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Upcoming: Our future special exhibitions

Persecution of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Munich 1933–1945 | 27 September 2018 – 6 January 2019

6The Jehovah's Witnesses were subjected to repressions and persecution during the Nazi era on account of their religious convictions. In a special exhibition accompanied by a catalogue the Documentation Centre will provide a comprehensive overview of the history of the persecution of this religious community in Munich, drawing on many new sources. From 1933 a number of repressive measures were taken against the Jehovah's Witnesses until they were eventually banned. They tried to defend themselves through major leafleting campaigns aimed at drawing the ban on their community to public attention. In addition, thousands of letters of protest and telegrams were sent to the German government, including some from abroad. The Jehovah's Witnesses refused to give the Hitler salute or to fight in the war and were consequently subjected to terrible repressions. In the concentration camps they were kept separate from the other prisoners. Had they sworn allegiance to the Nazi state, they could have liberated themselves from the camps, but very few of them did so. After the Second World War began, refusing to perform military service was punishable with the death penalty, and the vast majority of those executed were Jehovah's Witnesses. This state-sanctioned murder was the reason why after the war the right to refuse military service was enshrined in the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication and an event programme.

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