Dec 262004
 

This page is still under construction, but I figured I’d put it up here while I’m working on it. There’s a bunch of notes and a timeline. If you have any information that you think would add to this or any comments, please feel free to contact me.

Time Line

September 1, 1931 – The Watchtower reaffirms its long held position that Zionism and the return of the Jews to Palestine is in fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

“God promised to restore Palestine to the Jews. The rebuilding of Palestine is now beginning and is well under way. This is being done clearly in fulfillment of prophecy uttered as promises from Jehovah. this alone should command not only the respectful attention but the profoundest interest of every one who believes that Jehovah is God. It was the great Jehovah, speaking through men who had faith in him, that foretold what we now see transpiring concerning Palestine. The privilege of living on earth at the time of the fulfillment of these prophecies cannot be overestimated. At once the Jew comes into prominence, and the history of the Jewish people becomes more thrilling than any fiction every written.” – The Watchtower, 9/1/1931, 270-271

May 15, 1932 – The Watchtower reverses its position on Zionism

Restoration of genuine worship of the living God in 1919 did not mean gathering together throngs of native or natural “orthodox” Jews in a so-called “Holy Land” (Palestine) under the slogan of “Zionism.” (John 4:21-23) Indeed, such a long-expected and popularly heralded event the earnest students of the Bible came to understand by 1932 as being not Jehovah’s way but only the way of self-serving men subtly stirred into action for creatures’ purposes and benefits. By the publication of Volume 2 of the book Vindication that year, Jehovah’s witnesses came to see that such a “back to Palestine” movement was by the spirit of Jehovah’s archfoe, Satan, who has deceived the entire inhabited earth. From the Scriptural viewpoint Jehovah’s anointed praisers, his singing watchmen “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues,” were spiritual Jews, Israelites indeed, and were the ones restored to the holy place of Jehovah’s favor.” – The Watchtower, 5/15/55, p 296

January 30, 1933 – Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany

April 4, 1933 – WTS offices in Magdeburg seized. – Awake!, 8/22/95, pp. 6-7

April 28, 1933 – Seizure order rescinded, property returned – Awake!, 8/22/95, pp. 6-7

June 25, 1933 – Convention in Berlin, Declaration of Facts adopted.

November 1, 1933, issue of The Watchtower “Fear Them Not.” – “It was prepared especially for the German Witnesses, exhorting them to take courage in the face of mounting pressure.” – Awake!, 8/22/95, pp 7-8

February 9, 1934 – J. F. Rutherford, president of the Watch Tower Society, sent a letter of protest to Hitler stating: “You may successfully resist any and all men, but you cannot successfully resist Jehovah God. . . . In the name of Jehovah God and His anointed King, Christ Jesus, I demand that you give order to all officials and servants of your government that Jehovah’s witnesses in Germany be permitted to peaceably assemble and without hindrance worship God.”

Rutherford set March 24, 1934, as the deadline. He said that if by that time relief did not come to the German Witnesses, the facts about the persecution would be published throughout Germany and the rest of the world. The Nazis answered Rutherford’s demand with stepped-up abuses, sending many of Jehovah’s Witnesses to the concentration camps that had recently been set up. Thus, they were among the first inmates of these camps. – Awake!, 8/22/95, pp 7-8

October 7, 1934 – all congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany assembled to hear a letter read that was being sent to the officials of the Hitler government. It said: “There is a direct conflict between your law and God’s law . . . Therefore this is to advise you that at any cost we will obey God’s commandments, will meet together for the study of His Word, and will worship and serve Him as He has commanded.”

