Between Resistance and Martyrdom is the most comprehensive historical study of the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses – men, women, and children -- during the Holocaust era. Refusing to swear allegiance to the state or to perform military service or war work of any sort under the Third Reich, Jehovah’s Witnesses received the attention of the highest authorities in the justice system, the police, and the SS.
Although persecuted and banned from practicing their beliefs by the Nazi regime in 1933, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ unified resistance is not well known. Basing his work on a wide range of sources, including documents and archives previously unconsidered as well as critical analyses of Jehovah’s Witness literature and survivor interviews, Detlef Garbe chronicles the Nazis’ relentless persecution of this religious group before and during World War II.
The English-language edition of this important work features photographs not published in the German edition. These striking images bring a sense of individual humanity to this story and help readers comprehend the reality of the events documented. Between Resistance and Martyrdom is an indispensable work that will introduce an English-speaking audience to this important but lesser-known part of Holocaust history.
“...Can be considered the first comprehensive historiography of the fate of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany during the Nazi regime. Based on war records and complemented by interviews with JW survivors of concentration camps, the author presents an exhaustive episode of religious persecution...Laudable and painstaking research, which at some points poignantly demythologizes the Watchtower Society’s own official historiography...This study deserves the status of standard work of a still conspicuously visible religious movement.”
— Richard Singelenberg, Sociology of Religion
“Virtually all accounts of the German Church Struggle (including my own) have given very little attention to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, possibly because of denominational bias, or because the numbers involved were relatively few. But this defect has now been splendidly remedied by the appearance of Detlef Garbe’s...book.... Garbe’s excellent history…is the first full treatment of this small [group’s] fate during the Nazi period, combining extensive research into the remaining Nazi records with a sympathetic analysis of survivors’ testimonies. The result is a convincing scholarly description which supersedes all previous accounts.”
— John. S. Conway, author of The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, 1933-45
“Detlef Garbe’s book takes historical scholarship to new levels of subtlety and sophistication. His insights into the moral and legal resistance mounted by the Witnesses against the Nazis both inside and outside concentration camps are pathbreaking and provocative. All students of persecuted religious minorities are greatly in his debt for bringing to light so much fresh evidence concerning the role of Jehovah’s Witnesses in resisting National Socialism. This is historical investigation of the highest importance and quality.”
— James A. Beckford, author of The Trumpet of Prophecy: A Sociological Study of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Detlef Garbe is director of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial, and the author of numerous publications about the history of the concentration camps, Jehovah’s witnesses, other victim groups, military justice and Germany’s postwar confrontations with the National Socialist past.
Dagmar G. Grimm is a native of Bremen, Germany, who now lives in the United States. Her work as a translator and editor includes other publications on the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses under the Nazi regime as well as under communist rule in East Germany.