Internal Database (Watchtower Observer)-Gebhard What beans did Konrad Franke spill out? Manfred Gebhard
Document of the
of the Empire Storm Troupers Command
Sub-department Upper Rhine
II 113 V. 494/35 (Dated: 22. 9. 1936)
To the Security head quarters RFSS
Department II 113
Berlin S. W. 68
Concerning: International Bible Students Association
Action: There FS Nr. 29068 v. 29. 8. 36
" Paper. I/112 21-6 v. 3. 9. 36
In pursuing the from there ordered winding up of the International Bible
Students Association, an intermediate report with the following data is to
be transmitted to there.
1. The district leader Franke, Konrad, who was named by the Protocol
Winkler district leader Mainz, has been arrested. He was found to have a
gramophone with disks of the Bible Students. After denying at first Franke
admitted to have worked illegally for the Bible Students Association. Closer
details about his activities are revealed in appendix 1 enclosed
2. Because of the admissions of Franke the travelling salesperson Steinbach
was arrested, according to the verbal admissions of Franke, he was active as
leading servant for Frankfurt a. M. Steinbach denies knowing Winkler and
since the ban
he has not been active. Further investigations into these matters are still
being carried out.
3. Under the urgent suspicion of being in touch with Franke, the followingarrests were made:
a. Kubalski, Hermann, Adolf, born 22. 10. 1892.residing in Viesen Kr. Altenkirchen. Kubalski admits receiving printed
articles from a person (probably Franke) in the spring of 1936. (refer
b. Neitzert, Frieda, single, born. 28. 2. 1916 in Hohensayn, residing in
Hohensayn, Circuit Altenkirchen. During internment a recorded disk of the
International Bible Students Association was found on her. To date she has
not given us any further information. (refer Attachment 3).
c. Michaelis, Lisbeth, married, born 16. 9. 1912 in Berlin, resident in
Neuwied a/Rhn. Found on M. was the "Yearbook 1936 of the Jehovah's
Witnesses" The origins of this book is unknown at this time. (refer
d. Michaelis, Fritz Robert, born 1. 2.1900 in Breslau, resident in Neuwied a
/Rhn. The named is the husband of c named. He too did not make any
statements (refer Attachment 5).
e. Kreier, Friedrich, born 5. 2. 1899 to Neuwied, living there now. Kreier
admits to being active after the ban. He also has distributed magazines and
books. He also admits to being present at discussions, but refuses to
elaborate further on the circumstances. (Attachment 6)
f. Brandt, nee Giloy, Widow born 11. 7.1896 in Hochstetten Circuit
Kreuznach, still resident there. Illegal material was also found on Brand.
refused to elaborate further on the matter at this time. During further
interrogation it was possible to get the named to make a statement. She
revealed that she was visited by a brother of the Association named Wagner
from Mainz-Weisenau from time to time, most recently in July 1936. Wagner
delivered the material to her. Out of the interrogation it can be concluded
that Wagner acted as courier between the district-servant-leader and lower
entities. An interrogation of Wagner is not yet on the agenda.
It can be assumed with certainty that the named from a-f were in touch with
Franke either directly or indirectly and illegally worked for the I.B.S.A.
2. Further, the best known bible students in Frankfurt/Main were taken in,
even if in no case illegal material could be found, and no evidence of this
sort of illegal activity was uncovered. Even so it was found that:
a. Bäckermeister Bertram, Frankfurt/Main,
b. a Frl. Gresler, Frankfurt/Main, traveled to Switzerland for a conference
of the International Bible Students Association. Frl. Gresler received the
money for this trip from the former I.B.S.A. leader, Frankfurt. Leader
denies knowing that Gresler traveled to the conference in Luzern. Further
information is still up in the air at this time. Bertram and Gresler will
be interrogated after their return from Switzerland.
In appendix 8 a "Resolution", which was sent from Switzerland to several
local authorities, was passed over. It will be found weather Bertram or
Gresler received the mail.
