Kennebunk Maine Kingdom Hall Burning – 1940

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Mar 272005

The Rest of the Story

Living just south of Kennebunk Maine as I do, I often heard the story of how a mob, irrate over Jehovah’s Witnesses’ refusal to salute the flag, attacked and burned the Kingdom Hall there on June 9, 1940. As is the case with so many things, there is more to the story.

I always pretty much took the story at face value and had never thought of investigating the details behind the incident until I came across an item related to in on E-Bay.

The Kennebunk incident took place just days after the United States Supreme Court overturned lower court decisions and found against the Gobitis family whose children were expelled from their school in Pennsylvania for refusing to salute the flag. Here is some background on the Minersville School District v. Gobitis case and the only mentions of the Kennebunk incident in Watchtower publications.

On November 6, 1935, Lillian and William Gobitis, children of Walter Gobitis, one of Jehovah’s witnesses, refused to salute the flag and were expelled from the public school at Minersville, Pennsylvania. Their case, pressed in the federal courts, attracted nationwide attention, becoming the test case for the entire country. It was fought up to the Supreme Court at Washington. Seventy-year-old lawyer J. F. Rutherford, president of the Watch Tower Society, personally appeared before the United States Supreme Court and argued the case on behalf of Jehovah’s witnesses. – The Watchtower, 7/15/1955, p 428, “Part 14: Fight Carried into the Law Courts”

Despite “Judge” Rutherford’s best efforts, on June 3, 1940, the Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision, found in favor of the Minersville School District. The Court later reversed itself on Flag Day, June 14, 1943, in the case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette. Quoting from former Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, in his book “The Court and the Constitution” (1987), the Watchtower writes:

Professor Cox continues his account: “Persecution of the Witnesses increased. In some quarters, notably Texas, Witnesses were attacked by mobs for their refusal to salute the flag, and they were sometimes held as ‘Nazi agents.'” In Maine, one Kingdom Hall was burned. In one town in Illinois, the whole population “turned out to attack some sixty Witnesses.” – Awake! 6/8/1988, p. 23, “The Principal Victims of Religious Persecution”

Lillian Gobitis mentioned the Kennebunk incident in her story that was published in the Awake! magazine in 1993.

This decision unleashed an almost unimaginable wave of terror. Across the country, it was open season on Jehovah’s Witnesses. People thought they were doing their patriotic duty by attacking us. Within days the Kingdom Hall at Kennebunk, Maine, was torched. – Awake!, 7/22/1993, p 15, “The Courage to Put God First”

So far, it seems like a simple case of an angry mob torching a Kingdom Hall. But there is a bit more to it. This brings us to the item on E-Bay. From time to time I check there for Watchtower related items. One day I saw a photograph up for bid that pictured two men holding Watchtower magazines. The information on it indicated that the two men were Jehovah’s Witnesses who had been arrested for assault with intent to kill after allegedly firing shotguns into the mob that was gathered outside the Kennebunk Kingdom Hall on the night of June 9, 1940, the night that the Hall was torched. I successfully bid on the picture, which is shown below.

Carrol S. Madsen and Joseph Leathers in the Sanford, Maine jail after being arrested for assault with intent to kill.

Glued to the back of the picture is the original Associated Press release about these two men.

The Associated Press press release attached to the back of the photograph above.

The next year, the American Civil Liberties Union published “The Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses”. In this work, the ACLU quotes from Mrs. Gertrude Bobb’s affidavit in which she describes the events leading up to the incident.

The Kennebunk Case

The shocking events at Kennebunk, Maine in the early summer of 1940 were preceded by a long campaign against Jehovah’s Witnesses, who maintained in the town a Kingdom Hall.

The culmination of the attack on the night of June 9 resulted in charges not against the assailants but against Jehovah’s Witnesses, who fired some shots from inside the Hall. Nobody was killed or wounded. One member of Jehovah’s Witnesses was convicted of assault with intent to kill and his conviction appealed to the Supreme Court. One man still remains to be tried. Four others were acquitted. Persons charged with burning Kingdom Hall were arrested and tried but all acquitted.

The following is from an affidavit of Mrs. Gertrude A. Bobb, a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose husband was largely responsible for the conduct of Witness work. Mrs. Bobb’s affidavit recounts events after Jehovah’s Witnesses were forced out of a rented hall because of mob violence:

“One day during the last week of September, 1939, at approximately 5 p.m. I went with Edwin Bobb, my husband, and Richard Trask to the home of a deputy sheriff of York ‘County, to tell him of the plans of the French Catholics to break up our meeting, and to ask for police protection. I waited outside in the car while my husband and Richard Trask went inside. In a few minutes they came out and I saw the sheriff swinging his arms and heard him shouting ‘Don’t come here for protection and don’t go to any other deputy sheriffs because they are Legionnaires, too. You’ll get no protection from them.

“We held the meeting without police protection. Kingdom Hall was packed with hoodlums. While I was sitting there a rock crashed in and missed my head by about a foot.

“The following Sunday night we held another meeting and Bible study in the same hall. Albout 8:30, rocks and all kinds of fruit and garbage were thrown through the windows, breaking every window in the front. There were others in the alley crashing windows in the back. We were forced to leave the building. After we left, the hoodlums crashed the doors down and broke all the furniture. The mob downstairs was estimated at about 2,000, among whom there were a handful of Salvation Army men and women in uniform. . . .

“The night after Memorial Day, a mob attacked Kingdom Hall, crashing in the front, breaking the windows and even the walls. I jumped into the car and drove to the nearest telephone to call the state police. In the meantime the hoodlums had returned and two got out of a car with their arms full of beer bottles. As they stepped into the yard to throw them, a shot was fired from the building. The two men dropped the bottles and fled.

“The next day Pat McCab, a state policeman, told my husband that our lives were in danger. He said he was telling this to us because he was afraid the whole thing was getting beyond the point where the state police could control it. My husband told him we would stick it out and protect Kingdom Hall even if we were to be shot.

“On Friday night, a large car’ swung out from the road heading right for our front doors. When they were several feet from the doors, we switched the lights on. They quickly swerved out into the road again and drove around in circles in front of the hall. I went out to take their license number. At first they warned me to go back into the house but when I wouldn’t leave, they tried to run me over.

“The next night, June 7th, our service meeting had just been completed when a hail of rocks hit the building in the rear. But when we got back there, no one was in sight. We called for an officer in Kennebunk but we couldn’t get one. We heard that a mob was threatening to tar and feather us. So we wired the Governor and the Attorney-General of Maine, appealing to them for protection. The Governor was out of town and we received no answer from him or from the Attorney- General. We made preparations to protect our lives as well as Kingdom Hall.

“On Saturday about eight cars of hoodlums began circling the hall. A weird light was thrown across our back yard and the field alongside of the hall. We later discovered it came from the home of the brother of the man who got shot, Mr. MacDonald. These cars would come up almost to the front porch but they only stayed there a moment and then swerved out into the road again. This sort of thing kept up until 2:30 in the morning when a car pulled up in front of the Kingdom Hall and three men got out and started for the Hall. As soon as the rocks started to fly, I said ‘Lights !’ Then I heard gun-fire but I couldn’t tell how many guns were fired.

“A little later the state police came and reported that two men were hurt and in the hospital. They took our names and addresses and the guns, and left. About 4:30 we decided that the mob would be after us, so we started to get our car which was about a mile away. The state police picked us up, telling us we were under arrest. They also picked up two others who were just leaving the hall to go to a friend’s house.

“Later the police said that the women had been taken into custody for their protection but that the men were under arrest, one charged with assault and attempt to murder and the other with being an accessory. Mv husband and I were put in the same cell. A little later the father of one of the boys that was hurt came up to our cell and said, pointing at Eddie, ‘I’ve got you where I want you, you fat bastard. You got my boy and I’ll get you the minute you get out.” He turned to me and said “I’ll get you too. I’ll drag you through Biddeford and make you salute something.’

“The police later told us that the mob was very vicious and that our lives were not worth a nickel out in the streets. I later learned that six of Jehovah’s Witnesses had been arrested and charged with assault and attempt to murder.”- The Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses, American Civil Liberties Union – January 1941, pp 16-19 – from

Gertrude Bobb’s account confirms the substance of the Associated Press release. On a personal note, I knew the Richard Trask that Mrs. Bobb mentions, first when he was in the Rochester N.H. congregation and later when he moved to the Kittery Maine congregation. I don’t remember ever talking with him about the Kennebunk incident.

After quoting Gertrude Bobb’s affidavit, the ACLU document went on to relate another interesting event in the history of JWs in Maine:

In another Maine village, North Windham, a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses has been convicted of murder resulting from an unprovoked assault by a garage man to whom he had tried to play phonograph records. The garage man threatened and struck the Witness with a tire iron and in a scuffle the Witness, Arthur F. Cox, pulled a gun and shot the garage man. He alleged self-defense. The case is on appeal to the Supreme Court. – The Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses, American Civil Liberties Union – January 1941, pp 16-19 – from

Another old-timer that I knew was supposedly with Cox when this happened. I’ve heard a couple versions of what happened to Cox after this. If anyone has any more information on Arthur Cox and this incident, please let me know.

Historian Barbara Tuchman on 1914

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Dec 292004

The Watchtower has quoted various historians to try to prop up their 1914 teaching. Here are some examples where they quoted from Barbara Tuchman’s “The Proud Tower”.

Watchtower quotes from “The Proud Tower”:

*** w92 5/1 3 1914-The Year That Shocked the World *** “The Great War of 1914-18 lies like a band of scorched earth dividing that time from ours. In wiping out so many lives . . . , in destroying beliefs, changing ideas, and leaving incurable wounds of disillusion, it created a physical as well as psychological gulf between two epochs.”-From The Proud Tower-A Portrait of the World Before the War 1890-1914, by Barbara Tuchman.

