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The Paint Roller

Artifacts Unpacked Video Series

Franz Wohlfahrt was a son, a brother, a fiancé, a house painter, and a Jehovah’s Witness. 

The Nazis persecuted Jehovah’s Witnesses because they refused to serve in the military or swear an oath to Hitler. Franz could have been executed for his refusal to serve, like his father and younger brother.

He was sentenced to five years of hard labor and imprisoned for refusing to serve and for influencing other recruits. 

Franz donated his paint roller to the Museum in 2006. Discover why he said the tool—and his technique of imitating patterned wallpaper—helped him survive.


Artifacts shown in the video were donated to the Museum by Franz Wohlfahrt. Explore the Franz Wohlfahrt collection