The Leader of the SD-Command Rhine
Secret State Police Office
"Darmstadt, the 9th. 9. 1936
Presented from protective custody, Franke states the following under oath:
I accept that there is no point in further denials. I am prepared to tell
the whole truth. Particularly after Reich-leader Winkler (at this time in
custody) sent me a letter in which he encourages me to tell the truth as the
police officials know all about my activities.
I have been a Jehovah's Witness for some time now, which has been recorded
at my interrogation on the 31. 8. and 1. 9. 1936 infront of the State Police
Cell Mainz. Because of this interrogation I also take my attitude towards the
On the 7th of October 1934 the famous letter was directed from all local
groups of the I.B.S.A. to the Reich-government, it stated that Jehovah's
Witnesses could not recognize the ban on the I.B.S.A. and would obey God
rather than man, and would congregate again in the future. At that time I
received this letter from the district leader (B.D.L.) Dr. Merk for my
group. I had a group of approximately 9 to10 Jehovah's Witnesses to look
after. On the 7th of October 1934 9am I congregated my group as I had been
ordered. I read out the letter to the group, and forwarded it with the header
"local group Mainz" to the Reich-government.
Since that time I have not worked officially with my group, but visited
individual Jehovah's Witnesses as the opportunity presented itself, and
spoke about the truth in the bible. I did not have any further function
within the illegal organization at that time.
Towards the end of May 1935 the District Leader Dr. Merk was arrested. I was
handed the position as his replacement by the Reich-leader Winkler. The
position involved the leadership of the District of Palatia-Baden and the
District of Main. I didn't know Winkler personally until that time. I had
only seen him as congregation leader in Berlin and other places. I was
recommended to Winkler by Dr. Merk as District-servant-leader, I would assume.
I was introduced to him personally by the District-servant-leader of the
Rhine-land and Saar-district, Albert Wandres.
I knew him personally due to my former activities as Servant-leader of Mainz
and Wiesbaden. I met Winkler on a journey through Mainz at the railway
station Mainz and traveled with him to a scheduled meeting in Stuttgart.
District servant leader Lehmann and Stichel and also Baur also had come
there. A discussion was held by us in Stuttgart on how we were to continue
our work there.
Since that time, about the beginning of June 1935 I practice the function of
a District servant leader for the following area:
the near area around Frankfurt/Main, Wiesbaden, Darmstadt.
I would like to remark that Winkler did not expressly describe himself as a
District servant leader.
The meetings with the Reich-leader were always arranged for each individual
case. Winkler came by train from the direction Colonia to Mainz, where I met
him at the railway station, sometimes I traveled with him for a bit,
depending how much we had to discuss, as the train's sojourn was too short in
Mainz. Many times I traveled with him up to Stuttgart. The meetings occurred
about every weeks.
I have not gotten very far with the organization of my district, because I
was an unknown amongst the sisters outside of Mainz and Wiesbaden, and had
initially to be introduced by another. Until now I have been in touch with
the following servant leaders:
1.) Frankfurt/Main. Steinbach, Valentin, Schwarzburgstr. 26.
2.) Mannheim. Karl Haas, Luisenring 54.
3.) Karlsruhe. Mühlhäuser, first name?, Lindenplatz 12.
4.) Offenburg. Albert Kern, Lindenplatz 12
5.) Singen. Erich Arnold, Hauptstr. 12
6.) Speyer. Sand (first name and address unknown). I only met with this
person in Mannheim.
7.) Mainz. I worked this district personally.
I visited these servant leaders about once a month. I accounted the travel
expenses with the incoming finances.
The copying facilities for the producing copies of the Watchtower was
already installed when I arrived in the district. The original WT were sent
to the servant leader Mühlhäuser. The sender was, according to my knowledge,
the Bible-house Bern/Switzerland. The production was arranged by Mühlhäuser.
I don't know where the copy-equipment was located, nor who wrote the
stencils nor how.
I never bothered much about these things, as Mühlhäuser organized these
things in an orderly fashion.
