Jehovah's Witnesses

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James McBride
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Jehovah's Witnesses

Post by James McBride » 07 Apr 2003 01:25

I posted my area of interest as being Resistance solely for my little bit of knowledge of Jehovah's Witnesses and their resistance to the Third Reich. Anyone have any more information?
James

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Post by David Thompson » 07 Apr 2003 04:44

James -- Have a look at these threads:

"what concentration camp patch did christians wear?" at:
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=14742

and

"Purple Triangle -- the "Bibelforschers"" at:
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=13855

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Andrew E. Mathis
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Post by Andrew E. Mathis » 07 Apr 2003 04:54

James, I have some very specific materials on Jehovah's Witnesses that I used in a course I taught a year ago. Send me a private message or stay on my case, and I'll post stuff here when I dig it up.

JWs were the *only* group persecuted solely on the basis of religion, but even here it was on charges of disloyalty (JWs will not salute any flag or person), as well as conscientious objection (they will not engage in violence for any nation-state).

a.m.

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Post by James McBride » 07 Apr 2003 05:16

I will stay on your case, aemathisphd. Your type of source is what I was hoping for. All I know is what I read in a ten page packet my World Civilizations teacher gave my group, hoping to make the whole class a bit more knowledgeable on the different groups persecuted by Nazis. What I read I found very interesting, and I wanted to learn a bit more. As I said on the page with area of interest/research, I would almost call JW's beliefs crazy, but I find their role in Nazi Germany and concentration camps fascinating.

Thank you for the links, David. I probably could have gotten them by searching, but you never know. I haven't had a lot of luck when I have tried searching in the past. I guess I could try anyway, just to see. Though one of them was littered with one poster's ranting, some of what I read was informative.
Thanks,
James

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Balrog
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Post by Balrog » 14 Apr 2003 17:26

i have a very good video on the jehovah's witnesses in the holocoust. it is called "purple triangles" and an be borrowed from any jehovah witness hall/group, at least in america. the video focuses on a german family called the kusserow's who had several male memebers executed by the nazis for refusing military service, and the female members sent to concentration camps. the one major difference etween the jehovah witnesses and the jews is that, for the jews, there was no escape, a jew was always a jew, regardless of current faith. for the JW , a member need only sign a document saying they had left the JW church group and they would be free! according to the video and documents i've read on the JW, very few of them ever renounced their faith, and instead suffered execution and being sent to concentration camps. not a single member of the kusserow family ever renounced their faith, and lost not only family members lives to the nazis, but all their property, to which this day, they have never recovered.

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Post by James McBride » 15 Apr 2003 03:24

I doubt any Jehovah's Witnesses would ever renounce their faith, no matter the situation. I could be wrong on this, because I don't know a lot about their faith. But from what I know, it seems highly unlikely. Maybe I can look at the video, but I don't know of any Jehovah's Witness hall in my area, and I don't know if I would want to go to one.

Thanks,
James

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Post by Xanthro » 15 Apr 2003 06:09

Resistence from JWs would be passive. A major part of their religion is that they do not engage in the support of any government, or overthrow thereof.

To a JW it doesn't matter what the government is, it's not their place to become involved in its matters, it takes away from the matters of God.

So, you wouldn't get a JW who is an active member of any resistence group, but they would refuse to serve in any military or other governmental position. They do pay taxes though.

Xanthro

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Balrog
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Post by Balrog » 15 Apr 2003 15:01

personally, i've never read of a single jehovah witness ever renoucing his faith(during ww2), but the video itself was unclear about wether anyone ever took up the offer and left a concentration camp. an other interesting point dealing with JW's. the purple triangle that identified them helped the JW's stick together in camp"hello sister!" was the greeting they women in the video said they would give each other. the camp experience did more to cement their religious faith thean tear it down. i assume it would be possible to order the video online for a small fee if you don't feel comfortable visiting a JW faith hall.

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Andrew E. Mathis
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Post by Andrew E. Mathis » 15 Apr 2003 17:19

joel pacheco wrote:i have a very good video on the jehovah's witnesses in the holocoust. it is called "purple triangles" and an be borrowed from any jehovah witness hall/group, at least in america. the video focuses on a german family called the kusserow's who had several male memebers executed by the nazis for refusing military service, and the female members sent to concentration camps. the one major difference etween the jehovah witnesses and the jews is that, for the jews, there was no escape, a jew was always a jew, regardless of current faith. for the JW , a member need only sign a document saying they had left the JW church group and they would be free! according to the video and documents i've read on the JW, very few of them ever renounced their faith, and instead suffered execution and being sent to concentration camps. not a single member of the kusserow family ever renounced their faith, and lost not only family members lives to the nazis, but all their property, to which this day, they have never recovered.
I've used this video in my teaching. I highly recommend it.

a.m.

