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Switch to Forum Live View Research Holocaust and Jehovah's Witneeses - National Holocaust Museum database
4 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2014 - 6:02AM #1
Newtonian
Posts: 14,082
This thread is meant to be a research thread - with the research from the National Holocaust Museum being central to thread theme.   I invite you all to post documentation as Jehovah's Witnesses stand under Hitler, as well as the stand of other religions under Hitler.


Of course, post how you feel, but please focus on actual documentation, preferably with links that all readers can link to - obviously links to our literature is also relevant.


There are some sources that would like to change history as if the holocaust never happenned - this thread is meant to also refute that propaganda.


But, primarily I will be posting links to the National Holocaust Museum to show the contrast between Jehovah's Witnesses and other religions in respects to joining Hitler's armies, heiling Hitler, joining the Nazi party - which Jehovah's Witnesses did not do but most other religions did do.   Of course, there were personal exceptions - feel free to note these also. 


I'll start with this link:

www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleI...

Excerpts:


"The Nazi regime targeted Jehovah's Witnesses for persecution because they refused, out of religious conviction, to swear loyalty to a worldly government or to serve in its armed forces. Jehovah's Witnesses also engaged in missionary activity to win adherents for the faith. The Nazis perceived the refusal to commit to the state and efforts to proselytize as overtly political and subversive acts. Unlike Jews and Roma (Gypsies), whom the Nazis targeted for perceived racial reasons, Jehovah's Witnesses had the option to avoid persecution and personal harm by submitting to state authority and serving in the armed forces. Since such submission would violate their religious beliefs, the vast majority of Jehovah's Witnesses refused to abandon their faith even in the face of persecution, torture in concentration camps, or death.


....


Even before 1933, Jehovah's Witnesses were targets of prejudice. Mainstream Lutheran and Catholic churches deemed them heretics.


.....


They refused to swear loyalty to the Nazi regime. Moreover, their international theological and organizational contacts were anathema to the Nazi police state. Initially, Witness indifference to the Nazi state manifested itself in the refusal to raise their arms in the Heil Hitler salute, join the German Labor Front (which all salaried and wage workers were forced to join after the Nazis outlawed trade unions), participate in Nazi welfare collections, and vote in elections. Likewise they would not participate in Nazi rallies and parades.


Nazi authorities denounced Jehovah's Witnesses for their ties to the United States....


The Nazis had grievances with many of the smaller Protestant groups on these issues, but only the Jehovah's Witnesses refused to bear arms or swear loyalty to the state."


 


See the article and links for more detail.  

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2014 - 11:14AM #2
Oeste
Posts: 3,711

Jan 2, 2014 -- 6:02AM, Newtonian wrote:

This thread is meant to be a research thread - with the research from the National Holocaust Museum being central to thread theme.  



I'm sorry Newt, but I object to the thread. This is a debate board, not a research board. Is there a question here?

Never argue with stupid people. They will drag
you down to their level and then beat you with
experience ~ Mark Twain

If you are neutral on situations of injustice
you have chosen the side of the oppressor ~
Desmond Tutu
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4 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2014 - 12:53PM #3
Newtonian
Posts: 14,082

Oeste - You already responded concerning this very quote on my thread on War - in fact, you debated it there!


Are you afraid of what research will reveal???

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2014 - 12:57PM #4
Newtonian
Posts: 14,082

You all - you can choose to debate any point revealed in these quotes - as Oeste has done on my war thread.   The following was also posted on that thread - if you find any of what is documented by the National Holocaust Musuem to be inaccurate - feel free to post what you found from your own personal research:


Reposted quotes:


www.ushmm.org/research/research-in-colle...


Excerpt:


Jehovah’s Witnesses endured intense persecution under the Nazi regime. Actions against the religious group and its individual members spanned the Nazi years 1933 to 1945. Unlike Jews, Sinti and Roma (“Gypsies”), and others persecuted and killed by virtue of their birth, Jehovah’s Witnesses had the opportunity to escape persecution and personal harm by renouncing their religious beliefs. The courage the vast majority displayed in refusing to do so, in the face of torture, maltreatment in concentration camps, and sometimes execution, won them the respect of many contemporaries.


www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleI...


Excerpt:


Jehovah's Witnesses


[picture]


 


 


Helene Gotthold, a Jehovah's Witness, was beheaded for her religious beliefs on December 8, 1944, in Berlin. She is pictured with her children. Germany, June 25, 1936.


