Lecture and discussion on the persecution and resistance of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Nazi-ruled Europe.
Tuesday, October 4, 2022, 7 pm
Topography of Terror, Auditorium, Niederkirchnerstraße 8, 10963 Berlin
On the subject
The Christian denomination of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which also called itself the Bible Students, was systematically persecuted in Germany from 1933 and in Nazi-ruled Europe from 1938. Almost 14,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses – women and men – were imprisoned, including 4,200 in concentration camps, where they were stigmatized with a “purple triangle.” At least 1,700 Jehovah’s Witnesses lost their lives. Among them is the largest group of conscientious objectors under National Socialism. Their fate contributed to the anchoring of the basic right to conscientious objection in the Basic Law.
Jehovah’s Witnesses were also persecuted under communism and in many authoritarian states in Europe during the 20th century, with Nazi victims also being re-arrested and harassed. Even today, they are subject to massive repression – for example in the Russian Federation.
Uwe Neumärker, Chairman of the Standing Conference of Nazi Memorials in the Berlin Area 2022 and Director of the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Dr. Tim B. Müller, Historian, Association of German Sinti and Roma, State Association of Baden-Württemberg and Arnold Liebster Foundation
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Benz, Historian, Speaker of the Advisory Board of the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Prof. Dr. Detlef Garbe, historian, former Board of Directors of the Hamburg Foundation for Memorials and Places of Learning in Memory of the Victims of Nazi Crimes
Dr. Tim B. Müller, Historian
Dr. Pavla Plachá, historian, Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in Prague, Head of the Department for the Study of the Resistance 1938-1989
The event will also be livestreamed: https://www.topographie.de/livestream/
The recording is available afterwards.
Simone Arnold (*1930) and her parents, Emma and Adolphe, join Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1937/38. In September 1941, the Gestapo arrested the father. He survives the concentration camps Dachau and Mauthausen. Because she repeatedly refuses to give the Hitler salute at school, Simone is imprisoned in a reformatory in Constance from April 1943. Simone and her mother, imprisoned in concentration camps, are released in April 1945. In 1956 Simone marries the Holocaust survivor Max Liebster.
About 2,800 German Jehovah’s Witnesses and 1,400 from the occupied countries were deported to the concentration camps as “protective prisoners” of the Gestapo. In the Ravensbrück concentration camp, 782 female and 218 male biblical scholars were imprisoned until the liberation and had to perform forced labor.