After the arrest of Mühlhäuser, I caused the Reich-leader Winkler to send the
original W.T. to D.L. Haas in Mannheim. From there he manufactured the
copies without informing me about the intimate details about the methods.
The distribution of the W.T. copies was also handled by Mühlhäuser, but
after the internment this was taken over by Haas. In my estimation of the
numbers of W.T. about 300 copies were made.
These were distributed as follows:
1.) Steinbach, Frankfurt/Main 35 pieces
2.) Mühlhäuser, Karlsruhe " 45 pieces
3.) Kern, Offenburg " 70 "
4.) Sand, Speyer " 40 "
5.) I myself, Mainz " 40 "
6.) Haas, Mannheim " ? "
Arnold, Singen, received very few copies. This district was provided with
originals from Switzerland. I am not informed about closer details.
In the beginning every Jehovah's Witness received a copy of the W.T. but
later, in some districts several had to share reading an article.
25 Reich-pennies had to be paid for each copy. I did not receive this money
but it was used by the distributors for the payment of expenses.
After the I.B.S.A. ban, nearly all book warehouses were confiscated in my
district. Since that time, books have only been spread around at individual
sisters in faith. This is the case up until today. In my district
Mainz-Wiesbaden were only a few Books were available, as here the stock
almost totally confiscated were. I don't know where the rest of the books
were. The individual Servant Leaders should be able to give more detail.
From these old stocks 25 Rpf was charged per book, and 2 Rpf per booklet.
The proceeds came to me via the servant leader and was passed on by me to
him, during the meetings with Winkler.
In my district very few new books were distributed. I personally only
received a newer book or booklet every now and then during the meetings in
Stuttgart from the other District servant leaders.
- 4 -
In my district, to my knowledge, in general, only a few copies of the
booklet "Government" were distributed among the sisters. Of these newer
writings, a book was priced at RM 1.50, a booklet with colored print RM -,20
and in black print RM -,15.
I am not aware of the origins of the other books, which I did not receive
personally. It is possible that the faith sisters have procured them from
Switzerland. I did not receive any books from Sister Bertha Maur in Konstanz.
Although I did look her up a few times, as she was known to me as a sister
of the faith. But I did not take any books with me from her. But I only
spoke to her about congregational issues.
At the meetings with Winkler I gave regular reports of the work in my
district. This was about the distributed bibles, books and booklets as also
the numbers of hours and the witnessing. According to my memory the report
of 1st. August 1936 to Winkler approximately as follows:
Approximately at the beginning of 1936 I was told by Reich-leader Winkler,
that gramophone units were to be delivered on which gramophones with talks by
Judge Rutherford were to be played. On this information I ordered two suitcase type units
from Winkler, they were to be delivered to Julius Streit, in Freiburg,
Sedanstreet,12. Streit is a brother in the faith. I had contacted him previously
on the issue of delivery of the units, and had passed on the address of
Winkler. Against this order Streit was provided not only 2 but 4 units in total.
of these I received one unit which has been confiscated in the mean time.
D.L. Haas, Mannheim and Mühlhäuser, Karlsruhe and Kern Offenburg received one each.
In the mean time I had ordered a further 3 units, they were to be delivered to
Otto Arnemann, Mainz, and Baltasamlerstr 1.
These units have not yet arrived at this time. I would like to stress that
Arnemann is not a brother in the faith and has absolutely no connections
with the I.B.S.A. I only knew him as a soap deliverer,
and had asked him on this basis if he could do something for me.
- 5 -
As he had agreed, I had passed his address to Winkler.
As these units had not arrived, I ordered a further 10 of the units. They
were to be delivered to Streit, in Freiburg, however these units also
failed to arrive.
I have received from Winkler personally twice two disks,
I passed them on to sisters in the faith. I cannot recall who these sisters are.
Other than these I have only received the package of disks that was confiscated at my arrest.
I also received this package from Winkler.
22:50 Reich Marks were to be paid for each of the gramophone units, and
RM 1,75 for each of the disks. I forwarded the funds paid for the 4 suitcase units and disks to
I was not in written correspondence with either Winkler nor my service leader
There was only an informal personal agreement between us. Admittedly I gave Winkler,
as I remember at his suggestion a postal address of:
Peter Schroth, Mainz-Kastell, Petersweg 50.
