversial? One of the main themes is freedom and the danger of losing it.
C: I would not say "one of" them; I would say "the main theme" is freedom, and how you keep it.
J: Yes. In the primal laws by the Folksmother, Frya — the personification of their primal mother, who they named Frya... There is a set of laws that she would have left. And one of the laws is to never accept anyone in their middle who has sold his own freedom or who takes the freedom of another. The reasoning behind it is that people with a slave mentality invite people to rule over them; And when people rule over others, and they get ever more power, it will corrupt them, and a lot of misery will be the result of that.
C: When I read the Oera Linda Book, there is so much instruction on how to conduct yourself so that you can be part of a group of people who stay free. There's a lot of instruction on reminding people what they have to do to remain free and how bad things can get if they even let one 'bad dog' in. For me it's very good. It's fun to read because it's true.
J: One of the primal laws is also, that if one of the daughters or sons wants to marry someone from another race, it should be advised against. If they really insist, they are free to go, but they can never return. Because then they might bring foreign morals. They are very strict on keeping their morals pure. They speak of the three primal races, but from the beginning, one of those races intentionally kidnapped daughters of this group, to have their blood, but to also invade. It was warfare without weapons, without really fighting; corrupting the morals and making use of the weaknesses of the leaders; they could be bought. There is a lot of covert warfare that is explained in these texts.
C: You can see why the people who want to centralize control do not want this teaching circulating.
J: There is a lot of wisdom in it. Knowledge is power.
C: One of the things that I found fascinating was the attention given to governance structures and how to organize and train people to provide leadership and governance. They have this one practice that I find absolutely fascinating , which is: You take the older women of the tribe — and being an older woman, I resonate with this... Taking the older women in the tribe and preparing them for a governance or leadership position. One of the things they require them to do to get more experience is send them down the Rhine to study and learn about other people.
J: Before they would become a Folksmother. There were burg mothers, and in each burg, there were maidens. One of them might become burg mother later. And there was one Folkmother in the main burg of Texel or Tessel — Texland. They would not have power, but they would have influence. They would have all the wisdom, and they could do counselings. They could also be severely punished if they would intentionally give bad counseling. So they did not have absolute power. They were a bit like the Vestal Virgins later — which is also described in this book, how they became known later.
C: That one captured me. I was in Sofia, Bulgaria, three years ago to see Wagner's Ring. Of course, it opens with the Rhinemaidens protecting the gold. In my apartment, I have a print of the artist who did a scene of Wagner with the Rhinemaidens protecting the gold. I found the Rhinemaidens suddenly appearing a very interesting coincidence.
J: There are many things that come back to our culture.
C: I should mention that the Rhine flows from Switzerland to Germany, and then it separates in the Netherlands into three distributaries, one of which flows in the IJsselmeer, which we are next to here. If you look at the trade coming from Switzerland and Germany up the Rhine, it is very significant economically here.
J: There must have been a strong culture here. Because it's a very tactical place to have, with all the sweet water, the fertile lands, the oak wood that used to be plenty here, plus the rivers.
C: Yes, and extraordinary animal protein.
J: If there had not been a strong culture here, it would have been conquered long ago by Mediterranean people who supposedly would have a superior culture, and then they would have occupied it here. We would now be speaking a language that is more similar to one of the Mediterranean languages.
C: The Frisians defeated the Dutch in 1345 at the Battle of Warns, and it took until the 1500's for the Dutch to finally incorporate Friesland into Holland.
J: For a long time, it was one of the provinces that was one of the United Netherlands. West-Friesland, which is on the other side of the big lake, was conquered earlier, in the 13th century.
C: You can see why in 1800, they might not want the Frisians to adopt this philosophy.
J: For hundreds of years, there has been a struggle between the counts of Holland and the Frisians because they didn't want to pay taxes. They thought they had a privilege from the time of Charlemagne to not pay taxes.
C: That's right. Charlemagne made a deal with the Frisians.
J: Supposedly. It's not clear if that is truly historical. But at least there is this tradition. One of the Frisian ideas is also that they would rather be dead than slave. That is still very well-known. It's understandable that the new kingdom of the Netherlands from the 19th century would not promote Frisian nationality too much. The king of the Netherlands in the 1820's offered a lot of money to historians to write the Dutch history, which would, of course, glorify his family and their past, and would leave out all of the parts that were not so favorable to them. It was only a few decades later that this book became known, so... If the king had known the content, he would have openly forbidden it. But it would probably have worked indirectly.
