JWs and Nazis in WW II

by robhic 27 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • robhic

    I know there is considerable info on JWs and the Nazis during WWII. I happen to be reading a book on "Auschwitz" and other Nazi death camps. I wasn't looking for this but found it interesting.

    Heidrich Himmler (sp) (I believe he was Hitler's #1 death-camp officer) thought using JWs for servants in the living quarters of the German SS troops manning the camps was a good idea.

    He said the JWs were "steadfast and trustworthy" and also wouldn't get involved in military or political interests so they would be ideal to use as servants, freeing up the normally used death camp inmates or German soldiers / citizens who could be utilized elsewhere.

    The point I found a bit scary was that the author of the book, who had interviewed a German JW lady who did this duty, said that this lady felt the Jews were guilty and more or less agreed they should be punished.

    NOT that she agreed with the genocide and wanton killing of Jews and others but she (and the inference was there) and the other German JWs didn't care for the Jews and had a somewhat passive, tacit agreement with punishing the Jews on some level. It was a result of their (the Germans in general and German JWs in particular) being taught this propaganda like brainwashing.

    Not necessarily a slight against JWs because they are portrayed as steadfast and trustworthy people, but it also sheds some light on their (the JWs) going along (at least in spirit) with some of the program. It was also mentioned that Himmler used the JWs' zealous conviction in their beliefs as an example of how the Nazis should embrace their own philosophies!

    That's kind of a back-hand compliment, eh? It was a tiny, yet interesting little bit of info from this sad and depressing book.

  • Leolaia

    ***yb74 pp. 196-197 Germany (Part Three) ***

    This can be seen from a letter that Himmler wrote to his closest associates, the top SS leaders Pohl and Müller. This letter, stamped "Secret," included the following passages:

    "Enclosed is a report about the ten Bible Students that are working on my doctor’s farm. I had an opportunity to study the matter of the Earnest Bible Students from all angles. Mrs. Kersten made a very good suggestion. She said that she had never had such good, willing, faithful and obedient personnel as these ten women. These people do much out of love and kindness. . . . One of the women once received 5.00 RM as a tip from a guest. She accepted the money since she did not want to cast aspersions upon the home, and gave it to Mrs. Kersten, since it was prohibited to have money in the camp. The women voluntarily did any work required of them. Evenings they knitted, Sundays they were kept busy in some other way. During the summer they did not let the opportunity pass to get up two hours earlier and gather baskets full of mushrooms, even though they were required to work ten, eleven and twelve hours a day. These facts complete my picture of the Bible Students. They are incredibly fanatical, willing people, ready to sacrifice. If we could put their fanaticism to work for Germany or instill such fanaticism into our people, then we would be stronger than we are today. Of course, since they reject the war, their teaching is so detrimental that we cannot permit it lest we do Germany the greatest damage. . . .

    "Nothing is accomplished by punishing them, since they only talk about it afterward with enthusiasm. . . . Each punishment serves as a merit for the other world. That is why every true Bible Student will let himself be executed without hesitation. . . . Every confinement in the dungeon, every pang of hunger, every period of freezing is a merit, every punishment, every blow is a merit with Jehovah.

    "Should problems develop in camp in the future involving the Bible Students, then I prohibit the camp commander from pronouncing any punishment. Such cases should be reported to me with a brief description of the circumstances. From now on I plan on doing the opposite and telling the respective individual: ‘You are forbidden to work. You are to be better fed than the others and you do not have to do anything.’

    "For according to the belief of these good-natured lunatics merit ceases then, yes, to the contrary, previous merits will be deducted by Jehovah.

    "Now my suggestion is that all of the Bible Students be put in work—for example, farm work, which has nothing to do with war and all its madness. One can leave them unguarded if properly assigned; they will not run away. They can be given uncontrolled jobs, they will prove to be the best administrators and workers.

    "Another use for them as suggested by Mrs. Kersten: We can employ the Bible Students in our ‘Lebensbornheime’ (homes erected to rear children fostered by SS men to produce a master race), not as nurses, but, rather, as cooks, housekeepers, or to do work in the laundry or similar jobs. In cases where we still have men serving as janitors we can use strong women Bible Students. I am convinced that, in most cases, we will have little difficulty with them.

    "I am also in agreement with suggestions that Bible Students be assigned to large families. Qualified Bible Students who have the necessary ability should be found and reported to me. I will then personally distribute them among large families. In such households they are not to wear prison garb, however, but civilian clothes and their stay should be arranged in a similar way to the free and interned Bible Students in Harzwalde.

    "In all these cases where prisoners are partially free and have been assigned to such work we want to avoid written records or signatures and make such agreements with just a handshake.

    "Please send your recommendations for initiating this action and a report on it."

    So it was. Within a short time quite a few sisters were sent to work in SS households, truck gardens, estates and "Lebensbornheime."

  • Leolaia
    The point I found a bit scary was that the author of the book, who had interviewed a German JW lady who did this duty, said that this lady felt the Jews were guilty and more or less agreed they should be punished.

    Christine King in The Nazi State and the New Religions mentioned German JWs' anti-Semitism: "There are cases of individual Witnesses helping Jews, but there are also cases of Witnesses condemning the Jews as 'murderers of Christ' ....It has been seen that there were high ranking Nazis who openly admitted that the Witnesses were anti-semitic and that they were no more than 'harmless cranks' whose teaching had admirable effects on the moral behavior of its members" (pp. 174-175). Penton also cites Michael Kater: "In 1944, SS Reichsführer Himmler even stated that he knew that Jehovah's Witnesses were 'intensely anti-Jewish'; and Rudolph Höss related that in Auschwitz he had observed that the Earnest Bible Students let Jews suffer and die 'because their forefathers had once betrayed Jehovah" (p. 22).

