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Jehovah's Witnesses

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 1870
Location: Tuxedo Park, Orange, New York, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: Jehovahs_Witnesses WTBTS IBSA
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Right now this project has three members:

Here are some of the tasks that I think need to be done. I'll be working on them, and could use your help.

  • Locate existing profiles
  • Create profiles
  • Sub-projects: Victims of Persecution (w/sub-project of Nazi Persecution, Russian Persecution, South Korea Persecution), Governing Body, Elders, Pioneers, Missionaries, Traveling Overseers, Volunteer Workers.

The goal of this project is to gather information on the history of Jehovah's Witnesses: their impact on Religious Freedom in America and other countries, impact to the medical world with the need for bloodless surgery, persecution of Witnesses, including the imprisonment, torture and deaths during the Nazi regime, and the prominent members past and present.

Will you join me? Please post a comment here on this page, in G2G using the project tag, or send me a private message. Thanks!

USHMM List of Jehovah's Witness victims of persecution.

WikipediaWikitreeConnected?To DoAssignedBirthDeathNotes
Charles Taze RussellRussell-17043NFind more familyvolunteer!18521916President
Joseph Franklin Rutherford Rutherford-3100NFind more familyvolunteer!18691942President
Nathan Homer KnorrAddNcreate profile and find familyvolunteer!19051977President
Frederick William FranzAddNcreate profile and find familyvolunteer!18931992President
Milton George HenschelAddNcreate profile and find familyvolunteer!19202003President
Richard RudolphRudolph-114NTranslate Oral InterviewJelena19112014Survivor, Double Persecution
Helene GottholdAddNcreate profile and find familyvolunteer!18961944beheaded at Plötzensee Prison, USHMM ID Card
Adolphe ArnoldAddNwikipedia article, create profile and find familyvolunteer!1897unknownSurvivor of Ebensee, a subcamp of Mauthausen, USHMM ID Card
Emma (Borot) ArnoldAddNwikipedia article, create profile and find familyvolunteer!1898unknownSurvivor, USHMM ID Card
Simone (Arnold) Liebster (DE)Arnold-13260Ndraft for Wikipedia EN, Find more familyAzure Rae1930LivingAuthor, Survivor of persecution, USHMM ID Card
Max LiebsterAddNwikipedia article, create profile and find familyvolunteer!19152008Survivor of imprisonment & multiple camps Jewish victim became a Witness, USHMM ID Card
Hilda KusserowAddNwikipedia article, create profile and find familyvolunteer!18881979Survivor of Ravensbrueck, USHMM ID Card
Wilhelm KusserowAddNwikipedia article, create profile and find familyvolunteer!19141940Shot by firing squad Muenster Prison, USHMM ID Card
Karl-Heinz KusserowAddNwikipedia article, create profile and find familyvolunteer!19171946Survivor of Dachau, USHMM ID Card
Wolfgang KusserowAddNwikipedia article, create profile and find familyvolunteer!19221942beheaded by guillotine in Brandenburg Prison, USHMM ID Card
Magdalena KusserowAddNwikipedia article, create profile and find familyvolunteer!1924LivingSurvivor of Ravensbrueck, USHMM ID Card

Contents

History

Their present understanding of Bible truths and their activities can be traced back to the 1870s and the work of Charles Taze Russell and his associates, and from there to the Bible and early Christianity. On July 26, 1931, at a convention in Columbus, Ohio, Joseph Franklin Rutherford introduced the new name – Jehovah's witnesses – based on Isaiah 43:10: "'You are my witnesses,' declares Jehovah..."

Major publishers of the Bible and Bible education literature. Currently, the Bible is available for free online and in hardcopy (in whole or in part) in over 160 languages. Bible literature is available in over 975 languages online or in hardcopy.

Religious Freedom

Supreme Court Cases

United States of America

Supreme Court Justice Harlan Fiske Stone once quipped, "I think the Jehovah's Witnesses ought to have an endowment in view of the aid which they give in solving the legal problems of civil liberties." The most important U.S. Supreme Court legal victory won by the Witnesses was in the case West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette (1943), in which the court ruled that school children could not be forced to pledge allegiance to or salute the U.S. flag. The Barnette decision overturned an earlier case, Minersville School District vs. Gobitis (1940), in which the court had held that Witnesses could be forced against their will to pay homage to the flag.