I did not contact Schroth regarding this matter, I acted on my own initiative
I never received mail for me from Schroth. Obviously Schroth never found out
about this postal address arrangement.
At the last meeting with Winkler on the 1. 8. 1936 I found out that a convention was to be held in Luzeren
during the time from the 4 till the 7. 9. 36. Special reports on the
imprisonment and persecution and so on of Jehovah's Witnesses, were to be given at this convention. Cases such as these were to be collected
in the individual districts. Reports about this were to be given to Rubau
(bad spelling), in Gedansk. He wanted to visit the individual District-
Servant Leaders one week after Winkler.
As per our arrangement Rubau came to Mainz on his way through, where I passed
on to him several documents with reports of several different sisters about
them being stopped for the election. I had gotten to know Rubau at a meeting
of District Servant Leaders in Berlin. He is approximately 1.65 meters tall,
slim build, narrow face, shaven, and to the best of my knowledge wears
spectacles. I would guess he is about 35 years old.
Rubau used this opportunity to bring a package of the letters of credit to
RM 10,- and RM 5, they were to be used by the sisters for the trip to Luzern.
I had already collected travel money from the sisters who wanted to
travel to Luzern before the first of August.
I had been given RM 200 in total from Haas, Mannheim
Korn, Offenburg, out of their districts. I passed these funds on to
Winkler on the 1st of August. After Rubau had given me the red and green letters
of credit, I had passed these on to the various servant leaders at that time without
payment. The servant leader would then pass on to me the money collected,
which I would pass on to Winkler.
I have also collected travel-money after the 1st of August, but gave them back
because of the new traffic agreement with Switzerland in which the individual
sisters could take the money themselves. I don't know which of the sisters wanted
to travel to Luzon or did travel. I passed a total of RM 600 to Winkller on the 1st of August.
Of this RM 200, was the mentioned travel money, about RM 100,-- for Books
and Booklets, and RM 300,-- G. H. (account good hope)
At earlier meetings I had passed on RM 3 - 400, for Books and G. H.
to Winkler. I did not receive a 1935 yearbook for my district. I only received
a few abstracts out of it with the day-leaf in the form of a calendar.
It would have been 15 copies in all. These were placed at RM -,50 each.
I have told the whole truth and am also prepared to elaborate further on request
I have read the above personally,
Reg. Assessor Gestapo Berlin
Due to the above it was possible for the SD-upper-section Rhine to announce a
success to its masters in Berlin in two letters dated 22. 9. and 29. 10. 36
In the writing of the 22. 9. it is stated that Franke confessed after earlier
denials. "Because of the statements of Franke, the traveling salesman Steinbachwas arrested in Frankfurt/M, he was said to be active as servant leader for
Frankfurt/Main by Franke. Steinbach denies knowing Winkler and claims to
be inactive since the ban. Further investigations into this matter are still
in progress. In connection with (Adam) Sand, also named by Franke, the prosecution
witness is Franke.
The SD-Document of the 29. 10. 1936:
SD Uppersection Rhein
II 113 V 494/35
Section II 113
Berlin S. W. 68
Concerning: Action against the illegal International Ernest
Our reference: II 113 V. 494/35 v. 22. 9 36
The violent action taken against the illegal I.B.S.A. in the whole upper-section-district on the 31. 8. 36,
has now reached a certain closure, the following will report concisely on the results of the action.
1.) Since the station here had no evidence against the I.B.S.A. , with the exception of the headquarter originating admissions (Franke, Mainz), we co-operated with the State-police-stations of Darmstadt, Frankfurt and Koblenz, all known bible-students were searched and thorough interrogations conducted.
2.) The results were surprising . It can be said that the illegal organization I.B.S.A. is totally dashed to pieces in Hessen-Nassau.