*** w92 5/1 5 1914-The Year That Shocked the World *** Indeed, 1914 changed much. It had not produced a better world, and the war did not turn out to be “the war to end all wars,” as many people had hoped. Instead, as historian Barbara Tuchman observes: “Illusions and enthusiasms possible up to 1914 slowly sank beneath a sea of massive disillusionment.”

*** g94 11/8 9 Sarajevo-From 1914 to 1994 *** “The Great War of 1914-18 lies like a band of scorched earth dividing that time from ours. In wiping out so many lives which would have been operative on the years that followed, in destroying beliefs, changing ideas, and leaving incurable wounds of disillusion, it created a physical as well as psychological gulf between two epochs.”-The foreword to The Proud Tower, by Barbara W. Tuchman.

A more complete quote from “The Proud Tower”

The Great War of 1914-18 lies like a band of scorched earth dividing that time from ours. In wiping out so many lives which would have been operative on the years that followed, in destroying beliefs, changing ideas, and leaving incurable wounds of disillusion, it created a physical as well as psychological gulf between two epochs. This book is an attempt to discover the quality of the world from which the Great War came.

It is not the book I intended to write when I began. Preconceptions dropped off one by one as I investigated. The period was not a Golden Age or Belle Epoque except to a thin crust of the privileged class. It was not a time exclusively of confidence, innocence, comfort, stability, security and peace. All these qualities were certainly present. People were more confident of values and standards. , more innocent in the sense of retaining more hope of mankind, than they are today, although they were not more peaceful nor, except for the upper few, more comfortable. Our misconception lies in assuming that doubt and fear, ferment, protest, violence and hate were not equally present. We have been misled by the people of the time themselves who, when looking back across the gulf of the War, see that earlier half of their lives misted over by a lovely sunset haze of peace and security. It did not seem so golden when they were in the midst of it. Their memories and their nostalgia have conditioned our view of the pre-war era but I can off the reader a rule based on adequate research: all statements of how lovely it was in that era made by persons contemporary with it will be found to have been made after 1914. – Forward to “The Proud Tower – A Portrait of the World Before the War: 1890-1914” by Barbara W. Tuchman, page xv, xvi


Dec 262004

The Watchtower’s declaration regarding it’s relationship with the Hitler regime.

Declaration of Facts

This company of German people, who are peaceable and law-abiding citizens representing many others from every part of Germany, all of whom are earnestly laboring for the highest welfare of the people of this land, being now duly assembled at Berlin this 25th day of June, AD.. 1933, do joyfully declare our complete devotion to Jehovah, the Almighty God, and to his kingdom under Christ Jesus, whose shed blood bought the human race. We declare that the holy Scriptures set forth in the Bible constitute the Word of Jehovah God given to men for their guidance in righteousness, and that the Word of God is the truth, and that it is of greatest importance that man have a knowledge of his relationship to God. We ask to be judged by the standard of the Word of God.

Christ Jesus is Jehovah God’s great Witness to the truth, and as his faithful and devoted followers we are, by His grace, witnesses to the truth. The purpose of this Declaration is that we may present a true and faithful witness before rulers and the people as to the name and purpose of Jehovah God and our relation thereto.

We are wrongfully charged before the ruling powers of this government and before the people of this nation; and in order that the name of Jehovah God may be exalted in the minds of the people, and that his benevolent purposes be better understood and our position fairly placed before the government, we do respectfully ask the rulers of the nation and the people to give a fair and impartial consideration to the statement of facts here made.

The Scriptures plainly state that the chief opposer of Jehovah God and the greatest enemy of mankind is Satan the Devil whose name is also that of Serpent and Dragon. It is written in the Scriptures that Satan, who has long been the invisible ruler of this world, deceives and blinds the people to the truth in order that the light of and concerning Jehovah God and Christ Jesus may not shine into the minds of men. (2 Corinthians 4: 3,4)

Frequently by fraud, subtility [sic]] and deception Satan has induced honest persons to war with each other, in order that he might turn them all away from God and destroy them. Above all things, the people need to know Jehovah God and his gracious provision for their general welfare.

By the term ‘clergy’, as used in our literature, reference is made to the class of professed religious teachers, priests and Jesuits who employ improper political means to accomplish their ends and pin forces even with those who deny God and the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the same class to whom Jesus referred as his persecutors. We have no criticism of any honest religious teacher.

When Jesus went to the Jews to tell them of the truth, it was the Jewish clergy, that is to say, the Pharisees and priests, that violently opposed him and persecuted him and caused him to be charged with all manner of crimes and offenses. They refused to hear the truth, and addressing them Jesus said: “Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.’ (John 8: 43-45) Although the Pharisees and priests then claimed to represent Jehovah God Jesus told them that they were in fact the representatives of Satan the Devil.

“We have no fight with any persons or religious teachers, but we must call attention to the fact that it is generally those who claim to represent God and Christ Jesus who are in fact our persecutors and who misrepresent us before the governments and nations. As true followers of Christ Jesus we are to expect such opposition, and we mention it here in explanation of why we have been misrepresented before the rulers of this nation. To his faithful followers Jesus said: ‘Remember the word I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they [the false religious teachers] have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.’ (John 15: 20) Furthermore, Jesus said that this same class of men would cause his true followers to be wrongfully charged before the ruling powers, his language being: ‘But take heed to yourselves: for they [false religious teachers] shall deliver you up to councils [police power]; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten; and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.’ (Mark 13: 9) This explains why Jehovah God now permits his faithful witnesses to be misrepresented and persecuted, namely, that those of a wrong spirit may identify themselves as opponents of God and thus bear witness against themselves. The same materialistic spirit that caused the persecution of Jesus Christ now exists and is back of the persecution of us his faithful followers.

It is falsely charged by our enemies that we have received financial support for our work from the Jews. Nothing is farther from the truth. Up to this hour there never has been the slightest bit of money contributed to our work by Jews. We are the faithful followers of Christ Jesus and believe upon Him as the Savior of the world, whereas the Jews entirely reject Jesus Christ and emphatically deny that he is the Savior of the world sent of God for man’s good. This of itself should be sufficient proof to show that we receive no support from Jews and that therefore the charges against us are maliciously false and could proceed only from Satan, our great enemy.

The greatest and most oppressive empire on earth is the Anglo-American empire. By that is meant the British Empire, of which the United States of America forms a part. It has been the commercial Jews of the British-American empire that have built up and carried on Big Business as a means of exploiting and oppressing the peoples of many nations. This fact particularly applies to the cities of London and New York, the stronghold of Big Business. This fact is so manifest in America that there is a proverb concerning the city of New York which says: ‘The Jews own it, the Irish Catholics rule it, and the Americans pay the bills.’ We have no fight with any of these persons mentioned, but, as the witnesses for Jehovah and in obedience to his commandment set forth in the Scriptures, we are compelled to call attention to the truth concerning the same in order that the people may be enlightened concerning God and his purpose.

Our Literature

It is said that our books and like literature, when circulated amongst the people, constitute a danger to the peace and safety of the nation. We are certain that this conclusion is due to the fact that our books and other literature have not been carefully examined by the rulers and hence are not properly understood. We respectfully call attention to the fact that these books and other literature were written originally in America and the language therein used has been adapted to the American style of plainness of speech and, when translated into German, the same appears to be harsh. We admit that the same truths might be stated in a less blunt and more pleasing phrase, and yet the language of these books follows closely the language of the Bible.

It should be borne in mind that in the British Empire and in America the common people have suffered and are now suffering greatly because of the misrule of Big Business and conscienceless politicians, which misrule has been and is supported by political religionists, and hence the writers of our books or literature have endeavored to employ plain language to convey to the people the proper thought or understanding. The language used, however, is not as strong or emphatic as that used by Jesus Christ in denouncing the oppressors and false teachers of his time. “The present government of Germany has declared emphatically against Big Business oppressors and in opposition to the wrongful religious influence in the political affairs of the nation. Such is exactly our position; and we further state in our literature the reason for the existence of oppressive Big Business and the wrongful political religious influence, because the Holy Scriptures plainly declare that these oppressive instruments proceed from the Devil, and that the complete relief therefrom is God’s kingdom under Christ. It is therefore impossible for our literature or our work to in any wise be a danger or a menace to the peace and safety of the state.

Our organization is not political in any sense. We only insist on teaching the Word of Jehovah God to the people, and that without hindrance. We do not object or try to hinder anyone’s teaching or believing what he desires, but we only ask the freedom to believe and teach what we conceive the bible to teach, and then let the people decide which they wish to believe. “To know Jehovah God and his gracious provision for mankind is of most vital importance to all persons, because God has declared in His Word that where there is no vision or understanding of his Word the people perish. (Proverbs 29: 18) We have devoted our lives and our material substance to the work of enabling the people to gain a vision or understanding of God’s Word, and therefore it is impossible for our literature and our work to be a menace to the peace and safety of the nation. Instead of being against the principles advocated by the government of Germany, we stand squarely for such principles, and point out that Jehovah God through Christ Jesus will bring about the full realization of these principles and will give to the people peace and prosperity and the greatest desire of every honest heart.

