You searched for: Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses

  • Jehovah's Witnesses in Germany: From the 1890s to the 1930s


    The Nazi regime targeted Jehovah's Witnesses for persecution because they refused, out of religious conviction, to swear loyalty to a worldly government or to serve in its armed forces. Jehovah's Witnesses also engaged in missionary activity to win adherents for the faith. The Nazis perceived the refusal to commit to the state and efforts to proselytize as overtly political and subversive acts. Unlike Jews and Roma (Gypsies), whom the Nazis targeted for perceived racial reasons, Jehovah's Witnesses had the…

    Jehovah's Witnesses in Germany: From the 1890s to the 1930s
  • Nazi Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses


    Jehovah's Witnesses were subjected to intense persecution under the Nazi regime. Nazi leaders targeted Jehovah's Witnesses because they were unwilling to accept the authority of the state, because of their international connections, and because they were strongly opposed to both war on behalf of a temporal authority and organized government in matters of conscience. Within months of the Nazi takeover, regional governments, primarily those of Bavaria and Prussia, initiated aggressive steps against…

    Nazi Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses
  • "Enemies of the State"


    Jews were the main target of Nazi hatred. Other individuals and groups considered "undesirable" and "enemies of the state" were also persecuted.

    "Enemies of the State"
  • Forward, You Witnesses!


    Musician Erich Frost was a devout Jehovah's Witness active in the religious resistance to Hitler's authority. Frost was caught smuggling pamphlets from Switzerland to Germany and was deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin. There, he composed this song in 1942. Frost survived the war and died in 1987. This translation is taken from the Jehovah's Witness Songbook. Simone Arnold Liebster, who sings the English version of the song, was born in 1930 in Mulhouse, French Alsace. After the…

  • A group of Jehovah's Witnesses after their liberation


    A group of Jehovah's Witnesses in their camp uniforms after liberation. These men were imprisoned in the Niederhagen bei Wewelsburg concentration camp. Niederhagen bei Wewelsbug, Germany, 1945.

    A group of Jehovah's Witnesses after their liberation
  • Johann Stossier

    ID Card

    Johann was born to Catholic parents in the part of Austria known as Carinthia, where he was raised on the family farm. Johann enjoyed acting and belonged to a theater group in nearby Sankt Martin, which also happened to have a Jehovah's Witness congregation. He became a Jehovah's Witness during the late 1920s, actively preaching in the district around Sankt Martin. 1933-39: Johann continued to do missionary work for the Jehovah's Witnesses even after this was banned by the Austrian government in 1936. The…

    Johann Stossier
  • Berthold Mewes

    ID Card

    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 Berthold was 4, his parents became Jehovah's Witnesses and he began to attend secret Bible meetings with them. Berthold began public school in 1936. His mother was arrested in 1939 and sent to…

    Berthold Mewes
  • German Military Oaths


    In Nazi Germany, German military personnel swore an oath directly to Adolf Hitler. Learn about the oath and its impact.

    German Military Oaths
  • The Kusserow family


    The Kusserow family was active in their region distributing religious literature and teaching Bible study classes in their home. They were Jehovah's Witnesses. Their house was conveniently situated for fellow Jehovah's Witnesses along the tram route connecting the cities of Paderborn and Detmold. For the first three years after the Nazis came to power, the Kusserows endured moderate persecution by local Gestapo agents, who often came to search their home for religious materials. In 1936, Nazi police…

    The Kusserow family
  • Classification System in Nazi Concentration Camps


    The Nazis used color-coded badges sewn onto uniforms to classify prisoners in the camp system and to easily identify the alleged reason for an individual’s incarceration.

    Classification System in Nazi Concentration Camps

Thank you for supporting our work

We would like to thank Crown Family Philanthropies and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.