The “Triumphant Kingdom” Assemblies of 1955
Nuremberg, West Germany, August 10-14, 1955
The greatest and the most international assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses ever to take place on European soil convened at the ancient city of Nuremberg, West Germany, during the second week of August. From all parts of the world the friends were especially wanting to attend this assembly, so that finally the tens on tens of thousands of requests for rooming accommodations emanated from sixty-two different lands. Four years previous, at the international convention at Frankfurt, 47,432 assembled for the public lecture and 2,373 were baptized; and in view of the still larger crowd expected for the 1955 assembly the vast Zeppelinwiese (Zeppelin Meadow) at Nuremberg in Bavaria was selected. Here at the Zeppelinwiese the late Nazi fuehrer Adolf Hitler used to stage his great military party rallies and to speak from its imposing Steintribuene (Stone Tribune), shrieking to his party followers in the great stadium before it. Here, in hope of a Nazi victory, he wanted to have the peace treaty of World War II signed. In this stadium it is possible to seat 84,000 persons. In 1953 the German witnesses of Jehovah held a convention here on one side of the stadium in front of the pompous Steintribuene, with a public-meeting attendance of 55,240, and less than 3,000 were baptized. But now the entire stadium and its Steintribuene and all its surrounding grounds were rented at a cost of about five thousand dollars.
All the organizing skill of the German brothers had to be called into play, for a camp was to be established adjacent to the stadium. They set themselves to build huge canvas-covered structures and to erect tents and lay out the ground for a Kleinstadt (Little City) to accommodate 37,000 campers. Five general camping lots were arranged, called respectively in Bible terms Gilgal, Hebron I, Hebron II, Carmel and Ramah. Mass lodging at a cheap cost was provided for, the sexes being segregated to different tents. About 100,000 square meters of ground were thus covered over with canvas. In these tents the convention servants, also the then German branch servant and his family, had their lodging. In each of those tall, long, canvas-covered structures 600 persons could be accommodated. In the camps Carmel and Ramah some 4,500 small individually owned tents, many “pup tents,” sprang up in due time. The camper slept on straw, loose or in sacks, and hundreds of tons of straw had to be brought in sixty cars and put up in 31,000 sacks by August 9 and distributed. Toilet facilities had to be provided on a large scale. Tents also had to house the twenty-eight departments of service for the direction and maintenance of the assembly activities, and a great kitchen and cafeteria besides refreshment stalls needed to be set up.
Weeks in advance hundreds of preconvention workers had to volunteer their services and engage in erecting the necessary structures. Streets and lanes were laid out and given Bible names and names mindful of the theocratic organization. The number ran up as high as 800 workers finally. Thus the Nuremberg assembly had the attractions of a stadium assembly and a vast camp city all rolled together into one. To serve the conventioners with hot, palatable food the temporary kitchen employed 400 workers, including sixty-four professional cooks; and there were sixty 200-liter kettles to cook three times daily 35,000 portions of food, and three refrigerator cars from the railroads. Four dishwashing machines, each able to clean thirty-two plates every nine seconds, were installed. There was a regular bakery also.
Arrangements were made not only for thousands to lodge in the camps but for others to room in the hotels and private homes of the residents of Nuremberg. This called for a house-to-house canvass for rooms by volunteer workers. The religious organizations of Western Germany did not want the assembly in Nuremberg, Hitler’s former party city. The religious authorities in the Catholic stronghold of Munich (site of Hitler’s unsuccessful beer-hall Putsch) tried to prevail upon the city fathers of Nuremberg to refuse the Zeppelinwiese to Jehovah’s witnesses, but the Nuremberg authorities resented this meddling or dictation from Munich and, in the language of a local bank agent, told the Munich religionists to go to their creedal “hot place.” The religious organizations of Nuremberg now let their attitude toward Jehovah’s witnesses become publicly known and tried to create difficulties by stirring up religious prejudice. The Office of Congregational Service in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Bavaria circulated a six-page leaflet setting out why Evangelicals should not offer rooming quarters to the conventioners. The front page of the leaflet contained in large letters “Visit by Jehovah’s Witnesses—Watchtower Society—New World Movement—not wanted!” And on the reverse side of this were just the words “To be torn off and pasted on the door!” The churches left nothing untried to make clear to church members their position against the witnesses. In newspaper articles, in handbills and in sermons they formulated their blunt attitude of refusal. “We must turn down the teaching of ‘Jehovah’s witnesses,’” said a circular that the Roman Catholic clergy had distributed in July. But fair-minded, honest-hearted people treated all this with resentful contempt and opened their homes to Jehovah’s witnesses, to receive the blessing that this would mean to themselves. Conventioners lodging with them had wonderful experiences and were instrumental in getting many of them to sessions of the assembly, to see and hear for themselves.
