Purple Triangle -- the "Bibelforschers"

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Entropy
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Purple Triangle -- the "Bibelforschers"

Post by Entropy » 06 Jan 2003 15:37

Hi,


I've read a little about the Nazi persecution of the Jehovah's Witness sect, some examples of which are here :

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.jsp?ModuleId=10005394

&

http://www.premier1.net/~raines/conflicts.html


From the latter, this is interesting :
The camp officials discovered . . . that the Jehovah's Witnesses served many useful purposes. One of these was to shave the SS with cut-throat razors. The SS could truly enjoy their toilet, knowing that the razor was in the hand of a man who had sworn to respect life even at the expense of his own. Although such services must have added to their chances of survival, it did not endear them to their fellow prisoners. Jehovah's Witnesses were generally put to work on outlying farms around the camp. They appear to have been the dominant labour force on the land, although there were other workers too. [69]
and
Both Himmler and Eicke expressed admiration for the resolve and determination of the group, actually using them as an example of loyalty to other Germans. Interestingly, Himmler, who knew the ways of the Witnesses well, had planned after the war "to bring the persecution of this group to an end, and send them to the East, where as racially pure, upright and abstemious Germans, they would form a 'block' as pioneers of the Nationalist Socialist Community. "[70]

This page is pretty good; not at all IMO a hagiography-type JW site.


Now, a question. Does anyone know of other Protestant Sects grouped into the camps or otherwise singled-out for persecution? If the pacifism of the JWs was so abhorrent to the Nazis, then what of other pacifists like, say, the Quakers? Were there any Quakers in Nazi Germany?

If the zealotry of the JWs was so abhorrent and reason for their grouping amongst the other victims of the Holocaust, then what of other superzealous sects who often employed door-to-door preaching like, say, the Mormons? Were the LDSs persecuted by the Nazis? I know at least a few had to be over there in Deutschland, if only anecdotally, because I remember reading somewhere how the reactionary Governor of Michigan and President of American Motors, George Romney, was a Mormon missionary in the early thirties in Europe (and, I think, specifically in Germany).



Incidentally, the same site also provides this page :

http://www.premier1.net/~raines/eisenhower.html

An explanation of Dwight Eisenhower's religious background. Ike's mother, Ida, raised him as a Jehovah's Witness. Doubtless, though Ike had disowned most of the peculiar JW dogma, he knew through the pious Ida or through governmental/military channels that the JWs were being persecuted with the other victims of the Holocaust. I wonder how much extra this fact motivated him. Like anyone moral, he hates the Nazis, but how much is this personal connection to his family's very obscure religious beliefs an influence in his mindset? Interesting.

The whole article is quite good, IMO. I like the description of Ike trying to walk a fine line of not exactly repudiating his mother's religion, but also trying to hide it from the press as it was a potentially huge political liability.
Ironically in a Drew Pearson column published only three months earlier, Jack Anderson said, "Ike is strangely sensitive about his parents' religion. They were Jehovah's Witnesses, though the authorized biographies call them 'River Brethren....'

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Scott Smith
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Latter-Day Saints in Nazi Germany...

Post by Scott Smith » 08 Jan 2003 03:20

Entropy wrote:what of other superzealous sects who often employed door-to-door preaching like, say, the Mormons? Were the LDSs persecuted by the Nazis?
The answer is no. The Mormons are not pacifists. Furthermore, they believe in obeying the law-of-the-land. Their Twelfth Article of Faith states:
The LDS Articles of Faith wrote: 12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

LDS Articles of Faith

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Dan W.
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Post by Dan W. » 08 Jan 2003 08:36

A very interesting article Entropy. I have always been fascinated by the Jehovas Witnesses's adherence to their faith in these times. They were given a choice (no doubt) many inmates would have jumped at: Renounce your faith and we set you free. They were terribly persecuted then. After reading about them I find they are very ascetic, but also their faith in God is by no means "conventional" to the Christian faith. Most mainstream Christians would classify this group today as a "cult" and their belief in Jesus is quite peculiar, they thinking that God did not empower His Son until 1918, the end of WWI. They do not drink or smoke, and can only eat animals after they have been properly "bled", they also cannot undergo blood transfusions are among some off the odd rituals of this group.

I will bookmark those articles for later reading, thanks.

--D.W.

