Talk:Jehovah's Witnesses and the Holocaust

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For the June 2005 deletion debate on this article, see Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Jehovah's Witnesses and the Holocaust.

Archives: Archive 1

A new WikiProject about Jehovah's Witnesses[edit]

Wikipedia:WikiProject Jehovah's Witnesses, aka WP:JW

george 03:20, 1 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I invite all to sign in as a participants at the project page, add it to your watchlist, and participate in style, organization, and hierarchy discussions there. Tom Haws 05:04, Feb 3, 2005 (UTC)


Don't add information that you have not doublechecked especially if the item is so much abused as the bold stand of JWs against Nazis.

I asked a question on the US Holocaust website, about the figures there, and the answer was that they were wrong.

Here's what I asked:

I am interested with the role Jehovah's Witnesses played in the fight against Nazism. I read contradictory info on the number of Jehovah's Witnesses' casualties. I want to know how firmly you stand behind the facts of this article:

According to which 2,500-5,000 Jehovah's Witnesses have died in Holocaust. How will you comment the figures of this article

Have you had the chance to verify the contents of the 1974 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, p. 212.

Here's the answer

Detlef Garbe writes in Zwischen Widerstand und Martyrium [München: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 1993] that, of the estimated 25,000-30,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses living in Germany when the Nazis took power (1933), around 10,000 were imprisoned. Of the 10,000 imprisoned, over 2,000 were sent to concentration camps. Garbe estimates that the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses who died under the Nazi regime is approximately 1,200. He calculates that of the 1,200, around 800 were German nationals. Of the 800, around 250 were executed after being formally convicted of a crime in a military court trial. The crime was usually subversion defined by their refusal, on the basis of their religion, to serve in the armed forces.

In addition to the 2,000 German Jehovah’s Witnesses who were incarcerated in the concentration camps, Garbe estimates that the SS incarcerated around 1,000 non-German Witnesses in concentration camps, many of them Dutch and Belgian nationals. He estimates that about 400 of these non-German witnesses died in the camps. Hence, out of a total of approximately 3000 European Jehovah’s Witnesses in the concentration camps around 950 died there.

Detlef Garbe’s work on the Jehovah’s Witnesses is considered to be a reliable, scholarly work. In fact, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will co-publish the English translation, which is expected to be released in autumn 2005.

I have this reply in my inbox staying there from March 2004, and can forward it with email headers intact if someone doubts its authenticity.

OK, cool your jets. JW's make less about this than people who want to degrade them. You have only drawn more attention to the subject with your shouting. The general lack of editing this page recieves is proof of how little it interests people. Yes, Prof Garbe is a reliable source, he has been quoted by JW's and has been featured in at least one video documentary produced by them. If your information is accurate then great. You don't have to go around beating a drum.
See The Nazi State and the New Religions: Five Case Studies in Non-Conformity, by Dr. Christine E. King.
Of the 10,000, about 2,500 never did go free, according to the above source—they died in Dachau, Belsen, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, Ravensbrück, Auschwitz, Mauthausen and other camps.
So, as you see the number 2,500 was a number which came from a work by a respected historian.
As far as this subject being abused, I guess you should start complaining to all of the Universities and holocaust groups who are making such a fuss because JW's are doing less to promote this topic than they are. Only a very few (less than a half dozen) pages from a google search came from JW's or the WT website. The rest were either academic sites (overwhelmingly positive towards JW"s) or mudslingers wanting to find fault with JW's (who contradict nearly everything the academic sites conclude).
Will we ever be done with this garbage? George 21:39, 1 Apr 2005 (UTC)
PS SInce the USHMM and another source has estimated the number of JW's who dies as between 2,500 and 5,000 don't you think two sources are more reliable than one? Perhaps we should place the 2500-5000 comment from the USHMM?
Sorry for shouting, I don't want to degrade nobody, I just want to prevent inaccuracy.
You probably realize that one of the two sources you are quoting is the one I was trying to alert you for being not very precise.
There is a lot of BS taught in unis today [my opinion], but despite that you can't compare the website of JWs with the combined websites of all universities around the world. Of course if you make a search on google you will get far more results from uni websites than from the watchtower. This doesn't mean though that the watchtower is not publishing a lot of lies, and is not boasting with things it deserves no credit for.
In real life I have never been approached from a university scholar to convince me that thousands of JWs have died in the fight against Nazism, while one of their followers was trying to do exactly that.
The information from USHMM would be considered reliable as they have not changed it even since your letter to them. However, I did not remove or revert your edit. Since neither of us was there in the CC's to count the bodies we can only go on what we read. The information conflicts, not by any fault of JW's. you seem to want to blame them for the mistakes of historians.(?)
I agree that there is a lot of BS taught in universities. Take a religion class and they'll say that JW's are a "cult" (negative connotation). We did not compare the JW's website with "universities all around the world", although according to you they teach a lot of BS anyway, so what would be the point? The JW's website is using informatin backed up by scholarly sources whether you agree with them or not. Accusing them of dishonesty then is untrue. ALSO, Since all the hits you get from google come up with university citations more than JW's citations, well are they really boasting as much as you claim?
I find it strange that a JW would seek someone out just to talk about JW's in Nazi Germany unless there was some special reason, like an invitation.
Finally, you quote one source and claim everyone else is wrong. Your reasoning in either specious or circular. George 11:39, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I was tempted to try to arrange how I can forward you the reply from Ursula Miniszewski, who works for the Division of the Senior Historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and who sent me the above answer. She had carbon copied that email to 3 other people from the domain, that I figured out were people who were supposed to fix the website, which never happened though.
The truth though is I don't want to disclose my email, and even if I forward you the email in question, this proves nothing, since Ms. Miniszewski could have been wrong, and other wise heads at USHMM could have decided that the website is fine the way it is.
The point of me bringing universities here was that there are a lot more universities in the world than the watchtower and JWs websites therefore in a web search you have more results from unisersity websites than from the watchtower. I don't mean to say that everything taught in unis is BS, of course there's a lot of good science there, but not all of it.
I've never claimed that everyone is wrong. I was just trying to alert people that the information from the USHMM website about the number of JWs incarcerated and perished is wrong. Now I came to the point of confessing that without forwarding the email I can't prove nothing, and since I don't want to forward it to someone I don't know, I admit that I can't prove the above shout of mine.
Maybe you should revert the numbers the way you believe is correct, that would be fine. I wouldn't have compained if you have done it earlier. I don't have the knowledge and desire to explore this subject further and to argue with you. I pretty much said what I wanted to say with my very first post. I gave information about Detlef Garbe's book, that I have never read, unfortunately, but if there're doubting minds reading this discussion, I hope I just gave them a lead.

