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Purple Triangle: Jehovah's Witnesses in Nazi Concentration Camps

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The purple triangle was a concentration camp badge used by the Nazis to identify Bibelforscher (Bible Student) in Nazi Germany. Over 99% of these were Jehovah's Witnesses, but a few were Adventists, Baptists, splinter groups, and pacifists. Some 12,000 Witnesses were imprisoned for varying lengths of time in prisons and concentration camps. Between 2,500 and 5,000 of them died. Hundreds were executed.

Jehovah's Witnesses came into conflict with the Nazis because they refused to use the Hitler salute, believing it conflicted with their worship of Jehovah. Refusing to use the salute was considered a crime. When military enlistment became mandatory, the Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted for refusing to bear arms.

Jehovah's Witnesses who were also classified as ethnic Jews wore badges comprised of a purple triangle superimposed on a yellow triangle.

To Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is a Christian duty to be “in subjection to the superior [government] authorities.” (Romans 13:1) However, when governments try to force them to transgress God’s laws, they follow the example of Christ’s apostles, who said: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) As a result, in a world where tribal enmities and ethnic hatreds have led to shocking atrocities, Jehovah’s Witnesses everywhere, like to, pursue peace. They follow the Bible’s exhortation: “Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good.”​—Romans 12:21.

Jehovah’s Witnesses could, escape persecution and personal harm by renouncing their religious beliefs. From 1935 Gestapo officers offered members a document to sign indicating renunciation of their faith, submission to state authority, and support of the German military.


For those interested, there is a to-do list at WikiTree to get all those that have USHHM ID Cards added to the one big free tree It is part of the Religion sub-project:


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