— US Holocaust Memorial Museum


 Jehovah's Witnesses were subjected to intense persecution under the Nazi regime. The Nazis targeted Jehovah's Witnesses because they were unwilling to accept the authority of the state, because of their international connections, and because they were strongly opposed to both war on behalf of a temporal authority and organized government in matters of conscience.


Within months of the Nazi takeover, regional governments, primarily those of Bavaria and Prussia, initiated aggressive steps against Jehovah's Witnesses, breaking up their meetings, ransacking and then occupying their local offices. By April 1, 1935, the Reich and Prussian Minister of the Interior ordered the responsible local officials to dissolve the Watchtower Society.


Many actions of Jehovah's Witnesses antagonized Nazi authorities. While Witnesses contended that they were apolitical and that their actions were not anti-Nazi, their unwillingness to give the Nazi salute, to join party organizations or to let their children join the Hitler Youth, their refusal to participate in the so-called elections or plebiscites, and their unwillingness to adorn their homes with Nazi flags made them suspect. A special unit of the Gestapo (secret state police) compiled a registry of all persons believed to be Jehovah's Witnesses. Gestapo agents infiltrated Bible study meetings. While Jehovah's Witnesses as such were not banned, many of the activities which were basic to the exercise of the faith increasingly came under attack. Above all, the authorities sought to interdict the distribution of printed materials, produced locally or smuggled in from outside the country in large quantities, which in the eyes of the Nazis were clearly subversive.


When Germany reintroduced compulsory military service in March 1935, the conflict with the Witnesses escalated. For refusing to be drafted or perform military-related work, and for continuing to meet illegally, increasing numbers of Jehovah's Witnesses were arrested, tried by judicial authorities and incarcerated in prisons and concentration camps.


By 1939, an estimated 6,000 Witnesses (including some from Austria and Czechoslovakia) were detained in prisons or camps. Others fled Germany, continued their religious observance in private, or ceased to observe altogether. Some Witnesses were tortured in attempts to make them sign declarations renouncing their faith, but few capitulated to this pressure.


In the concentration camps, all prisoners wore markings of various shapes and colors so that guards and camp officers could identify them by category. Jehovah's Witnesses were marked by purple triangular patches. Even in the camps, they continued to meet, pray, and seek converts. In the Buchenwald concentration camp, they set up an underground printing press and distributed religious tracts."

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2014 - 10:14PM #5
Svetlana
Posts: 11,477

Jan 2, 2014 -- 6:02AM, Newtonian wrote:


But, primarily I will be posting links to the National Holocaust Museum to show the contrast between Jehovah's Witnesses and other religions in respects to joining Hitler's armies, heiling Hitler, joining the Nazi party - which Jehovah's Witnesses did not do but most other religions did do.   Of course, there were personal exceptions - feel free to note these also. 



Just one quibble:  "Religions" did not join the Nazi party, individuals did.  This did not have much to do with the religion they belonged to.  It is more accurate to say that many or most who belonged to a certain religion joined, but religions as groups did not do so (groups were not elegible for membership, only individuals were).  In the same way, the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses did not refuse to join, it was individuals who happened also to be Jehovah's Witnesses, or Lutherans or Catholics or agnostics or Hindus or anything else.  The point you are trying to make is that everyone in Germany who was a Jehovah's Witness (or a Jew) refused to join the Nazi party, while only some of those belonging to other religions refused.

"No matter how big and bad you are, when a two-year-old hands you a toy phone, you answer it."  ~ (common sense)

"Never place a period where God has placed a comma."  ~ Gracie Allen

"I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it." ~ Abraham Lincoln

"I wonder sometimes if we ever give God a headache." ~ Dontay Hall, age 8
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4 years ago  ::  Jan 02, 2014 - 10:52PM #6
Thomas A Quinas
Posts: 1,970

I believe this to be two-fold.  While Jehovah's Witnesses may not have enlisted with the German armed forces & perpetrated evil, they also didn't lift a finger to stop it.  While it is true that (unfortunately) nominal Christians who were German nationals compromised their religious principles to serve evil, it is also true that Christians elsewhere (including Lutherans, Anglicans, Catholics, Evangelicals, etc.) enlisted with allied forces to help stamp out the evil, & for that they deserve recognition.  Also, there were some (though not enough) German national Christians who did resist.  Some of the names include Dietrich Bonhoeffer & Edith Stein.