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Post by Entropy » 08 Jan 2003 14:44

Hi Dan and Scott,

Thanks for replying.


Scott, I didn't mean to imply that the Mormons are pacifists -- I know they are not. How could they be when they gave us the Danite Band and the Avenging Angels? I can't remember the name of the slaughter of the Arkansan wagon train in late 1800s Planet Utah, but I remember the tale as being pretty grisly.

Rather, my question was regarding the Mormons' noted zealotry, which I perceive, at least, to be similar to that of the JWs. Since superaggressive preaching was one of the given objections of the Nazis to the JWs, I wondered if they had done the same to the Mormons. But then your point that the Mormons are loyal to the state is well-taken. I suppose the biggest Nazi objection (read=excuse) to persecute the JWs was that they were loyal to religion first, and eschewed all patriotic sentiments.

The group I don't know too much about are the Society of Friends or Quakers. I do know they are (admirably) pacifist, but are they pacifist to the extent that they will not aid the cause of war BY ANY MEANS? Or do they just restrict themselves to being non-combatants? I ask this because of course another reason given by the Nazis for JW persecution is that they refused to serve in any capacity. (There is an anecdote in one of the links that tells of interned JWs refusing to work with angora rabbits when they found out that the fur was used to line pilots' jackets.)


Dan -- I know a little about the JWs, because a few in my family belong to the sect. I even attended their church some as a child when I'd stay with my grandmother. This was in the early to mid 80s, so doctrine/dogma may have changed, but as I remember it :

The date is 1914, not 1918. This has some fundamentalist reasoning regarding timeline prophecies. I don't remember the nuts and bolts of it, though.

They CAN and DO drink. This is allowed, but not to "excess". However, smoking is strictly prohibited, and results in banishment, or what they call "disfellowshipping".

You're right on both counts regarding blood, and both beliefs come from the same "reasoning" : that blood is sacred and must not be ingested. I believe this is from their reading of mosaic law, but maybe not.

I agree with you that what they did was admirable in that they held so strongly to what they believed in, even if it meant death (and it often did). While I regard all monotheist religions as a menace to humanity (don't mean to offend anyone, that's just my belief) and at best assorted groups of decent people who are mildly deluded, I am in total sympathy when certain groups take the "turn the other cheek" and "do unto others" commands of Christ as Law, as did these pacifists. To be so pacifistic that one denies an OPPORTUNITY to rebel or avenge the deaths of one's comrades is superhuman indeed. All they had to do was denounce their faith, and they'd be set free. What idealists. I can't help but admire them that -- it's noble.

Ah, but despite the predictable glossing by the WTB&TS (the Governing body of JWs) that no one budged, the links say that perhaps 10-15% did indeed renounce their faith and head home. Still, IMO I wouldn't say that the WTB&TS exploits JWs' holocaust experience, except, perhaps, to its own membership.

The links also show that the then JW leaders in Germany and the governing body and President in New York DID try to appease the Nazis by writing an anti-semitic declaration. This is shameful and pathetic, and though individual JWs in Germany of course should not be blamed for this oily attempt at conciliating with concentrated evil (while backhanding another minority it had much in common with), it seems to me that this is a huge blight on the church's leadership. From what I have read, Himler, who was interested in them, seems to have been for removing them from captivity and extermination. But force majeure from Hitler dictated otherwise.


Anyway, I posted this topic because one doesn't hear too much about these particular victims.

Also, Eisenhower's link to the sect is not well-known.

Thanks for reading.

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Rob S.
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Post by Rob S. » 08 Jan 2003 20:12

I suppose the biggest Nazi objection (read=excuse) to persecute the JWs was that they were loyal to religion first, and eschewed all patriotic sentiments.
I don't think this is true. According to Göring's statement on the persecution of the church during Nuremburg, all members of the Clergy that were arrested weren't arrested for spiritual reasons but for being political activists. Now you can take this both ways, but the Roman Catholic church is not particularily nationalistic towards a single nation either, yet nothing was ever said badly of them.

JW's (like Mormons) are generally thought of amongst Protestants and Catholics as being Whore-denomonations. Sometimes even being referred to as "The Church(es) of the Anti-Christ." Mormanism teaches that Jesus came to America in the 1800's and JW's believe that only something like 170,000 people will ever achieve salvation. But you can only achieve salvation by converting other people; hence lowering your chances in the long run....lol.

