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The Relationship of Jehovah’s Witness and the Country of Germany
Prior to the establishment of the Nazi regime within Germany, the relationship between members of Jehovah’s Witness and Germany was strained. This was due to several reasons with one of them being the fact that the members of the religion were often thought of as heretics by the mainstream Protestant and Catholic churches at the time (Article 1).
Other reasons came in the form of the door to door preaching being conducted by members of Jehovah’s Witness which government officials often sought to limit due to it being compared to illegal peddling (Article 1). The relationship between Germany and Jehovah’s Witness further deteriorated at the advent of the Nazi regime wherein the former actively sought to ban all activities done by the members of the latter which culminated in thousands of members of Jehovah’s Witnesses being sent to concentration camps (Article 1).
Response to Escalating Persecution
The concept of “spiritual resistance” in the case of members of Jehovah’s Witness during the era of the Nazis in Germany focused primarily on continuing the acts associated with their faith despite the persecution they were up against. This took the form of underground pamphlets and leaflets that were produced and distributed by members of Jehovah’s Witness in order to spread their faith despite the bans being put in place despite such actions (Article 1). Other manifestations of this “spiritual resistance” came in the form of bible meetings and secret gatherings where members of the faith could convene and carry out their religious observances.
This was in direct violation of the Nazi edict that such gatherings were illegal yet they were carried out anyway due to their desire to continue to practice their faith (Article 1). Lastly, when they were placed in concentration camps, members of Jehovah’s Witness continued to act in a stoic and peaceful fashion and did not actively resist the guards. While most may view this as subservience, in reality they were merely practicing the tenets of their faith and even continued to try to convert people while they were in prison (Article 1).
When examining the article, it becomes immediately apparent that members of Jehovah’s Witness could have completely avoided their fate if they had simply renounced their religious beliefs. It should also be noted that as soldiers of Jehovah’s army they could not bear arms for any single nation which resulted in numerous members being ostracized for not being “nationalistic enough” (Article 1).
Other notable instances which showcase instance which would cause members of the organization to clash with the government came in the form of them refusing to raise their arms when it came to saluting Hitler as well as not participating in the German Labor Front (Article 1). All these factors combined resulted in them being labeled as “traitors” in the eyes of the Nazi government which, when compounded by their minority religion status, created a considerable level of persecution directed against them. If they had conformed to the wishes of the government, then it is likely that they would not have been persecuted at all (Article 1).
On the other hand, it is important to note that for some people their religion is an indelible aspect of who they are. It is something that is so ingrained into their being that to renounce it would be the same renouncing themselves. Through such a perspective, it is not surprising that despite the threat of persecution and death, members of the Jehovah’s Witness continued to uphold their ideals. From my own personal standpoint, I have to admit that what they did was brave and I do fully agree with the concept of dying for something that you truly believe in.
Stories of Jehovah’s Witnesses
For me, the best stories were those of Adolphe Arnold, Emma Arnold, and Simone Arnold since they delved into the experience of a family that was torn apart yet brought back together in the end (Article 2). Their individual stories revolved around the family members each having a happy life with Arnold being an art consultant, Emma being a weaver and Simone merely being a young child (Article 2).
They lived a happy life until the Nazi occupation of France yet were subjected to one of the worst experiences imaginable as each came across a different test to their faith. I picked these individuals to write about since they exemplified how important faith is when it comes to helping a person endure the harshest of situations with only their faith to keep them strong.
Importance of Faith
The journey I have taken when going through this exercise has taught me that faith is an indelible aspect of a person’s existence that helps them to endure almost any problem. The stories I have read and the bravery I have seen has helped to reaffirm my convictions in regard to my religion and how I need to step back and see just how integrated into my life my faith is. While I have to admit that my own convictions are severely lacking when it comes to adhering to all aspects of my faith, the fact remains that at the end of the day I would want to stand for something that I truly believe in rather than go along with what others say I should believe in.