Russian Federation
Canada
France
Germany
Armenia
India
Japan
Philippines
Georgia

Victims of Religious Persecution

"Throughout Jehovah's Witnesses' history, their beliefs, doctrines, and practices have engendered controversy and opposition from local governments, communities, and religious groups. Many Christian denominations consider the interpretations and doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses to be heretical.

According to law professor Archibald Cox, in the United States, Jehovah's Witnesses were "the principal victims of religious persecution … they began to attract attention and provoke repression in the 1930s, when their proselytizing and numbers rapidly increased."[1] Political and religious animosity against Jehovah's Witnesses has at times led to mob action and government oppression in various countries, including Cuba, the United States, Canada, Singapore, and Nazi Germany. The denomination's doctrine of political neutrality has led to imprisonment of members who refused conscription (for example in Britain during World War II and afterwards during the period of compulsory national service).

During the World Wars, Jehovah's Witnesses were targeted in the United States, Canada, and many other countries for their refusal to serve in the military or help with war efforts. In Canada, Jehovah's Witnesses were interned in camps[4] along with political dissidents and people of Japanese and Chinese descent. Activities of Jehovah's Witnesses have previously been banned in the Soviet Union and in Spain, partly due to their refusal to perform military service. Their religious activities are currently banned or restricted in some countries, for example in Singapore, China, Vietnam, Russia and many Muslim-majority countries."[2]

United States of America

The American Civil Liberties Union reported that by the end of 1940, "more than 1,500 Witnesses in the United States had been victimized in 335 separate attacks". Such attacks included beatings, being tarred and feathered, hanged, shot, maimed, and even castrated, as well as other acts of violence.[3][2]

Germany
Pre/Post WWII
Nazi Regime

An estimated 10,000 Witnesses were imprisoned between 1933-1945 and about 1,500 of Jehovah’s Witnesses died during the time of the Holocaust, out of some 35,000 Witnesses living in Germany and Nazi-occupied countries. The cause of death is not known in all cases.

Russian Federation
Soviet Union

Jehovah's Witnesses did not have a significant presence in the Soviet Union prior to 1939 when the Soviet Union forcibly incorporated eastern Poland, Moldavia, and Lithuania, each of which had a Jehovah's Witness movement. Although never large in number (estimated by the KGB to be 20,000 in 1968), the Jehovah's Witnesses became one of the most persecuted religious groups in the Soviet Union during the post-World War II era.[4] Members were arrested or deported; some were put in Soviet concentration camps. Witnesses in Moldavian SSR were deported to Tomsk Oblast; members from other regions of the Soviet Union were deported to Irkutsk Oblast[5] KGB officials, who were tasked with dissolving the Jehovah's Witness movement, were disturbed to discover that the Witnesses continued to practice their faith even within the labor camps.[4]

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov proposed the deportation of the Jehovah's Witnesses to Stalin in October 1950. A resolution was voted by the Council of Minister and an order was issued by the Ministry for State Security in March 1951. The Moldavian SSR passed a decree "on the confiscation and selling of the property of individuals banished from the territory of the Moldavian SSR", which included the Jehovah's Witnesses.[5]

In April 1951, over 9,000 Jehovah's Witnesses were deported to Siberia under a plan called "Operation North".[6][7]The Soviet government was so disturbed by the Jehovah's Witnesses who continued to receive religious literature smuggled from Brooklyn that the KGB was authorized to send agents to infiltrate the Brooklyn headquarters.[4]

In September 1965, a decree of the Presidium of the USSR Council of Ministers canceled the "special settlement" restriction of Jehovah's Witnesses, though the decree, signed by Anastas Mikoyan, stated that there would be no compensation for confiscated property. However, Jehovah's Witnesses remained the subject of state persecution due to their ideology being classified as anti-Soviet[8][2]

Benin
Bulgaria
Canada
Cuba
Eritrea
France
Georgia
India
Malawi
Rwanda
Singapore
South Africa
South Ossetia
Turkmenistan
South Korea

Bloodless Surgery

Buildings

At first they had headquarters offices at 101 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, and later at 44 Federal Street, Allegheny. In the late 1880’s, however, expansion became necessary. So Russell arranged to build larger facilities. In 1889 a four-story brick building at 56-60 Arch Street, Allegheny, was completed. Valued at $34,000, it was known as the Bible House. It served as the Society’s headquarters for some 19 years. As of 1890, the small Bible House family was serving the needs of several hundred active associates of the Watch Tower Society.

