Heinrich Himmler and the Jehovah's Witnesses
This is a letter written in July 1944 by Heinrich Himmler, one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany.
I have encountered quotes taken from this letter before but I have never read the letter in its entirety. This is a translated copy from a Russian website:
We will get rid of the use of Communists by Jehovah's Witnesses
Letter from the Reichsführer SS Himmler, July 21, 1944.
RF / M
Field command post, July 21, 1944
Many events and problems have recently led to the emergence of subsequent considerations and the following ideas.
The problems are Jehovah's witnesses, the Cossack issue and the related Vlasov question, as well as the overall complex: how we want to rule Russia and maintain peace on its territory, when - which will undoubtedly happen in the next few years - we will again conquer large spaces and areas, owned.
1) In my opinion, Stalin and his follower, if he will be a Bolshevik, will not depart from the collective farm system. In the opinion of the Reich Minister for Food and Agriculture Bakke, Stalin, even if he wants to back off, will not be able to do this for purely material reasons: due to a shortage of tractors, plows, harrows and draft animals. If Stalin and Bolshevism do not want to back away from the collective farm system, each independent peasant will by nature be his enemy. Reconciliation between them will not happen.
2) Before the German East Wall, which we once build, we should, taking the examples of the military border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Russian example of sedentary Cossacks and soldiers, arrange the eastern frontier of defense by the forces of the new Cossacks. The landed estates, a completely independent existence and freedom will, according to our code, be granted to the Ukrainian and Russian population only at the Cossack border. Here there will be full-fledged peasant estates with the condition of carrying from 16 to 60 years of life of the soldiers' service at the border, against attacks from the East. The fact of owning land, as well as constantly and continuously shedding blood on both sides, will breed enmity for years and decades without the chances of subsequent reconciliation.
3) In the rear area, which will become a land for German settlers, we want to introduce land partnerships with small private estates, as we have done recently in Ukraine, as well as purely German settlements.
The most active and active elements will be constantly self-destroying, as they will be dragged to the border, where we use them for the soldiers' service on our side.
However, in order to achieve a peaceful and unarmed coexistence from the people in the rear, we must go further. Any idea of introducing National Socialism there is insane. But people should have a religion or worldview. To maintain and revitalize the Orthodox Church is incorrect, since it will become a place for the organization of the national movement. It is at least as wrong to let the Catholic Church go there, and there's nothing to say about it.
4) We must support any form or kind of religion or sect that would have a pacifying effect. For all the Turkic peoples, the introduction of the Buddhist teaching comes to mind here, for everyone else - the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses.
As you should know, Jehovah's Witnesses have the following extremely useful qualities for us:
Except for military service and work for military purposes, i.е. use for, as they say "destructive" activities, Jehovah's Witnesses are extremely opposed to the Jews, against the Catholic Church and the Pope. They are incredibly sensible, do not drink or smoke, are extremely diligent and very honest, keep the word, are excellent cattle-breeders and peasants, are not fixated on wealth and prosperity, since it hinders eternal life. In general, these are all - ideal qualities. It can be concluded that the core of convinced, idealistic witnesses of Jehovah possesses enviable good qualities like Mennonites.
5) For this reason, I would like Jehovah's Witnesses in our camps to be checked by special commissions to see if they are real Jehovah's witnesses. In order that those who just handed themselves for a Jehovah's Witness just before the arrest or already in the camp for practical reasons were excluded. Thus, we will get rid of the use of Jehovah's Witnesses by Communists and the dubious so-called Jehovah's Witnesses, whom I here and there met in farmsteads, for example, in Friedolfing (Upper Bavaria). There is, further, the possibility of using real Jehovah's Witnesses in concentration camps at all responsible posts related to monetary or other material matters, and especially good handling. Thanks to this, we will take the first step to engage the German Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia in the future and obtain emissaries who, by spreading the faith of Jehovah's Witnesses, will pacify the Russian people.
Yours, H. Himmler
BA NS19 / 1627,
translation by Igor Petrov
Translator's note. Himmler uses the term Bibelforscher - "Bible researchers", which is somewhat wider than the "Jehovah's Witnesses", but it is the latter.
Portal-Credo.Ru - 03.10.2011.
Interesting letter. Very clever on how they want to cause division by giving land to the peasants and then make it a provision that they have to maintain the border.
For some reason, the part about using the JW's, brings to mind the movie "Bridge over the rive Kwai" Alec Guiness leads the prisoners into building the enemies bridge as a matter of pride. Showing off the good skills of the british army. He misses the point that the enemy will use it against them and the allies.
The organization has always proudly pointed out that there were JW barbers that shaved the concentration camp leaders. Did all sorts of trustworthy things etc. Did they know it helped the nazi's?