Our organization seeks neither money nor members, but we are a company or organized body of Christian people engaged solely in the benevolent work of teaching the Word of God to the people at the least possible cost to them. Our organization was originally incorporated in the United States of America in 1884 under the name of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE TRACT SOCIETY, and in 1914 incorporated under the laws of Great Britain by the name of the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION. These are merely the corporate names of our organization for legally carrying forward its work. The Scriptural name by which we are known is ‘Jehovah’s witnesses’. We are engaged solely in a benevolent work. The purpose of our organization is to aid the people to understand the Bible, which discloses the only possible way for the complete relief and blessing for mankind. Our organization has extended its work throughout the earth. The education, culture and upbuilding of the people must and will come through the agency of God’s kingdom concerning which we teach as set forth in the Bible. The salvation of the people depends upon the true knowledge of and obedience to Jehovah God and his righteous ways.

The people are in great distress and in need of help to understand the reason for their unhappy condition and what is the means of relief. The Scriptures, when understood, make this matter clear. Instead of collecting money from the people and using the same to erect great buildings and to support men in luxury, we print the gospel message of God’s kingdom and carry it to the homes of the people that they may, at the least inconvenience to themselves, gain a knowledge of God’s purposes concerning them.

A careful examination of our books and literature will disclose the fact that the very high ideals held and promulgated by the present national government are set forth in and endorsed and strongly emphasized in our publications, and show that Jehovah God will see to it that these high ideals in due time will be attained by all persons who love righteousness and who obey the Most High. Instead, therefore, of our literature and our work’s being a menace to the principles of the present government we are the strongest supporters of such high ideals. For this reason Satan, the enemy of all men who desire righteousness, has sought to misrepresent our work and prevent us from carrying it on in this land.

For many years our organization has put forth an unselfish and persistent effort to do good to the people. Our American brethren have greatly assisted in the work in Germany, and with money freely contributed, and that at a time when all Germany was in dire distress. Now because it appears that Germany may soon be free from oppression and that the people may be lifted up, Satan, the great enemy, puts forth his endeavours to destroy that benevolent work in this land.

League of Nations

The language in our books or literature concerning the League of Nations has been seized upon as a reason for prohibiting our work and the distribution of our books. Let us remind the government and the people of Germany that it was the League of Nations compact that laid upon the shoulders of the German people the great unjust and unbearable burdens. That League of Nations compact was not brought forth by the friends of Germany. In America at one time the public press announced that 140,000 clergymen had set aside a certain period of time in which a concerted movement was to be made, and which was made, to induce the American people to fully endorse the League of Nations. It was the Federation of Churches in America that issued a manifesto stating that the ‘League of Nations is the political expression of God’s kingdom on earth’, and which by them was substituted in the place and stead of God’s kingdom under Christ. It was in America that our organization under the visible leadership of its president pointed out emphatically that the League of Nations is not an institution of Jehovah God, because it is oppressive and unfair. It was that condition, existing at the time, which called forth language that appears in our books concerning the League of Nations and also calling attention to the fact that such League of Nations compact can never bring about the relief and blessing of the people, because such relief and blessing can come by adhering strictly to the principles laid down in God’s Word and in the manner which Jehovah has pointed out.

For almost half a century our strictly Christian organization has carried on its work in various parts of the earth. Its books are published in more than 50 languages, and upward of 140 million of these books are in the hands of the people. For more than thirty years our books and literature have been distributed throughout Germany, and millions of these are now in the hands of the German people and are read by the people, all of whom will bear testimony to the fact that these books, based strictly on the Bible, are of great help to them and upbuild them and give them hope for a realization of the blessings which Jehovah God long ago promised. In all these years of our work, and in the wide distribution of our books and literature, not one instance can be truthfully cited wherein our work or literature has been a menace to the government or has in any wise endangered the peace and safety of the nations.

The endeavors of our organization being exclusively confined to bearing testimony to the name and Word of Jehovah God, it would be entirely inconsistent for us to attempt to exert any political influence in the governments of this world or to do anything that would endanger the peace and safety of the nation. We have no desire nor inclination to do anything except to carry out our divinely given commission to proclaim the Word of Jehovah God.

In America, Canada and other parts of the British Empire the political clergy, priests and Jesuits have persistently persecuted and continue to persecute those of our organization, and without just cause or excuse; and we have every reason to believe that a like influence has been subtilly [sic] employed by the great enemy Satan to misrepresent us and our work in Germany. We remind you that in the years past the political clergymen have brought more sorrow upon the German people than probably any other class of men. We have no desire to fight with the clergymen, but we do ask that the ruling powers of the nation judge us not by the misrepresentation of such men, but that we be judged according to the Word of God and the work we are doing consistent therewith. Jehovah God persecutes no one, but permits each one to choose his own course, holding him responsible for his acts according to knowledge. Jehovah God has emphatically expressed his anger against those who do persecute others who are trying to serve him; and this proves that those who persecute us do not represent God, but that they are incited so to do by the enemy of God and man.-Psalm 72:4

Great Truths

The Holy Scriptures, viewed in the light of present-day events which are in fulfilment of divine prophecy, disclose that: The time has arrived when Jehovah will make his name known to all creation and vindicate his name and clear it from the defamation which Satan has placed against that holy name. (Psalm 83: 18) When Jesus Christ, the Vindicator, ascended into heaven Jehovah commanded him to wait until his due time to put the enemy down. That period of waiting has now come to an end and God has sent forth his beloved Son to oust the enemy and rule in righteousness. (Psalm 110: 14; Hebrews 10: 12,13) The world, or uninterrupted rule, of Satan has ended, and this began to be evidenced by the World War in 1914, and since then until now is the time when the gospel of the Kingdom must be told to the people. (Matthew 24: 3,14) Satan has now been cast out of heaven and down to the earth and now confines his operations to the earth in an endeavor to blind the people to the truth and destroy them, and that is the reason for the present-day sufferings of humanity. The prophetic words of Jesus now apply: ‘Woe to the inhabiters [the rulers] of the earth, and of the sea [the people in general]! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.’-Revelation 12: 12.

The people of Germany have suffered great misery since 1914 and have been the victims of much injustice practiced upon them by others. The nationalists have declared themselves against all such unrighteousness and announced that ‘Our relationship to God is high and holy’. Since our organization fully endorses these righteous principles and is engaged solely in carrying forth the work of enlightening the people concerning the Word of Jehovah God, Satan by subtilty [sic] endeavors to set the government against our work and destroy it because we magnify the importance of knowing and serving God. Instead of our organization’s being a menace to the peace and safety of the government, it is the one organization standing for the peace and safety of this land. We beg to remind all that the great crisis is upon the world because the transition period from bad to good is at hand, and the hope of the world is God’s kingdom under Christ, for which Jesus taught his followers to constantly pray: ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven.’

The power of Jehovah God is supreme and there is no power that can successfully resist him. His time to exercise his power in the interest of humanity and to the vindication of his great name is here. In this connection we respectfully call attention to the admonition and warning of Jehovah God, both to the rulers and to the people, which applies to this very hour, wherein he says: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion…. Be wise now, therefor, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.’-Psalm 2: 6, 10-12.

The present government having declared adherence to the aforementioned high ideals, we are persuaded that the rulers do not desire to knowingly resist the progressive witness work to the name of Jehovah God and his kingdom which we are now carrying forward. If our work is merely that of men, it will fall of its own weight. If it is of Jehovah God and being carried forward in obedience to his commandment, then to resist it means to fight against God.-Acts 5: 39.

We therefore appeal to the high sense of justice of the government and nation and respectfully ask that the order of prohibition against our work and our literature be set aside, and the opportunity be given us to have a fair hearing before we are judged. We respectfully ask that the government appoint a committee of impartial men to hold conference with a committee of our organization and that a fair and impartial examination of our literature and our work be made, to the end that all misunderstanding may be removed and that we may without hindrance obey Jehovah God’s commandment now applying to us, to wit: ‘Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.’-Isaiah 62: 10.

The peoples of Germany are a God-fearing people and should not be deprived of an opportunity to learn of Jehovah God and of his gracious provision to bring lasting peace, prosperity, liberty and everlasting life on earth to all those who know and obey him. Let all who love God work together to the honor and vindication of his name. All who take a contrary course must take responsibility before God; but as for us we will serve Jehovah forever.

“RESOLVED, That copies of this Declaration be respectfully delivered to high officials of the government and that the same be given wide publication to the people, that the name of Jehovah may be further known.”

Walter Salter Letter to Rutherford

 Documents, History, Letters  Comments Off on Walter Salter Letter to Rutherford
Dec 262004

A letter from Walter Salter to then president of the Watchtower Society, Joseph Rutherford:

P.O. Box no. 404
Toronto, Canada

April 1, 1937

Hon. J.F. Rutherford
4140 Braeburn Road
Kensington Heights,
San Diego, California

I wrote you on January 25th embodying an article which I believe proved by the Scriptures that our Lord has not returned and that the saints have not yet been resurrected. That Christ has not returned is proven clearly by His statement in Matthew 24 wherein, having outlined all the things to occur at the end of the age, including the great tribulation, He said: “When ye see ALL these things know that He is nigh even at the door.” Verse 33, Diaglott; and margin King James version. Mark well the Master’s words for He says even after ye see all these things He would not be present, but near, even at the door. Well did He warn His true followers not to be deceived by any man saying He was present when He was not?

I also suggested, that “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” is not necessarily “the battle Of God Almighty” but merely a mighty and final battle of Satan’s visible forces among themselves, in which God would put it Into their hearts to destroy churchianity. The time of the battle is the day of God Almighty, just as one might say in the day of Shakespeare, and that would in no sense prove that God was going to fight any more than it would prove Shakespeare was going to fight. God’s act of destruction of Satan’s forces will be beyond Armageddon.

Two years ago last summer you made the statement to me and another that you had bluffed all your life. I believe that was one of the truest statements you ever made and I am now calling your bluff, and challenge you to answer the article above referred to point by point and prove from the Scriptures that Armageddon is the battle of God Almighty.