The Steintribuene from which the assembly speeches were to be given was adorned with Kingdom symbols. The tremendous white marble structure is unusual in itself. It is 300 meters or 984 feet long. Up its front side ascends a flight of seventy-five steps to a colonnade on top, consisting of a double row of columns, thirty-six in front and in back, on each side of the central unit, or in all one hundred and forty-four columns. At the center is a broad raised platform, at the middle of which, to the front, is the canopied speakers’ stand. Upon the stone baldachin or huge centerpiece forming the background for the speakers’ stand was suspended a great blue hanging, with graceful folds, and upon this was fixed a symbol of Christ’s ‘rod of strength’: a tremendous human hand extending from part of a sleeve and holding a great eight-meter-long scepter surmounted by a crown beneath which were the four heads, to the front a man’s head denoting love, to the right a bull’s head denoting divine strength, to the rear a lion’s head denoting justice, and to the left an eagle’s head denoting wisdom. This scepter with hand weighed 770 pounds. Above this blue curtain and atop the centerpiece of the Steintribuene was mounted a golden, bejeweled seven-horned crown eleven meters long, four and a half meters high, weighing 3,310 pounds, or 1,500 kilograms. Potted flowers and many shrubs and trees provided more platform adornment. Atop the colonnade, and flanking the crown on each side, stood large, golden, red-bordered letters 3.4 meters high, spelling out in German the words “Triumphant Kingdom,” the assembly motto. This whole platform decoration was a most beautiful sight at night when floodlights were playing upon it.
To the right below the platform at street level was located the orchestra, which grew to 180 pieces under a capable conductor, seated under large umbrellas of red-and-white bars. In front of the Steintribuene ran a broad street, which was appropriately called Kingdom Street and which separated it from the extensive semi-oval stadium. To the left (west) of the Steintribuene, at a distance, was situated the main entrance of the ground, flanked by two tall white watchtowers with a sign suspended between: JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES TRIUMPHANT KINGDOM ASSEMBLY 1955.
The Zeppelinwiese stadium is a field of vast expanse walled in by tiers of seats on a structure that has thirty-four white sustaining towers, with a set of steps between each two towers and a broad entrance at the middle of rear of the stadium. Atop the wall all around appeared sixty-one signs bearing the names of the lands from which the delegates were coming, from Alaska all through the list in alphabetic order, with Germany as last out of courtesy. Eight thousand rented chairs, placed orderly on the field in front of the Steintribuene, augmented the seating of the stadium. At street intersections movement to and from the stadium was directed by brothers with a bluish-white stick acting as traffic officers. Nearby stood columns bedecked with signs pointing out the directions to the many locations and facilities on the grounds. There to the left (west) of the stadium, behind a fringe of trees, lay the waters of the lake Grosser Dutzendteich (Great Dozen Pond).
The day before assembly opening fifty-six special trains rolled into the Nuremberg-Dutzendteich Station, from 6:11 a.m. till 10 p.m., the first coming from Paris, the last today from Holland, and in between trains from Switzerland and Austria and most trains from all parts of West Germany. Over four thousand brothers made their way to the assembly precariously crossing the border from East Germany under Communist rule. Many conventioners arrived by plane. Under the efficient system in operation they all located their accommodations. For the rest of that week the streets of Nuremberg swarmed with conventioners wearing their distinguishing badges. Special streetcars, No. 2 Dutzendteichen, were provided extra, and were jammed with Jehovah’s witnesses. Placards advertising the public meeting were outside on streetcars.
Wednesday, August 10, a great throng of 63,332 honored the very opening of the assembly and heard the morning’s address of welcome by the then German branch servant, E. H. Frost, for many years a victim of Hitler’s concentration camps. Yes, even the great New York Times took notice, and with “all the news that’s fit to print” printed at very bottom of page 3 of its August 11 issue this:
“60,000 Witnesses at Rally. NUREMBERG, Germany, Aug. 10 (Reuters)—More than 60,000 persons from sixty countries took part today in the opening ceremony of an international congress of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious sect.”
