A greeting sent to the opening of the exhibit “Purple Triangles in Ravensbrück: Jehovah’s Witnesses (Bible Students) in the Concentration Camp,” February 28, 2007
We consider it a privilege to send you our greetings by means of this letter.
During previous years we were actively engaged as witnesses of the Holocaust as well as the persecution by the Nazi regime. However, age sets certain limitations at this time in our life.
We would also like to express our heartfelt thanks to the President of the Arnold-Liebster-Stiftung, our valued colleague, Mr. Klages, for his unswerving support.
By means of a video showing more than 10 years ago in this forum, we were able to relate our experiences during the dark period of the persecution. So many voices have been silenced since then—and how many will there be left ten years from now? For that reason it is important to give exposure to the voices now, because those testimonies are irreplaceable. Therefore, we would like to highlight the valuable benefit of the KZ-Memorial Ravensbrück and express our thankfulness for it. Since the turn of this century, there is a strong tendency to supplant the events of that time. It is of great importance then, to safeguard the documents and statements of those who witnessed those events.
Historians are able, by means of them, to transmit two important lessons of that era to future generations: First, there is the voice of warning: Where the slightest intolerance arises—and that also applies to religion—the basis is laid for a spiral into moral corruption. Because of the breakdown of a person’s conscience, or because justice is pushed aside, power becomes dominant. A person is first stigmatized, then excluded, and finally persecuted with the cold-blooded consequence: extermination can be legalized.
Secondly, however, there is also a positive lesson to learn: There exists a way out of that moral downfall—namely, the resistance of one’s conscience. During that dark period we experienced that some persons respected the dignity and rights of others, even those of the prisoners. Among those was the group known as Jehovah’s Witnesses, who wore the purple triangle on their prisoner uniforms. Their devotion to God and their conscience, trained by Christian principles, gave them the power to resist in a remarkable way. Their weapon was an unshakable NO.
No to veneration of humans!
No to intolerance!
No to brutality!
No to preparation for and participation in war!
Their firm stand led many of them into the concentration camps and prisons, and there they continued to say No! Many paid for it with their lives.
The voice of these witnesses proves powerfully that Christian values can overcome the most terrible evil.
May these two lessons aid many never to relinquish the fight for peace and for love of neighbor!
Max Liebster and Simone Arnold Liebster
Aix Les Bains, 2007 February