On the same day, Jehovah’s Witnesses in 49 other countries met in special assembly and sent the following telegram to Hitler: “Your ill-treatment of Jehovah’s witnesses shocks all good people of earth and dishonors God’s name. Refrain from further persecuting Jehovah’s witnesses; otherwise God will destroy you and your national party.” – Awake! 8/22/95, pp 8

Nov 9, 1938 – Krystallnact

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Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, page 130 – After mentioning the June 1933 convention in Berlin, it says “There a prepared Declaration of Facts was presented to the 7,000 in attendance in protest against the Hitler government for their highhanded interference with the witness work of the Society, as was unanimously adopted.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose pp 130-1 – “Seizing the Society’s property at Magdeburg was a flagrant violation of international property rights, because title was held by our American corporation. In a effort to regain control of the property, an appeal was made to the United States Department of State urging a protest against this highhanded action of the German government. As a result of the negotiations that ensued between the State Department of the United States and Germany, the German government entered an order for the release of all the Society’s property and turned it back into the possession of the brothers there.”

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An Appeal for Understanding

Hitler became prime minister of Germany on January 30, 1933, and a couple of months later, on April 4, 1933, the Magdeburg branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses was seized. However, the order was rescinded on April 28, 1933, and the property was returned. What would happen next?

In spite of the evident hostility of the Hitler regime, Jehovah’s Witnesses organized a convention in Berlin, Germany, on June 25, 1933. Some 7,000 persons assembled. The Witnesses publicly made their intentions clear: “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.

Thus Jehovah’s Witnesses made a good-faith effort to state their case. What were the consequences? – Awake! 8/22/1995, pp. 6-7

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Not Anti-Semitic

Thank you for not hiding things that you regret having said. Although I would like to have read an apology for this statement, your this-was-the-context explanation was adequate. Please carry on with your fine work, knowing that your readers appreciate the depth and honesty of Awake! W. H., United States

The reader refers to statements in the “Declaration of Facts,” a resolution adopted in 1933 at a convention in Berlin, Germany. (See “Jehovah’s Witnesses – Courageous in the Face of Nazi Peril,” in the July 8, 1998, issue of “Awake!”) As the article noted, nothing said in the 1933 declaration was intended to express or condone hostility toward Jews, and we regret it if some statements give that impression today. If anyone back in the 1930’s interpreted the “Declaration of Facts” to mean that Jehovah’s Witnesses were anti-Semitic, this misimpression could easily have been corrected by observing the courageous and compassionate acts of individual Witnesses in behalf of Jews. Moreover, Watch Tower Society publications were among the first to expose and express outrage at the treatment of Jews in Europe. – ED
. – Awake!, 9/8/1999, p. 30 “From Our Readers”

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*** g95 8/22 7-8 The Evils of Nazism Exposed ***

Witnesses’ Resolute Stand

Despite these initial attacks, Jehovah’s Witnesses stood their ground and publicly denounced the oppression and injustice. The November 1, 1933, issue of The Watchtower featured the article “Fear Them Not.” It was prepared especially for the German Witnesses, exhorting them to take courage in the face of mounting pressure.

On February 9, 1934, J. F. Rutherford, the president of the Watch Tower Society, sent a letter of protest to Hitler stating: “You may successfully resist any and all men, but you cannot successfully resist Jehovah God. . . . In the name of Jehovah God and His anointed King, Christ Jesus, I demand that you give order to all officials and servants of your government that Jehovah’s witnesses in Germany be permitted to peaceably assemble and without hindrance worship God.”

Rutherford set March 24, 1934, as the deadline. He said that if by that time relief did not come to the German Witnesses, the facts about the persecution would be published throughout Germany and the rest of the world. The Nazis answered Rutherford’s demand with stepped-up abuses, sending many of Jehovah’s Witnesses to the concentration camps that had recently been set up. Thus, they were among the first inmates of these camps.

*** g95 8/22 8-9 The Evils of Nazism Exposed ***

Witnesses Expose Nazi Atrocities

As Jehovah’s Witnesses had promised, they began exposing the atrocities occurring in Germany. Witnesses around the globe repeatedly registered protests with the Hitler government.

On October 7, 1934, all congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany assembled to hear a letter read that was being sent to the officials of the Hitler government. It said: “There is a direct conflict between your law and God’s law . . . Therefore this is to advise you that at any cost we will obey God’s commandments, will meet together for the study of His Word, and will worship and serve Him as He has commanded.”

