Admin I Wednesday, January 24, 2018
TEL AVIV, Israel – Not less than 1, 700 people attended an exhibition chronicling the torture of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Nazi Concentration camp during the regime of the late German dictator, Adolf Hitler.
The exhibition was staged in Tel Aviv, Israel from November 26 to December 2, 2017.
“The exhibit was designed to increase awareness of the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses under the Nazi regime”, the Jehovah’s Witnessed said on their website.
Items exhibited included video footage and historical photographs, as well as the reproduction of a concentration-camp uniform jacket handmade by a Witness who survived the Holocaust.
There are prints comprising “The Buchenwald Series”—27 watercolors by Johannes Steyer (1908-1998), one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who survived ten years of Nazi persecution, including imprisonment in the infamous Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Sachsenburg, and Sachsenhausen concentration camps.
In the 1970s, he completed the watercolor series inspired by photographs and vivid memories of his imprisonment.
Commenting on the importance of hosting such displays in Tel Aviv, Professor Emeritus, Yair Auron, an Israeli historian at the Tel Aviv Open University, stated:
“I feel it is especially important for young people in high school to visit the exhibit, because unfortunately the level of knowledge about Jehovah’s Witnesses is very, very limited. Most Israelis do not know anything about Jehovah’s Witnesses and their story during the Nazi period.”
Mauro Trapanese, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Israel, explains: “We wanted the exhibit to teach not only about the suffering Jehovah’s Witnesses experienced under the Nazi regime but also what was unique to that experience.
“As an example, we found that many visitors were unaware that, unlike other groups, Jehovah’s Witnesses were given the opportunity to be released from the concentration camps if they disavowed their religion. Highlighting little known but significant facts like this made the exhibit a success,” he said.
In his reaction, Professor Gideon Greif, a historian who specializes in the history of Auschwitz said Jehovah’s Witnesses were among those decent people who paid a very high price because they were loyal to their own beliefs and inner conscience,”.
Summing up her visit, Holocaust art historian Dr. Batya Brutin stated: “I think that learning about the experience of Jehovah’s Witnesses during the Nazi era could underscore the kind of values that could help us make this world a better place.”