Two things ...
Bibelforscher is also what you will see next to the "purple triangle" symbol in Auschwitz and the like. It goes back to the pre-early 1930's Jehovah's Witness name declaration by Rutherford. "Bible Students" continued colloquially even among JW's rather longer in Europe than USA.
Also the date of the letter, 21 July 1944. It seems strange that a rather mundane letter like this is being written by Himmler to Kaltenbrunner the day after the unsuccessful bomb plot against Hitler by Stauffenberg and co.
These two men were at the forefront of rounding up the conspirators/backers of the plot and would have been right in the thick of the aftermath when this letter was purported to have been written.
I suppose it could have been dictated/penned a day or two before it was sent but I would love to see the original.
Daysofuturepassed Alex Guiness in "Bridge over the river qwai" Brilliant analogy for the Bible Forschers, proud that the Nazis trusted them !!
JWs always say proudly that they didn't join the German army or Nazi Party ( let's forget Rutherford's anti-Semitic letter for the minute). But they forget that they also didn't join the allies, and had nobody done so they would not have been a Watchtower - since an unfettered Hitler would have invaded and closed the society down.
July 1944? That was 8 month away from the Russians storming the Reichstag. At that date, The Thousand Year Reich was starting to implode. Delusional to make plans how to govern, pacify the not -any -more -conquered real estate. They concentrated on the East, thought they could let the Crown take care of the rest of the world.
Wt is not alone in making plans about hoped for, but unrealizable planning goals.
A great dose of skepticism here, from this old Ohio boy.
Indeed the date of this document is the most important thing about it. It's the ramblings of a delusional monster staring down the barrel of history at his own demise. Reading between the lines Himmler perhaps reckoned JWs could be relied upon not to turn on the SS as the regime and the camp system fell apart. He was probably right about that.
dropoffyourkey: A great dose of skepticism here, from this old Ohio boy
What is it that you are skeptical of, Dropoff?
Are you skeptical that Himmler wrote this letter? Are you skeptical that this is a correct translation of the entire letter?
This letter has been quoted by several authors - some time ago I read an excerpt from this letter that was published in a credible source (it has been years since I researched Himmler and I can't remember in which book I first encountered this letter though...it may have been in Padfield's biography or in one of the books about the SS that I read). It is not too difficult to find reference to Himmler's post war plans for the JWs but it is only on the Russian website that I found the entire letter. Usually just small extracts are printed.
According to this webpage here, it may be possible that at least a part of the letter is published in "Unshaken Will" by Bernard Rammerstorfer which is a book about Leopold Engleitner. I am unable to access the book to check that out.
I am not skeptical about this letter. It fits within everything I have read about Heinrich Himmler.
This should lay to rest any skepticism over whether Himmler had post war plans for the JWs and any skepticism as to the date of the letter. From CIA files:
For an understanding of Himmler's Eastern racial policy one must remember that
with his education in animal husbandry, his impressionable years as a disciple of
Rosenberg, Ludendorff, and Hitler, and his passion for breeding rabbits, Himmler seriously
thought of himself as a breeder of men and nations. His projects within the SS
are sufficient evidence of this distorted conviction; and the opposite side of his delusion
that he could breed a German racial "elite" was his conviction that he could
destroy the vital force of other nationalities. His approach to this problem is illustrated
by a memorandum of 21 July 1944, addressed to Kaltenbrunner, head of the
RSHA, and circulated only in the highest Nazi circles, in which Himmler outlines a
fantastie project to establish a new zone of German settlement in the Russian territories.
Within this zone, the native elements were to be forced into a "peaceful and
disarmed frame of mind," which required the imposition of a religion, unlike Orthodox
or Catholic Christianity, which would induce a submissive spirit. Towards this end
Himmler proposed using as missionaries the pacifistic Bibelforscher (Bible Students),
who had in his eyes "really ideal qualities," among them oppOsition to the Jews, the
Catholic Church, and the Pope, while for the Turcoman tribes he suggested the introduction
of Buddhism. As a first step towards this scheme he proposed more lenient
treatment of the Bibelforicher then imprisoned in concentration camps, thus permitting
their use for "confidential work" within the camps as a preparation for this later
missionary work in conquered Russia!
daysoffuturepassed: Very clever on how they want to cause division by giving land to the peasants and then make it a provision that they have to maintain the border.
All Himmler was doing was copying the Russian practice of managing Cossack estates. In Russia, that is how the North Caucasus and other regions came to be settled and tamed - the Tsar would give land to the Cossack clans in exchange for border security. That is something that had been going on in Russia for a few hundred years already.