The University of Wisconsin Press

European Studies / German Studies / Holocaust / Religion


Between Resistance and Martyrdom
Jehovah's Witnesses in the Third Reich
Detlef Garbe
Translated by Dagmar G. Grimm

The little-known persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses under the Nazi dictatorship

Between Resistance and Martyrdom is the first comprehensive historical study of the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses during the Holocaust era. Refusing to perform military service under Germany's Third Reich due to their fundamental belief in nonviolence, 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 has been largely forgotten. 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.

"Between Resistance and Martyrdom is a strong book that tells a compelling and deeply important, understudied story."
—Michael Berenbaum, author of Mosaic of Victims: Non-Jews Persecuted and Murdered by the Nazis.

Detlef Garbe is director of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial in Hamburg, Germany. He is the author of numerous publications about the history of the concentration camps, Jehovah's Witnesses and other marginal victim groups, military justice, and Germany's postwar confrontations with the National Socialist past. He is also the editor of Beiträge zur Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Verfolgung in Norddeutschland.

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 works on the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses under the Nazi regime as well as under communist rule in East Germany.

  • First English-language edition
  • German edition, Zwischen Widerstand und Martyrium, 1993 hardcover, Oldenbourg

Published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Of Related Interest
A Rescuer's Story
Pastor Pierre-Charles Toureille in Vichy France
Tela Zasloff

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The cover of Garbe's book is white with purple type. The photo is of several men in striped concentration camp clothing hauling a small cart down a road as German guards watch on.

May 2008

864 pp. 6 x 9
18 photos, 17 charts, 15 tables

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Paper $39.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-20794-6
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Updated February 15, 2011

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