Purple Triangles - Symbol of JW faith?

by POs Son 17 Replies latest jw friends

  • POs Son
    POs Son

    I clicked on one of the Google-Ad sponsors on JWN, and saw the purple triangle on the http://www.servicesupplies.net/ website. So help me understand this: Is it OK for a JW to use the Nazi symbol of a purple triangle to identify themselves, but using the cross is not acceptable?


  • undercover
    Is it OK for a JW to use the Nazi symbol of a purple triangle to identify themselves, but using the cross is not acceptable?

    That's a pretty darn good question...

    The Society goes to great length to criticize people, particularly Catholics, who display and/or wear the cross. They even give an example that if you had a loved one killed by a gun, would you wear a symbol of a gun around your neck?

    So whould JWs, whether Society sponsered or not, use the purple triangle as a symbol for expressing their faith? Not if they use the same principle as why it's wrong to wear or display the cross or some other religous symbol.

    This bit of hypocrisy runs from the top all the way down to the rank and file on this one.

  • MadGiant

    During the time of World War II, and a bit before, Jehovah's Witnesses were targeted by Nazis because they were concientious objectors; they refused to fight in the war. And also, their religion didn't allow them to "Heil Hitler". The uniform system of marking introduced before the war consisted in sewing a triangular piece of material on to each prisoner’s uniform, the colour depending on his category: for political prisoners, red
    for Jehovah’s Witnesses, purple
    for anti-socials, black for criminals, green for homosexuals, pink for emigrants, blue. In addition to the coloured triangle Jewish prisoners were made to wear a yellow triangle sewn on to the coloured triangle in such a way as to form the hexagonal Star of David. Take care, Ismael

  • blondie

    The purple triangle was a concentration camp badge used by the Nazis to identify several religious minorities. Nazism opposed all non-Christian or unorthodox-Christian religious minorities (along with Jews ). [1] [2]

    Among these communities were mainly Jehovah's Witnesses (known as Bibelforscher, "Bible students") and Germanic Neopagans [3] , as well as a few members of Witness splinter groups, and members of the Adventist , Baptist , and New Apostolic movements. [4]

    (4)^ Johannes S. Wrobel, Jehovah’s Witnesses in National Socialist Concentration Camps, 1933 – 45, Religion, State & Society, Vol. 34, No. 2, June 2006, pp. 89-125 (Johannes S. Wrobel is head of the Watchtower History Archive of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Selters/Taunus, Germany. His article states, "The concentration camp prisoner category ‘Bible Student’ at times apparently included a few members from small Bible Student splinter groups, as well as adherents of other religious groups which played only a secondary role during the time of the National Socialists regime, such as Adventists, Baptists and the New Apostolic community".)


  • MadGiant

    Thanks blondie;

    I wasn’t aware that Adventists, Baptist and new apostolic were required to wear the purple triangle also.


    Take care,


  • Mrs. Fiorini
    Mrs. Fiorini

    I hope by this comment I am adding to this thread, not hijacking it. But I wanted to share something I recently learned about the JW experience during the holocaust.

    A few weeks ago I was in DC and took the opportunity to visit the holocaust museum, where JWs are mentioned. They talked about the purple cross being the symbol for JWs. They also said that while a full one-third of all JWs who were imprisoned in concentration camps died due to the brutal conditions, they were not systematically executed like the Jews and Gypsies were. Instead they were treated the same as the political prisoners. They were worked as slaves, barely fed, etc., but not taken to the gas chambers. Apparently they were not considered racially inferior, therefore requiring extermination, but were deemed to be troublemakers and disloyal to the regime.

    By mentioning this I in no way want to minimize the horror that those poor JWs endured. There is no excuse for what the Nazis did to them. But that information was news to me and I thought it might be to others as well.

  • Lillith26

    I've seen the WT DVD on this- I cryed, and I felt for all the victims regardless of religion preference!

    But you are right- A purple triangle is a symbol! but it was a forsed symbol- meaning they did not choose it at the time, and I personally have never seen a JW wear one.

    On a lighter note- anyone see any similarities here?? triangle=pyramid LOL sorry, had to add that!

  • cameo-d

    Mrs. Fiorini: "A few weeks ago I was in DC and took the opportunity to visit the holocaust museum, where JWs are mentioned. They talked about the purple cross being the symbol for JWs.

    Was that just a slip, please or did they say "cross" at the holocaust museum? Just wondering if this is something different.

  • blondie

    I checked the holocaust site and found no mention of purple (or any mention of cross) cross attached to the symbol that jws wore.

    I could imagine that some non-jw tour guide might have had a slight of the tongue. Aren't all the patches worn by concentration prisoners triangles or combinations of triangles?

    What did each of the identifying badges mean?

    The Nazis used triangular badges or patches to identify prisoners in the concentration camps. Different colored patches represented different groups. The colors and their meanings were:

    A chart of prisoner markings.
    KZ Gedenkstaette Dachau
    VioletJehovah's Witness
    GreenHabitual criminal
    RedPolitical prisoner

    The "Asocial" category was, perhaps, the most diverse, including prostitutes, vagrants, murderers, thieves, lesbians, and those who violated laws prohibiting sexual intercourse between Aryans and Jews. In addition, while the brown triangle was used for gypsies under certain circumstances, they were more often forced to wear the black triangle categorizing them as "asocials."

    Some patches included letters on the triangles to further distinguish among the various groups in the camps. Most commonly, the letter indicated nationality, e.g., "F" for franzosisch (French), "P" for polnisch (Polish), "T" for tschechisch (Czech), etc., but it could also denote special sub-categories of prisoners. For example, the white letter "A" on a black triangle signified a labor disciplinary prisoner (Arbeitserziehungshaftling), while a black "S" on a green triangle identified a strafthaft, or penal prisoner. In addition, the word Blod on a black triangle marked mentally impaired inmates, and a red and white target symbol set apart those who had tried to escape.

