Rutherford's love letter to Hitler

by irondork 56 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • glenster
  • Twitch
    Leolaia nif nif hummmm

    Uh, say what?

  • glenster

    I figure it either means she's good at sniffing out the facts or he's a dog for
    her sniffable parts. Owoo. Dunno.

  • krejames

    Rutherford's letter to Hitler was the most recent stumbling block to me. I was shocked when I read it on the JW Facts site recently. I wondered how JWs could point the finger at the Catholic Church for cosying up to Hitler when they had written this apparently anti-semitic and pro-nazi letter. However, I want my journey from the borg to be based on facts and not sensationalism or hearsay, so I have been doing my own research on this, this evening. A key matter for me was to find out if Jewish people considered JWs anti-semitic, having known about the letter and the Declaration...

    The answer is "no". The Jewish Virtual Library ( has a section on Jehovah's Witnesses. It is a wholly positive article. It says "initially, Jehovah's Witnesses attempted to fend off Nazi attacks by issuing a letter to the government in October 1934..." They make no suggestion that JWs were pro Nazi or anti-semitic.

    The Wikipedia article on the Jw Declaration of Facts quotes a couple of secular historians (1) Detlef Garbe. He acknowledged the witnesses were trying to make a good impression on the German Government but said that, in repudiating accusations that the witnesses had received financial support from the Jews, the religion clearly distanced itself from another group under persecution (I'm wondering whether that's referring ot the Christadelphians). He noted the use of anti-jewish slogans in the document....but said the Witnesses were not guilty of anti-semitism. Yet Garbe said that the Declaration's description of the Anglo-American empire as the "most oppressive empire on earth" did undermine the religion's claims to political neutrality. He also said later publications misrepresented the Delcaration as a "resolution of protest" and criticised the society's attempts to blame the German Branch leader for "the society's attempt to adapt".

    It's interesting that the historian no.2, James Penton is the only one who scathingly accuses the JWs of being anti-semitic and he was an ex-jehovah's witness. So, like many of us on this discussion board, hardly unbiased.

    I guess in light of the above and seen in context of the times, as elaborated on by Detlef Garbe, it's difficult to remain quite as shocked as I was initially. Sorry if this seems rather apologetic but this has taken the heat and shock value out of the argument for me. But nevertheless it's unsavoury that the GB has been less than candid about its past once again.

  • Leolaia

    Okay, so here is Rutherford's booklet The Crisis, published in 1933:

    And here is Rep. McFadden's testimony during the hearings for H.R. 7986 (in March 1934):

    Virtually the same word for word.

  • glenster

    ^ Thanks!

    krejames--research it more. If this "stumbling" is new to you, there's a lot
    more to go through.

    The JWs followers probably treated Jews or Nazis like they did anyone else when
    they knock on their doors, friendly about the idea you might see their way as the
    one. Most Jews are likely unfamiliar with the history of literature by the JWs
    leaders, though, which is where accusations of insincerity and harm are justi-
    fied. Jews would be mistaken if imagining the Declaration of Facts as an un-
    characteristicly insincere effort to try to placate Hitler in extreme circum-

    I'd recommend any expose investigation focus on the leaders misuse of research
    material, forced points, mischaracterizations of others, etc., in feigning ex-
    clusiveness in creating distinctive doctrines meant to back up their claim of
    being the chosen spokespeople for a literal 144,000, which doesn't come naturally
    or honestly. This is most notable if anyone is hurt or killed abiding by those
    rules as in restricting medical options for themselves or their children or harsh
    shunning rules. That's my main concern.

    Many have been hurt or killed following similarly bad advice on how to handle
    intolerant political leaders, such as in Malawi and including this old example
    from Rutherford's leadership regarding Hitler. When Hitler didn't buy Ruther-
    ford's effort at bonding, Rutherford threatened Hitler that unarmed JWs would
    spread the word against him and God would bring him down. Shortly afterward, JWs
    starting going to concentraton camps, and hundreds never left....

    There are no shortage of writings by Rutherford indicating he continued
    Russell's Zionism a bit but then joined C. Woodworth in antisemitic propaganda.
    He then wrote occasional brief phrases of sympathy for the plight of the Jews and
    knocked Hitler (if also continuing conspiracy claims about Catholics and Popes
    and the Satanic evils of national powers, including the Allies, and preventing
    followers from fighting Hitler). This sympathy ended with new JWs leaders and
    knocking the establishment of Isreal, etc.

    If you don't know whose editorials to believe, you can sift through a lot of
    the JWs leaders' quotes in the timeline at the next two links and see for your-

  • flipper

    Amazing stuff ! Deserves a bump. Thanks for posting

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    You labor under an erroneous impression. No Jewish person or group speaks for all Jews. The best one can do is reference Encyclopedia Judaica or get in touch with the powers that exist in reform Judaism, conservative Judaism, and orthodox Judaism. After that, there are still various Hasidic groups. The prime minister of Israel does not speak for all Jews.

    What you are doing is choosing one "Christian" publication and say it represents every Christian on this earth.

    I attended college in New York and found Judaism confusing. After decades of interaction and politcal analysis, I still find it confusing. Jews remark about the sometimes vicious debates they have within Judaism.

    I used to call the Old Testament Jewish prof at my college for Jewish advice. He directed me to the Encyclpedia Judaica.

    If you rode on the NYC subway or Jersualem subway and interviewed random Jewish people, there would still be no answer.

    From my experience, I know few Jews who would not find the letter disgusting and yet another instance of Christianity actively hurting Jews. Christian churches had a duty to stand up to HItler. Rather than opposing him, many churches supported him.

    It is antisemitic on its face. True, antisemitism existed. Many respected figures used to punish domestic Jews. The Ivy League had strict quotas against Jews. Many industries were closed, including many areas of law. Many respected figures also supported slavery and used the "n" word.

    Christians, like Dietrich Bonhoffer, went out of their way to oppose HItler with their very lives. Their Christianity motivated them.

    Tell me who speaks for all Jewish people under all circumstances at all times -- no way. It is So no the culture, which I would not know if I lived elsewhere. The letter is patently antiSemitic and hateful on its face. One must recall the most essential fact for all Christians - Jesus was a Jew and died a Jew.

  • NoStonecutters

    " Jesus was a Jew and died a Jew."

    Yes, but the modern religion of Judaism has little to do with the Old Testament and everything to do with the Talmud.

    Jesus could not be a Jew in the sense of its Talmudic definition.

  • greenhornet

    Is there a way for Simon to put this tread in "Best of topics"

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