Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Holocaust

First of all let me start by saying I am not a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I don’t agree with some aspects of their religion. However that doesn’t mean I don’t respect their faith, because I do. I respect anyone’s faith once it doesn’t include hatred and violence. Among my friends are Jews, Christians, , Buddhists, Baháʼí and Atheists. In fact I remember a few years ago I was doing a course in web development and I gave some of my fellow students a lift home, that time I had a microcosm of several faiths in my car, a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim and an atheists, all connected via one thing, education.

However the title of the blog is Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Holocaust and that is what I will be focusing on.

I have done blogs on the subject before but I found it important to do another one, because the more I read about it the more I realize how little is known about this.

Unlike the Jews and Roma victims who were persecuted and murdered by virtue of their birth, the Jehovah’s witnesses could save themselves by denouncing their faith. The courage the vast majority showed in refusing to do so, in the face of torture, maltreatment in concentration camps, and sometimes execution, won them the respect of many contemporaries.

Rather then going into too deep of details I will focus on just a few stories.

The picture at the start of the blog is of the Kusserow family. They were active in distributing religious literature and teaching Bible study classes in their home. Their house had been under intense scrutiny.

The oldest son,Wilhelm Kusserow,had been arrested for refusing to join the army. In 1940 he had made it clear to the judge that he only obeyed God’s law and not Hitler’s laws. He interpreted God’s command “thou shalt not kill” literally and refused to serve in the German army

For this he was executed by a firing squad in Muenster prison on April 27.

His younger brother, , also refused to join the army for the same reason . He was executed on March 28,1942 in Brandenburg prison by guillotine , aged 20.

Helene Gotthold was executed by guillotine in Berlin’s Ploetzensee Prison, on December 8. 1944.

Helene’s husband was arrested in 1936.basically for practicing his faith After searching her house, where they found Jehovah’s witnesses literature the Gestapo arrested her in 1937; she was beaten with rods and lost her unborn baby. The court gave her an 18-month sentence.

Helene and her husband were arrested again in February 1944. They were imprisoned in Essen, however after the prison had been destroyed in an Allied bombing raid, they were transferred to a prison in Potsdam. On August 4, the People’s Court sentenced Helene and five other Witnesses to death for illegally holding Bible meetings and undermining the nation’s morale. Before her execution, Helene was allowed to write a letter to her husband and children.

Helene was executed by guillotine in Berlin’s Ploetzensee Prison on December 8, 1944. Her family survived and resumed their Jehovah’s Witness missionary work in Germany.

I think many people underestimate the bravery of the Jehovah’s witnesses, still to this day. After reading and researching for this blog and the other blogs I did, I have found a new respect for this group of Christians. Does that mean I agree with all of their believes, of course it doesn’t but I don’t expect anyone to agree with all of my believes either. One thing I do know though, if I could have saved my live by denouncing my faith, there is a great chance I would have done that.

Sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/id-card/helene-gotthold

https://www.fold3.com/page/286019312/jehovahs-witnesses-and-the-holocaust/stories

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/the-kusserow-family

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The experiments

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The worst crimes by the Nazi regime were those conducted in the name of science, the human experiments, there were many experiments below are only a few of them.

Experiments on twins

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Experiments on twin children in concentration camps were created to show the similarities and differences in the genetics of twins, as well as to see if the human body can be unnaturally manipulated. Josef_MengeleThe central leader of the experiments was Josef Mengele, who from 1943 to 1944 performed experiments on nearly 1,500 sets of imprisoned twins at Auschwitz.

 

Mengele’s research involved injecting blue dye into children’s eyes and stitching kids together to make sets of conjoined twins. Mystery substances and infectious agents were injected into one twin, then the other twin would be killed within hours of the infected twin’s death so that both could be autopsied at once. In a single year at Auschwitz, Mengele experimented on 3,000 children.

 

 

 

 

Head injury experiments

In mid-1942 in Baranowicze, occupied Poland, experiments were conducted in a small building behind the private home occupied by a known Nazi SD Security Service officer, in which “a young boy of eleven or twelve was strapped to a chair so he could not move. Above him was a mechanized hammer that every few seconds came down upon his head.” The boy was driven insane from the torture.

Sea water experiments

nazi-medicine-seawater-experiment

From about July 1944 to about September 1944, experiments were conducted at the Dachau concentration camp to study various methods of making sea water drinkable.

