Purple triangle

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Purple triangle

The purple triangle was a concentration camp badge used by the Nazis to identify Bibelforscher (or "Bible Students") in Nazi Germany. The purple triangle was introduced in July 1936 with other concentration camps such as those of Dachau and Buchenwald following in 1937 and 1938.[1] In the winter of 1935-36, before the onset of the war, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been reported to make up 20-40% of the prisoners in concentration camps. [2] The purple triangle was originally introduced to identify Jehovah’s Witnesses. As the number and diversity of prisoners accelerated, the category represented by the purple triangle expanded to include other prisoners held due of their religious convictions, including clergy of various denominations, Adventists, Baptists, Bible Student splinter groups and pacifists. [3] [4][5] Jehovah’s Witnesses however did continue to make up the majority of prisoners in this category.


Jehovah's Witnesses came into conflict with the Nazi regime because they refused to use the Hitler salute, believing that it conflicted with their worship of Jehovah. Because refusing to use the Hitler salute was considered a crime, they were arrested, and their children attending school were expelled, detained and separated from their families. When Germany made military enlistment mandatory, they were persecuted because they refused to bear arms. Being politically neutral, they also refused to vote in the elections.[6]

Based on Nuremberg Laws, those who were also classified as ethnic Jews wore a badge comprising a purple triangle superimposed on a yellow triangle.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eberle, A. (2005) 'Hiiftlingskategorien und Kennzeichen', in Benz and Distel, 2005a, pp. 91-109.
  2. ^ 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 ”…although overall figures remain unavoidably imprecise, the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the concentration camps in the winter of 1935-36 probably ranged from about 600 (20 per cent) to 1000 (40 per cent).”
  3. ^ Memorial and Museum AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU. "Categories of Prisoners - Jehovah's Witnesses". Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Bibelforscher". Cesnur.org. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  5. ^ "Holocaust Revealed". Holocaust Revealed. Archived from the original on 2012-12-03. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  6. ^ King, Christine. "Leadership Lessons from History: Jehovah's Witnesses." The International Journal of Leadership in Public Services 7, no. 2 (2011): 178–185. doi:10.1108/17479881111160168.

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