On the same day, Jehovah’s Witnesses in 49 other countries met in special assembly and sent the following telegram to Hitler: “Your ill-treatment of Jehovah’s witnesses shocks all good people of earth and dishonors God’s name. Refrain from further persecuting Jehovah’s witnesses; otherwise God will destroy you and your national party.”

The Nazis responded almost immediately by stepping up their persecution. Hitler himself screamed: “This brood will be exterminated in Germany!” But as opposition intensified, the determination of the Witnesses stiffened correspondingly.

*** yb74 pp. 138-139 Part 2 – Germany ***

The effect that the letters, and especially the telegrams, had upon Hitler can be seen by a report written by Karl R. Wittig, attested by a notary public in Frankfurt (Main) on November 13, 1947:

“DECLARATION—On October 7, 1934, having been previously summoned, I visited Dr. Wilhelm Frick, at that time Minister of the Interior of the Reich and Prussia, in his home office of the Reich, located in Berlin, 6 am Köenigsplatz, since I was a plenipotentiary of General Ludendorff. I was to accept communications, contents of which were an attempt to persuade General Ludendorff to discontinuance of his objection to the Nazi regime. During my discussion with Dr. Frick, Hitler suddenly appeared and began taking part in the conversation. When our discussion obligatorily dealt with the action against the International Bible Students Association [Jehovah’s witnesses] in Germany up until now, Dr. Frick showed Hitler a number of telegrams protesting against the Third Reich’s persecution of the Bible Students, saying: ‘If the Bible Students do not immediately get in line we will act against them using the strongest means.’ After which Hitler jumped to his feet and with clenched fists hysterically screamed: ‘This brood will be exterminated in Germany!’ Four years after this discussion I was able, by my own observations, to convince myself, during my seven years in protective custody in the hell of the Nazis’ concentration camps at Sachsenhausen, Flossenbürg and Mauthausen—I was in prison until released by the Allies—that Hitler’s outburst of anger was not just an idle threat. No other group of prisoners of the named concentration camps was exposed to the sadism of the SS soldiery in such a fashion as the Bible Students were. It was a sadism marked by an unending chain of physical and mental tortures, the likes of which no language in the world can express.”

Dec 262004
 

1933 Letter from the Watchtower Society to Adolph Hitler

WATCH TOWER
BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
PUBLISHERS OF THE BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION GENERAL OFFICES: 117 ADAMS STREET BROOKLYN NEW YORK, U.S.A. GERMAN BRANCH:
WACHTTURMSTR.1 – 19
MAGDEBURG
POSTSCH.-K.: MAGDEBURG 4042 TELEPHONE, MAGDEBURG 405 56,405 57, 405 58
RADIO AND CABLE ADDRESS: WATCHTOWER MAGDEBURG

Most Honored Mr. Chancellor:

On June 25, 1933, a 5,000-delegate convention of German Bible Students (Jehovah’s Witnesses), representing several million Germans who have been friends and followers of this movement for many years, was held in the Sporthalle Wilmersdorf in Berlin. The purpose of this meeting was to find ways and means of making known to you, Mr. Chancellor, and to other high government officials of the German Reich, as well as Lander [state] governments, the following:

In some parts of the country measures are being taken against an association of earnest Christian men and women which has positive Christianity as its foundation. Because of their origin, these measures can be regarded as nothing less than the persecution of one group of Christians by another, since the accusations which trigger them [the measures] are levelled from clerical, especially Catholic, quarters and are untrue.

Absolutely convinced of the full objectivity of the government departments and officials dealing with these matters, we nevertheless recognize that because of the volume of our literature on one hand and because of the heavy workload of the relevant case workers on the other, the content of our literature and the purpose of our movement are judged in large part incorrectly, specifically in accord with the views-which cause prejudice-that our religious opponents bring against us.

For this reason the matters discussed at the convention have been set down in the attached declaration of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in order to convey to you, Mr. Chancellor, and to the senior departments of the governments of the German Reich and the Lander as documentation of the fact that German Bible Students intend only, as the sole objective of their work, to lead mankind back to God and to witness to and give honor to the name of Jehovah, the Almighty, the Father of our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, here on the earth. We are secure in the knowledge that you, Mr. Chancellor, will not let such activity be disturbed.

