(my translation from German):
I have been notified that the verdict I have received, has been approved by the Court and that I will be beheaded this evening at 6:30 PM. Dear parents, these are the few lines that I can write to you. I ask you once again not to be sad because I am to die and not to cry because I am now lost.
No, because God our Lord will resurrect us and give us new bodies, in which we can serve Him forever. Liberated from sin on the new Earth, in peace and justice.
In the last three years I have had to suffer much because of my faith. And likewise I will present myself to this same suffering today, in my final hour, with strength and braveness and an upright conscience, in front of my Lord.
I just wish from my heart, that you could also feel the same, so that you will not cry because of me. Because eternal life in God's Kingdom is of much higher value that a life in this present sinful world. So find the Scriptures and ask the Lord, that He through His mercy may protect you from the punishment, which He will present to the whole world. Admit to your sinds and follow His ways, which are higher than all the human laws, and only then can you save your souls from death.
Dear parents, I ask of youthat you also allow ....... to read this letter. I would have liked to write once again, but it was forbidden me. I send from my whole heart greetings to her and to all the brothers and sisters for the last time, and wish you all strength and braveness in the Lord and a happy reunion in the new life. Please forgive me everything, if I should once have sinned against you, and I will also do so, in order that I might die without fault or error. Once again give my deepest greetings to my sister ........, to my brother ........... and to little........ .
I end my final letter. May God's mercy be with you at all times. once again greetings from your PREVIOUS son,
Anton Uran's final letter 23.2.1943
(my translation from German):
Heartfelt letter? Propoganda piece? I guess we'll never know. RIP Anton! Another life lost to the altar of religion.
Another life lost to the altar of religion.
Naeb, I enjoy your funny postings, but here you're talking complete crap.
That was another life lost to a regime of people which aimed to kill everyone of the wrong convictions or even just the wrong parents. Those who refused to join the ranks of the Wehrmacht faced a travesty of a "fair trial" and got executed.
Without his religious convictions, this Mr. Uran, if he existed, would have been sent to kill Allied soldiers and probably get killed himself.
p.s.: TOH: and what's your point in posting this? Care to comment, or will this be another of your hit-and-run posts?
How pathetic and tragic. I am not making light of this man's death,but the WTS is reprehensible and amoral in using his letter as a propaganda tool.To lose one's life for a myth and a fantasy is indeed the height of tragedy. At least the soldiers who died did so for more concrete ideals and principles.
Carl Sagan on balancing openness to new ideas with skeptical scrutiny..."if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense-you cannot distinguish useful ideas from worthless ones."
It is indeed a touching and sad letter. It is also exactly the kind of letters they love in Brooklyn. I will now show you a couple of letters from the same period which the WT will never print. Why do you think they wouldn't print them?
Two “faithful” Brothers
The Story about two “faithful” brothers that the Watchtower Society never printed.
As the history of the Watchtower Society in Germany show, some martyrs will always come in handy. As always the leaders of such organizations have no personal passion for being martyrs, but of course have the rank and file sent to the their execution for them. Martyrs are important for such organizations and the Watchtower Society is no exception. How useful martyr are can be seen even now by the fact that the poor Jehovah's Witnesses who was killed by the Nazi’s are used to create sympathy for the Watchtower Society today, with the current “traveling exhibition”.
In January/February of 1944 some well-known German Jehovah's Witnesses together with others was arrested by the Gestapo, and sentenced to death. They were Johannes Schindler, Wilhelm Schumann and Franz Fritsche.
These men were long standing and well known members of the Bible students in Germany. Schumann worked at Bethel in Magdeburg and is mentioned in the 1974 yearbook:
“*** yb74 96 Germany (Part One) ***
There was no color photography at the time, but Wilhelm Schumann of the Magdeburg Bethel was untiring in his efforts to touch up the black-and-white photographs with color.”
In 1944 the happy days of touching up the black and white pictures for the “Photo Drama” must have seemed ages ago, when the grim reality of death stared Herr Schumann in the face.
What did he do? He wrote the following letter:
“The third Senate of the Peoples Court in Berlin
Brandenburg (Havel) Görden 22 October 1944
With this I humbly allow myself to ask you to recommend that my plea of pardon from the death penalty get priority…
If possible I would give my support to the thousands of Germans, friends of our people, members of farming and agriculture, the war industry, the defense forces and the leaders of the party, the commerce which has supplied us and defended us at the front…
It has been far from me to carry out any political activity to destroy the defense moral, as I am accused of…
I have to admit that I through the writings of the IBV (International Bible students Association), was mislead to believe that the will of the Fürer, to save the German nation from ruin by Bolshevism, was a deception, that it was really about supporting the Catholic hierarchy’s pursuit for world domination. Today, however, when the fight for our people, our nation’s very existence stands at our very borders, I see that I, although too late must realize that all the political predictions of the Bible students is merely fantasies and false teachings which simply bring harm, this I have been considering.
Since the middle of this year I have through instructive conversations with my Gestapo official in charge, Herr Rabold come to realize that I instead of being of benefit to our people, have by this insane undertaking only caused harm and in addition plunged my family into nameless misery. My wish is that God some day will give me the opportunity to take part in the fight for our people and thus for my family, be this as it may, but I request the opportunity to do my duty as a German. This is my prayer.
