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Death certificate for a Jehovah's Witness preacher executed by the Germans

Object | Accession Number: 1989.314.3

Copy of notification of December 7, 1939, execution of Gregor Wohlfahrt, in Berlin, Germany, issued to his widow, Barbara. In August 1939, Gregor was told to report for military service in Austria. He was deemed unfit but declared his opposition to the war. He was imprisoned in Vienna, declared an enemy of the state, tried, and sentenced to death by beheading on December 7, 1939, with 28 other Jehovah's Witnesses. After the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938, Jehovah's Witness literature was forbidden. The Watchtower Society, the administrative arm for the Jehovah Witnesses, had been banned in Germany since 1935. The religion was not banned but members were arrested for their refusal to be drafted or participate in any military work. Members in Austria knew that they would be persecuted for their refusal to accept the authority of any temporal power and many were arrested and executed or imprisoned because of their beliefs. Gregor's son, Franz, 20, was imprisoned at Strafgefangenenlager Rollwald labor camp in Germany from 1940-1945. He worked for the camp commandant Strumpf , who saved his life on 3 occasions, shieldingFranz from death by beheading for his refusal to serve in the military. The camp was liberated by the United States Army in March 1945.

Date
1939 December 07  (issue)
Geography
issue : Berlin (Germany)
Language
German
Classification
Identifying Artifacts
Category
Permits
Object Type
Death notices (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Franz and Maria Wohlfahrt, in memory of Gregor Wohlfahrt, father, and Gregor Wohlfahrt, brother, and the Wohlfahrt and Stossier families
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Record last modified: 2018-10-24 14:06:50
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn1141