According to the knowledge to hand, the following picture emerges:
a. With out a doubt Konrad Franke Mainz was District-servant-leader. A gramophone with disks was found at his residence. Franke denies receiving material from Winkler, but admits distributing written material. He designates the traveler Valentin Steinbach, Frankfurt a. M. as servant-leader for the district of Frankfurt. Steinbach has been arrested, but at the moment denies any involvement. Later though he admitted receiving certain written matter from unknown sources. It can be accepted as certain that Steinbach was Servant-leader for Frankfurt a. M.
b. It was found independently of the above, that the Accountant Gust Fenstermacher was Servant-leader for the district of Koblenz. The appendix 1-3 contains a copy of the interrogation protocol.
c. The following Couriers were active:
1. Heinrich Knie from Maxain/Unterwesterwald,
2. Jacob Wagner, from Mainz-Weisenau.
d. Warehousing for Records and writings were found at:
1. Heinrich Pirzental, Richelhardt/Kr. Altenkirchen (see apendix 5-6)
2. Heinrich Neitzert, Hoyensayn/Kr. Altenkirch
e. Albert Wandres was found to be one of the chief activists, at the moment in flight. It seems he was working under the direct instruction of Franke.
In the course of the action the following more or less guilty bible students have been arrested:
1. Mathias Ebers, b. on the 29. 9. 1874 in Dieblich, Kr. Koblenz/Land,
resident in Metternich. He admits, receiving literature from an unknown courier between May-July 1936.
2. Peter Schroth, Mainz. According to the State-police Karlsruhe he gave a false address for Franke. He admits
receiving literature from Switzerland. He only admits meeting Franke because of the sale of a parrot.
3. Müller, Mrs, Mainz, She met frequently with Franke. However meetings were said to be harmless.
4. The married couple Nickel, Zwingeberg,
5. The barber and Gardener (Enterence M. G. One notes lastly the contribution in the Hesse-Book S. 177f.)
The named 4-5 are in custody for some time now but do not comment in any way.
6. The married couple Scheuren, Wiesbaden, due to suspicion of illegal activities (note appendix 8/9)
7. The master-dry-cleaner Emil Petzold, Wiesbaden. P. denies having any connection with the I.B.S.A. (note appendix 10).
8. The mechanical-knitter Karl Klees, Wiesbaden, who advertised the I.B.S.A. His membership of the illegal organization is not proven. (note appendix 11).
9. The blacksmith Karl Buch, Neuwied. He claims to be inactive since the ban of the I.B.S.A. (Appendix12)
10. Further to the above the Master-Backer Bertram was arrested. (note the report II 113 v. 22. 9. 36) After lengthy denials, he admitted attending the meeting of the I.B.S.A. in Switzerland. Other than this he denies any comments.
It is expected that after the planned further investigations, some more people will be arrested. However this does not involve functionaries. As soon as the investigations are concluded and the prosecution documents are tabled, further reports will be made.
The Leader of SD Upper-section Rhine.
A part of this is a citation of the document of the Stuttgart Gestapo dated 12.
11. 1936, that they sent to the Berliner Security Headquarters at the same time.
After it was discovered that the intended actions could not be fulfilled due to lack of staff, the following interim report was made:
The actions in individual sub-section-areas against the illegal organization of the Bible Students to date, led to the following results:
District-servant-leader, representative for Baden and Kassenstelle:
BDL Konrad Franke, Mainz (Interrogation-notes in Appendix)
Postal address: Peter Schroth, Mainz-Kastel, Petersweg 5c.
Literature collection-point: Karl Haas, Mannheim, Luisenring 54.
WT.-Production: Adolf Mühlhäuser, Karlsruhe, Grenzstrasse 4.
Book-ware-house: Mannheim, D 7, 12.
Gramophone distribution: Julius Streit, Freiburg i. Br. Sedanstrasse 12.
