Berthold Mewes

Berthold Mewes

Born: August 19, 1930

Paderborn, Germany

Berthold was an only child. He was raised in Paderborn, a town in a largely Catholic region of western Germany. Paderborn was near Bad Lippspringe, where there was a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation engaged in missionary work. Beginning in 1933, the Nazis moved to outlaw Jehovah's Witness activities.

1933-39: When I was 4, my parents became Jehovah's Witnesses and I began to attend secret Bible meetings with them. I began public school in 1936. Mama was arrested in 1939 and sent to the Ravensbrueck concentration camp. When I was 9, Papa sent me to live with my uncle in Berlin; however, three months later Papa was forced to deliver me to the authorities. Afterwards, Papa was imprisoned for refusing to serve in the military.

1940-44: The Germans sent me to live with a childless couple who had a small farm. In the morning I'd attend school and afterwards I'd do farm work. I could write one letter every six months to either Mama or Papa. But in 1943 I was forbidden to write any more letters to my parents. I could only hope and pray that they were still alive. Although I had no contact with other Jehovah's Witnesses, my faith in Jehovah and the teachings of the Bible helped me overcome my loneliness and uncertainty.

Berthold was reunited with his parents in 1945 when he was 15, and together the family resumed their lives as Jehovah's Witnesses. Berthold later moved to the United States.