August 11, 1995
Milton G. Henschel, President
Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society
25 Columbia Heights
Brooklyn, New York
M. James Penton
Dear Mr. Henschel:
Yesterday I obtained a copy of the August 22 Awake! magazine with its articles on "The Holocaust: Who Spoke Out?". On reading the articles in that issue of Awake!, I was thoroughly shocked and disgusted.
The Watch Tower Society has long attempted a cover-up of the most dishonest sort. While your organization properly censures other religious communities for their compromises with and support of Nazism, it tries to claim that Jehovah's Witnesses, and Jehovah's Witnesses alone, never were guilty of such compromise. Yet history tells a different story. The "Erklärung" or "Declaration" published by the Watch Tower Society at the Berlin Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses in June 1933 is, in itself, clear evidence that the Society's president, Judge J. F. Rutherford, as accompanied by N. H. Knorr, manifested anti-Semitism, hostility to Great Britain and the United States, and to the League of Nations. Furthermore, the "Erklärung" clearly states that Jehovah's Witnesses supported the aims of the Third Reich.
In addition to the "Erklärung", there is the evidence of the Society's letter to Hitler sent on or immediately following June 25, 1933, and the public statements made about the Berlin convention by Konrad Franke in lectures throughout Germany some years ago. All of this I have made public in my book Apocalypse Delayed (1985)-which I know has been read at Watch Tower headquarters both from court documents and inside reports-and in the spring 1990 issue of The Christian Quest. So it is impossible for responsible members of your organization not to know the facts. Thus the August 22 Awake! is nothing short of an historical abomination.
I am aware of the feeble attempt of the 1974 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses to exculpate Judge Rutherford and the Watch Tower Society in Brooklyn by claiming that the Society's German branch overseer, Paul Balzereit, "weakened" the "Erklärung". But the "Erklärung" or "Declaration" was published in both the German and English versions of the 1934 Year Book of Jehovah's Witnesses as an official statement of the Watch Tower Society. So it is impossible to believe that it was not sanctioned by Rutherford and the man who succeeded him as the Society's president, N. H. Knorr. Therefore, the leadership of Jehovah's Witnesses of that time attempted to commit what amounted to spiritual whoredom with the Third Reich in the fashion of the two sisters, Oholah and Oholibah of Ezekiel 23, according to the Society's own teachings.
Although I do not expect an answer from you, nor do I want one, to make certain that you, personally, are aware of the facts, I am sending you the following materials:
(1) A photocopy of the original "Erklärung"
(2) A photocopy of the "Erklärung" as it appeared in the German edition of the 1934 Year Book of Jehovah's Witnesses;
(3) A photocopy of the "Declaration" as it appears in the English edition of the 1934 Year Book of Jehovah's Witnesses;
(4) A photocopy of the Hitler letter, plus an English translation thereof;
(5) A copy of the Spring 1990 issue of The Christian Quest.
Since I am well aware that the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, of which you are a senior member, is carrying on what amounts to a "Big Lie" campaign (1) to make Jehovah's Witnesses appear to be God's faithful and discreet slave class on earth and (2) to discredit other religions, as a former Jehovah's Witness, a professional historian, and as a Christian who
believes that God has no need of our lies, I feel forced to expose the facts to the general public. Hence, I am sending copies of this letter, plus the above listed documentation, to both religious and secular publications throughout the United States and Canada. I will, of course, also make them available to persons in other lands so that they may be made known wherever possible.
In closing, Mr. Henschel, I would beg the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, who carry heavy responsibility before God and humankind, to come clean and admit the facts. Hypocrisy and falsifying the historical record are serious sins, as I am sure you are aware.
M. James Penton, PhD