*** yb75 pp. 174-175 United States of America (Part Two) ***
A DICTATOR HEARS FROM THE WITNESSES
Not only in the United States were Jehovah’s witnesses having a battle for freedom of speech and worship. In June of the so-called “Holy Year” of 1933 Adolf Hitler’s regime seized the Watch Tower Society’s property in Magdeburg and banned the activities of Jehovah’s people in Germany as regards meetings and literature distribution, though the property was returned that October. On October 7, 1934, the Witnesses in Germany met in groups and, after solemn prayer, they dispatched a protest by telegram to officials of Hitler’s government. However, God’s servants in other lands did not stand by idly.
“At the service meeting one night in the year of 1934, we were asked to be at the meeting place at 9:00 a.m. Sunday for something special,” recalls Gladys Bolton. “Everyone was excited! What could it be? Sunday morning the house was full. The speaker announced that congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses world wide were meeting today in order to send cablegrams to Hitler, all at the same time, asking him to refrain from persecuting Jehovah’s witnesses in Germany.” After praying to Jehovah, each group sent the following cablegram: “Hitler Government, Berlin, Germany. Your ill-treatment of Jehovah’s witnesses shocks all good people of earth and dishonors God’s name. Refrain from further persecuting Jehovah’s witnesses; otherwise God will destroy you and your national party.” The message was signed “JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES” and the city or town where the congregation was assembled was cited.
Those cablegrams caused quite a stir, even at some telegraph offices in the United States. “In Keysville, Virginia, as well as other places, says Melvin Winchester, “the telegraph operator almost fainted when the friends came in with the cable message.”
How did the Nazi regime respond? Persecution of Jehovah’s witnesses was intensified. But God’s people in Germany and elsewhere had been prepared for the opposition and hardships ahead of them. At the right time, Jehovah saw to it that they received needed Scriptural counsel and encouragement. It had come late in the year 1933 by means of the Watchtower article “Fear Them Not.” The enmity of the Roman Catholic Church was exposed, and the article warned that opposition might lead to the death of some faithful servants of God. But it urged God’s people to continue bearing testimony to his name with boldness and joy, that they might have a part in the vindication of that holy name.