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Standing United Against Injustice

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Injustice has plagued mankind from his creation onward.
Throughout history there have been a handful of courageous people that have truly understood two vital points. 1. Injustice is NOT acceptable. 2. Something MUST be done about it. Take for example the Holocaust. The Holocaust is a horrific example of injustice. It was a time of unspeakable acts of cruelty towards our fellow man. At the forefront of this cruelty was a man named Adolf Hitler. Hitler was in high power and demonstrated it by putting innocent people in concentration camps in order to have, in his opinion, a “perfect race”. One of the first people he sought to destroy was a small religious group known as International Bible Students (better known today as Jehovah’s Witnesses). The Witnesses were singled out because of their love for one another and their political neutrality. They were also thought to be linked with the Jews. This was a lie spread by the Nazi Government. The truth is, they were one of a small handful who stood up and spoke out against the Nazis and their demonic cruelty.
The organization of Jehovah’s witnesses was said to be like, “ a tiny island of unflagging [moral] resistance existing in the bosom of a terrorizing nation.” In the year 1933 there were 25,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses preaching and distributing bible literature throughout all of Germany. Many tried to discredit the Witnesses by such means as defaming campaigns launched in part by religious opponents, referring to them as Bolshevik meaning “Jewish Worm”. They were even said to be conspirators of many revolutionary movements.
On January 30, 1933 Adolf Hitler was appointed the position of German Chancellor. He brought with him his own government who worked hard to conceal their extremist and violent nature. With hope in their hearts the Jehovah’s Witnesses desperately wanted the Nazi Government to see them as they really were; peaceful, law abiding and by no means a threat to anyone. This hope was quickly crushed when they were forced to endure extreme threats, searches of their homes, often violent interrogations as well as continued harassment, not only from the police but also Hitler’s army. Hitler was intent on shutting the Witness’s organization down, putting an end to their preaching, destroying their faith in their God Jehovah and not even allowing them share their comforting messages from the Bible. Sadly, this was just the beginning.

The abuse that the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Jews faced was beyond cruel. It dove into the realm of demonic. Most were brought to the concentration camps in smoldering hot, overcrowded cattle cars with little to no food or water for days. When arriving at the camps they were labeled with a number or a symbol to represent their religion or race. Jehovah’s witnesses were given the purple triangle. This at least, acted as somewhat of a benefit to them. Upon seeing those purple triangles on other Jehovah’s Witnesses they were able to gleam a measure of encouragement. Knowing “this here is my brother or my sister.” Most of the prisoners were then put on starvation rations. Some individuals were forced to act as cannibals in order to stay alive. Others simply died from malnutrition. In the memoir (Facing the Lion) written by Simone Arnold Liebster, her father had to carry huge cement blocks up hundreds of stairs and if he or any others fell they were kicked and beaten by the guards until they got up. Simone’s father did not get up fast enough and was kicked in the side of the head which caused him to be completely deaf in one ear. The prisoners were often taken on death marches. At such time as the prisoners were no longer able to continue the guards would simply shoot them. In fact the guards were constantly thinking up new and sadistic ways to punish or kill the prisoners. They would throw people into huge ovens to burn them alive, or the officers would send prisoners to the shower room for a “shower” only to kill them with poisonous gas. Not only these things but so many more unspeakable atrocities were carried out by this Demonic government.

Jehovah’s Witness began speaking out and warning many about the Nazi Government from the early 1930’s. Because of this, the Nazi Government began full on attacks. The Nazis seized the Jehovah’s Witnesses literature, broke up their meetings and began arrests. The Witnesses stood their ground. On November 1, 1933 The Watchtower issued an article entitled “Fear them NOT!” This article was especially produced for the German Witnesses to help them take courage in the face of pressure. On February 9, 1934 The Watchtower Society President sent a letter in protest to Hitler. The letter stated, “You may successfully resist all men but you cannot successfully resist Jehovah God. In the name of that Jehovah God and his anointed kind Christ Jesus, I demand that you give order to all officials and servants of your government that Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany be permitted to peacefully assemble and without hindrance worship God.” He warned Hitler if the relief didn’t come to German Witness by March 24, 1934, the facts about the persecution would be published throughout the world. The Nazis answered this letter by stepping up the abuse and putting Witnesses in concentration camps that had been recently set up. In fact they were among the first inmates of those camps. As the Jehovah’s Witnesses promised, they began to expose the atrocities occurring in Germany. In 1935 The Golden Age exposed the torture methods of the Nazis and their spy system. It also revealed that it was the aim of the Hitler Youth Organization to rid the German youths of their belief in God. In the following year a nationwide Gestapo campaign resulted in the arrests of thousands of Witnesses. Soon after this on December 12, 1936, the Witnesses answered with their own campaign, which covered Germany with tens of thousands of copies of a resolution protesting the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses. On June 20, 1937 the Witnesses that were still free distributed another message that was full in detail about the persecutions. It named officials and sited dates and places. The Gestapo was shocked at this exposure and the ability of the Witnesses to carry it off. The Watchtower society’s president, Rutherford took to the airwaves frequently delivering powerful lectures on the satanic ways of Nazism. These lectures were rebroadcast globally and were printed for distribution by the millions. October 2, 1938 he delivered “Fascism or Freedom” which he denounced Hitler in no uncertain terms. These are just a few examples of the lengths the witnesses went through to stand united against injustice.

John S. Conway, of the University of British Columbia, Canada summed this up perfectly when he said, “The only religious organization that absolutely refused to follow the Nazis was Jehovah’s Witnesses.” He then added that for this more than half were sent to concentration camps. No doubt a stand of this magnitude against a government as powerful as the Nazis not only showed a true love for fellow man but took a courage that only God himself could give.




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