German Bible Student congregations are generally known as havens of true reverence for the Almighty and as ardent custodians of careful biblical research. Local police authorities must always affirm that Bible Students definitely have to be counted as among those elements of the country and people that love and support order. Their only mission is the recruitment of human hearts that love God. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is the Bible Students’ organizational mission center (for Germany: with head offices in Magdeburg).

The Brooklyn administration of the Watch Tower Society is and in the past has been outstandingly friendly to Germany. For this reason, the president of the Society and seven members of its Board of Directors in the United States were sentenced to 80 years imprisonment because the president refused to use two magazines published by him in the United States for war propaganda against Germany. These two magazines, “The Watch Tower” and “Bible Student” [The Bible Students Monthly] were the only magazines in the United States which refused [to publish] war propaganda against Germany and were, for this reason, outlawed and suppressed in the United States during the war.

In a similar manner, the administration of our Society not only refused to participate in the horror propaganda against Germany, but it took a position against it. This is emphasized by the attached Declaration which refers to the fact that the circles which led [in promoting] horror propaganda in the United States (commercialistic Jews and Catholics) are also the most eager persecutors of our Society’s work and its administration. These and other statements in our Declaration are meant to serve as a rejection of the slanderous claim that the Bible Students are supported by Jews.

The representative convention of these five thousand delegates took notice with great satisfaction of the statement by the governing president of Magdeburg that the connection between Bible Students and Communists or Marxists, claimed by our clerical opponents, cannot be substantiated (and thus is slanderous as well). A relevant press report in the Magdeburg Daily News No. 104 of May 5, 1933 says:

A government declaration regarding the occupation of Bible Student House.-The government press center announces: “Police occupation of property owned by the Earnest Bible Students Association has been ended since no incriminating material regarding a claimed Communist activity was found.”

Further: the Magdeburg Daily News No. 102 of May 3, 1933 [states]:

From
The representative convention of these five thousand delegate stressed that, following these circumstances, it would find it beneath its dignity to defend itself in future against the contemptible accusation of Marxist or Communist activity. The delegates refuted the accusations of our religious opponents, which are clearly a sign of religious competition.

They [the religious opponents] would prefer to throttle truthful herald of warning with slander rather than [use] the Word c God. Further, it was stated at the five-thousand-delegate convention-a expressed in the Declaration-that Bible Students are fighting for the same high, ethical goals and ideals that the National Government a the German Reich proclaimed regarding the relationship of man t God, namely: honesty of the created towards the Creator!

At the convention, it was stated that there are no opposing views in the relationship between German Bible Students and the National Government of the German Reich, but that, to the contrary, respecting the purely religious and apolitical goals and objectives of the Bible Students, it can be said that these are in complete harmony with the similar goals of the National Government of the German Reich.

Because of the supposedly harsh language of our literature, some of our books were banned. The five-thousand-delegate convention pointed out in this connection that the contents of our books that were objected to referred only to circumstances in the Anglo-American World Empire and that it-especially England-is to be held responsible for the League of Nations and the unjustified treaties and burdens placed on Germany. The things said in the above-mentioned spirit are therefore directed-whether in a financial, political, or Roman Catholic (ultramontane) sense-against the oppressors of the German people and country, not against the Germany struggling against these burdens. Thus the bans [on Bible Student literature] are made absolutely incomprehensible.

To those various German Lander in which there occurred bans on Bible Student religious services, prohibitions of prayer meetings, etc., those [Bible Students], who have waited for weeks for a just resolution of the situation which is stifling to their religious life, expressed the following:

We will continue to conform to the regulations of prohibition issued [against us] because we are confident that you, Mr. Chancellor, or the governments of the Lander, will lift these measures-by which tens of thousands of Christian men and women would fall victim to a martyrdom reminiscent of that of the original Christians-once the true state of affairs is known.