The premise of all the teachings of the Society’s publications which might be spoken of as spiritual teaching i.e., teachings which are supposed to be for the Lord’s people, is that Christ has returned and is at His temple for judgement. The burden of the Society’s message to the world is that God at Armageddon will destroy all the forces of Satan. If Christ has not returned, and I now believe He has not, and if Armageddon is not God’s battle, and I believe it is not, the light in that connection has come to us not through the WATCHTOWER but from another source, which, proves that the WATCHTOWER is not the channel through which God is feeding His people and not only so but that all the teachings presented therein since 1918 and based on these false premises are wrong! So much for doctrine: now a word regarding what I feel constrained to state concerning the corruption otherwise of the Society.

As the scales by the Lord’s grace, have fallen from my eyes I have been astounded to see how blinded I have been to your actions, through a superstition that the WATCHTOWER was the Lord’s channel of meat in due season for the household of faith and that you as President of the Society were God’s chief servant amongst His people, and that you being responsible we should be submissive to whatsoever you required done, foolishly thinking that I had no responsibility in the matter and that anything you did that was wrong, or that I did as ordered by you, the Lord would overrule. It was with this thought in mind that I, at your orders would purchase cases of whiskey at $60.00 a case, and cases of brandy and other liquors, to say nothing of untold cases of beer. A bottle or two of liquor would not do; it was for THE PRESIDENT and nothing was too good for THE PRESIDENT. He was heaven’s favorite, why should not he have everything that would gratify his desires for comfort. True, I had a part therein for I partook of your hospitality, or shall I say the Society’s hospitality for it was the Society’s money but I partook, as above stated, being blinded with the idea the THE PRESIDENT was in charge and therefore responsible and not I. Today I see that the thought was absolutely wrong and that the squandering of the Society’s money in that respect was a mis-appropriation of funds, and I should have taken no part therein whatsoever. I confess my wrong before the friends and before the Lord and ask their forgiveness and His. Often as I thought about this extravagance and waste and then thought of the lot of the pioneers I was puzzled, but my conscience was lulled by the belief that the Lord was using you to serve His cause and people and therefore I did not and dared not say anything that I thought would cause the friends to lose confidence in you as a servant of the Lord. True, I have humorously said to those whom I thought were our mutual friends things regarding your idiosyncrasies that all MEN between friends say one of another, just as you have said of me, which things I know have been traitorously (Matthew 24:10, John 16:1,2) reported to you not along out of their setting but so out of their spirit that none who wanted to know the truth would recognize them as the original statements, and before my God I can state I have never to my knowledge done anything intentionally to injure you, the work of the Society, or its interests, in my life. In that betrayal you joined hands – not that I mind in point of fact I thank God that He permitted it and assure you I would do good to any of the conspirators had I the opportunity.

While recognizing your position as President of the corporation I have always reserved the right to think. It has been well said, “A man who cannot think is an idiot, a man who won’t think is a fool, and a man who is afraid to think is a coward.” I absolutely refuse to have any person do my thinking for me. I could not do otherwise and be faithful to my God. I could not be a Russellite and be faithful to God; I could not be a Rutherfordite and be faithful to God; I could not be a Channelite and be faithful to God; and I could not be a Dawnite or any other Ite and be faithful to God. To be such, to my understanding of the Scriptures, would mean one was defiled with women (organizations) and subject to their will and not the will of God. (Revelation 14:4) “He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully (And not the deductions and sophistries of men” no matter what they may claim for themselves or their office – or organization with which they happen to be associated,) “Behold. I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord…and cause My people to err by their lies, and by the lightness.” Jeremiah 23:28,42 . True, all these Ites or Iarns have some truth: some more, some less. Otherwise they could not deceive the people. It is with that very truth, together with the sophistries of men, that Satan blinds men; in fact the more truth they have when wrongfully used, the more deceptive they are. Each claim to speak with authority, some much more dogmatically than others. Paul well counsels, “Beware any lest man spoil your through philosophy.” – Col. 2:8.

The squandering of the Society’s money on liquor was only one thing I had cause to wonder over; there were other things. I could not help but contrast with the lot of the pioneers the luxury that you surrounded yourself with and the comfort that I enjoyed, and among these luxuries I cannot refrain from mentioning the following:

1. Not one but two 16-cylinder cars, one in California and one in New York. One would not suffice for THE PRESIDENT nor would a 6 cylinder car be big enough for THE PRESIDENT, but a 4 would do for a pioneer, or a bicycle or a hand-sleigh, or trudging along without any vehicle at all.

2. Your New York apartment, easily worth a rental of $10,000.00 a year. And its luxurious furnishings.

3. Your palatial residence on Staten Island, camouflaged as essential to the broadcasting station WBBR.

4. As though that residence were not sufficient, a further small place of seclusion in the woods of Staten Island where you can go and rest your weary body while the pioneers and others trudge from door to door.

5. Your further abode at San Diego, for which you yourself told me you were offered $75,000.00, but of course it could not be sold and the funds used to help the pioneers because it was deeded to David – what hypocrisy!

6. Commodious and expensive quarters in Magdeburg, Germany, for the convenience of THE PRESIDENT, to say nothing of the provision made for your comfort in London.

As what is your mental attitude toward all this? Why you glory in it and brazenly advertise it to the friends. “Who dares find fault therewith? Am I not THE PRESIDENT?” Yes, you glory in it, glorying in your shame. Nothing is too good for THE PRESIDENT. He must have every comfort and every consideration, but he feels very sympathetic and so tenderly disposed toward the “dear pioneers.” Words are easy, but actions speak louder than words and I cannot imagine a more striking illustration, even as between the clergy class and laity, than between yourself and the pioneers as referred to be Jesus words when he said: “For they (the hypocrites) bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their little fingers…Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites for ye devour widows houses…ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte. And love…the chief seats in the synagogues…and to be called by men, “Rabbi Rabbi” (some distinctive name). Truly the pioneers and others have had burdens heaped upon them that you would not move with one of your fingers. Truly the widows have been robbed at your suggestion, or rather I should say command, for your command to the friends is, “Take their last penny for a book; they need it more than bread.” What a spirit! And yet the friends submit to it. While a few will take the penny and as Paul says, “glory in their shame,” how the vast majority hate it, but feel they must obey – God is speaking. What sacrilege! What blasphemy! What trafficking in the name of the Heavenly Father! The friends have served you faithfully, they have unknowingly been your servants, robbed by you of everything even the word of God and his precious promises which you have made null and void by your vain babblings; trudging on day by day, wondering but without a murmur. My what faithfulness, and what a taskmaster! I feel sure many will have their eyes opened, for 7,000, at least at heart have not bowed the knee to Baal even though they have advertised your name more than that of God Almighty. I would that you had gone from door to door as the pioneers and others have, and you would then know what you are talking about.

I could go on at much length about the things I know considering your personal conduct and the contrast between yourself and the pioneers, but I choose not. My sole purpose in outlining my personal experience with you is with the earnest hope of awakening the friends to the fallacy of putting confidence in man above God’s word, or idolizing an office and putting confidence in that office above God’s word. A Christian must learn that to honor God he must put faith in God’s word and God’s word alone, making it his shield and his buckler and not a man or body of men or corporation, no matter what claim is made for that man, body of men or corporation, for soon we get into the paths of human reasoning and that invariably leads us to disaster as the wrecks all along the pathway of the Gospel Age bear witness to. One organization after another Satan has overreached and brought into subjection of his will. The clergy class being overreached by Satan tried to establish the Kingdom before its time and convert the world. Of course, they claimed they were not doing it but God was. So today Satan has overreached the Society and has caused the friends through the WATCHTOWER to believe the time has come to establish the Kingdom and gather together the great multitude before the time, claiming of course that they are not doing it but that God is. But God is not and they are therefore not getting nowhere as all honest brethren are now admitting and are asking the questions, “if the millions who will never die, constitute the great multitude, are being gathered, where are they? For they certainly are not coming in our town or city.” You know and I know, all who read the reports intelligently know, that despite all our stupendous effort – there are less than 50,000 associated with the Society in its work! If for the next ten years there should become associated an average of 50,000 a year, at the end of that time there would then only be 550,000. How long would it take at that rate to gather the “millions who would never die,” and if such must take their stand before Armageddon, as you teach, how far away is Armageddon? Well, someone will say, “Well, if that be true what are we doing now?” The Bible answers the question: “We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not brought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the earth fallen.” Isaiah 26:18. “Not everyone that saith unto me,’ Lord, Lord’ shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” – Matthew 7:21-23. The Roman Catholic Church is doing a great work but in the name of the Roman Catholic Church. Likewise the Protestant systems are doing a great work in their names, and the Salvation Army is doing a great work in its name, but the Society is doing it in His most holy name (Jehovah). “In fact, Lord, we’re so busy with works we have hardly time to open our Bibles, let alone study them. You see, Lord we have our YEAR BOOK to study now and that tells of our wonderful works, and our PRESIDENT, too, is very busy writing books. And oh, Lord, he is so courageous and his faith in Thee so great that he gets behind four walls, or surrounds himself literally with an armed bodyguard, and bellows away his dreams (Jeremiah 23:31,82) [sic] and sends us out from door to door to face the enemy while he goes from ‘drink to drink,’ and tells us if we don’t we are going to be destroyed. But don’t misunderstand us Lord, we don’t do it from fear or for reward, but because of our great love for you, and therefore will not be disappointed if we get no reward, but our hope is we will spared through Armageddon. Our PRESIDENT, Lord, is really a very important man. Of course he says he is not even though he thinks he is, but then that is his modesty, and whatever he says we will do. Now, Lord, is that faithfulness to your or faithfulness to a man? You see, he says he speaks for you and it is not for us to reason why; ours is but to do and die; and ‘we love to have it so.’ Of course he says when he speaks personally it might not be correct to say he is speaking for you, but when he speaks as PRESIDENT or through the WATCHTOWER or books then you speak; is it not wonderful!”