For the first day’s afternoon sessions the audience directly in the stadium or in camps served by loud-speakers swelled to 67,412. At the opening of the evening sessions sprinkle turned to heavy rain, but a vast crowd stayed on to listen to the speakers and also the Society’s president, who had now arrived. Among the day’s speakers were five from Brooklyn Bethel, three of whom spoke directly in German. The rain had stopped when the president gladdened the great throng by his appearance and spoke on “The Triumphant Message of ‘The Kingdom.’” He also served them with a printed message, releasing to them the booklet Basis for Belief in a New World in German. Reporting on this opening day the 8 Uhr-Blatt (Eight-o’clock Paper) said in bold type next day: “The Greatest Preaching Campaign of All Times . . . Marvelous Discipline marks the camp life . . . With clockwork precision the program of the Assemblies of Jehovah’s witnesses runs, which in its organizational feature presents something unique.”
Thursday morning, with the field service organization now in full swing, sixty-four buses left from in front of the cafeteria tent, loaded with Kingdom publishers bound for their territories; others went out into the field activities from other locations. Newspapers announced that thousands went out into the field service, which extended itself over Nuremberg and Fuerth and also embraced Erlangen, Hersbruck, Markterlbach, Cadolzburg and other places. Americans took part and especially visited the civilian American families living in Nuremberg and Fuerth.
This day, too, special trains began running to Weisbaden, over a hundred miles to the northwest. Thus thousands of conventioners were able to visit the Watch Tower Society’s German branch there and make a tour of inspection of the Bethel home and the printery, including the new factory building and its big presses. In spite of the many absent on this excursion the afternoon attendance was 68,400, to hear the president and to hail the release of four new tracts in German. Tonight when the president was talking to 68,497 on the theme of spiritism a storm seemed impending, but the clear spot in the sky continued overhead and the thunders continued in the distance. In town it did rain, but not out here at the assembly.
Friday morning presented a spectacle that stirred one’s soul to the depths—the great mass baptism. At the speaker’s bidding the candidates rose from their seats in the center of the stadium in front of the Steintribuene. The two determinative questions as to their worthiness for baptism they answered with a firm Ja! but the stadium is so big that their affirmative answers seemed to be a long time in reaching all parts of the vast audience, to awaken great applause. Then after the prayer for divine blessing upon them the immense body of candidates moved toward the baptismal site. In solid mass they moved out onto Kingdom Street and in a mass formation that choked the street from one side to the other they marched eastward led by brothers holding aloft signs “To the Immersing.” The enormous throng of observers waved at them, while the orchestra played Kingdom songs. Thousands trailed behind the 4,333 candidates as they moved slowly along and turned off Kingdom Street to the Schwimmbad. There in a large shallow pool alongside the main public swimming pool four lines of immersers served the candidates. It was good to see the Scriptural procedure in action here, just one immerser (not two) taking an individual candidate and submerging him, in the same way that just the one immerser, John the Baptist, dipped Jesus beneath Jordan’s waters. Nearby in a building equipped with warm-water tanks and large bathtubs the infirm, invalid and crippled candidates were taken care of. Among all those baptized the youngest was a seven-year-old boy, the oldest an eighty-seven-year-old woman. A one-legged man was baptized. The sun shone genially as the mass baptism carried on into the noon hour.
This afternoon 74,678 thrilled to the president’s talk on “Jehovah Is in His Holy Temple” and his release of the book “New Heavens and a New Earth” in German.
Tonight conventioners heard the radiocast of a Sender in the Eastern or Communist-ruled zone of Germany, warning that all Jehovah’s witnesses from the Eastern zone who were attending the international assemblies in Nuremberg and Berlin would be arrested upon their return home. This Communist warning was heard also in Berlin. The thousands of brothers from East Germany were not frightened thereby.
Heavy rainfall about 7 a.m. Saturday was followed by a clearing up of the weather for the rest of the day at Nuremberg, and the assembly attendance continued well up into the seventy thousands. The assembly today was not favored with a talk by the president, as he had been billed for morning, afternoon and evening appearances at the assembly in Berlin. At Nuremberg airport at 10:45 a.m., fifty-five conventioners including delegates from the Philippine Islands, Hong Kong, Australia, the Virgin Islands, Britain, Canada and America boarded the Air France liner “Ciel de Champagne” and were soon aloft, flying over Communist East Germany in the direction of Berlin to the northeast. At 12:30 p.m. the plane landed at the great Tempelhof airport in the American zone of West Berlin. All fifty-five were hospitably received and assigned to their lodgings and then went out to the Waldbuehne (Woodland Stage) in the British zone, for the international assembly out there. But more of this later.
