Jehovah's Witnesses and Nazi Germany Bookshelf:
These books are excellent additions to one's library and are particularly useful for research.
Facing The Lion: Memoirs of a Young Girl in Nazi Europe
Facing The Lion is the autobiographical account of a young girl's faith and courage. In the years immediately preceding World War II, Simone Arnold is a young girl who delights in life - her doting parents, her loving aunts and uncles, and her grandparents at their mountain farm in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. As Simone grows into her pre-teen years, her parents turn from the Catholic Church and become devout Jehovah's Witnesses. Simone, too, embraces the faith. The Nazi's (the "Lion") take over Alsace-Lorraine, and Simone's schools become Nazi propaganda machines. Simone refuses to accept the Nazi party as being above God. Her simple acts of defiance lead her to become persecuted by the school staff and local officials, and ignored by friends. With her father already taken away to a Nazi concentration camp, Simone is wrestled away from her mother and sent to a reform school to be "reeducated". There, Simone learns that her mother has also been put in a camp. Simone remains in the harsh reform school until the end of the war. She emerges feeling detached from life, but the faith that sustains her through her ordeals helps her rebuild her world.
Crucible of Terror: A Story of Survival Through the Nazi
On September 11, 1939, Max Liebster, a young German Jew, learned firsthand what it meant to be an enemy of the Nazi State. After his arrest, followed by four months of solitary confinement in a Nazi prison, Liebster plummets headlong into the nightmare of the camps. Engulfed in terror and anguish, he feels himself drowning in despair when he suddenly encounters a phenomenon that restores his hope and dignity. It is a group of prisoners who wear the purple triangle. They are the Bibelforscher, or Jehovah's Witnesses—persecuted because of their religious beliefs and their absolute refusal to bend to the Nazi ideology of hate.
Liebster is fascinated by the failure of the mighty SS to break the spirit of the purple triangles, despite torture and even executions. As Liebster totters between death and life, between despair and hope, the purple triangles help him to carry on. Crucible of Terror recounts in searing detail Max Liebster's torturous journey through five Nazi concentration camps, including the notorious Auschwitz. Through the storm of Nazi terror, Liebster, a young German Jew, finds a haven in an unexpected source—a unique group of prisoners who wear the purple triangle. It is a drama of survival, but even more, it is a story of hope and moral courage.
The Nazi State and the New Religions: Five Case Studies in
In this pioneering study, Christine King focuses on five of the more important sects in Nazi Germany: Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Science, and the New Apostolic Church. With the aid of two principal kinds of source, police reports and the sectarian press, she seeks to explain their very different fates. This leads her to two major areas of investigation: the factors influencing Nazi policy towards religious bodies; and the varying survival strategies adopted by the sects themselves.
Persecution and Resistance
of Jehovah's Witnesses During the Nazi Regime: 1933-1945
"We must be grateful for this book, deeply grateful. In essay after essay we read of the fate of Jehovah's Witnesses in Nazi concentration camps. Some of the essays tell large stories. The other essays tell small stories of a few individuals - stories that illuminate the whole. Part of this work addresses the situation of the Witnesses in Germany... Jews were victimized not because of what they did, nor because of what they were. They were targeted for destruction because of what their grandparents were… Alone of all the groups targeted by the Nazis, the Jehovah's Witnesses were victimized because of what they refused to do. They would not enlist in the army, undertake air raid drills, stop meeting or proselytizing. They would not utter the words ‘Heil Hitler.’ Their dissent was irksome, disciplined and systematic... Jews had no choice. Jehovah's Witnesses did. As such, they are martyrs in the traditional sense of the term - those prepared to suffer and even to die for the choice of their faith." —From the Preface by Michael Berenbaum, Ida E. King Distinguished Visiting Scholar of the Holocaust, Richard Stockton College
The Jehovah's Witnesses
And The Nazis - Persecution, Deportation, And Murder 1933-1945
