Watchtower alternative fact - JWs were among the first to expose concentration camps
I am currently reading the new history of the Holocaust by British historian Laurence Rees and it reminded me of a comment in the Awake! magazine I read years ago and trusted as factual. I quote both passages without comment.
Awake! 8/22 1995.
Although Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau, and Sachsenhausen were names unknown to most people until after World War II, they were well known to readers of The Golden Age and Consolation. The reports of Jehovah’s Witnesses, smuggled out of the camps at great risk and publicized in Watch Tower literature, exposed the murderous intent of the Third Reich.
The Holocaust: A New History (2017), Laurence Rees, pp. 73 and 74.
The Nazis did not hide the concentration camps. Their existence was well known and newspapers around the world carried stories about them. On 1 January 1934, for instance, the Manchester Guardian accurately described the reality of life in the so-called bunker in Dachau... The consequence of works like Im Moerderlager Dachau, and Juda verrecke. Ein Rabbiner im Konzentrationslager, together with articles in the Manchester Guardian and other newspapers, was that the brutal nature of the Nazi regime was known to the world from the beginning.
My understanding, which could be mistaken, is that they didn't hide the concentration camps but they did hide their extermination facilities.
This is the main reason they destroyed the gas chambers when they fled Birkenau after the russians liberated it.
Laurence Rees makes the point that early concentration camps like Dachau (built in 1933) and Sachsenhausen (1936) should not be confused with the later extermination camps such as Treblinka, whose sole function was murder. JWs had little experience of the later death camps, the experiences they related were in relation to the concentration camps. Rees states that Dachau and other concentration camps were well known worldwide and the atrocities were publicised from the start.
The Holocaust: A New History (2017), Laurence Rees p.74.
But while Beimler was justified in calling Dachau a 'murder' camp, given that a small number of prisoners were killed there during this period, these concentration camps should not be confused with later extermination camps - like Treblinka - whose only function was to kill. Appalling as the regime was at Dachau before the war, the majority of those who were sent to the camp at this time survived the experience.
Yes, I don't think it's ever been a secret that the concentration camps were known about - despite what the Awake says.
i haven't read Rees' new one but I have got his Auschwitz - The Nazis and the final solution and it's really good.
if you've never been to Auschwitz and Birkenau and you get the chance you should go. It's a place that should never be forgotten.
Krakow is a beautiful city and well worth a visit and Schindler's museum is there as well.
I would like to go. I have never been.
Yes it's odd that the Awake! would say Dachau and Auschwitz were "unknown" to the world. They were very well know. Rees's comment here was particularly clear concerning Dachau in particular.
And there was an international campaign to get the Allies to bomb Auschwitz for example. Odd behaviour if no one even knew the name.
To add insult to injury..............The April 8, 1936 Golden Age on page 423 cites the Manchester Guardian in a short article:
Done to Death at Dachau
"The Manchester Guardian gives the names of 44 prisoners done to death at Dachau prison camp, Germany."
Does ithe newspaper it cites actually state, "...done to death..."?
I don't think in that 1995 quote that the WT is saying in that were the only ones highlighting what was happening in the concentration camps. Nor that they where the first.
They are highlighting that regular readers, particularly from early 1936, would have been much more familiar with the horror that was going on in Germany through the numerous articles they published which included both first hand experiences, and references to newspaper articles such as in The Guardian. True, it would appear that the WT was not as 'graphic' or 'in-depth' as The Guardian.
In fact you could apply the WT quote to The Guardian as well (but that does not make the WT quote in itself wrong) - BUT I believe the Guardian was notable for being one of the VERY few newspapers to consistantly expose, and in some depth, what was happening in Germany at that time.
But also remember that The Guardian was (is) a very small circulation newspaper - only around 50,000 daily copies in the mid-1930s (the top five newspapers where doing over 1,500,000 daily copies each) - and The Golden Age was doing over double The Guardian's numbers that at the time - and The Golden Age was international.
1936 Yearbook, page 43: 1935 production of Golden Age = 2,659,800 copies / 24 = 110,825 copies each issue. (it should be noted that there were different 'versions' of The Golden Age being printed in different languages at the time - I think the above figure may actually just be for Brooklyn, not world wide)
Claiming that Dachau and the other concentration camps were "unknown" to most people before 1945 is pretty unambiguous. And false.
Rees said newspapers "around the world" carried stories about the camps, not just one. He also cites books that published details of the camps to the outside world.