Disk distribution: BDL Konrad Franke, Mainz
Courier: BDL Konrad Franke, Mainz. (Franke didn’t name a particular courier, he drove to his Servant Leader once a month and brought the necessary instructions and collected (money)
Servant Leader for Mannheim: Karl Haas, Mannheim, Luisenring 54 (note literature collection point)
Servant Leader for Karlsruhe: Adolf Mühlhäuser, Karlsruhe, Grenzstr. 4 (note WT production).
Managers for Karlsruhe:
Otto Schwarz, Karlsruhe, Echenstrasse 23
Josef Seitz, Karlsruhe, Kriegsstrasse 171
Karl Matthes, Karlsruhe, Yorkstrasse 40
Fritz Kollmann, Karlsruhe, Kaiserstr. 24
Johann Schäfer, Karlsruhe, Maxaustrasse 42
Karl Hetz, Karlsruhe, Körnerstrasse 173
Wilhelm Soulier, Karlsruhe, Kriegstrasse 173.
DL for Offenburg: Albert Kern, Offenburg, Lindenplatz 12
DL for Freiburg: Julius Streit, Freiburg, Sedanstr. 12 (note gramophone distribution)
DL for Singen: Erich Arnold, Singen a. H.
During the course of action the following people have now been arrested in Baden:
1.) Franke, Konrad, BDL for Saar-Pfalz, Maindistrict and Baden, Representative for Baden, Kassenstelle, Disk distribution and courier (Arrested by the Gestapo Darmstadt)
2.) Haas, Karl, b. on the 28. 10. 1902 in Mannheim, resident in Mannheim,
Luisenring 54, DL for Mannheim and Literature Collection point for Baden.
3.) Mühlhäuser, Adolf, b. on the 3. 9. 1892 in Birkach, residing in
Karlsruhe, Grenzstr. 4, WT-Production and DL for Karlsruhe (already arrested on the 20. 7. 36)
4.) Schwarz, Otto, b. on the 19. 10. 1890 in Strassburg, resident in
Karlsruhe, Echenerstr. 23, manager for Karlsruhe.
5.) Seitz, Josef, b. on 10. 9. 1893 in Ottenhöfen, resident in Karlsruhe
, Kriegsstr. 171, Manager for Karlsruhe.
6.) Matthes, Karl, b. on the 3. 11. 1892 in Derdingen, resident in
Karlsruhe, Yorkstr. 40, Manager for Karlsruhe.
7.) Kollmann, Fritz, b. on the 7. 5. 1896 in Weissenhorn, resident in
Karlsruhe, Kaiserstr. 243. Manager for Karlsruhe.
8.) Schäfer, Johann, b. on the 31. 7. 1877 in Hochheim, resident in
Karlsruhe, Maxaustr. 42, manager for Karlsruhe.
9.) Hetz, Karl, b. on the 1. 3. 1895 in Freistett, resident in Karlsruhe,
Körnerstr. 173, manager for Karlsruhe.
10.) Soulier, Wilhelm, b. on the 10. 5. 1875 in Klein-Villare, resident in Karlsruhe, Kriegsstr. 173, manager for Karlsruhe.
11.) Streit, Julius, b. on the 5. 1. 1879 in Freiburg, Resident in Freiburg,
Sedanstr. 12, gramophone distribution and DL for Freiburg
12. Kern, Albert, b. on the 2. 4. 1887 in Meissenheim, resident in Offenburg, Lindenplatz 12, DL for Offenburg.
13.) Arnold, Erich, b. on the 8. 2. 1898 in Triefeld, resident in a. H. DL for Singen.
The following people were arrested for attending the main meeting of the I.B.S.A. in Luzern between the 4. To the 7. 9. 36:
14.) Reuotto, Erna Johanna, nee Körner, b. on the 24. 4. 1899 in Singen, resident in Sulzuflen, Westfl.
15.) Vieser, Emma, b. on the 1. 3. 1882 in Metz, resident in Karslsruhe,
16.) Janzer, Karla Thekla nee Hilberer, b. on the 14. 12. 1892 in
Bermersbach, resident in Heureut...