Denounciation of the Bible[edit]

I thought that the 'Nazis' permitted Christianity as long as the Christians submitted to them (many of the 'Nazis' themselves were apparently Christians). What about the "German Christians" or "Protestant Reich Church?" Anglius

That's precisely the point here: Jehovah's Witnesses did not submit to Nazi authority because it involved denying tenets of their own faith and being forced to participate in patriotic, nationalistic, and military events. Comparable to this are first century Christians who would not even sprinkle a pinch of incense on an altar dedicated to the Caesar. They would have otherwise been allowed to exist if they had recognized the "deity" of the Caesar. CobaltBlueTony 19:04, Jun 1, 2005 (UTC)
Yes, sir, but why would the Führer require them to discredit the Bible? Anglius
In a neutral point of view, I have to say that it was the JW interpretation of the Biblbe, which restricted their compliance to the Nazi regime, which incited Hitler's orders. Within the context of my faith, however, I have to say that Hitler was threatened by Scriptures that clearly denounced his behavior, which if allowed to stand as a direct challenge to his own inpterpreatations, could influence other "Christian" denominations to resist. CobaltBlueTony
I thank you, "CobaltBlueTony," for your information. Anglius

Is there a reason this became a redirect?[edit]

I noticed that Bhuck (talk · contribs) turned this into a redirect to Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses. What's the argument against two articles? More specifically, are there any editors out there who would object to the following?

  1. Copy the Persecution of JW in Nazi Germany section and paste it into Jehovah's Witnesses and the Holocaust, replacing the redirect.
  2. Replace the Persecution of JW in Nazi Germany section with a short summary of what was there before, with a reference (using Template:Main) to Jehovah's Witnesses and the Holocaust.
  3. Add introductory material, categories, external links, etc. to make Jehovah's Witnesses and the Holocaust stand alone. This would include an early link to the broader topic of Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses.

This approach is commonly used throughout Wikipedia. It is particularly applicable here because a series of articles on The Holocaust exists, and that series has several places where a Holocaust-specific link would be more relevant. Of course section-specific links are an alternative, but it's been my experience that even with comments reminding people to look for section-specific references, over time, sections headings get renamed, breaking the context-specific linkage that having a separate article preserves.

Normally I would be bold and just do what I described, but a scan of this and other related talk pages suggest that this area is sensitive enough that I thought I'd write this as a proposal instead.

I'll post a link to this thread at the talk pages for Wikipedia:WikiProject Jehovah's Witnesses and User talk:Bhuck to raise awareness of this discussion. Thanks. 23:35, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

I must say I don't really remember my motivations last summer for turning that into a redirect, though I could probably speculate on what they might have been. More to the point, though, would be to comment on your proposal here. Frankly, I am not very comfortable with the term "Holocaust" being applied to persecution for reasons of ideology. While I realize that the Holocaust article does use that term for ideological persecution, I don't think that is really correct, and even there it is in a more minor way and not the main focus of the article. The term is related to death camps and genocide, and adherence to the theology of Jehovah's Witnesses is not a genetic trait any more than adherence to communism is. If communists or Jehovah's Witnesses were to convincingly renounce their ideology, the desire to persecute them would vanish--this option was not available to Jews, who would be persecuted even if they renounced their religion and converted to Christianity, or tried to apply for membership in the Nazi party.--Bhuck 01:29, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

See also the discussion at Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Jehovah's_Witnesses_and_the_Holocaust.
I'd guess the redirect was meant as a temporary measure, until more material has accumulated (e.g. by translating from Zeugen Jehovas im Nationalsozialismus).
And I'd suggest moving to another page title.
Pjacobi 13:29, 3 February 2006 (UTC)