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Oral history interview with Magdalena Reuter

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 1992.A.0124.104 | RG Number: RG-50.028.0104

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    Oral history interview with Magdalena Reuter


    Interview Summary
    Magdalena Reuter, born in a city on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, discusses being persecuted for her religious beliefs; being a Jehovah's Witnesses; growing up with a happy family of six brothers and five sisters; being the eighth child; her father Frank fighting for Germany during WWI; how at the end of the war her family became Jehovah's Witnesses, abandoning Protestantism; her father, who was injured in the war, and therefore retired early from his clerkship at the post office; the family’s move to move to Bad Lippspringe, Germany in 1931 in order for her father to spread his new religion; how her family was very united and religion occupied an important part in their lives; every child in the family learning an instrument; her father’s arrest and imprisonment for a few months in 1936 for his religious beliefs; the arrest of the whole family in 1940; her brother Wilhelm, who was shot in 1940 in Munster for refusing to go to the front, and her brother Wolfang, who was decapitated two years later; being held in a prison in Paderborn, Germany; being sent to a prison in Bielefeld, Germany; being offered freedom if she chose to renounce her religion, which she refused, and spending two more months in prison; turning 17 years old and being sent to Ravensbrück; her parents and another sister, who were also given extended prison sentences; her thoughts upon seeing the crematorium; spending four years in Ravensbrück, where two of her brothers were killed and another brother died soon after liberation; how the Jehovah's Witnesses were a very cohesive, supporting group; reuniting with her mother and sisters in the camp; life and work in the camp; how the Witnesses were known for not trying to escape and therefore were given jobs outside the camp in the private homes of the German officers or in children’s nurseries to where they arrived unescorted; the massage therapist of Himmler, Felix Kersten, who had an estate nearby and convinced Himmler to give him some prisoners as shoemakers, carpenters, etc, whom he needed to work in his home; the 20-30 Witnesses who ended up working for Dr. Kersten; speaking to De Gaulle’s niece, who was also imprisoned in the camp, about their religion; being offered her freedom if she renounced her faith, which she refused (and therefore stayed in the camp); how the group managed to make converts to their faith among the camp inmates; the liberation of Ravensbrück by the Russians in the first days of May 1945; being hiding for six months after liberation; reuniting with the family; and continuing her missionary work for Jehovah's Witnesses around the world.
    Ms. Magdalena Reuter
    Robert Buckley
    interview:  1995 December

    Physical Details

    1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..

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    Administrative Notes

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Oral History Branch, in cooperation with Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. produced the interview with Magdalena Reuter in December 1995.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 07:59:51
    This page:

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