At the Nuremberg assembly Sunday proved to be an unforgettable day for the thousands of delegates from scores of foreign lands. In the morning the president, Brother Knorr, flew back with his party from Berlin, arriving at 11:55 a.m., in good time for his public address at the Zeppelinwiese at 3 p.m. As the hour for the lecture of world importance neared, a great flood of humanity was streaming into the spacious stadium. The proportion of badged conventioners to the number of incomers grew less and less until it seemed that all Nuremberg was coming in, actually more than 20,000 of them. Many hosts of conventioners were among those coming. Said the Cologne magazine Neue Illustrierte of August 20: “The ‘Zeppelin Field’ upon which Adolf Hitler once proclaimed the rooting out of ‘Jehovah’s witnesses’ was fully occupied.” As the speaker with his interpreter took his stand on the podium he was welcomed with applause. As the speech progressed, 107,423 listened intently, even the hard-of-hearing in a special tent where hearing apparatus was provided and a hundred machines made recordings for reproduction. When the speaker finished and presented the booklet on the subject in German, this tremendous audience, spread out before him in full view, thanked him with a continuing, roaring applause!
Shortly a half-hour speech in German by the registrar-instructor of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead followed, and by then it had begun to rain. When the president began his “closing remarks” the rain was pounding hard, but his audience in the great stadium stayed on, raincoats and umbrellas over them or none at all. As his delightsome remarks continued, the rain slowed down, the skies became less leaden. He read a letter that expressed the feeling that the North American brothers had at the display of hospitality shown by the European brothers to visiting delegates, and especially at the Nuremberg assembly. He also said that Jehovah’s witnesses had not assembled at the place of the former Nazi party meetings for tasting a spiteful triumph over their former persecutors; solely the great roominess of the grounds had been the deciding factor in choosing Nuremberg as the assembly place. He thanked all those who had self-sacrificingly helped in behalf of the assembly and spoke feelingly of the “warm love.”
When Brother Knorr finished, the rain was past. By this time thousands had come out of the sheltering tents to fill Kingdom Street. Then he pointed out to his audience the appearing of a large rainbow. What a sight! What an ending with the co-operation of the living God’s own handiwork! The brothers were breathless; tears welled in many eyes. “It would take a strong-willed person to hold back his feelings now,” was the tenor of many remarks. There was a song, then a prayer of thanks to Jehovah, bringing the assembly to a proper close.
As Brother Knorr was about to leave the lofty platform separated by the broad Kingdom Street from his audience he waved his handkerchief. Response was immediate; the whole throng changed to what appeared as one big mass of waving white flowers. Countless numbers surged forward, across Kingdom Street and up the flight of marble steps and swarmed around Brother Knorr, hemming him in. He was a long time making his way through, personally greeting as many of them as he could. The demonstration of Christian brotherly affection stirred the emotions of all beholders.
Now it was departure time. Theocratic efficiency and training on the part of the German brothers marked this also. The march of the homeward-bound brothers to buses and trains was directed personally and by large signs. At the Nuremberg-Dutzendteich railroad station the first of the forty-nine special trains (with the special mark “Je” and a number) got away about 8:45 p.m., bound for Saarbruecken; the last train (Je 148) departed at 2:50 next morning.
According to the newspapers, the Zeppelinwiese seems no more to be spacious enough for any future gathering of Jehovah’s witnesses. The adjacent Maerzfeld (March Field), the mammoth project that Hitler began building with towers and a Coliseum and vast military drill place, would better suit the need. But the 1955 Nuremberg assembly made news. Besides the special edition for Jehovah’s witnesses, the press there published about twenty meters of column space of text and pictures on the assembly. As the special edition itself was also about twenty meters of column space, the assembly got all together about forty meters of column space in positive news reporting. In working together with the editors of the local newspapers the members of the assembly press department heard repeatedly how the black-garbed clergy of both big “churches” had taken great pains to influence the editors to report as little as possible about the assembly. One editor-in-chief said: “You will really hardly believe it, how the ‘Blacks’ kept at our heels!” The news reporters, for the most part friendlily disposed, again and again expressed their wonderment at the way the assembly went off without friction. One asked: “Just tell me, Did you practice everything beforehand, so that everything runs along so well?” Often these newsmen expressed their disgust at the opposition propaganda by both great religious systems: “They have made immortal fools of themselves and have only helped, so that yesterday you people had such a grand success with 107,000 listeners.” The many foreign delegates impressed them greatly.