As the newspaper preaching gained momentum, the Bible Students looked for another location from which to originate the sermons. Why? The Bible House in Allegheny had become too small. It was also thought that if Russell’s sermons emanated from a larger, better-known city, it would result in the publication of the sermons in more newspapers. But which city? The Watch Tower of December 15, 1908, explained: “Altogether we concluded, after seeking Divine guidance, that Brooklyn, N.Y., with a large population of the middle class, and known as ‘The City of Churches,’ would, for these reasons, be our most suitable center for the harvest work during the few remaining years.”

In 1908, therefore, several representatives of the Watch Tower Society, including its legal counsel, Joseph F. Rutherford, were sent to New York City. Their objective? To secure property that C. T. Russell had located on an earlier trip. They purchased the old “Plymouth Bethel,” located at 13-17 Hicks Street, Brooklyn. It had served as a mission structure for the nearby Plymouth Congregational Church, where Henry Ward Beecher once served as pastor. The Society’s representatives also purchased Beecher’s former residence, a four-story brownstone at 124 Columbia Heights, a few blocks away.

The Hicks Street building was remodeled and named the Brooklyn Tabernacle. It housed the Society’s offices and an auditorium. After considerable repairs, Beecher’s former residence at 124 Columbia Heights became the new home of the Society’s headquarters staff. What would it be called? The Watch Tower of March 1, 1909, explained: “The new home we shall call ‘Bethel’ [meaning, “House of God”].”*

United States

  • 101 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh
  • 44 Federal Street, Allegheny
  • 56-60 Arch Street, Allegheny
  • 13-17 Hicks Street, Brooklyn
  • Brooklyn Bethel at 122 & 124 Brooklyn Heights.
    • Census Records
      • United States Census, 1910, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M539-41N : accessed 22 April 2019), Charles T Russell, Brooklyn Ward 1, Kings, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 3, sheet 19A, family 310, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 955; FHL microfilm 1,374,968.</ref>
      • United States Census, 1920, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MJPV-HJX : accessed 22 April 2019), F Joseph Rutherford, Brooklyn Assembly District 1, Kings, New York, United States; citing ED 4, sheet 11A, line 1, family 252, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1143; FHL microfilm 1,821,143.
      • New York State Census, 1925, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KSSJ-21B : 8 November 2014), Joseph F Rutherford, Brooklyn, A.D. 01, E.D. 32, Kings, New York, United States; records extracted by Ancestry and images digitized by FamilySearch; citing p. 25, line 17, New York State Archives, Albany.
      • United States Census, 1930, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X765-JPB : accessed 22 April 2019), Joseph F Rutherford, Brooklyn (Districts 0751-1000), Kings, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 906, sheet 1B, line 72, family 12, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1491; FHL microfilm 2,341,226.
      • United States Census, 1940, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KQ1N-9WS : 14 March 2018), Joseph F Rutherford, Assembly District 1, Brooklyn, New York City, Kings, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 24-10A, sheet 86A, line 7, family , Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 2547.
  • Walkill, New York
  • Tuxedo Park, New York (current Worldwide Headquarters)

Canada

Mexico

Europe

Asia

Africa

Australia

South America

Sources

  1. Cox, Archibald (1987). The Court and the Constitution. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co. p. 189
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses article on Wikipedia
  3. Peters, Shawn Francis (2000). Judging Jehovah's Witnesses: Religious Persecution and the Dawn of the Rights Revolution. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield, New York: Basic Books, 1999
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Against Their Will: The History and Geography of Forced Migrations in the USSR", Central European University Press, 2004.
  6. "Recalling Operation North", by Vitali Kamyshev, "Русская мысль", Париж, N 4363, 26 April 2001
  7. Валерий Пасат ."Трудные страницы истории Молдовы (1940–1950)". Москва: Изд. Terra, 1994
  8. "Christian Believers Were Persecuted by All Tolatitarian Regimes" Prava Lyudini ("Rights of a Person"), the newspaper of a Ukrainian human rights organization, Kharkiv, December 2001






Images: 4
Photo Drama of Creation Poster
Photo Drama of Creation Poster

JW Logo
JW Logo

Nazi Persecution Victim
Nazi Persecution Victim

Concentration camp uniform jacket
Concentration camp uniform jacket

Collaboration