When WWII ended, how difficult was it for the JW's that had been in prison to adjust?

by Sobeit 8 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Sobeit

    My husband seemed to have a hard time.

  • freddo

    Nice to have you posting Sobeit, make another post and tell us how you got our 50 years ago - it will be most encouraging.

    Now, assuming you are in the USA or the UK/AUS/NZ/CANADA then it would be very difficult because you were in a nation that "won" and that had the feeling it was fighting a "righteous" war. My father was in the forces in WW2 before he became a JW and he said he felt he was doing the right thing to defend the nation from and destroy the Nazis. One of my neighbours growing up fought the Japanese in Burma and his hatred was very deep for the enemy.

    If your husband was a JW jailed for being a conscientious objector then he would have felt that although he was doing the right thing but everybody else (neighbours, workmates, even siblings or cousins) would have looked down on him as unpatriotic or even a coward or traitor).

    Obviously it takes a certain courage to stand up and not go to war and face court, condemnation and prison. But in WW2 - especially in the UK, the nation (plus the empire) was alone against Hitler, facing bombing and U Boats for a year before Russia then America became involved. So other decent people would view you as a traitor.

    After the war you might be talking to those who lost or had maimed a brother/son/daughter/sister from enemy action who would take a very dim view of your "cushy" life and survival.

    Hope that makes sense, Sobeit.

  • humbled

    Sobeit—l have to guess what may have troubled your husband. I am going to refer to my own experience. Although I am a woman and was not subjected to the draft I have been as active as I can be to promote non-violent means of solving conflict. I used to be on board with absolute pacifism. But l am not like that now. I am not capable of standing by when a person is assaulted or endangered. I might not own a gun but l will absolutely fight for my life or the life of another. And l think this is true of most people.

    Philosophically your husband may very well have felt the conflict that many of us feel when we believe that it is far better to fight for peace through helping and working for the good of our fellow man long before the flash point, as we are war is the way we have to protect ourselves against our fellow man . even Gandhi felt that at some point war was irresistible—That even a lover of peace might take up arms. The watch tower did not allow for this conscientious point of view.

    Perhaps this was a thing that bothered your husband

  • TD

    My husband seemed to have a hard time.

    For what reason?

    Because of the stigma of a prison term?

    Because he was likely branded as a coward by his peers?

    Because of the difficulty getting employment afterwards?

    Because the JW faith takes these sacrifices completely for granted?

    Because he secretly felt that WWII was actually a "just war?"


  • waton

    would be interesting to hear about the European experiences. it appears that many victims of nazi persecution, Jews in Eastern Europe, conscientious objectors, were not treated as heroes either, although they were supposed to have done the right things, by all counts.

  • slimboyfat

    A common statement when I was growing up was that some JWs who survived prison in Nazi Germnay later drifted away from the truth after the war because they became “weighed down by materialism and worldly influences”. The lesson for us was supposed to be that we must endure the world’s influence because it can be a bigger test even than outright persecution.

  • blownaway

    If I have my facts correct, I remember one elder who was born in the 20s who went to prison instead of the military in WW2. He also had the choice of giving up his social security and had to work till the day he died. Very sick as the top asshat wankers in the Gov Body live like kings.

  • Stuck in the middle37
    Stuck in the middle37

    I've known people and talk with them about their experience of being in prison during ww2 it didn't seem to effect them in a good or bad way it was just something they felt they had to do.
    I spent some time in prison(Tucson federal) in the early 60's for the draft there was about 14 JWs when I got there and about 24 when Ieft. Other then having to leave my wife it wasn't that bad of an experience. She moved down to Tucson and came up(it was about 19 mi. out of town and half way up Mt. Lemon) to see me every Sunday. I never thought it was for or because of the org. I thought this was between me and God(I don't use the word Jehovah any more). Iv'e never suffered in any way from the experience.

  • zeb


    'weighed down by materialism and worldly influences”.' I too heard this quote of those who had survived the dreadful camps of the Nazis. So after the peace was declared .. what.? they wished to have a decent house and clean sheets to sleep in? and 'worldly influences' that can mean anything.

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