BERLIN, GERMANY, AUGUST 12-14, 1955
The Waldbuehne (Woodland Stage) of Berlin has been the site of other conventions of Jehovah’s witnesses. At a three-day district assembly there in July, 1949, the 17,232 witnesses attending adopted a Resolution of Protest against the Communist authorities of East Germany, and 33,657 attended the public talk. Then on August 28, 1951, after the great Frankfort assembly in West Germany, a one-day assembly was held at the Waldbuehne. In spite of the Communist ban upon Jehovah’s witnesses 13,563 assembled to hear the president and other representatives of the Society address them. Also the following day 237 were baptized.
Realizing that our brothers in the eastern Communist zone of Germany would be unable with ease and safety to cross the border into Western Germany to attend the 1955 international assembly, the Watch Tower Society arranged for an assembly in West Berlin to run concurrently with the last three days of the Nuremberg assembly. True, over 4,000 East Germans did risk crossing the border to get to Nuremberg, but the majority crossed over the boundary from East Berlin into West Berlin and made their way to the beautiful convention place. The Waldbuehne, or Woodland Stage, is a large amphitheater built on the slope of a hill surrounded by fine green woods. It is in the British zone and near the Olympia Stadium built by Hitler for athletic games. From the parquet below in front of the platform to the top of this amphitheater the vertical height is twenty-eight meters, or about ninety-two feet. The radius of the half circle of seats is 110 meters, or about 361 feet. With the seats that were rented and placed in the parquet space the Waldbuehne was able to seat 21,500 in the upper ring, middle ring, lower ring, parquet and loge.
Round about the circle from which four lanes led down to the top of the amphitheater there were various assembly-service installations. To the left, off Glockenturm (Clocktower) Street was located a large cafeteria setup, with kitchen and dishwashing department and eating tent. In addition, refreshment stands were to be found conveniently about the grounds. Behind the speakers’ platform of the amphitheater was located the orchestra, back of a trellis on which appeared in German the 1955 yeartext. Then behind the orchestra a large panel reared itself on which, against a white background, appeared the assembly motto, “Triumphant Kingdom.” This sounding-board panel was surmounted by a great crown of seven horns, like that at Nuremberg. The identification name “Jehovah’s witnesses” in white standing letters flanked the huge panel. Viewed from the lofty concourse above, the amphitheater presented a beautiful appearance.
In all Berlin there are about 4,400 witnesses, but about 2,500 of them flew to Nuremberg. So the majority of those attending the Berlin assembly were from the Eastern zone of Germany. Despite this, there were 9,122 at the chairman’s address of welcome Friday morning, the Society’s Berlin representative serving in this capacity. The attendance increased to 10,537 in the afternoon to hear the Society’s legal counsel, H. C. Covington, speak on “Activity and Life versus Inactivity and Death.” He had the great pleasure of introducing to them the four new tracts in German. The Society’s secretary-treasurer and Gilead’s registrar-instructor also spoke in the evening. This night the warning to Jehovah’s witnesses from the Communist zone radio station was heard here in Berlin as well as at Nuremberg.
Saturday morning the day’s events began with the baptism of 870, Gilead’s instructor on public speaking giving the baptismal talk in German. President Knorr topped the morning with his initial talk, at the close of which he presented the booklet Basis for Belief in a New World in German. After talks by the then German branch servant, the Canadian branch servant and the president’s secretary, Brother Knorr addressed an afternoon audience of 12,122 and delivered a blasting exposé of spiritism.
The beginning of the evening’s program was featured by fifteen minutes of greetings, briefly extended by eleven delegates respectively from New York city, England, Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, Canada, Egypt, Japan, Sudan, Philippine Islands, Australia and Gold Coast. This delightful quarter of an hour was presided over by the Brooklyn Bethel kitchen chef, who also acted as interpreter from English into German. The Berliners were quite excited at seeing brothers of different shades of color, and a great throng of unrestrainable boys and girls left their seats and pressed right up to the front of the platform, several deep along its whole length, right under the nose of speaking delegates, as they listened with upturned faces and big, wondering eyes. Tonight it was the turn of a Berlin audience of 13,017 to rejoice when Brother Knorr released to them in German the book “New Heavens and a New Earth”. Five thousand copies, hard bound, printed at our Brooklyn factory, were on hand and were quickly grabbed up. East zoners were favored with free copies.
This climaxed Brother Knorr’s third and final speech of the day, but in view of his return to Nuremberg next morning he added many extemporaneous words of farewell, which were deeply appreciated. To add to their joy he announced that immediately afterward the film “The New World Society in Action” would be shown for the benefit of the thousands of East Germans who had not yet viewed it. So after the closing prayer a screen was erected before the trellis back of the platform and 7,500 of the conventioners remained to see the motion pictures. Repeatedly throughout they burst into applause.
