Authors

Object ID

2019.2.111

Object Name

Envelope

Date

1944

Files

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Description

Green envelope with censor tape of left edge, three German postal stamps on top right corner: green, red, and purple in that order.

Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:In the face of escalating persecution by the Nazi state, the Jehovah’s Witnesses held fast to their religious beliefs as dutiful servants of Jehovah. In refusing to submit to the authority of that state and swear allegiance to Hitler; in refusing to participate in elections; in their refusal to serve in the military, bear arms, submit to a draft, or serve in war related industries, or allow their children to join the Hitler youth; Jehovah’s Witness remained true to their calling, and to a resolute refusal to defer on matters of conscience to any other authority than their faith. Jehovah’s Witnesses in Nazi Germany or the occupied countries were therefore publicly humiliated, imprisoned, or placed in concentration camps where they were distinguished from other prisoners by their distinctive purple triangle, and referred to as Bibelforscherinnen or “earnest Bible students”. They were often made to endure extreme torture, and some were even executed. And while Jehovah’s Witnesses—unlike Jews—could escape persecution, punishment and death by renouncing their beliefs and go along with the Nazi program, few chose to do so.

Johanna Groen, born Johanna Van der Vijgh, is one of approximately 200-250 Jehovah’s Witnesses from the Netherlands sent to concentration camps after the German occupation. She had been interned in Ravensbruck with her sister Hendrika Van der Vijgh who was murdered in Auschwitz in August 1942. Johanna had been married to Aron Groen, a Dutch bicycle repairman from a Jewish family. He was deported to Auschwitz in 1942 where he perished. The letter is addressed to her father.

Dimensions

4 3/8 x 6 1/4"

Keywords

Jehovah's Witness, Netherlands, Amsterdam, Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, Johanna Groen, Hendrika van der Vijgh

Subcollection

Concentration, Netherlands

Censored Cover Ravensbruch to Amsterdam from Dutch Jehovah's Witness

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