In fact these publications, he says, contain your commands and we must obey. My, what a difference a little man-made office or a little paper and ink make. How authoritative one then becomes and just on a par with the Catholic priest who says bread and wine is just bread and wine but he blesses it, oh my, it is the actual body and blood of Christ!! How alike Mr. Rutherford (excuse me, I should have said ‘Judge’) is to Mr. Ratti, for does not Mr. Ratti say when he speaks personally it is nothing but when he speaks as the Pope, he speaks infallibly. “Oh,” some will say, “the Roman Catholic Church is the counterfeit of the true and the Society is the true church.” But the question might be asked is it not more reasonable to conclude that the Society is the counterfeit of the Roman Catholic Church even though the Catholic Church is not the true church, do not appear to be the work of the same potter? Note, the spirit of both: pride, arrogance, intolerance, bombast, to say nothing of the spirit of judging. Furthermore, Paul’s statement in 2nd Thessalonians 2:4,8 seems to have application to both organizations. These verses read: “…so, that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (When we speak officially, God speaks commands. Beware!)…And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall annihilate with the brightness of his coming!”

Now a word regarding the financial progress of the Society. You inform the friends and the public that the books and booklets are placed with the public at cost – they surely are and more!! You well know that the price to the pioneers until recently covered all costs including all appropriate overhead charges and even now the loss is only slight on some items, while on the other hand the price to the companies and public nets the Society at least 100%! What is this 100% if it is not profit? Poor gullible friends. How they believe everything you tell them!!! Where do they think the millions of dollars invested in buildings, machinery, stock, etc, at Brooklyn, Magdeburg, London, Toronto and other places, to say nothing of your own dwellings, etc, come from if not from profit on the books? You know and I know that the gain the Canadian Office alone during the past few years was a hundred thousand dollars. And at the time I was relieved of my duties there was not only a large sum in the bank as customary but also over $25,000.00 in cash was lying in the Society’s vaults at 40 Irwin Avenue and had for years, which could be used for the needs of the President or those whom he might designate in case of an international emergency – and the dear pioneers? Well, of course they could go hungry. Poor gullible friends!! My, were we not blind, and how blind the friends still are! And yet the annual reports tell of our great losses and how it is hoped the Lord will make it up. Well, it is said, “figures don’t lie, but liars do figure.”

From the article “Upon Our Lord’s Return” which shows it is a future event, which the vast majority of the friends now have, and which others may have upon application, they can choose between a “thus saith the Lord” as found therein and your bombast, bluff, and follow which they choose. Furthermore, from the above testimony, which is true before the Lord as you know it to be, the friends can determine whom you are serving. Many no doubt will decide, “I will remain with the Society until THE PRESIDENT himself through the WATCHTOWER tells me I must go.” Poor, deluded children, may God have pity upon them is my earnest prayer. They ultimately will be forced by the logic of events to realize their mistake even as I was forced to, blindest of the blind.

It seems strange that after our experiences of 1914 and 1925 we should still fail to draw a clear cut line of demarcations between deduction and a “thus saith the Lord”, and go on dogmatizing regarding the Lord’s presence, dogmatizing about the Lord being at His temple, and dogmatizing concerning what Armageddon will bring about. But there are “none so blind as those who won’t see” and they will go on prophesying false dreams until events themselves prove the folly thereof. And this, even though such false teachings bring dishonor to God and His word, for what is prone to dishonor God’s word more in the minds of people than testimony that is made with a declaration that it is based upon God’s word when that testimony is found to be false. One does well to take heed to Deuteronomy 18:21, 22, which reads: “If thou say in thine heart how shall we know the word, which the Lord hath spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the things follow not nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoke, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptously; though shalt not be afraid of him.” (An outstanding example, our nonsense concerning what God was going to do in the year 1925.) And again I quote Jeremiah 23:28-82 [sic] “He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully…Behold, I am against them that prophecy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness.”

Up until the time I received the article “Upon Our Lord’s Return”, above referred to, I believe the Society was the Lord’s organization. That article shook my belief therein. I wrote you to see if the article could be answered. It has not been answered. I cannot be answered because it is the truth, and I now no longer believe the Society is the Lord’s channel of truth or that you are a servant of the Lord, whatever else you might be. As God is against the Society (Jeremiah 23:98-82) [sic] and every other adulterous woman that defiles men and makes them puppets or “yes men”, so must I be. I was active in the service work up to and including the “Jehovah of Hosts” testimony period and then was forced to the conclusion that such service was not only not of God but dishonoring to His Word and Name. Why, one may ask? I answer: because the message contained in the publications is largely based upon the false premise that our Lord is present, the He is at His Temple and that God at Armageddon will destroy Satan’s organization and usher in His Kingdom in power and glory upon the earth. The message is spoken presumptously and is based upon p;hilosophy or deduction of man and not upon a “thus saith the Lord.” In other words, it is what the Lord speaks of as “false dreams” and He say He is against such and therefore I must be. Was the Lord please with our false dream concerning 1925 and the zeal of the friends in that connection? He was not. Was it a lie. It was. Did we learn any lesson therefrom and humble ourselves before the Lord? We did not but went right on presumptuously heralding broadcast our further dreams in His name. Will He be any more pleased this time with our dream and zeal than he was in 1925? He will not, and therefore it behooves a faithful child of God to courageously take a stand and “come out of her that he be not a partaker of her sins.”

But someone may ask, “if the Society is not doing the Lords work, what is the Lords work?” The answer to this question must stand until a later date. Suffice to say now that just as one required to see in a measure at least the corruption of Churchianity and be dissatisfied therewith before he could accept what truth the Society had, so likewise one must see in a measure at least the corruption of the Society and how far it has departed from a “thus saith the Lords” before he can receive the answer to that question. In the meantime, I would suggest that any who read this letter should read carefully and prayerfully 1st Corinthians 18 and Philippians 4:8, pausing after each sentence to think on what he has read.

While hardly related to the matter at hand, I could not help but think as I read a recent copy of the GOLDEN AGE of Paul’s word in Phil 4:8 which reads: “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, THINK OF THESE THINGS.” I wonder how one could read such blood-curling stuff and obscene language as the GOLDEN AGE contains and at the same time carry out Paul’s admonition. But I can hear some scoffer saying, “Oh that was only Paul and he said it long before the Lord came to his temple in 1918. Since then we are taught to be real “He” men, real “Christians” that know how to use strong language.

In all my twenty years association with you I always had a kindly feeling of love toward you in the Lord and have in sincerity always closed my letters to you giving expression thereto. Even upon this occasion I cannot refrain from saying that I would to God that you would awaken to your position and make full confession before Him, for I have no ill will toward you whatsoever; I pity you and would do you good if I could. Remember, God is a God of loving kindness and tender mercy; His mercy endureth forever!

As I survey the whole matter I am reminded of Jesus words in John: “This is the condemnation that (cometh upon you) lit is come into the world. And me (you) loved darkness rather than light because their (your) works were evil”, not truth but lies, false dreams, vain babblings. “Am I therefore you enemy because I tell you the truth?” Galatians 4:16


W.F. Salter (signed)


Olin Moyle Letter to Rutherford

 Documents, History, Letters  Comments Off on Olin Moyle Letter to Rutherford
Dec 262004


A copy of a letter from Olin Moyle to Joseph Rutherford. Moyle had previous served as legal counsel for the Watchtower Society. After this letter was sent, Moyle sued the Watchtower for libel over what they had published about him – and he won.

OLIN R. MOYLE Counselor
117 Adams Street . Brooklyn . New York
Telephone Triangle 5-1474

July 21, 1939

Judge J. F. Rutherford,
Brooklyn, N. Y.

Dear Brother Rutherford:

This letter is to give you notice of our inten-
tion to leave Bethel on September 1st next. This
reasons for leaving are stated herein and we
ask that you give them careful and thoughtful

Conditions at Bethel are a matter of concern
to all of the Lord’s people. Nowhere among
imperfect men can there be perfect freedom from
oppression, discrimination and unfair treatment,
but at the Lord’s headquarters on earth condi-
tions should be such that injustice would be
reduced to the minimum. That is not the case
here at Bethel and a protest should be made
against it. I am in a good position to make such
protest because your treatment of me has been
generally kind, considerate and fair. I can make
this protest in the interests of the Bethel family
and of the Kingdom work without any personal
interest entering into the matter.

Ill Treatment of Bethel Family.

Shortly after coming to Bethel we were shocked
to witness the spectacle of our brethren
receiving what is designated as a “trimming”
from you. The first, if memory serves me cor-
rect, was a tongue lashing given to C. J. Wood-
worth. Woodworth in a personal letter to you
stated something to the effect that it would be
serving the devil to continue using our present
day calendar. For that he was humiliated, called
a jackass, and given a public lambasting. Others
have been similarly treated. McCaughey, Mc-
Cormick, Knorr, Prosser, Price, Van Sipma, Ness
and others have been similarly scolded. They
have been publicly called to account, condemned,
and reprimanded without any previous notice.
This summer some of the most unfair public
reproaches have been given. J. Y. McCauley
asked a question which carried with it a criti-
cism of the present method of Watch Tower
study. For that he was severely reprimanded.
Your action constituted a violation of the prin-
ciple for which we are fighting, towit, freedom
of speech. It was the action of a boss and not
that of a fellow servant. Securing an efficient
mode of study with imperfect study leaders is no
easy task, and no method yet produced has
proved to be one hundred per cent perfect. You
stated that no complaints had come to you con-
cerning this method of study. If that be the
case you have not had all the facts presented to
you. There is complaint in various places that
the Watch Tower studies have degenerated into
mere reading lessons. It maybe that the present
method is the best that can be used, but in view
of known limitations honest criticism should not
be censored nor honest critics punished.