B11354522T11354527 At one point, a group of roughly 90 Roma were deprived of food and given nothing but sea water to drink by Dr. Hans Eppinger, leaving them gravely injured. They were so dehydrated that others observed them licking freshly mopped floors in an attempt to get drinkable water.

A Holocaust survivor named Joseph Tschofenig wrote a statement on these seawater experiments at Dachau. Tschofenig explained how while working at the medical experimentation stations he gained insight into some of the experiments that were performed on prisoners, namely those where they were forced to drink salt water. Tschofenig also described how victims of the experiments had trouble eating and would desperately seek out any source of water including old floor rags. Tschofenig was responsible for using the X-ray machine in the infirmary and describes how even though he had insight into what was going on he was powerless to stop it. He gives the example of a patient in the infirmary who was sent to the gas chambers by Dr. Sigmund Rascher simply because he witnessed one of the low-pressure experiments.

High altitude experiments

nazi-medicine-altitude-experiment

In early 1942, prisoners at Dachau concentration camp were used by Sigmund Rascher in experiments to aid German pilots who had to eject at high altitudes. A low-pressure chamber containing these prisoners was used to simulate conditions at altitudes of up to 20,000 m (66,000 ft). It was rumored that Rascher performed vivisections on the brains of victims who survived the initial experiment. Of the 200 subjects, 80 died outright, and the others were executed.Rascher

In a letter from April 5, 1942 between Dr. Sigmund Rascher and Heinrich Himmler, Rascher explains the results of a low-pressure experiment that was performed on people at Dachau Concentration camp in which the victims were suffocated while Rascher and another unnamed doctor took note of his reactions. The person was described as 37 years old and in good health before being murdered. Rascher described the victim’s actions as he began to lose oxygen and times the changes in behavior. The 37 year old began to wiggle his head at 4 minutes, a minute later Rascher observed that he was suffering from cramps before falling unconscious. He describes how the victim then laid unconscious breathing only 3 times per minute until he stopped breathing 30 minutes after being deprived of oxygen. The victim then turned blue and began foaming at the mouth. An autopsy followed an hour later.

In a letter from Heinrich Himmler to Dr. Sigmund Rascher on April 13, 1942, Himmler orders Rascher to continue the high altitude experiments and to continue experimenting on prisoners condemned to death and to “determine whether these men could be recalled to life”. If a victim could be successfully resuscitated, Himmler ordered that he be pardoned to “concentration camp for life.

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May 1944 Gestapo raid in Hamburg’s Chinatown- The forgotten victims

1024px-Gedenktafel-chinesenviertel-schmuckstraße

This is a little known story which took place on the 13th of May 1944. The victims were Chinese citizens, not tortured and killed by Japanese but by the Gestapo in Hamburg,Germany.

It requires a lot of imagination to recollect the past history that the Schmuckstraße as the center of a lively Chinese district of St. Pauli. Today only two houses of that time are still standing with an emptied site next to it, nothing remained or reminds the once lively Chinese district that connected close between Talstraße and Grosse Freiheit, one of the popular street in the red light district of St. Pauli, Hamburg.

800px-Karte_Chinesenviertel_Hamburg
In the early 20’s, a small Chinese colony had formed in Hamburg as a result of the employment of Chinese in the German merchant shipping. Soon Chinese infrastructure were arisen in some of the European’s harbor cities. The Chinese have settled down there and opened up restaurants, Marine equipment stores, laundries. At that time, it had as many as about 2000 Chinese living in Hamburg.  They were hard-working, well-educated, went to dance and sports clubs, some were married to German women and had children with them.


The harmony living with one another were ended abruptly when the Nazis came. 165 Chinese were detained on 13 May 1944, in the so called “Chinese action” under the pretext of collaboration with the enemy. In the Langer Morgan labor camp in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg, 17 of them died. All that remains today of the camp is a plaque.

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More then a 100 people died in the camp due to inhuman conditions.

One of the Chinese victims was Woo Lie Kien  He died in the Allgemeinen Krankenhaus Barmbek(General Hospital Barmbek) as result of torture by the gestapo on the 23rd of November 1944.

Stolperstein_Schmuckstraße_7_(Woo_Lie_Kien)_in_Hamburg-St._Pauli

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Many of the Chinese left Germany for America or have gone back to their homeland China eventually ,as the 2nd World War ended. A few stayed back in Hamburg , leaving a forgotten chapter of Hamburg History behind

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Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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