1942 - Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, p. 165-171:
This land, now called "Greater Germany"' and which includes the former Catholic Austria, is the political and military stronghold of the religious-totalitarian "abomination of desolation", which assumes to take the place of and to rule the world in the stead of The Theocracy and which therefore forbids the proclamation of the gospel of that kingdom. No detailed reports are to hand concerning the actual spread of the Lord's provided food as set forth in the publications of the Society, but that the circulation of the forbidden message still goes on is certain, though at the risk of liberty and life.
Faithful servants of Jehovah in Germany have now for years held fast to their integrity and to their unbending devo-tion to The Theocracy in the face of the setting up of dicta-torship and the signing of the Concordat between Germany's Catholic dictator and the religious head of all Boman Catholics at Vatican City, in 1933. Such steadfast ones have been an outstanding example of faithfulness that has been spoken of and published throughout the world, even as the Christians in the days of the apostles. (1 Thess. 1: 6-8) This has been possible only by the sustaining grace of Jehovah, who has filled his covenant people with an unbreakable love for him and his King Christ Jesus.
The demonized ruling element, besides taking away the free-dorn to practice true Christian worship, has attempted to starve the faithful witnesses of Jehovah spiritually by depriving them of the literature setting out the Lord's instruction and the fulfillment of Bible prophecies and by depriving them of the privilege to freely and without interference meet together for study and discussion of such "present truth". But the Lord's hand is not shortened, and even there in that land of intense darkness the Lord has answered the prayer of his suffering ones for "food convenient". To quote from one such: "We express our joy and gratitude for all the precious things which Jehovah has given to his people through the columns of The Watchtower. It is like a miracle that all this still reaches us; but in this dark country as well Jehovah holds the affairs of his people safely in his hand, and to know this makes us conay the Bible itself as well as the books and publications setting forth the revealed Bible truths, Jehovah's faithful ones have the truth and the knowledge of his purpose and his The-ocracy in their hearts and minds, and which none of the demonized powers of this wicked world can take away. This life-sustaining knowledge they stored up in their hearts and minds, and this they did by taking advantage of all their opportu-nities to study God's message both privately and in company with their brethren and also by telling it out to others who have a hearing ear, thereby watering themselves with truth as well as others. Being now under great restraints and priva-tions, such ones appreciate the benefit of that course of action far more deeply than many in lands yet favored with con-siderable freedom of speech, of assembly and of worship and who are careless or indifferent toward their privileges to study and meet together with those of "like precious faith".
For a number of years now our German brethren, by force of hard totalitarian oppression, have been made to know the meaning of the scripture: "Every man shall bear his own burden." (Gal. 6:5) Their organized study and activities being broken up by the religious-dictatorial enemies, and their
contact with headquarters being snapped off and prevented, they have been forced to be on their own and have had to look directly to the Lord and to rely on him and to be guided by the knowledge of his truth and promises and principles of righteousness which they had learned previously, Jehovah God and Christ Jesus being their teachers. They have not forgotten their covenant to do God's will and to obey God rather than men. They know the commandments of the Lord and their covenant-obligations toward him, so that it is not necessary for them to consult with others on this earth, but the sure Word of God is their guide, and this they have followed and continue to follow, be it at the cost of great suffering. There-fore they go straight onward, doing what the Lord tells them to do, and each one meets his own personal responsibility toward the Lord and is grateful for the privilege of suffering for maintaining his blamelessness and innocence toward God by active obedience to his commandments. They trust not in their own strength, nor lean upon the arm of flesh of others. They have been taught of God what to do amid persecution, and they do it. His strength is made perfect in their weak-ness, and his grace is sufficient for them. (2 Cor. 12: 9) Thus they press on delivering the testimony as opportunity offers, whether inside of prison and concentration camp or outside thereof.