Brother Worsley received a public denuncia-
tion from you because he prepared and handed
to brethren a list of helpful Scripture citations
on fundamental topics. How can we consistently
condemn religionists for being intolerant when
you exercise intolerance against those who work
with you? Doesn’t this prove that the only
freedom permitted at Bethel is freedom to do
and say that which you wish to be said and done?
The Lord certainly never authorized you to
exercise such high handed authority over your
fellow servants.

Since the Madison Square Garden meeting
there has been a distressing condition of restraint
and suspicion at Bethel. The ushers were placed in
a tough spot but did an excellent piece of work.
They exercised care and diligence in watching
arrivals at the Garden, and prevented a number
of suspicious characters from entering. They
were on the job immediately when the distur-
bance started and quelled a disturbance which
would have otherwise reached serious propor-
tions. But for two weeks following the conven-
tion there has been constant criticism and con-
demnation of them from you. They have been
charged with dereliction of duty and labeled
as “sissies”. To see some of these boys break
down and cry because of your unkind remarks is,
to say the least saddening.

The brethren at Bethel have thoroughly demon-
strated their loyalty and devotion to the Lord,
and do not need to be berated for wrong doing.
A suggestion or a kindly admonition from you
would be more than sufficient to check any wrong-
ful action, and would eliminate resentment and
induce greater happiness and comfort for the
whole family. You have stated many times that
there are no bosses in the Lord’s organization
but the undeniable fact cannot be evaded that
your actions in scolding and upbraiding these
boys are the actions of a boss. It makes one
sick at heart and disgusted to listen to them. If
you will cease smiting your fellow servants
Bethel will be a happier place and the Kingdom
work will prosper accordingly.


We publish to the world that all in the Lord’s
organization are treated alike, and receive the
same as far as this world’s goods are concerned.
You know that is not the case. The facts cannot
be denied. Take for instance the difference be-
tween the accommodations furnished to you, and
your personal attendants, compared with those
furnished to some of your brethren. You have
many many homes, towit, Bethel, Staten Island,
California etc. I am informed that even at the
Kingdom Farm one house is kept for your sole
use during the short periods you spend there.
and what do the brethren at the farm receive?
Small rooms, unheated thru the bitter cold
winter weather. They life in their trunks like
campers. That may be all right if necessary,
but there are many houses on the farm standing
idle or used for other purposes, which could be
used to give some comfort to those who work
so long and so hard.

You work in a nice air conditioned room. You
and your attendants spend a portion of the week
in the quiet of country surroundings. The boys
at the factory diligently work thru the hot sum-
mer months without such helps, or any effort
made to give them. That is discrimination which
should receive your thoughtful consideration.


Here again is shown unequal and discrimina-
tory treatment. One brother left Bethel some
time ago for the purpose of getting married,
and, so I am informed, was refused the privilege
of pioneering in New York, apparently as an
official disapproval of his action in leaving
Bethel. On the other hand when Bonnie Boyd
got married she didn’t have to leave Bethel. She
was permitted to bring her husband into Bethel
in spite of the printed rule providing that both
marrying parties should have lived there for
five years.

Harsh treatment of one and favored treatment
of another is discrimination, and should not have
a place in the Lord’s organization.

Filthy and Vulgar Language.

The Biblical injunctions against unclean, filthy
speaking and jesting have never been abrogated.
It is shocking and nauseating to hear vulgar
speaking and smut at Bethel. It was stated by a
sister that was one of the things you had to get
used to at Bethel. The loudest laughter at the
table comes when a filth or near filthy joke goes
through, and your skirts are not clear.


Under your tutelage there has grown up a
glorification of alcohol and condemnation of total
abstinence which is unseemly. Whether a servant
of Jehovah drinks alcoholic liquor is none of my
business, except in giving a helping hand to a
brother who is stumbled thereby. Whether I
am a total abstainer is nobody’s business but my
own. But not so at Bethel. There appears to
be a definite policy of breaking in new comers
into the use of liquor, and resentment is shown
against those who do not join them. The claim
is made, “One can’t be a real Bethelite without
drinking beer.” Shortly after we arrived it was
arrogantly stated, “we can’t do much with
Moyle, but we’ll make a man out of Peter.” A
New York brother intimated that I was out of
harmony with the truth and with the Society
because I didn’t drink liquor. A New York
sister stated that she had never used liquor or
served it until some of the Bethel boys insisted
upon it. A brother who used to drink liquor
to excess became a total abstainer after getting
the truth. He knew that a single drink of liquor
would start him off to his former drinking
habits, but in spite of that brethren from Bethel
insisted upon his imbibing liquor and inferred
that he was out of harmony with the organiza-
tion through refusing. Total abstainers are
looked upon with scorn as weaklings. You have
publicly labeled total abstainers as prudes and
therefore must assume your share of the respon-
sibility for the Bacchus like attitude exhibited
by members of the family.

These are a few of the things which should
have no place in the Lord’s organization. There
are other more grievous injustices but I have
had no personal contact with them and therefore
do not discuss them.

It hasn’t been an easy or pleasant task to
write these things to you, and its still harder
to make this protest effective by leaving Bethel.

We sold our home and business when we came
to Bethel and fully intended to spend the rest of
our lives at this place in the Lord’s service. We
leave in order to register most emphatically our
disagreement with the unjust conditions related
in this letter. We are not leaving the Lord’s
service but will continue to serve Him and His
organization as fully as strength and means will

Neither am I running away from battling the
Devil’s crowd in the courts. I expect to return
to the private practice of law, probably in Mil-
waukee, Wisconsin, and hope to be in the fight
in every way possible. With this letter I am
enclosing a statement of the major cases now
pending in which I am actively participating. It
would be unreasonable and unfair to drop these
matters into your lap without further assistance
or consideration. I am ready and willing to
press these issues in the courts just as vigor-
ously and carefully as though I remained at
Bethel, and will do so if that is your desire.
We have considered this action for some time,
but this letter is delivered to you just as we are
leaving on a vacation trip for very specific rea-
sons. First: It is desirable that you take time
for thought and consideration of the matters
herein set forth before taking any action. Hasty
and ill considered action might be regrettable.
Second: Frankly I have no desire for a verbal
argument with you over these matters. I have
had plenty of occasion to observe that a con-
troversial matter does not receive a calm and
reasoned discussion of the facts. Too often it
turns into a denunciation of some person by you.
I am not interested in that kind of a wordy
battle. These statements are the reasons pre-
sented by Sister Moyle and myself for leaving
Bethel. If we speak erroneously or wrongfully
we are responsible before the Lord for so speak-
ing. If we speak truthfully, and we stoutly con-
tent that everything here related is the truth,
then there is an immediate responsibility on your
part to remedy the conditions necessitating this
protest. May the Lord direct and guide you
into fair and kindly treatment of your fellow
servants is my with and prayer.

Your Brother in the Kings service,

Olin R. Moyle.

P.S. Should you desire to write to me concern-
ing these matters during vacation a letter will
reach me at Ticonderoga, New York, General

Delivery after July 29th.


The National Concordat

 Documents, History  Comments Off on The National Concordat
Dec 242004

The National Concordat
The July 20, 1933 agreement between Germany and the Vatican



(Agreement between Germany and the Vatican)

The Text of the Concordat

Concordat between the Holy See and the German Empire


His HOLINESS, POPE Plus XI., and the President of Germany, being motivated by the same desire to strengthen and further the friendly relations between the Holy See and Germany,

Having the will to regulate in a permanent and mutually satisfactory way the relations between the Holy See and the State throughout Germany,

Have resolved to enter into a solemn agreement which will complement the concordats closed with certain individual German States and secure for the rest a consistent treatment of the pertinent questions, according to Principles laid down herein.

To this end, His Holiness Pope Plus XI. has named His Eminence the Cardinal Eugen Pacelli, His Secretary of State, as His plenipotentiary, and the President of the German Reich has named the Vice Chancellor of the German Reich, Franz von Papen, who, having exchangedtheir respective credentials and found them to be in good and proper form, have agreed upon the following articles:

Article I

The German Reich guarantees the freedom of creed and of public worship to the Catholic religion.

It acknowledges the right of the Catholic Church–within the limits of the law of the land,–to administer its own affairs and to make laws and regulations binding upon its membership within the jurisdiction of the Church.

Article 2

The concordats established with Bavaria (1924), Prussia (1919), and Baden (1932) remain in force and the rights and privileges of the Catholic Church in the states named remain intact. For the other states the provisions of this Concordat apply in toto. The latter are also binding on the three states named in so far as they refer to matters not regulated in the separate concordats or in so far as they complement the existing terms.

In the future, concordats with separate states will be entered into only with the consent of the German Government.

Article 3

In order to cultivate the good relations between the Holy See and the German Reich, an apostolic nuntius will reside in the German capital, as heretofore, and an ambassador of the Reich will reside at the Holy See.

Article 4

The Holy See enjoys complete freedom in its correspondence with the Bishops, the clergy and the other membership of the Catholic Church in Germany. The same holds good for the Bishops and other diocesan authorities in their intercourse with the believers in all matters concerning their pastoral office.