Newt, I don't blame you for being prowd of your group.  I disagree with their theology intensely, but they do have some qualities that are admirable.  However, touting a particular religion as the superior one is scarcely the reason why we have a Holocaust Museum.  It's more along the lines of acknowledging a particular horror inflicted on a group of people, while ensuring that such never happens again, watching out for similar circumstances that could lead to such a colossal tragedy.  This is a grave misappropriation of the museum, so do try (insofar as you can) to remember that the museum is NOT centered on Jehovah's Witnesses nor their "superiority" over (or contrast to) other religions.  I hear the term "faithful & discreet" slave thrown around to describe Jehovah's Witnesses (& ironically, almost always by Jehovah's Witnesses).  I'm starting to wonder if they understand the meaning of the word, so I'll post it here for the sake of convenience.



dis·creet


disˈkrēt/


adjective




  1. 1. careful and circumspect in one's speech or actions, esp. in order to avoid causing offense or to gain an advantage.


    "we made some discreet inquiries"

    synonyms: carefulcircumspectcautiouswarycharyguardedMore




Discreet Christ-followers don't feel the need to constantly say, "We're #1".  They go about their business quietly, expecting their reward in the world to come.  This is along the lines of "let not your right hand know what your left hand is doing."  If they are truly humble & at peace, others will take notice and want what they have.  They won't need to draw attention to themselves by constantly reminding others how 'discreet' they are.

Holiness consists simply in doing God's will, and being just what God wants us to be.. -- St. Therese of Lisieux. For applicable reads: Uniformity with God’s Will by Saint Alphonsus Liguori ... or ... Story of a Soul
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4 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 4:45AM #7
Newtonian
Posts: 14,082

Hi Svetlana - Have you returned to this forum because I returned?   If so, thank you.


OK, you either missed the portion of the quote in OP, or you disagree with the quote - to repost this brief portion:


The Nazis had grievances with many of the smaller Protestant groups on these issues, but only the Jehovah's Witnesses refused to bear arms or swear loyalty to the state."


 


Of course, this is not talking about exceptions such as Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller who became a pacifist after seeing the evidences of the Holocaust - see my quote of him in my war thread.   Lutherans as a whole were and are not conscientious objectors - this is a matter of conscience in the Lutheran religion, according to a Lutheran Pastor (Moser) I spoke to about it.  Some were conscientious objectors - but they were a small minority of Lutherans.


Btw - I used to be Lutheran. 


 


Also, thank you for - in effect - overcoming Oeste's objection to this thread!Smile


 

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 5:06AM #8
Newtonian
Posts: 14,082

Thomas - The National Holocaust Museum is not guilty of what you accuse them of - they were simply documenting what actually happenned - one of their main concerns is that 'we should not forget.'


But thank you for acknowledging another point - Catholics, Lutherans and smaller Protestant groups fought on both sides of World War II.   German's carried on their belts "Gott mitt us" - God with us.   And so they believed.   Weapons were blessed, prayers were said on both sides of the war!


Catholics killed Catholics, Protestants killed Protestants.   Jehovah's Witnesses killed no one.


Again, this crucial portion of the quote in OP:


The Nazis had grievances with many of the smaller Protestant groups on these issues, but only the Jehovah's Witnesses refused to bear arms or swear loyalty to the state."

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 5:20AM #9
five_point_dad
Posts: 4,719

NEWTONIAN: Catholics killed Catholics, Protestants killed Protestants.   Jehovah's Witnesses killed no one.


FPD: Isn't rather ironic that the Jehovah's Witnesses, if they had their way, would still be in Nazi prisons and still being slaughtered if it wasn't for other people who did kill Nazis and rescued them? In order to be freed from Nazi tyranny, Jehovah's Witnesses had to have the aid of others who violated Watchtower teachings in order to liberate them.  I find that quite astounding.


NEWTONIAN; The Nazis had grievances with many of the smaller Protestant groups on these issues, but only the Jehovah's Witnesses refused to bear arms or swear loyalty to the state."


FPD: That is a blatantly untrue statement.  There were many other groups who also refused loyalty to the National Socialist state.  The Jehovah's Witnesses had cell mates like Bonhoeffer and his group who actually attempted to eliminate the Nazis from power and were hanged.  Some other groups refused to take up arms such as the Society of Friends and the Deuchlander Oksedist Movement (not sure if I spelled correctly). 

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2014 - 10:53AM #10
Kemmer
Posts: 18,459

There were relgious groups in THIS country which refused military service during WWII as well, yet they don't trumpet their refusal as being their shining moment.

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