Anyway, it is possible that these denomonations were persecuted as a political propaganda to gain brownie-points with the more conventional Church. Nazis had no doctrine as far religion was concerned, officially. It's doubful to think they had any concern in it otherwise.

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Post by Scott Smith » 09 Jan 2003 08:40

Rob S. wrote:
I suppose the biggest Nazi objection (read=excuse) to persecute the JWs was that they were loyal to religion first, and eschewed all patriotic sentiments.
I don't think this is true. According to Göring's statement on the persecution of the church during Nuremburg, all members of the Clergy that were arrested weren't arrested for spiritual reasons but for being political activists. Now you can take this both ways, but the Roman Catholic church is not particularily nationalistic towards a single nation either, yet nothing was ever said badly of them.
I think he means that they were persecuted because they were religious and therefore apolitical except insofar that they were not patriotic and wouldn't fight for Germany or work in the armaments industry. The Nazis had no use for political-priests or militant-pacifists but otherwise took little interest in religion.
JW's (like Mormons) are generally thought of amongst Protestants and Catholics as being Whore-denomonations. Sometimes even being referred to as "The Church(es) of the Anti-Christ." Mormanism teaches that Jesus came to America in the 1800's
Mormonism also believes that the resurrected Christ visited the Americas for three days after the crucifiction.
and JW's believe that only something like 170,000 people will ever achieve salvation. But you can only achieve salvation by converting other people; hence lowering your chances in the long run....lol.
If this is similar to the Mormon doctrine then the 170 thousand are the very elect who will be raptured like the Prophet Elijah, who was "translated" directly without suffering mortal death and resurrection first. The number doesn't refer to the salvation of the rest of the flock.
Anyway, it is possible that these denomonations were persecuted as a political propaganda to gain brownie-points with the more conventional Church. Nazis had no doctrine as far religion was concerned, officially. It's doubful to think they had any concern in it otherwise.
I don't think so in general. The Mormons were not persecuted and the Mormon Prophet told all Latter-Day Saints to support their respective governments during the war. Condemnation was only given against Godless-Communism.

In the case of the JWs it was their refusal to fight and work for the war-effort that earned the persecution. They also appear to have had a bent for martyrdom, which in a sense exploited the Nazi government as the "Babylonian enforcers." Höß describes the crude efforts to cow them into submission as tragically pathetic. It is hard not to admire brave but "misguided" people.
:)
Last edited by Scott Smith on 07 Apr 2003 05:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Scott Smith » 09 Jan 2003 08:59

Entropy wrote:I can't remember the name of the slaughter of the Arkansan wagon train in late 1800s Planet Utah, but I remember the tale as being pretty grisly.
The Mountain Meadows Massacre, I believe. For a long time it was written out of Mormon or Utah pioneer history books or just blamed on the Indians, but I don't remember the details. It was probably also partly in revenge for the "Mormon Shoah," the forced 1846 Trek across the plains to Zion that the Saints had suffered previously.
Rather, my question was regarding the Mormons' noted zealotry, which I perceive, at least, to be similar to that of the JWs. Since superaggressive preaching was one of the given objections of the Nazis to the JWs, I wondered if they had done the same to the Mormons.
They aren't really all that aggressive, just everywhere. Every young man is expected to serve a two-year mission. A lot of Mormons in Europe were Germans and most of the German emigres after the war that I've known were Mormons. My Grandfather's second wife was German and her brother was on the Eastern Front. They immigrated to the U.S. after the war as Mormons and were welcomed. They never talked much about the war that I can recall, just about how badly outnumbered by the Godless Communist Hordes they were and how they were always so cold and hungry and had nothing left. Coming to America really was like coming home to Zion for them. She was so proud getting her U.S. citizenship.
:)

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Post by Dan » 09 Jan 2003 16:22

Scott, they must really have had some stories to tell!
JW's (like Mormons) are generally thought of amongst Protestants and Catholics as being Whore-denomonations
Off topic:

Those two churches don't comform to the Ecumenical Councils, so they aren't invited to meetings, etc..Whore is more a fundamentialist word which they apply even to Orthodox churchs like the Catholics, Presbyterian and any other groups they don't like at the moment.

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Post by David Thompson » 17 Jan 2003 02:04

Here are some documents on Bibelforschers from "Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression" vol. 6, pp. 1040-1042:
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