Notices, regulations, pastoral letters, official diocesan papers and other enactments for the spiritual leadership of the believers, which are promulgated by the church authorities within their jurisdiction, may be published without hindrance and be brought to the attention of the membership in the forms previously in use.

Article 5

In the exercise of their spiritual office the priesthood enjoys the protection of the State in the same manner as state officials. The State will prosecute insults to their persons or in their capacity as clergymen, as well as disturbances of public worship, according to the general state laws, and when necessary it will grant the protection of the civil authorities.

Article 6

Clergy and members of conventual orders are freed from the obligation to accept public office and other responsibilities not reconcilable with the provisions of canonical law, with the priesthood, or the rules of their Order, respectively. This applies particularly to the office of bailiff, juror, member of the board of taxation, or of the courts of finance.

Article 7

In order to accept position or office in the State or in a corporation of a governmental character, clergymen require the “nihil obstat” of their chief diocesan officer as well as of the corresponding public official. The “nihil obstat” may be revoked at any time on important grounds of ecclesiastical interest.

Article 8

The salaries of clergymen are freed from confiscation on the same terms as those of national and state officials.

Article 9

Clergymen cannot be questioned by judicial or other authorities for information concerning facts confided to them in the exercise of their spiritual guidance and which therefore come under the duty of pastoral reticence.

Article 10

The use of clerical dress or that of the dress of a conventual order by laymen, or by clergymen or members of Orders to whom such use has been definitely forbidden, and the civil authorities duly notified of this fact, is subject to the same penalties as the misuse of the military uniform.

Article 11

The present diocesan organisation and circumscription of the Catholic Church in Germany will remain. Any future establishment of a new bishopric or church province or other changes of the diocesan limits remain, in so far as they concern changes within the boundaries of the separate states, subject to mutual agreement with the state authorities. In the case of establishments or changes which affect several states, the agreement is arrived at with the national government which is then left to make the arrangements with the affected states. The same is true of changes in the boundaries of the church provinces, in so far as they may involve several states. These terms do not apply to shifting of church boundaries solely in the interest of local pastoral administration.

A reorganisation of the diocesan system and circumscription will be the subject of discussion with the Holy See on the part of the German Government.

Article 12

Notwithstanding the provisions of Article XI ecclesiastical offices can be freely established or changed if no appropriations from the civic funds are sought. The co-operation of the State in the formation and reorganisation of parishes takes place in accordance with the outlines laid down in agreements with the Bishops and for the greatest possible uniformity of which the national government will make recommendations to the state authorities.

Article 13

Catholic parishes, congregational associations, and diocesan associations, the Episcopal Sees, the bishoprics and chapters, the conventua! orders and religious fraternities, as well as the institutions, foundations and properties of the Catholic Church, retain (respectively, receive) the status of public corporations under the general law. They remain public corporations in so far as they have been such in the past, the others may receive equal rights according to the general civil law.

Article 14

As a matter of principle, the Church has the right freely to appoint all church offices and benefices without the co-operation of the State or of the civil communities, in so far as other provisions have not been made in previous concordats under Article II. This rule applies to the suffragan bishoprics of Rottenburg and Mainz, the bishopric Meissen, and the Metropolitan See of Freiburg on the Rhein. The rule holds also for the first two suffragan bishoprics regarding the appointments of cathedral chapter positions and the regulations of the right of patronage. Furthermore, there is accord on the following points:

1. Catholic clergymen wile hold an ecclesiastical office in Germany, or exercise pastoral or educational functions, must

a. be German citizens,

b. have graduated from a German higher educational institution,

c. have studied at least three years in the field of theology and philosophy in a German state school, a German ecclesiastical academy, or a papal college in Rome.


2. The Bull for the appointment of Archbishops, Bishops, Coadjutors ***** jure successionis or of a Praelatus nullis will not be issued until the name of the appointee is submitted to the representative of the national government in the respective state and it has been ascertained that no objections of a general political nature exist.


By agreement of Church and State, Paragraph I, Sections a, b, and c, may be disregarded or set aside.

Article 15

Conventual orders and religious associations, save for the special provisions of the paragraph following, are not subject to restrictions on the part of the State, either regarding their number, selection of their members, activity in spiritual service, education, care of the sick, and charitable work, or in the management of their affairs and the.; administration of their property.

Ecclesiastical heads of Orders, having their headquarters in Germany, must be German citizens. Heads of Orders or provincial organisations whose headquarters lie outside Germany, have the right of visitation of the branches lying within Germany.

The Holy See will endeavour so to organise the existing conventual houses that as far as possible they may not be under government of foreign heads. Exceptions may be agreed upon with the German national government in ; cases where the small number of branches makes a special : German province seem inadvisable or where an historic or administratively proven provincial organisation should be permitted to continue.

Article 16

Before the Bishops take possession of their dioceses, they are to take an an oath fealty either to the national representative in the states, or the president of the Reich, respectively, according to the following formula:

“Before God and on the Holy Gospels I swear and promise–as becomes a bishop-loyalty to the German Reich and to the . . . state. I swear and promise to honour the constitutional government and to cause the clergy of my diocese to honour it. In the performance of my spiritual office and in my solicitude for the welfare and , interest of the German State, I will try to avoid every detrimental act which might endanger it.”

Article 17

The property and other rights of the public corporations, institutions, foundations and associations of the Catholic Church vested in their possessions are secured according to the general laws of the land. For no reason whatever may a building dedicated to Public worship be torn down without the previous consent of the proper church authority.

Article 18

In case the State finds it necessary to abrogate the performance of obligations undertaken by it toward the Church, either based on law, agreement or special charter, the reasons for such abrogation should be discussed amicably with the Holy See before they are finally worked out, in order that a friendly agreement may be reached. Traditional rights are to be considered as titles in law. The abrogation must be compensated for by an equivalent to the claimant.

Article 19

The Catholic theological faculties in the state schools will remain. Their relation to the church authorities will be governed by the respective concordats and the terms set forth in the special closing addenda, and with due consideration of the rules of the Church in this connection. The national government will endeavour to secure a uniform set of regulations for all the Catholic faculties in Germany.

Article 20

The Church has the right, in so far as other agreements are not in existence, to establish theological and philosophical schools for the training of its clergy, these to be dependent solely on the church authorities, if no state subsidies are requested.

The establishment, management and administration of the theological seminaries, under the general limitations, of the civil code is exclusively the prerogative of the church authorities.

Article 21

Catholic instruction in the grammar, high, trade, and continuation schools is a regular part of the curriculum and is taught in accordance with the principles of the Catholic Church. It will be the special care of religious instruction to inculcate patriotic, civic and social consciousness and sense of duty in the spirit of the Christian faith and moral code, as is the case with the instruction in other subjects. The syllabus and selection of textbooks for religious instruction will be arranged in consultation with the church authorities. The church authorities have the right to investigate whether the pupils are receiving religious instruction in accordance with the teachings and requirements of the Church, the opportunities for such investigation to be agreed upon with the school authorities.

Article 22

In the appointment of Catholic religious instructors an understanding will be arrived at between the Bishop and the state government. Teachers that have been declared unfit for further exercise of their teaching functions either because of their teachings or moral conduct, may not be employed as teachers of religion as long as the obstacle remains, in the judgment of the Bishop.

Article 23

The retention and establishment of Catholic schools remains secure. In all parishes in which parents request it, Catholic grammar schools will be established if the number of pupils and the general school situation in the community seem to justify a school run in accordance with the requirements of the State covering schools in general.

Article 24

In all Catholic grammar schools only such teachers will be employed as are members of the Catholic Church and guarantee the fulfilment of the special requirements of a Catholic School.

Within the general arrangements for the training of teachers, provisions will be made which will guarantee a training of Catholic teachers in accordance with the special requirements of the Catholic school.

Article 25

Conventual orders and religious communities are entitled to establish and conduct private schools, subject to the general educational laws. These private schools, will have the same standing as the state schools in so far as they fulfill the curricular requirements for the latter.

For members of conventual orders or religious communities the general requirements for teachers and appointments to the grammar, continuation or high schools, are applicable.

Article 26

With reservations looking toward a later comprehensive regulation of the marriage laws, it is understood that except in cases of the critical illness of one of the engaged couple, or in the case of severe moral emergency, the presence of which must be confirmed by the proper church authority, the church marriage ceremony may precede the civil ceremony. In such cases the pastor is in duty bound to notify the registrar’s office at once.

Article 27

The Church will accord to the German Army (Reichswehr) provision for the spiritual guidance of its officers, officials and personnel, as well as their families.

The administration of the pastoral care for the army is to be vested in the Army Bishop. His appointment is made by the Holy See after the latter has got into touch with the national government in order to select an appropriate candidate who is mutually agreeable.

The appointment of military pastors and other military clergymen will be made by the Army Bishop in concurrence with the proper national authority. The Army Bishop can appoint only such pastors as have the permission of the diocesan bishop to enter military religious service and have received a certificate to that effect. Military chaplains have the standing of regular pastors for the troops assigned to them, and for their personnel. Detailed regulations for the organisation of the Catholic chaplains service will be laid down by an apostolic brief.

The regulation of the official aspects of the chaplain’s service will be arranged by the national government.

Article 28

In hospitals, prisons and other institutions of public benevolence the Church will have the right of visitation subject to the rules of the institutions. If regular ecclesiastical supervision is arranged for in such institutions, and if Pastors must be appointed as state or other public officials, such appointments will be made in accord with the church authorities.

Article 29

The Catholic members of racial minorities living within the boundaries of Germany will be treated as regards the liberty of worship and instruction in their mother tongue, in accordance with the treatment received by German minorities in the respective country.