The interrogation of the named Servant-leaders for Baden will be presented hereafter in shortened form:
Julius Streit, DL for Freiburg i. Br. Admits after several denials receiving two gramophone records. He still denies that he was Servant-leader for the district of Fraiburg. He claims to have only looked after 10 brothers in the faith, which he declines to name. The money received by him for booklets and magazines was always forwarded to Franke (BDL). Franke visited him every 4-5 Weeks. Streit denies knowing DL Haas, Mannheim, this is contradicted by DL Mühlhäuser, Karlsruhe and Kern, Offenburg.
Adolf Mühlhäuser, DL for Karlsruhe, claims to have only given talks to his family after the ban, and not to have any contact with any others. During later interrogation he admits having been Servant-leader for Karlsruhe. He also provided copying services to the Watchtower and Bible Society for the state of Baden and beyond. On average he manufactured 300 copies every 4 weeks, each was of 5-7 pages. Of these he delivered to:
Haas, Mannheim ca. 80 copies (DL)
Franke, Mainz ca. 40 " (BDL)
Kern, Offenburg ca. 35 " (DL)
Streit, Freiburg ca. 35 " (DL)
Mühlhäuser, K'ruhe ca. 45" (DL)
For Speyer (Pfalz) 25 "
The collected money, 90 - 100, RM. Every time was delivered to Franke (BDL) after taking his expenses. The copying equipment was kept in his apartment’s cellar. He will not reveal where it is now located, but will immediately provide it after his release. Mühlhäuser admits further to acquiring a gramophone and 7 disks.
Albert Kern, DL for Offenburg Denies all charges against him, in particular being Servant Leader for Offenburg, being visited monthly by Franke (BDL), that he received Bible-student literature for distribution and sale, and knowing DL Mühlhäuser or Streit.
The interrogation of DL Haas, Mannheim and Arnold, Singen are not yet tabled.
The presentation to date is based on the insight gained from the documents housed at
Freienwalderstr.( ZBI - 1465; ZBI -1421) respective to the record-clerk (XX/4 1415)
The publicized study on this issue by Hubert Roser released in 1999 is hereby confirmed and improved
Roser relies on the state-archive Darmstadt, which he has evaluated. Roser is here cited with further improvements from the internet.
Regarding Franke Roser informs us that he was arrested on the 31. 8. 1936:
After early strong and persistent denials, he felt forced by pressure and torture from the Gestapo, on the 9. September 1936 to admit for the first time the details of his “service district”.
So he named with others his inferior servant-leaders, however they were already known to the Gestapo at that point in time, or were already in custody like Karlsruhe’s Servant-leader Adolf Mühlhäuser.
Winkler allowed a message titled “Dear Konrad” dated the 8. 9. 1936 to be delivered to Franke from Berlin. He immediately introduced the message that he had already been in custody for some weeks.
He further states that according to his opinion, the Gestapo was “already knew all the details of our organization” and “ that it was not possible, and pointless to hide any issue, as the officials of the police were informed about every detail of our organization”
After Roser Franke also believed, after receiving this message that he could no longer remain silent.
He dictated a similar written message with the heading “dear Brother” In the issue he confirms the contained statement of Winkler, that also after his opinion the Secret-state-police already knew all relevant information. “It is also informed exactly about all our activities”
His similar letter to that of Winkler he summarizes it with the words “With friendly greeting Konrad Franke". It is not clear from the Internet-publication who the receiver of this message was, despite this limitation the content, there is enough evidence that Franke also dictated a written message in the style of Winkler.
Due to the statements of Franke, it was possible for the Gestapo to deliver the Servant-leaders
In the bigger cities of Baden, Palatia and South-hessen to their superiors: Adolf
Mühlhäuser and Otto Schwarz in Karlsruhe, Albert Kern (* 1887) in
Offenburg, Heinrich Wesch (* 1898) in Heidelberg, Karl Haas (1902-
1998), Otto Schmitt (1885-1938) and Wilhelm Zimmer (1897-1981) in
Mannheim, Franz Anton Streit (1879-1962) in Freiburg, Ehrig Max Arnoldt
(* 1898) in Singen and German Likert (* 1874) in Weinheim. In addition to these were the brothers in the faith in Speyer, Ludwigshafen, Lorsch,
Darmstadt, Offenbach, Frankfurt a. M. and Wiesbaden, they all were supplied with “Watchtowers since 1935 by Franke, at that time printed in Karlsruhe and then in Mannheim.