Another of the arrested who received a death sentence was Johannes Schindler, a long standing member of the Biblestudents, from Dresden, Germany, with a long service as pioneer in Austria. A short story about Johannes Schindler is published in the 1989 yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. The story has the headline” "I Will by No Means Leave You" . After painting the usual glossy picture of faithful service to Jehovah, the article ends with these words:
*** yb89 80-4 Austria ***
"I Will by No Means Leave You"
Until his passing away on December 23, 1986, Johannes Schindler was still in the ranks of the pioneers, then in the Federal Republic of Germany.”
Of course Herr Schindler never cared to tell his fellow Witnesses about his behavior in October 1944, when he sent the following letter to the Nazi court in Berlin:
Brandenburg (Havel) Görden 27 October 1944
“The third Senate of the Peoples Court in Berlin
Regarding request for pardon
The 10.17.44 I was sentenced to death by the III. Senate of the Peoples Court because of spreading banned Biblestudent writings. I beg of this high court…
When war broke out in 1939, I immediately volunteered to work in the War industry, and on September 12. 1939 I was accepted at the Mobilizing Reserve in the department of Fa. S. u. B. in Magdeburg, which was very important for the war effort. After a while I became Head inspector and was responsible for the final inspection of parts for the regulation control for Airplane engines, to see that they functioned as intended. I subjected myself to the task of inspecting these parts spurred by the sense of responsibility, conscious that even the slightest mistake could cost lives. Through my sense of duty and extraordinary conscientiousness it was achieved a higher rate of approved parts that earned the Firm the approval of the Air Ministry. Now I met Schumann in 1942, and besides it was a result of my good nature that I took the printed material to Berlin. As I have always said, I am merely interested in Biblical material and Christian material. I admit that in my heart I have fully rejected the International Bible Student’s Association and have completely gotten rid of their depraved political writings.
Not quite the faithful servant here, one could safely say. Was this worthy of a man whose story appears in 1989 under the heading "I Will by No Means Leave You"? A man who according to himself had with great enthusiasm worked for the Nazi war machine and taken such great care that the Airplane engine parts shouldn’t malfunction and cost human lives? He didn’t seem to think about the simple fact that sabotaging the engine parts would have spared many more lives. What did he think the Nazi’s used their planes for? Anyway, he could hardly be criticized for wanting to live and for doing whatever he could in order to be spared. But emerging after the war as an example of a “faithful” Jehovah's Witness, who stood “firm” against the Nazi’s is nothing but gross hypocrisy!
So the record show that of these 3 Jehovah's Witnesses only Franz Fritsche remained “committed” to his stand, whereas the other two wrote the petitions denouncing their faith were granted reprieve, and continued living their lives as “faithful” Jehovah's Witnesses who had taken a “firm stand” against the Nazi’s during the Hitler era. Of course this wasn’t in any way isolated incidents. Other Jehovah's Witnesses eager to save their lives wasn’t this fortunate. Johann Hörstgen was one of them. He was arrested in 1943 together with many other Bible students and sentenced to death. In a letter dated June 3, 1944 he writes a letter to the Senate President in the sixth Senate of the Peoples Court.
He ask them to consider his outstanding service to the “German people” where the Gestapo, thanks to his cooperation and help had been able to round up and arrest many Bible students. The court could easily verify this by contacting the Gestapo office in Essen, he writes. In this case however the court takes no notice of his plea, probably having no more stomach for traitors than anyone else does and he is executed.
I do not ever have as intention to "hit and run", but partly I see that there is prescious little room for discussions, because one far too often is being shouted at or name-called, it is nothing like it was over at Obed's place in the good old days, and partly the time difference between the two continents separated by the Atlantic makes a discussion difficult.
I had just finished reading the book about Anton Uran as well as the book about Franz Wohlfart, and the letters moved me to make a private translation of them, as the reveal the moral, the thoughts, the values held by the type of persons who are shouted at and held in the lowest possible esteem by so many here, that one in gloomier moments might wonder if not some of them would have liked to be the one holding the axe. I would prefer to let Uran's words speak for themselves.
Nobody can fail to admire the courage and integrity of many, if not most, JWs in Hitler's Germany. My problems with the Society's incessant trumpeting of their impressive record are as follows:
(1) The appropriation of their praiseworthy conduct for propagandistic purposes by a leadership who seek to supress disclosure of their own cowardly conduct; i.e. attempts to appease Hitler by scapegoating the Jews and vilifying the western democracies whose enlightened system of justice affirmed and protected JWs freedom of worship.
(2) Their incessant, obsessive recourse to the past (invariably sanitised and idealised in the WT) as validation of their credentials; it seems today that JWs are preaching themselves more than the Gospel.
(3) Fostering the impression created in their handing of such material that somehow JWs have a monopoly on Christian martyrdom.
Then in Germany as now, we note a huge dichotomy between the sincere, often praiseworthy record of the rank and file, and the contemptible, ofen unprincipled behavior of the leadership.
That is a great point R215,
Then in Germany as now, we note a huge dichotomy between the sincere, often praiseworthy record of the rank and file, and the contemptible, of[t]en unprincipled behavior of the leadership.
Some 200 plus JWs were executed in Germany and I think a total of 600 plus died in Nazi Prisons (source is from the 1970s Watchtowers and Kent's site). These Rank and file members could leave any time unlike the Jews. All they had to do was renounce their faith. But these Rank and file people didn't and paid the price. Meanwhile the corporation leaders in Germany and New York were doing something a tad bit different.