    There are also statements in official Watchtower publications that express anti-Jewish views. For example:

    "Not every man who is a descendent of Abraham is a Jew, by any means. Be it known once and for all that those profiteering, conscienceless, selfish men who call themselves Jews, and who control the greater portion of the finances of the world, will never be the rulers in this new earth. God would not risk such selfish men with such an important position" (Golden Age, 23 February 1927, p. 343).

    An earlier Golden Age (12 March 1924) expressed a similar view. It presented the racist views of a correspondent that it is the "nature of the Jew," particularly American Jews, to "skin and exploit Gentiles", and in response Rutherford did not question this characterization but instead only rejected the claim that these so-called Jews were really biblically Jews:

    Here are also scans from Rutherford's book Vindication, vol. 2 (published in 1932):

    And from the 1933 Declaration of Facts presented to the Nazi government (as published in the 1934 Yearbook):

    Similar statements are found in a 15 December 1933 Watchtower:

    The Declaration is also echoed in a 1 January 1934 Watchtower article:

    From Rutherford's 1937 book Enemies:

    And after WWII, this statement was published in Let God Be True (1946 ed.) which blames the Jews themselves for their own sufferings, including presumably the recent Nazi persecution. This statement was removed in the 1952 edition:

  • metatron

    Neutrality is nonsense and these records prove it. In total war, everyone contributes to the war effort, even if they only work as farmers

    or office clerks. If Witnesses acted as trusted SS servants, then they freed up other men to act as soldiers or guards, it's that simple.

    Himmler planned to use Witnesses to 'pacify' eastern territories in the Reich, by converting them into non combatants, who wouldn't

    rebel. Would that be "neutrality"?

    Hitler was defeated by brave man and women who sacrificed blood and tears in a struggle for freedoms that the Watchtower

    treats with contempt.


  • BluesBrother

    Just to make clear .

    1) The first and most damaging quote from those above is a "Letter from Reader" and not the writing of the Editor of the magazine.

    2) My impression is that JFR had a down on the "Business class of Jews" whom he separated from the normal Jewish people. And of course WT writings, particularly of those times would rant against anybody and everybody.

    3) JFR wrote a book in 1925 called " Comfort for the Jews"

  • greendawn

    I personally feel no sympathy at all for the German JW victims of the Nazis because the organisation they believed in is (within the limits of its power) just as fascist and totalitarian as the Nazis that persecuted them. It was a case of dog eats dog.

    If I remember well the leader of the JWs in Germany betrayed them to the gestapo but was nonetheless reinstated after the war in his position, something very strange if it's true.

  • DannyHaszard

    Still high rank on the news wires

    Hitler - Jehovah's Witnesses' secret lover?
    Kentucky Lake Times, KY - Feb 25, 2006
    According to a review for the book Jehovah's Witnesses and the Third Reich, this is an "extremely well documented" book "with new primary and secondary sources ...

  • Clam

    Wow Leolaia, Thanks for that.

    Fascinating stuff in your second post. I knew Himmler grudgingly admired the Bible Students of his day but wonder how aware he was of their anti-semitic leanings at the official WTS level. They certainly were “fully paid up members” to the international Jewish conspiracy. I’m sure Alfred Rosenberg and Judge Rutherford would have got on like a continent on fire.

  • Gopher

    The book that helps explain a lot of this in a balanced way is "Jehovah's Witnesses and the Third Reich" by M. James Penton. (That's the book referred to in Danny Haszard's link.)

    Judge Rutherford brought much of this persecution upon the European witnesses by his loud rhetoric. Yes he did publish "Comfort for the Jews" earlier, but later his writings changed to align with the Nazi idea that the Jews were to blame for much of civilization's problems.

    Rutherford used the phrase "commercial Jews" in the "Declaration of Facts" and other writings. However, rank-and-file JW's didn't distinguish between Jews involved in commerce and those who were not. Rather, they absorbed a bigoted attitude from Brooklyn headquarters and so generally distrusted Jews unless they were inclined to convert (as some Jews did).

    As Penton documents in his book, the German leaders of the JW's (such as Erich Frost) cracked under intense pressure from their tormenters and gave away all the organization's secrets. This is not shameful in and of itself, as there's a limit to what humans can take.

    What is noteworthy is that ever since the 1970's, when the Holocaust and the Jews' suffering started to regain worldwide attention, the WT society climbed aboard the Holocaust bandwagon. While doing so, they altered their history by claiming that JW's did two things: (1) Never attempted compromise with the Nazi leadership, and (2) Maintained steadfast integrity from the very start (due to Jehovah's spirit, or their firm resolve, or whatever).

    While many did maintain integrity, many others left the JW's (at least until the Nazis went away) or gave in under persecution.

    For the Watchtower Society to lie on the 2 counts mentioned above is reprehensible, and sets up a false "perfect example of integrity" for them to place in front of JW's ever since. It's part of their deceitful theology.

  • Leolaia
    The first and most damaging quote from those above is a "Letter from Reader" and not the writing of the Editor of the magazine.

    That's right, and I hope I was clear on that. My point was that Rutherford still referred to the "so-called American Jew" as "the profiteering class that goes about in America (to quote your language) to 'skin' and exploit the people". He didn't question the correspondent's characterization of such people. His clarification that such "so-called Jews" are not biblical Jews (i.e. in the sense of Genesis 22:18 in Rutherford's interpretation) and heirs to the Abrahamic promise is present also in the anti-Jewish statement in the 23 February 1927 Golden Age in which he refers to "those profiteering, conscienceless, selfish men who call themselves Jews, and who control the greater portion of the finances of the world".

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