The purple triangle was a concentration camp badge used by the Nazis to identify Bibelforscher (the German name for Jehovah's Witnesses and other Bible Students congregations) in Nazi Germany. A small number of Adventists, Baptists and pacifists (less than one percent) were also identified by the badge. Nazism opposed unorthodox-Christian religious minorities (along with Jews), but made the Bible Students the object of particularly intense persecution, including such extensive incarceration that a distinct badge was assigned to them.
Jehovah's Witnesses came into conflict with the Nazi regime because they refused to salute Adolf Hitler with the traditional "Heil Hitler" salute, believing that it conflicted with their worship of God. Because refusing to salute Hitler was considered a crime, Jehovah's Witnesses were arrested, and their children attending school were expelled, detained and separated from their families. When Germany made military enlistment mandatory, Jehovah’s Witnesses were persecuted because they refused to bear arms. Being politically neutral, they also refused to vote in the 1936 elections.
Based on Nuremberg Laws, Jehovah's Witnesses who were also classified as ethnic Jews wore a badge comprising a purple triangle superimposed on a yellow triangle.
- Identification in Nazi camps
- Nazi concentration camp badges
- Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Nazi Germany
- Religion in Nazi Germany
- Johannes S. Wrobel, Jehovah’s Witnesses in National Socialist Concentration Camps, 1933 – 45, Religion, State & Society, Vol. 34, No. 2, June 2006, pp. 89-125 "The concentration camp prisoner category ‘Bible Student’ at times apparently included a few members from small Bible Student splinter groups, as well as adherents of other religious groups which played only a secondary role during the time of the National Socialist regime, such as Adventists, Baptists and the New Apostolic community (Garbe 1999, pp. 82, 406; Zeiger, 2001, p. 72). Since their numbers in the camps were quite small compared with the total number of Jehovah’s Witness prisoners, I shall not consider them separately in this article. Historian Antje Zeiger (2001, p. 88) writes about Sachsenhausen camp: ‘In May 1938, every tenth prisoner was a Jehovah’s Witness. Less than one percent of the Witnesses included other religious nonconformists (Adventists, Baptists, pacifists), who were placed in the same prisoner classification.’".)
- MoreOrLess. "Bibelforscher". Cesnur.org. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
- "Holocaust Revealed". Holocaust Revealed. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
- King, Christine. “Leadership Lessons from History: Jehovah’s Witnesses.” The International Journal of Leadership in Public Services 7, no. 2 (2011): 178–185. doi:http://ezproxy.arcadia.edu:2075/10.1108/17479881111160168.
- US Holocaust Memorial Museum summary
- "Jehovah's Witnesses in Germany" University of Minnesota's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
- "Jehovah's Witnesses in National Socialist concentration camps, 1933-45, by Johannes S. Wrobel, Religion, State and Society vol. 34, no. 2 (June 2006), 89-125
- Purple Triangles: A Story of Spiritual Resistance by Jolene Chu, originally published in Judaism Today, No. 12, Spring 1999
- Purple Triangle: An Untold Story of the Holocaust
- Sustained Through Terrible Trials by Éva Josefsson, The Watchtower June 1, 1998
- Jehovah's Witnesses: Courageous in the Face of Nazi Peril, Awake! July 8, 1998
- They Triumphed Over Persecution, The Watchtower March 1, 2003
- Garbe, Detlef (Detlef Garbe 2008). Between Resistance and Martyrdom: Jehovah's Witnesses in the Third Reich. Washington, DC, and Madison, Wisconsin: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in association with University of Wisconsin Press.
- Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Distributor) (1991). Purple Triangles (VHS). United States of America: Starlock Pictures.
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