Verily in their case there have been fulfilled in no small degree the words of the prophecy, to wit: "And they that understand among the people shall instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. . . . but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end.י י (Dan. 11: 33-35) In Hitler Germany the faithful ones have been greatly tried, not only because of the demon-obsessed "strong-arm squad" and the political and religious dupes and tools of the arbitrary dictator, but also because of the Judas class, which traitorous class broke covenant with the Lord and fell down on their integrity and thereafter try to drag down others with them into the course leading to everlasting destruc-tion. Such unfaithful ones, including the "elective elder" class who are impressed with their own importance and self-wisdom and who desire to shine rather than suffer with Christ, have tried to 1 cleave to the faithful ones with flatteries', there-by to entrap them and to deliver them over to the demons and their human agents; and some have fallen to their wiles. By way of comparison: There are more than 6,000 devoted ones who to this very day linger behind prison walls and in concentration camps and who refuse to compromise under torture, yet these are in a condition far more blessed and far safer than that of those outside who are double-minded and in uncertainty because of fear of men and a failure to take the uncompromis-
ing course of absolute obedience to Jehovah. The faithful have the divine approval, and hence peace and joy even amidst their sufferings, hardships and restraints. They put up their guards against the fair-speeched and beguiling flatteries, and resist such, and hold themselves in the narrow way of keeping covenant with their God, regardless of the consequences to which it may lead. No man on earth is their leader to bear the responsibility for them, and they refuse to heil the dictator or to follow י ' elective elders י ' or any other human creature. They follow י ' the Higher Powers", Jehovah God and Christ Jesus.
By God's loving-kindness the substance of the Watchtower articles on "His Organization" has reached them, setting out the Lord's rule for his organized people as being neither reli-gious-totalitarian nor democratic, but Theocratic. The brethren who tried to maintain contact with one another and to carry on active service have endeavored to work according to this divine rule. Of the Watchtower articles only a few of the originals manage to be passed around, but copies thereof are made and gotten to those desiring further instruction from the great Teachers, God and his Christ.
Information reaching us is that in Nazi land The Watchtower is read with greater joy, appreciation and understanding than in former times, and much benefit has been drawn from the articles. There The Watchtower cannot be studied in the same way as it is yet possible in America. Here and there model studies may take place. Due to the way the Lord uses for distributing The Watchtower, it is not possible to give exact figures as to the number of readers. Occasionally there are meetings of faithful witnesses up to a dozen or more, but that is always dangerous and requires much circumspection by every one and such meetings must be held in an isolated or unobserved place. On such occasions various Watchtower articles are dis-cussed as well as service matters. Such a gathering is always a joy and a blessing to those thus assembling in obedience to the Lord's command. (Heb. 10: 25) One such writes: "Many a general convention in peacetime may not have had the same blessed effect upon many as such an assembly in the deep forest or elsewhere.י '
Added to the cruel oppressions of totalitarian rule, and now that war has been renewed between "the king of the north" and "the king of the south", many cities of Germany have undergone bombardment from the attacking air fleets. Hence our brethren are experiencing like things as their brethren in London and elsewhere in the British Isles, which British brethren, when caught in public places while engaged in the Lord's service, take all reasonable precautions and avail them-selves of all means of self-protection and who sensibly heed the air-raid alarm, gather up their means of witnessing and calmly walk to the nearest air-raid shelter and there continue giving the witness among the people huddled together there
for safety. To give the witness Jesus and his apostles went where the people were congregated and waiting to hear the Lord's Word; and the brethren today likewise take advantage of the conditions produced by the air raids and go to the people who have fled from home and streets and congregated in such bomb-proof shelters. Such is 1 preaching the word, in season and out of season'; and this has been commented on appre-ciatively by many observing persons of good-will or of unbiased mind. According to the report, up to the summer of 1941 nobody in Germany belonging to Jehovah's faithful people had as yet lost his life or been injured in air raids.
There are yet some of the Lord's "other sheep" in Germany, and these the Good Shepherd is gathering to himself in spite of the terrible conditions produced by the demon rule. To quote from the report: י ' Even in Germany it still often occurs that people of good-will express their full devotion to Jehovah by water immersion. Some of those who were immersed in re-cent years have sealed their faithfulness with their lifeblood. We may well say that in spite of the criticism, scorn and per-secution Jehovah's witnesses are the only class of people in Germany who enjoy real respect, although this is not openly admitted. . . .