    For Jewish offenders, triangles of two different colors were combined to create a six-pointed star, one triangle yellow to denote a Jew, the second triangle another color to denote the added offense. For example, a Jewish criminal would wear a yellow triangle overlaid by a green one; Jewish homosexuals wore pink triangles over yellow.

    Outside the camps, the occupying Nazi forces ordered Jews to wear patches or armbands marked with the star of David, though the specific characteristics of the badge (size, shape, color) varied by region. For example, some yellow stars were marked with a large "J" in the center, while elsewhere the patches had "Jude" (or "Jood," "Juif," etc.) stitched in the middle. Those who failed to wear the star were subject to arrest and deportation, a fate that frightened most Jews into compliance even though the patch subjected them to restrictions, harassment, and isolation. Source: Abraham J. Edelheit, and Hershel Edelheit, History of the Holocaust: A Handbook and Dictionary (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1994), pp. 218, 239, 266, 448.

    For more information about the history of the requirement that Jews wear a distinctive marking or sign, including during the Nazi period, see the entry "Badge, Jewish" in the Encyclopaedia Judaica, Volume 4 (Jerusalem: Macmillan, 1972), pp. 62-73.

  • AuntBee

    This is very interesting, because our JW friend wore some kind of purple sash thing at our school's high school graduation, that no one else had. I THink it did have a triangle too! I figured it was JW related, but had no idea how. I'm sure it was not his idea, JUST ONE MORE THING TO MAKE HIM FEEL WEIRD AND DIFFERENT after all he went through in high school.

  • cameo-d

    What is the meaning of the symbols...both the triangle and the color purple?

    Doesn't the Harlot wear purple and scarlet?

    "Surrounded by all the populations of the earth, she is bedecked in scarlet as a sign of her sins and cloaked in purple to show her rule of the world."

    2. Cloth of a color between violet and red, formerly worn as a symbol of royalty or high office. 3. Imperial power; high rank: born to the purple. 4. Roman Catholic Church a. The rank or office of a cardinal. b. The rank or office of a bishop.

  • cameo-d

    More on the color purple......

    The earliest archaeological evidence for the origins of purple dyes points to the Minoan civilization in Crete, about 1900 B.C. The ancient land of Canaan (its corresponding Greek name was Phoenicia, which means “land of the purple”) was the center of the ancient purple dye industry.

    “Tyrian Purple,” the purple dye of the ancients mentioned in texts dating back to about 1600 B.C., was produced from the mucus of the hypobranchial gland of various species of marine mollusks, notably Murex. It took some 12,000 shellfish to extract 1.5 grams of the pure dye.

    Although originating in Tyre (hence the name)....

    Rome, Egypt, and Persia all used purple as the imperial standard. Purple dyes were rare and expensive; only the rich had access to them. The purple colorants used came from different sources, most from the dye extraction from fish or insects.

    Insect and snail animal-based colors were mentioned in the Bible for use in textile furnishings of the Tabernacle and for the sacred vestments for the High Priest Aaron, and they also were used in King Solomon's and King Herod's temples in Jerusalem.

    With the decline of the Roman Empire, the use of “Tyrian Purple” also declined, and large-scale production ceased with the fall of Constantinople in 1453 A.D. It was replaced by cheaper dyes such as lichen purple and madder.

    Pope Paul II in 1464 introduced the so-called “Cardinal's Purple,” which was really scarlet extracted from the Kermes insect. This became the first luxury dye of the Middle Ages.

    Today, genuine “Tyrian Purple” remains the domain of the rich and famous.

  • Denial

    There was an elder in my old cong that had a purple triangle sticker on the back of hs mini-van like a bumper sticker. He said that it "started lots of conversations." I thought it was weird. (He had no personal connection to anyone who actually had to wear the coloured shape.)

  • BluesBrother

    Sites like "Service Supplies" have no authorisation from the WTS..I checked through your link and could not see a reference to a Purple Triangle.

    That said, the WTS has produced a video of that title describing the Concentration Camp horrors under the Nazis. The WTS does not endorse or encourage the use of any symbol to stand for J W's or that may be worn as an identity . They do not like such things, believing that they are akin to "idolatry" . I am sure that they would stamp out any such practice if it became widespread.

    BTW ..my Googling on the subject that a pink triangle may be seen as a symbol of Gay or Bi Sexual nature, so maybe it would not be a good idea to display a purple triangle - easily mistaken !

  • POs Son
    POs Son

    From BluesBrother:

    Sites like "Service Supplies" have no authorisation from the WTS..I checked through your link and could not see a reference to a Purple Triangle.

    They have now taken that symbol down off the site. Amazing what power this JWN site has! Seems that the society has infact stamped out such practice! Now I regret not having made a printout of the site. The triangle appeared on the left side below the jaunty fellow with the service bag, with the bibles and tetragramaton.

  • BizzyBee

    We visited the concentration camp Malthausen last year as part of a tour of Austria. The chart of triangles was displayed and our tour guide said that, of all the prisoners, JWs were the only ones who could secure their own release by simply disavowing their religion, but did not do so. I got a lump in my throat thinking what these poor, misguided people endured to be faithful to a false and malicious man-made organization.

  • blondie

    POs Son, I saw the symbol when I checked the site.

    It was under the symbol for the Tetrgrammaton, another one that is used like the cross in churches. I attended a congregation in Florida that had a large one displayed as you came.

  • Mrs. Fiorini
    Mrs. Fiorini


    Thanks for calling this error to my attention. Yes this was a slip. I meant to say purple triangle. The holocaust museum did not talk about any purple cross.

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