Because of the Mainzer 'sisters', who had been serviced by Franke himself and were therefore known by him, the Gestapo forced him towards the end of 1936 to name the names of the subscribers over and above the heretofore. Even so the Gestapo never knew the channels and people involved in the traffic of printed matter between Switzerland and Konstanz. Either Franke, who should have been informed in his position as District-servant-leader and also managed a fake address in Mainz, could keep these facts well secret or he did not know about the closer details. " Hubert Roser (Hrsg.) "Resistance as article of Faith” Konstanz 1999 S. 66-68.
Jehovah’s Witnesses love to downplay the betrayals documented in the Gestapo-files.
As it is written, nobody would have betrayed more than what the Gestapo already knew from previous betrayals by other inmates. The apologetic tendency of this theory cannot be overlooked.
One cannot in this case finely balance what the Gestapo already knew against the low worth of the news
Provided by those arrested later. Solely the fact that leading functionaries of the J.W.’s of the time, confirmed the knowledge base of the Gestapo through their betrayals, has value on it’s own.
In summery one can give serious doubt to the named apologetic theory.
Other religious organizations must admit, that their behavior during the National Socialist time was no thorough fame. Such a miaculpa is still to be expected from Jehovah’s Witnesses. But due to the evidence presented is strongly demanded. In life light and shade intermingle, also and not last in this emotion-laden sector!
The Watchtower issue of 1. 6. 1963 publicized a censored report of Franke, under the heading “Jehovah is my Shepherd, I shall not want”. He reports that he was arrested a total of five times, and lastly was incarcerated for nine years before he regained his freedom. That is all correct.
It is in no way disputed , that Franke and other Jehovah’s Witnesses were first line sacrifices of the N.S. regime. But one has to accuse them, that they exclude from their self-image deliberately every aspect
Which reduces self-heroism to a human measure. The real super-heroes did not survive the N.S. regime, or only as crippled souls. Such cases existed too. As an example from the area of Berlin, I personally know of a Herbert Bretschneider, he was turned into a literal cripple by the NS-Regime, even thought he was not predisposed to this in any way by his stature (a strapping man). Franke by contrast survived the NS-Regime.
To conclude the “case of Franke”, a citation from the self-image of Franke. In about the year 1977 he gave a three hour talk, The following passages are cited out of this talk’s tape-recording:
"Yes and now came this great action, as the Gestapo called it, from the 28.8. 1936.
One had watched us for two years, had gathered material to charge us, and three days prior to the next assembly in Luzern, which Brother Rutherford attended, the attack came.
We were surprised by what they knew. Here you will find a sketch a map as we found it later. This is how they had represented the illegal organization diagrammatically, and it was exactly true.
You can see on the top right where the squares are in the last complete square my name and territory I worked at the time. The other squares were all the other District-overseers who were arrested on the same day with the exception of two or three.
With that one believed to have hit the bulls eye. Only very few could still go over and inform Brother Rutherford about the real conditions in Germany. Again a resolution was made and sent to Hitler and the Pope, as we can se here. Now we came before the court.
This for an example was the summons for me. In it many things were claimed. I am still happy today about this document, as in the content, I was given a certificate in that they said:
Franke believes, that no court’s sentence will stop him being active as a Jehovah’s Witness.
And so also the latter, this court, that as we just heard handed out acquittals, was the first court that sentenced me to five years jail, which I sat, as you can see on the 13th January 1937. Everything you can see hear was published on all German press. All is very accurate with the exception of my family name, it is Franke not Funke. At the same time Brother Fritz Winkler was sentenced to four years jail,
And a 22 000 Mark fine. He was Reich-fuhrer at the time as one used to say."
The Original Page in German by Manfred Gebhard