"A young man who is believed to be a Jonadab [one of the Lord's 'other sheep'] had been sentenced to death for ,refusal of war service. A few days later, the war court called upon the wife of the condemned one to visit her husband, and she was granted an opportunity of speaking with him for half an hour. She was to influence him and cause him to abandon his refusal. However, she did not do so, but both encouraged each other to keep faithful to Jehovah unto the end. At the close of the visit the judge appeared and inquired about the result, and when he saw the immovableness of the brother he said in the presence of the wife: 'I shouldn't have expected it otherwise.' Shortly after, this witness was shot and, as was told later on by soldiers of the detachment of sharpshooters, the captains of two companies who were to command the fire refused to do so; only the third one carried out the order.
"In Germany in many firms, especially the big works and State enterprises as well as in offices of all kinds, workmen, employees and officials are required to do things which are diametrically opposed to God's law. Anyone who refuses is dismissed and not seldom sent to a concentration camp. Such is naturally a further trial for the faithful. Some have yielded in these things and have said as their excuse that they could not act otherwise if they did not want to starve. However, the faithful do not permit themselves to be turned out of the right way even by such pressure. They set their confidence solely upon Jehovah, at the same time being constantly on the lookout for other jobs where they can work without com-
promise, and no one has perished thus far. For such, work is still to be had, even now, and that enough, only it may not be so pleasant. Today there are even jobs en masse, since there is a great lack of workmen in agriculture, in the smaller trades and in households; yea, faithful witnesses of Jehovah are now frequently besieged with offers of work.
"As to the ways and means by which Jehovah's witnesses in Germany carry out their commission of giving the witness, we refer to the Annual Report in the 1940 Yearbook. . . .
"In Mecklenburg there is a concentration camp for women (in Fuerstenfeld-Ravensbrueck), in which there are very probably most of the female witnesses taken to camps. Some of them have been there now for over four years. The sisters there are allowed to write very little, only four lines, and even these are partly cut out most of the time. In that camp there seems to be a good spirit amongst the witnesses, for one never hears that anyone has tried to buy her freedom by signing the clause of retractation. Such steadfastness is to Jehovah's honor.
"Often people inquire about such camp prisoners, as to why they never come out, and such inquiry then provides an op-portunity for their relatives, if they too serve Jehovah, to give a witness. The same is the case when one is shot because of his faithfulness to God. Nothing definite can be said at the moment as to the number of those shot or guillotined, but their number may be estimated to go into many hundreds."
According to this observer the German citizenry are yielding more and more to the power of the demons, "so there are only a few who place themselves on Jehovah's side." Con-cerning those who have been friendlily disposed for some time but who had not promptly taken a positive stand for Jehovah and The Theocracy, "the light which came to us from Jehovah through The Watchtower regarding the 4great multitude' put these people of good-will on their legs. They read and understand The Watchtower. The articles ’Fill the Earth', ’Lovers of Righteousness,' ’Salvation’, 'The Ransom,' ’Lazarus Comforted,' and many others, were especially helpful in this respect."
Lovers of Jehovah and his Theocracy are comforted and encouraged by the examples of faithful devotion under extreme test, wherever these occur, and all such watch with keen interest and fervent prayer the course of their fellow witnesses in Nazi Germany. When authentic reports filter through showing that Jehovah's devoted ones hold fast their integrity in .un-swerving devotion to The Theocracy, even unto the death, the brethren in other lands experience much the same comfort and joy as did the apostle concerning the persecuted brethren of his day at Thessalonica, and to whom he wrote after re-ceiving a faithful report: 4 4 Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you, in all our affliction and distress, by your faith: for now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; night and day praying exceedingly ... to the end he may stablish your hearts unblameible in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."— 1 Thess. 3:7-13.