Finally, this five-thousand-delegate convention stated that the Bible Student-Watch Tower organization stands for the maintenance of order and the security of the state as well as for the enhancement of the above mentioned, religiously related high ideals of the National Government. In order to make this known above all to you, Mr. Chancellor, as the Leader of the German people, and to other high government officials of the Reich and the Lander, the sentiments expressed briefly above were set down in detail in the attached Declaration.

The attached Declaration was read [publicly] by the secretary of the five-thousand-delegate, Bible Student Convention, was approved unanimously [by Convention delegates], and was adopted with the instruction that a single copy of it and of the Convention Report be conveyed to the Chancellor of the Reich and to other high officials of the Reich and the Lander.

This is done with the most respectful plea that the request expressed in the Declaration be granted in a most positive manner: namely, to give a commission [drawn] from within our midst the opportunity of making a responsible exposition regarding the facts to you, Mr. Chancellor, or the Minister of the Interior, personally. Failing that, [we request] that a commission of men be appointed by you, Mr. Chancellor, who are not religiously prejudiced against us-that is of men who are themselves not by profession interested in religious matters but who would alone truly examine our concerns without prejudice and according to the just principles enunciated by the Chancellor of the Reich him self. By these principles we mean the statements in Section 24 of Platform of the National Socialist German Workers Party:

“We demand the freedom of all religious confessions in the state so long they do not endanger its existence or conflict with the ethical and moral beliefs of the German race. The Party, as such, represents the viewpoint of positive Christianity without associating itself with a specific confession. It opposes the Jewish-materialist spirit domestically and abroad and is convinced that a lasting recuperation our people can only happen from the inside out….”

We are firmly convinced that the National Government of German will find no reason to hinder our services or missionary activities if are judged, first, without religious prejudice and, second, according the Platform points quoted above.

With anticipation of an early, positive assent [to our requests] a with the assurance of our highest esteem, most honored Mr. Chancellor, we remain,

Most respectfully,

Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society Magdeburg


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.”



Dec 262004
 
In the “Declaration of Facts”, which was dated June 25, 1933, the Watchtower Society tried to distance themselves from the Jews and to curry favor and establish common cause with Hitler.
“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.”


Okay, so they had not received funding from the Jews. They made their statement. That should have been sufficient. But the “Declaration” continues:
“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.”


Was that really necessary? If that weren’t sufficient, the next paragraph goes even further:
“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.”


It seems to me that the previous statements regarding the Jews are there in order to establish common cause with Hitler. Later in the “Declaration”, the Watchtower Society goes even further to do that:
“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.


In the letter to Hitler that accompanied the “Declaration”, the WTS continues this theme:
“The Brooklyn administration of the Watch Tower Society is and in the past has been outstandingly friendly to Germany. For this reason, the president of the Society and seven members of its Board of Directors in the United States were sentenced to 80 years imprisonment because the president refused to use two magazines published by him in the United States for war propaganda against Germany. These two magazines, ‘The Watch Tower’ and ‘Bible Student’ [The Bible Students Monthly] were the only magazines in the United States which refused [to publish] war propaganda against Germany and were, for this reason, outlawed and suppressed in the United States during the war.”


Here, the Watchtower Society resorts to an out and out lie in order to cozy up to Hitler. Rutherford and the rest of the board of Directors were not imprisoned for refusing to use their magazines for propaganda against Hitler. I have never seen any mention of this outside this letter. If anyone has evidence to the contrary, I would love to see it. The letter continues:
“In a similar manner, the administration of our Society not only refused to participate in the horror propaganda against Germany, but it took a position against it. This is emphasized by the attached Declaration which refers to the fact that the circles which led [in promoting] horror propaganda in the United States (commercialistic Jews and Catholics) are also the most eager persecutors of our Society’s work and its administration. These and other statements in our Declaration are meant to serve as a rejection of the slanderous claim that the Bible Students are supported by Jews.”


How did the Watchtower take a position against anti-German propaganda? Again, the Watchtower is obviously trying to establish common cause with Hitler.