C: When I dive into the Oera Linda Book, I discover something that I find again and again, which is that history is very different from what we're taught.
J: Official history is a mess. There is this meme: "If you know how bad the news is, imagine how bad history is."
C: That's really true.
J: I look at this — because I have not been schooled as a historian or as a linguist — perhaps with a fresh view. For people who are emotionally invested in the official history, it will be more difficult to let go of certain ideas. But if you look at this with an open mind, and investigate the reasoning behind the rejection of this text... I invite scholars and researchers to argue why this cannot possibly be authentic. That is why I have translated it into English. Because in the Netherlands, in the academic world, it seems to be taboo to even ask that question. Of course, this is not only a Dutch matter. Because, if it's true, the history is so old that it is also the history of not only Western civilization, but also India and much more of the world. And again, you can also look at it as literature or fiction, and then you'll see that it's still interesting.
C: If it is a planted manuscript, it still says a great deal about freedom and how to achieve it. Because a people can't be free unless they're willing to conduct themselves in a certain way. And that starts with each person. I always had this problem in Washington: the politicians would say, "What do we do to fix this?" And I would say: "You have to raise the children right." Then they say: "That takes too long."
J: That is also one of the things they say here: Make sure that your daughters are really good Frya women, because they will pass on the culture and language. They are the most important key in raising a good people.
C: I see my fellow man being taught how to be powerless by being encouraged to adopt the habits that produce slavery, or accept slavery, or accommodate slavery. As a group, they lose their power individually. They lose their individual sovereignty by choice or distraction, and then they have no potential to fight for their freedom when it is taken away.
J: Well, we have seen now here... The Netherlands has every year celebrated Freedom Day, or Liberation Day. And there has always been much talk about human rights, but now that it's really relevant to preserve our freedom or talk about it, most people don't even see what's happening. There's this saying (from Goethe): "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they're free." To create the illusion of freedom: You have freedom to choose ten different types of peanut butter in the groceries. People talk about freedom, but they don't realize when it's taken away from them.
C: That's true. Talk a little about the Frisian language. This is in Old Frisian – or what you said was thought to be Old Frisian. Tell us what the Frisian language is now and how it relates to what you translated. You spoke Frisian when you first found the Oera Linda Book, or did you have to revive your Frisian?
J: No, I am a West-Frisian, which is not part of the province of Friesland; it's part of the province of North Holland, north of Amsterdam. We had a dialect, but it was already much more diluted. And it is not promoted like it is here. We were taught to speak civilized Dutch at school. I know a bit of the West-Frisian dialect. The name 'Holland' only came into existence around the year 1000. Before that, it was all Frisia. On old maps you can see: Frisia was from Belgium... And it's still... In Germany there's a part called East Frisia, 'Ostfriesland'. Even part of Denmark is 'Nordfrisland'. It was the whole coastline from Denmark to Belgium. Dutch would also be a descendent from Old Frisian — from this (Fryas) language. It would also have had other influences, from Frankish. And modern Frisian... There are actually many varieties of the Frisian language – spoken varieties. There is one common standardized Frisian, which they teach in courses. The written Frisian, I think, is a bit artificial. It's more an instruction of how it should be pronounced. For example, the words 'wind' and 'land'. They are the same in Dutch, English, and German: all with a 'd' at the end. Only in Friesland, they write 'wyn' and 'lân', without the 'd'. There are a lot of subsidies here for language projects to keep it like this. That is part of why they want to be as separate from Dutch as possible. It has become an identity thing. If they can choose between a perfect Frisian word that is similar to Dutch, and a less well-known word that is typically Frisian, they will choose the Frisian word.
C: It's very interesting. I spent about ten years driving around America, talking to all of my elders – the oldest people in my family. I learned a tremendous amount of history about my family, but one of the things I learned was that the generations kept being tricked because they never did a 'lessons learned' on who tricked them and how they were tricked. Then it gets lost, and they get tricked again and again. So I said: "We need to start learning our history." Yes, we do.
J: That is how I also started, with the family history. It's so interesting because you find out things that were not told or that were changed. By understanding your roots, you understand yourself better. I've learned much from the theories of Rupert Sheldrake on (morphic) resonance. A lot of it is in our subconscious. And when you can make it conscious, you can more consciously make decisions.
