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Photo of Wilhelm Töllner
Photo of Wilhelm Töllner

Born in Schalkmühle, Westphalia, Germany, Wilhelm Töllner and his wife, Klara, were both imprisoned for possessing and distributing Bible literature. They lost custody of their two children, Ruth and Wilhelm, Jr.  A special court in Hannover sentenced Töllner to one year in prison in 1936. In December 1937, he was sent to Buchenwald, where he found 350 Bible Student prisoners, all of whom were assigned to a “punishment block” for four months. Extremely hard labor began with the wake-up call at 4:15 a.m. and ended only at 9:30 p.m. In the summer of 1938, at one work site, the prisoners had no access to drinking water. Some Bible Students obtained permission from the Kommandant to run an emergency cable from the transformer to a pumping station. Thereafter, all the prisoners had fresh drinking water.

Töllner, an outstanding speaker and a dynamic leader, assumed a leading role among the Bible Student prisoners. He remained in Buchenwald until the end of the war.

From Crucible of Terror : A Story of Survival Through the Nazi Storm, by Max Liebster, page 93. (New Orleans: Grammaton Press, 2003)