To escape identification by any spies East zone brothers wore badges here bearing no name of person and no name of congregation. Having no songbooks at home, the East zoners sang the Kingdom songs from memory at the Waldbuehne. The singing led by a thirty-five-piece orchestra was especially rich-sounding in this amphitheater.
Sunday morning the special convention plane flew back to Nuremberg, but the vice-president along with others remained in Berlin. The brothers streamed forth from their mass quarters at the Olympia Stadium and other lodging places to the Woodland Stage for the morning sessions. The 11,114 in attendance, especially the East zoners, were greatly comforted and strengthened at hearing the hour speech “Cautious as Serpents Among Wolves,” in German.
The 3 p.m. public lecture by the vice-president was well advertised by handbills and other means, including forty-eight banner signs suspended between temporary pole supports throughout West Berlin. The display of these signs was at first opposed by the city government, but through the magnanimous argument of one of the senators the objection to the signs was pushed aside. A fine orchestral presentation regaled the early comers, and the Waldbuehne loosely filled up with 17,729 for the discussion of “World Conquest Soon—by God’s Kingdom,” in German. In unbroken, silent attentiveness they listened to the talk to its end and then gave way to pent-up feelings at the release of the speech in booklet form in German.
An intermission followed. Then the assembly servant addressed the 15,449 that remained, on “Stay Awake, Stand Firm, Grow Mighty.” As he spoke storm clouds rolled up and massed overhead. About ten minutes after the vice-president began giving the “closing remarks” in German, taking his audience on a quick tour of all the 1955 international assemblies from Chicago on till now, down poured a heavy rain. Thousands kept their seats in the rain. Down the sheer sides of the amphitheater the rainwater rushed to dam up in pools in front of the platform and behind the retaining wall of the lowest amphitheater seats. Toward the close of the remarks after 6 p.m. the rain eased off. The appreciative listeners did not seem to want to leave off clapping. But then came the last song, No. 91, “Blessed Zion,” and the final prayer, and God’s kingdom had scored another triumph in the German assemblies. The combined public attendance for Nuremberg and Berlin (107,423 and 17,729) was 125,152, and the total number immersed (4,333 and 870) was 5,203.
That evening the Eastern zone brothers began making their way back home across the dividing line of battle-scarred Berlin, on the Communist side of which stood the signs reading “Beginning of the Democratic Sector of Greater Berlin.” Greatly uplifted and strengthened, they returned in the fear of Almighty God, not of weakling man. The following afternoon the vice-president went to the offices of the American Berlin radio station RIAS (Radiocaster in American Sector). There he recorded a 14 1⁄2-minute speech in German regarding God’s kingdom, the closing words of which speech were addressed directly to brothers in East Germany to encourage them and assure them they have an interest in our prayers. This was to be broadcast over RIAS during the “Hour of Worship” Sunday, September 18. (It was. Even in the Netherlands this splendid message was heard.) At the time there were 1,400 brothers under confinement in Eastern Germany, and the first brother to be seized by the Communist persecutors in 1951 had recently died because of brutal treatment, but faithful. The Saturday, August 13, 1955, issue of 8 Uhr-Blatt (Eight-o’clock Paper) came out with red headlines at the very top of the first page, “Rounding Up of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Then in black bold type, “Wave of Terror in the Soviet Zone. Berlin, August 13—A new wave of terror against adherents of the religious society of Jehovah’s witnesses rolled over the Soviet zone. After a number of months of quiet the advices about new persecutions of the believers increase in recent days. It is estimated that more than a thousand of them are to be found in Soviet-German prisons and correctional houses. The most of the prisoners have to do forced labor. . . . [Page 2:] Since 1951 the society has been forbidden in the Soviet zone by the communistic holders of power. . . . In spite of all bans and persecutions the power-holders in the Soviet zone have till now not succeeded in smashing the tight holding together of the believers. Public demonstrations are no longer possible for them. . . . Faith and the holding together gives them a strength that has not till now been able to be overcome by the leaders of the SED. . . . As always it is again stirring to see how entire families come out of the most remote villages in these days into free Berlin. . . . Repeatedly the State Security Service has tried to send secret police and agents among Jehovah’s witnesses. Terror trials speak a clear language. However, faith lives on out beyond the walls of correctional houses.”
(To be concluded)