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Post by James McBride » 16 Apr 2003 02:28

amesthipid, or whatever is was? I remember you wanted your name changed. I will see if I can find it elsewhere, because I would not feel comfortable going to Jehovah's Witness hall. I don't really feel comfortable going to church, even though I am technically part of the United Church of Christ. I don't really like having other someone's beliefs shoved at me, and I have never heard any evidence when being convinced to believe in a religion.

James

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PolAntek
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Post by PolAntek » 16 Apr 2003 04:26

James McBride wrote:I doubt any Jehovah's Witnesses would ever renounce their faith, no matter the situation. I could be wrong on this, because I don't know a lot about their faith. But from what I know, it seems highly unlikely.
Michael Jackson, the so called King of Pop, is an ex-JW. He is one among many that have left this heretical cult for various reasons.

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Post by James McBride » 16 Apr 2003 04:52

Really? I still find it hard to understand. I don't really expect someone with such fanatical views to change them except under the most extreme circumstances, like some sort of percieved awakening to another religion. But I guess I was wrong. Oh well.

James

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Scott Smith
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Post by Scott Smith » 16 Apr 2003 06:55

Aren't Scientologists persecuted by the German government today? Sometimes there is a fine line between what is considered a cult and what is an established religion. Nevertheless, I maintain that the persecution against the JWs in wartime Germany was on account of their resistance to serving their country in war.
:)

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Javier Acuña
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Post by Javier Acuña » 16 Apr 2003 07:37

I would really apretiate that you stop refering to Jehovah's Witnesses as heretics or fanatics. While some of their interpretations seem to me a little extremists (specially the Book of Apocalipsis), they are by no means extremists.

They do not serve their country in war because they follow the 6th Commandment by Heart. They are fully aware about the consecuences of such actions. Besides, they say "To God what belongs to God and to the Caesar (political power) what belongs to the Caesar"; they believe that they owe obedience only to God, and not to terrenal powers.

Just for the record, I'm not a Jehovah's Witnesses.

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 16 Apr 2003 12:13

Scott Smith wrote:Aren't Scientologists persecuted by the German government today?
Yes they are. So are drug dealers, except that I'm not sure if you can be subject to criminal prosecution for preaching Scientology. I’ll check.
Scott Smith wrote:Sometimes there is a fine line between what is considered a cult and what is an established religion.
As which of the two would you consider “Revisionism”, Smith? :D
Scott Smith wrote:Nevertheless, I maintain that the persecution against the JWs in wartime Germany was on account of their resistance to serving their country in war.
:)
If you maintain that, Smith, how about showing us the evidence that your contention is based on?

Some quotes from the autobiography of Auschwitz-Birkenau commandant Rudolf Höß (Phoenix Press edition, translation by Constantine Fitzgibbon) about Jehova’s Witnesses:
Rudolf Höß wrote:There were many Jehovah's Witnesses in Sachsenhausen. A great number of them refused to undertake military service and because of this the Reichsführer SS condemned them to death. They were shot in the presence of all the inmates of the camp duly assembled. The other Jehovah's Witnesses were placed in the front rank so that they must watch the proceedings.
If they were sentenced to death at the camp by Himmler because they refused to undertake military service, this suggests that the reason why they were brought to the camp in the first place was another.
Rudolf Höß wrote:As people, Jehovah's Witnesses were quiet, industrious and sociable men and women, who were always ready to help their fellow-creatures. Most of them were craftsmen, though many were peasants from East Prussia. In peacetime, so long as they confined their activities to prayer and the service of God and their fraternal gatherings, they were of no danger to the State and indeed quite harmless generally. From 1937 onwards, however, the increased proselyti sing by the sect attracted the attention of the authorities, and investigations were made. These investigations showed that our enemies were zealously fostering the propagation of the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses in order to undermine by religious means the military moral of the people. So proselytising by Jehova's Witnesses was forbidden. It became only too evident, at the outbreak of the war, what a danger would have arisen if the more energetic and fanatical of the Witnesses had not been taken into custody during the previous couple of years, and a stop put to their active proselytising.[my emphasis]
According to the above, it seems that what bugged good old Adolf about the JW’s was their "proselytising" of pacifist ideas. Their overall refusal to acknowledge state authority, although not mentioned by Höß, may also have played a part in the considerations leading to their persecution.

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