C: I want to go back to your journey, but before I do, tell us what else in here you would like to bring out in this discussion – the things that most speak to you.
J: It really makes a lot of sense, many of the laws. Maybe not at first read. I have had so many aha moments about language and about the origin of things in our culture. Many things come back in other religions that we know. Like in Christianity, much is recognizable. There is one law about usury which was strictly forbidden. And in the context, it also makes sense; it is explained.
C: The history of man is that once usury is adopted, it is a fait accompli (irreversible) that that civilization will fail. It's (only) a question of how long it will take.
J: It's the same with the corruption of morals and of accepting slavery — slave mentality as well.
C: I think that the Oera Linda Book is very relevant, whether it is authentic or not. And the reason is... We are going through a period where the law is collapsing and failing — the rule of law. And the question is: How can I create... back to Sheldrake: How can I create a field where I can share a covenant with people as to the law and it being a law which can preserve our freedom? We are back at the stage where we may have to reinvent everything 'from scratch'. I am very interested in looking back in history and saying: "What has worked?" There is a reason I am in Stavoren: If you drive to the Red Cliff, which is not far from here, you see it up on the monument: "Better dead than slave." That is what I always say: "Death is not the worst thing that can happen".
J: No, absolutely not!
C: Let's come back to you and your personal journey. You started the foundation, published this book and now also the paperback. This book sold out quickly. You underestimated the demand. This book is now selling. What was the response? What has happened to you, as a result of now presenting this and getting this disseminated into the world?
J: There is some weight from my back. I had the translation ready in 2018, and thought there would be a publishing house contacting me, if they could publish it, but that didn't happen. That is why I started the foundation, to do it myself.
C: You have the whole book in here. It's amazing.
J: This is the first edition with color copies of the whole manuscript – all pages.
C: These are all at the Frisian Institute, in the library.
J: I've added line numbers. And then the transliteration and the translation alternate, so you can easily compare it to the transliteration. I've added chapter titles, an alternative reading order because the manuscript order isn't always chronological, and a list of personal names, cities and places.
There are many indications that there was a group of people who left traces all over the world. Official historiography doesn't really consider them as one.
C: Does that tie back to what the land that was destroyed really is?
J: Atland or Atlantis.
C: That's the question: Is Atland Atlantis?
J: Well, these texts suggest... They have a timeline that started with the destruction of Aldland, the 'old land'. There is obviously a connection between the word 'Atlantis' and this 'Atland' or 'Aldland'. But because it means 'old land', it can also have meant the 'old world' before the cataclysm. Some people may have referred to a particular island or a coastline, but it could also have been the 'old land' that had been lost.
C: The Frisian Academy is researching the law — the history of the old law in the law books. Is there other research happening that I'm not aware of?
J: They do a lot of research, but not on Oera Linda as far as I know. If someone would at least write a modern... With the new insights — with everything that we have learned from archaeology in the last decades, explaining why it cannot possibly be authentic. I would really welcome that. So I can try to debunk that or give another opinion about it. But that doesn't exist. The most scholarly work that exists about Oera Linda was published in 2004. It was a doctoral thesis on a theological faculty in the Netherlands, by Goffe Jensma. But it started from the assumption that it has to be a 19th century forgery. From that assumption, he theorized about who could have made it and why. I think you should first establish why it cannot be authentic. I can very well imagine that when you read this for the first time, it's so different from what you would expect if you know the official history. Many people will reject it simply because it's easier to reject it. When you consider the possibility that it's authentic, it triggers so many thoughts like: "Oh, this is different, this is then also different"; especially if you are invested emotionally in history. You have to rethink your whole view of the past.
C: I would say, sitting here, it's December 2021, and I've spent the last two and a half years off and on learning about the Oera Linda Book... Looking forward to 2022, the number one issue before us, facing every one of us, is: Will we be free or will we be slaves? So I find the Oera Linda Book to be phenomenally relevant to our situation. Part of the question 'Are we going to be free or slave' is how to be worthy of being free. How do we achieve freedom, how do we preserve it, and how do we nurture it? Because this is bigger than pushing back the latest push to tyranny. If we are going to push back tyranny for good, then the question is: How are we going to build a civilization that believes in freedom, practices freedom, and doesn't permit slavery? During my whole life we've been permitting slavery. As we would say at Solari: "It's time to push the red button." So to me this is addressing the most important question of our day.