Some Jehovah’s Witnesses have expressed doubts as to the accuracy or even the existence of the Watchtower Society’s letter to Hitler. However they can rea a section about the letter as well as a partial quote from the letter in their own copy of the 1974 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, page 111 –
The conventioners returned home tired and many were disappointed. They took 2,100,000 copies of the “declaration” home with them, however, and made fast work of distributing them and sending them to numerous persons in positions of responsibility. The copy sent to Hitler was accompanied by a letter that, in part, read:


“The Brooklyn presidency of the Watch Tower Society is and always has been exceedingly friendly to Germany. In 1918 the president of the Society and seven members of the Board of Directors in America were sentenced to 80 years’ imprisonment for the reason that the president refused to let two magazines in America, which he edited, be used in war propaganda against Germany.”


So obviously the letter existed and the quote that I posted is accurate. What is inaccurate is what Rutherford told Hitler about the length of and reason for their prison sentence.


First of all, the length of their sentences – from the book “Jehovah’s Witnesses – Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom” (Proclaimers) – page 69
On June 21, 1918, J. F. Rutherford and several of his close associates were sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, having been falsely convicted of conspiracy.


and again on page 211:
Shortly after this, members of the Society’s administrative staff were arrested, and on June 21, 1918, they were sentenced to 20-year prison terms.


On page 652, the Proclaimer’s book offers a more complete explanation of their sentences:
Regardless of all of this, on June 20, 1918, the jury returned a verdict finding each of the defendants guilty on each count of the indictment. The next day, seven of them were sentenced to four terms of 20 years each, to be served concurrently. On July 10, the eighth was sentenced to four concurrent terms of 10 years.


So evidently in an effort to make their sentences look as bad as possible to Hitler, they mentioned 80 years without mentioning that they were, in fact, four twenty year concurrent sentences.


Now, regarding the reason they were convicted and sentenced, the Proclaimer’s book, on pages 650 and 651 says the following:
The previous day, in Brooklyn, New York, two indictments had been filed against Brother Rutherford and his associates. If the desired results did not come from one case, the other indictment could have been pursued. The first indictment, which laid charges against the greater number of individuals, included four counts: Two charged them with conspiring to violate the Espionage Act of June 15, 1917; and two counts charged them with attempting to carry out their illegal plans or actually doing so. It was alleged that they were conspiring to cause insubordination and refusal of duty in the armed forces of the United States and that they were conspiring to obstruct the recruiting and enlisting of men for such service when the nation was at war, also that they had attempted to do or had actually done both of these things. The indictment made particular mention of publication and distribution of the book The Finished Mystery. The second indictment construed the sending of a check to Europe (which was to be used in the work of Bible education in Germany) to be inimical to the interests of the United States. When the defendants were taken to court, it was the first indictment, the one with four counts, that was pursued.


Yet another indictment of C. J. Woodworth and J. F. Rutherford under the Espionage Act was at that time pending in Scranton, Pennsylvania. But, according to a letter from John Lord O’Brian dated May 20, 1918, members of the Department of Justice feared that U.S. District Judge Witmer, before whom the case would be tried, would not agree with their use of the Espionage Act to suppress the activity of men who, because of sincere religious convictions, said things that others might construe as antiwar propaganda.


So there is nothing there, or in any other history of the Watchtower Society that I could find, about them being asked and then refusing to allow the Watchtower Society’s magazines to be used for anti-German propaganda. So, in a further effort to curry favor with Hitler, Rutherford lied about why he and his fellow board members were convicted and imprisoned in 1918.

Dec 242004
 

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

APPENDIX B

THE NATIONAL CONCORDAT

(Agreement between Germany and the Vatican)

The Text of the Concordat

Concordat between the Holy See and the German Empire

(Reich)

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

EUCENIO, CARDINALE PACELLI

FRANZ VON PAPEN

(Signed)

(Signed)

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.

(Signed)

(Signed)

EUGENIO, CARDINALE PACELLI,

FRANZ VON PAPEN

Jan 212004
 

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

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF
NEW YORK

In re Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation:
Master Document No. CV -96-4849
(ERK) (MDG)
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

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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.

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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,
signature
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