CLAM Video - re Erich Frost (Apr 17-23 2017)
I normally don't bother going to the midweek JW meetings much. However, upon reading in the April 2017 Meeting Workbook that there was to be a video about Erich Frost (former DO for Saxony & Nazi prisoner in Sachsenhausen concentration camp) I wanted to attend as I had read about this brother in history texts by Detlef Garbe and Hans Hesse. I had also visited Auschwitz several times and noted that the museum had a display / exhibition about Jehovah's Witnesses.
I didn't realize that the video would be presented by a member of the GBoJW. Less still would I have expected someone with the demeanor of Anthony Morris III! Nevertheless I watched the video. Heard Erich Frost being interviewed. Heard him and brothers singing the song which he composed - "Fest steht" (Stand Fast) and reworked by JW's as "Forward You Witnesses".
The video then showed a series of watercolour paintings depicting life in a concentration camp similar to that in which Erich Frost was imprisoned. I had seen these watercolours before. I was surprised that Morris did not identify the concentration camp depicted in the watercolours and just confined his description to it being a "similar" camp. Further, I was surprised that Morris didn't name the brother who painted the watercolours. After all, he was baptized in the same year as Erich Frost (1931), the same year that in Germany, they started describing themselves as Jehovahs Zeugen and ditched the Bibelforscher (Bible Students) title following the Columbus Ohio convention.
The "similar" concentration camp was actually Buchenwald. The painter of the watercolours was Johannes Steyer. I was aware of this individual's life and sufferings to an extent due to my interest in the holocaust, but also because in 2013, I gave a talk in the then TMS using using 7 of his watercolours. The unsolicited feedback I got from the audience then was that they found the talk very both interesting and encouraging. However, the TMS overseer didn't give me any counsel. He remained silent. It was the last such talk that I was ever roistered for. Thereafter, I was confined to Bible reading only. I knew that Johannes Steyer and his watercolours were never featured in WT literature. The video, although showing his paintings, nevertheless seems to maintain this significant reticence about identifying the brother, his plight, his experiences, and what can be learned from him. He painted the watercolours in the 1970s, and when he died in 1998 (11 years after Erich Frost died), he bequeathed his watercolours to the art archive of the JW branch in Selters, Germany.
In 2013, I couldn't but help think that the TMS overseer confined me to Bible reading only, and didn't give me counsel, as there was no mention of the brother in WT literature. Perhaps, I thought, he disliked me sourcing my visual aids outside the domain of the published WT literature labyrinth. What was significant the night I was watching the video in the kingdom hall, is that it was that same TMS overseer who was facilitating the video. I watched him like a hawk. I got the merest fraction of a second of eye contact from him during the item about Erich Frost. This same "brother" (an elder) has shunned me for the last two years!
Since watching the above video (on Thursday 20th April 2017 in my congregation), I have been asking why the WTBTS decided to show such on the date they did. I have no recollection of Morris giving a rationale for the timing of the showing. Either he didn't give a rationale or I missed something. However, whilst looking at the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum about Bro Frost and Sis Simone Arnold Liebster (her biography is called "Facing the Lion") I noted that the Monday following the showing of the video (24th April 2017) was a day of commemoration related to the holocaust.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum states the following regarding that Monday....
"The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah. When the actual date of Yom Hashoah falls on a Friday, the state of Israel observes Yom Hashoah on the preceding Thursday. When it falls on a Sunday, Yom Hashoah is observed on the following Monday."
So I believe that the timing of the showing of the video is related to the above. However, I'm at a loss as to what the governing body of JW hoped to gain by such contrived timing. I just can't believe it was a coincidence.
Examples of Bro Johannes Steyer's watercolours.....
Can someone explain to me please. How at one end of the spectrum they were been murdered in concentration camps. At the other end of the spectrum they spent the war years been nannies and house keepers to nazi higher up. Wouldn't it of been better to let them live and be of some use to the nazies.
Eric Frost??? Famous for handing over hundreds of brothers to the Nazi's crippling the Wachtower org. What a hero! His song is good but a total hypocrite.
It would seem a deliberate omission not to credit Steyer as the artist who created the watercolors. Maybe he fell out of favor and is now officially a non-person in JW land.
I am not interested in watching anything coming out of Watch Tower as it is consistently aelf serving,
Of course, films such as this are attractive to those of us interested in history, however there are way too many messages in the subtext to sort through, which makes viewing for historical benefit a rather frustrating process
Thanks for the post. It's informative—on several fronts.
I have come to the conclusion that baby-sitting the ss children while they were putting babies in ovens isn't quite as noble as the watchtards like to think it is.
I am so sick of hearing about the brave witnesses if WW2. Collaborating cowards.
S: I would not judge the jws so easily and harshly. The whole extermination machinery was run/done by inmates, gas chambers, ovens, the sorting, breaking out of gold teeth, inmates, who were trading time alive against what you call collaborating. At least the witnesses could leave left, free, provided they promised to become nazis. No other category of KZ prisoners, certainly not the jews had that option. so. they might not have supported the coming overlapping generation, but were true martyrs.
PS and they struggled with the false wt doctrine of the Super Superior.- but non existing secular authorities ! Imagine being ready to give your life for a valid principle, but sensing that there is something wrong with the wt religion, doctrine?
I think you should learn the difference between the extermination camps and concentration camps. Watchtards were nothing but free Labour and had a better survival rate was much than getting sent to the front line, especially the Soviet front which was hell on earth.