Article 30

On Sundays and holy days special prayers, conforming to the general liturgy, will be offered for the welfare of the German Reich, and its people, in episcopal, parish, and conventual churches and chapels.

Article 31

Such Catholic organisations and associations as serve a purely religious, cultural or charitable purpose, and as such are subject to the church authorities, will be protected in their establishments and activities.

Catholic organisations and associations which serve in addition to the religious, cultural or charitable purposes, social or professional objectives, shall, without prejudice to civil bodies of a similar character, enjoy the protection of Article XXXI, paragraph I, in so far as they guarantee that their activity lies outside any political party.

The determination of the organisations and associations which fall under the terms of this article will be a matter of agreement between the national government and the German episcopate.

In so far as the Reich and the states sponsor athletic or other young people’s organisations, care will be taken that their members are enabled to fulfil their religious obligations on Sundays and holy days and that they are not encouraged to any acts not in accord with their religious and moral opinions and duties.

Article 32

In consideration of the special situation existing in Germany, and in view of guaranty provided by this Concordat of legislation which will safeguard the rights and privileges of the Roman Catholic Church in the nation and its component states, the Holy See will prescribe regulations which will prohibit clergymen and members of conventual orders from membership in political parties and from working on their behalf. (Cf. Supplementary Protocol.)

Article 33

All matters appertaining to clerical persons or ecclesiastical affairs which have not been treated in the foregoing articles will be treated according to canonical law.

Should differences of opinion arise regarding the interpretation of execution of any article of this Concordat, the Holy See and the German Reich will achieve a friendly solution in mutual agreement.

Article 34

This Concordat, whose German and Italian text shall have equal force, shall be ratified and the certificates of ratifications exchanged as soon as possible. It is in force from the day of such exchange.

In witness hereof, the plenipotentiaries have signed this Concordat.

Signed in two original exemplars, in the Vatican City, July 20th, 1933





The Supplementary Protocol. At the signing of the Concordat between the Holy See and the German Reich the duly accredited plenipotentiaries have adjoined the following explanations, which form an integral part of the Concordat itself.

In re:

Article 3: The Apostolic Nuntius to the German Reich, in accordance with the exchange of notes between the Apostolic Nuntiate in Berlin and the Foreign Office, on the 11th and 27th of March respectively, shall be the Doyen of the diplomatic corps in Berlin.

Article 13: It is understood that the church retains the right to levy church taxes (on its membership).

Article 14 Paragraph 2: It is understood that when objections of a general political nature exist, they shall be presented within the shortest possible time. If after 20 days, such statement has not been made, the Holy See will be justified in assuming that there are no objections to the candidate. The names of the persons in question will be held confidential until the announcement of the appointment. A State veto shall not be required to assign reasons.

Article 17: In so far as public buildings or properties are used for church purposes, these are retained, subject to existing agreements.

Article 19, Paragraph 2: This is founded at the time of the signing of this Concordat on the apostolic constitution: ” Deus Scientiarum Dominus “, of May 24th, 1931, and the Instruction of July 7, I932

Article 20: The high schools and colleges now under the administration of the Church are recognized as important church institutions per se, and as integral parts of the diocesan organisations.

Article 24: As soon as private institutions are able to meet the requirements of the new educational code for the training of teachers, the existing institutions of the conventual orders and communities will be given due consideration.

Article 26: A severe moral emergency exists when there are insuperable or disproportionately difficult and costly obstacles in the way of securing the customary civil documents at the right time.

Article 27, Paragraph 1: Catholic officers, officials and personnel, as well as their families do not belong to the local parishes and do not contribute to their financial burdens.

Paragraph 4: The publication of the apostolic brief will take place after consultation with the national government.

Article 28: In urgent cases the pastor is to be admitted at all times.

Article 29: After the German government has indicated its willingness to the compromise regarding the non-German minorities, the Holy See declares,–pursuant to its principles regarding the right of employment of the mother tongue in religious instruction and in Catholic Societies,–that it will have in mind similar protective clauses for German minorities when arranging concordats with other countries.

Article 31, Paragraph 4: The principles laid down in this article hold good also for the national labour service.

Article 32: It is understood that similar provisions for nonparticipation in politics will govern members of other creeds also. The conduct enjoined upon the pastors and members of conventual orders in Germany does not entail any limitation of the prescribed preaching and interpretation of the dogmatic and moral teachings and principles of the Church.

In Vatican City, July 20th, 1933.





Watchtower Application for Holocaust Funds

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Jan 212004

The Watchtower Society’s  application for funds from Swiss Bank Litigation

In re Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation:
Master Document No. CV -96-4849
Consolidates with CV-96-S161 and : CV-96-461

This Document Relates to All Actions :

Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation (Swiss Bank Litigation)
Proposed Plan of Allocation for
Jehovah’s Witness Victims and Targets of Nazi Persecution

December 7, 1999

COMES NOW, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, (hereinafter Watch Tower), the corporate agency directing the administrative and religious work of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide, by its attorney, Carolyn R. Wah, requesting an allocation of a portion of the settlement fund for Holocaust education and remembrance as well as just and equitable compensation as outlined below:

As the attached report entitled “Spiritual Resistance and Its Cost for a Christian Minority: A Documentary Report of Jehovah’s Witnesses Under Nazism, 1933-1945” will show, the Nazi persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which spanned virtually the entire Nazi period, exacted a heavy physical, financial, and emotional toll on that small religious community in all Nazi- occupied lands. The report also evidences that the Witnesses’ individual and organized stance in opposition to the violent ideology of the regime was a decisive factor in the severity of the persecution, resulting in profound losses.

Although conclusive documentation may be lacking for the claims of individuals targeted as Jehovah’s Witnesses; there are three factors that argue for a favorable hearing for the individual applicants, even where the elusive “Swiss connection” may be weak:

(1) Since Jehovah’s Witnesses were among the earliest groups to be targeted for sentencing to concentration camps, they were often used in the actual construction of the camps. In some cases, the SS-run camps could, in themselves, be considered commercial enterprises that benefited from slave labor. Because the Witnesses had been in the camp system for long periods of time, they sometimes worked for the camp administration, but without due compensation, of course

(2) Witness literature often carried sharp criticism of flagrant human rights violations in Nazi Germany. This was true of Witness literature produced and distributed clandestinely within Nazi-occupied Europe, as well as Witness literature published internationally. The Gestapo was well aware of the critical and revealing content of the literature, and thus they expended extraordinary effort to expose and destroy the secret printing facilities. They confiscated printing equipment, burned stocks of literature whenever it was found, and hunted down and executed many of those involved with the underground work. Thus, the nonviolent resistance offered by the Witnesses increased the financial, material, and physical losses they sustained.

(3) The nonviolent, nonpolitical resistance of Jehovah’s Witnesses to Nazi policies is distinctive for its duration and consistency. It is not possible to quantify the losses suffered by families whose mothers or fathers were given lengthy sentences in camp or prison because of their faith. Beyond the lost wages, lost property, and lost years are the intangible costs suffered by all victims of Nazi terror. Unlike other victims, however, most Witnesses had a choice. Generally, they were targeted solely because of their religious convictions. Witnesses were offered the opportunity to avoid persecution simply by renouncing their beliefs. Therefore, by virtue of the length of the persecution and the nature of their resistance, we ask that the court grant special consideration to the applications of Witness survivors or their heirs, which will no doubt be few in number. Further, the court may allocate a portion of the settlement to be used for purposes of Holocaust education and remembrance. Combating intolerance and indifference is extremely important work. The Watch Tower and individual Jehovah’s Witnesses have expended hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote awareness of the Holocaust and its lessons. The Watch Tower and its affiliate branch offices have made educational and academic presentations, free of admission charge, in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Israel, and most countries of Eastern and Western Europe. More than 400 seminars and exhibitions have been held in


Germany alone, often in cooperation with concentration camp memorials, research institutions, and museums. Important research and archival work is being conducted in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Russia, Israel, and other places.

The few remaining Witness survivors have used their waning vitality to speak to young people, educators, and scholars about their experiences and those of their martyred fellow believers. If the court sees fit to allocate a portion of the settlement fund to the Watch Tower to continue this work of remembrance, we believe it would constitute fitting recognition of individual Witnesses who suffered and died while maintaining their faith and human values.

Some Witnesses died prematurely and left no heirs to make a claim to the Swiss Bank Settlement Fund. However, the legacy of spiritual resistance that they left behind is of great value in the education of future generations about the importance of standing up for the dignity and value of human life. Representing these individuals, the Watch Tower would be pleased to devote any allocated moneys solely to the interests of Holocaust education and the remembrance of the prisoners who bore the purple triangle, according as the court might stipulate.

Realizing that thousands of survivors and heirs will apply to the court to receive a portion of the Settlement Fund, Watch Tower is not in a position to recommend a certain percentage to be allotted for the purposes outlined above, nor are we able to suggest what portion of the Fund should be allotted to individual Witness survivors. Watch Tower acknowledges that no amount of money can fully compensate for the losses of any victims of Nazi persecution. However, if the funds provided by the Swiss Banks Settlement can symbolically or practically mitigate the human suffering of survivors or their families, or if it can advance the work of education and remembrance, the money will have been well spent. In this allocation process, we rely on the court’s equity and fairness.


WHERFORE, in light of this information, Watch Tower, respectfully request an award in harmony with the just and equitable principles outlined in the settlement order.

December 7,1999.
Respectfully submitted,
Carolyn R. Wah
Associate General Counsel
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society
of Pennsylvania
100 Watchtower Drive
Patterson, NY 12563
Tel: (914) 306-0700
Fax: (914) 306-0709