By 1933, when Hitler attained power, the Jehovah's Witnesses, or Bibelforscher -- an international religious group founded in the late nineteenth century in the United States -- were 20,000 strong in Germany and completely unaware that their faith and community would soon be brutally besieged. As pacifists and citizens of "Jehovah's Kingdom," the Witnesses refused to swear allegiance to any world government, to contribute in the smallest way to the military, or to stop their active recruiting of converts. Because of their beliefs and their uncompromising integrity, Hitler viewed them as ideological foes of the Third Reich and targeted them for persecution, deportation, and murder. Based on original archival research and numerous interviews with survivors, The Jehovah's Witnesses and the Nazis is the first history in English to detail in the words of the Witnesses the course of their clash with Hitler and his SS. Here are their riveting stories: the closely knit Kusserow family, broken by arrests and imprisonment but their faith unvanquished; twelve-year-old Simone Arnold, alternately ostracized and beaten for refusing to utter the Nazi salute; Franz Mattischek, guillotined for refusing to deny his beliefs; and many others. Yet, in the history of the Holocaust, the Witnesses were unique victims of Nazi terror, the only persecuted group able to obtain their freedom by signing a declaration renouncing their convictions. Only a handful ever did so. As pacifists who refused to escape or to actively resist their oppressors, the Witnesses fulfilled many functions -- including shaving Nazi officers -- entrusted to no other inmate group. The Jehovah's Witnesses and the Nazis illuminates in brilliant relief a little-known and long-ignored aspect of the Holocaust, the heartbreaking yet inspiring story of those whose resilience and courage allowed them to stand firm against the Nazi onslaught. Buy from BarnesandNoble.com »
Death Always Came On Mondays
In his touching and thoughtful autobiography, Horst Schmidt describes his life as a conscientious objector in Nazi Germany. Because of his beliefs as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, he refused to join Hitler's forces. Instead, he went underground with the Gestapo in hot pursuit. While traveling incognito with the banned publications of his religion he met his future wife, Hermine, in Danzig. Both were arrested. She was sent to a concentration camp, and he was sentenced to death by the People’s Court, Nazi Germany’s highest court. The reader also gains insight into Horst's foster-mother Emmy Zehden's remarkable life. In 1944 Emmy Zehden was executed in Berlin-Plötzensee for hiding her son and other conscientious objectors. A street leading to the former place of execution has been named after her and now bears the name "Emmy Zehden Way." The book has been edited by the historian Dr. Hans Hesse, who has studied Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany since 1995. Dr. Hesse has added a fine section about the Nazi persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in which he points out that after the war, the new Federal Republic of Germany included the right to conscientious objection in its Constitution, largely due to the example set by Jehovah’s Witnesses. " In just a few years, the life of the Schmidts has changed. As contemporary eyewitnesses, they are invited to relate before large audiences details of their sufferings during the NS period. ... Having become acquainted with these two wonderful people only after events with contemporary eyewitnesses, I am amazed that no one had approached these and other survivors of concentration camps with request for their reports before now." - Dr. Detlef Garbe, Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial. Buy from Gramma Books »
In her vivid and captivating autobiography, Hermine Schmidt describes her happy childhood years in the city of Danzig. Her adolescence is shattered when the Nazis take over the city and arrest her because of her religious beliefs as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. After a harrowing "trial" before a Nazi judge, Hermine is sent to the Stutthof concentration camp, where she endures and witnesses unspeakable horrors. "Unfettered Joy" tells the dramatic story of an almost miraculous rescue. Set adrift on a barge, Hermine and 370 other famished camp inmates spend terrifying days in mine-laden waters, finally landing at the small port of Klintholm in Mřn, Denmark, where Danish friends are ready with care and comfort. During years of persecution and Nazi captivity, Hermine Schmidt found emotional shelter in her positive outlook and firm faith in God. Hers is a story of unforgettable optimism. "Hermine's sharing of her life experiences with us is a precious gift to be treasured both by those who share her faith and those who stand outside it. … We owe Hermine and her fellow Witnesses who stood up to Nazism a tremendous debt. From them we learn what is possible and what is necessary." - Prof. Christine King, Staffordshire University. "Hermine Schmidt's book reveals that it was written with her life-blood. … in a double sense she gives testimony: She testifies about the horrors of the concentration camp, which must be difficult to put into words (but necessary for the instruction of future generations), and she testifies about the power of her faith, an unshakeable fundamental confidence in the Bible's promises and a joy preserved through all the depth of human existence." - Dr. Detlef Garbe, Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial. Buy from Gramma Books »
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