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They Wore a Purple Triangle

Maud lives in France and works in a school where she assists disabled children during classes. Recently the students in one class were learning about the Holocaust and Nazi concentration camps. Camp prisoners had to wear a colored patch sewn onto their uniform. The color and shape of the patch indicated why the person was imprisoned.

Referring to the purple-triangle patches worn by some prisoners, the teacher said: “I think it was because they were homosexuals.” After class, Maud spoke to the teacher and explained that the Nazis used a purple triangle to identify Jehovah’s Witnesses. * She offered to bring him some documentation on the subject. The teacher accepted her offer and asked Maud to share the information with the students.

During another class on the same subject, a different teacher used a chart displaying the various symbols worn by the prisoners. The chart correctly showed that the purple triangle identified Jehovah’s Witnesses. After class, Maud offered this teacher some information on the subject. The teacher accepted and made arrangements for Maud to address the students.

Maud holding the publications she used

Maud prepared a 15-minute presentation for the first class, but when the time came, she was told: “You have the whole hour.” Maud began by showing a documentary video about the Nazi persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses. When the documentary stated that the Nazis took 800 Witness children away from their parents, Maud paused the video and read the experiences of three of those children. After showing the video, Maud concluded by reading a farewell letter from 1940 that a 19-year-old Austrian Witness, Gerhard Steinacher, wrote to his parents just hours before he was executed by the Nazis. *

Maud presented similar material to the second class. Thanks to Maud’s boldness, both teachers now make sure that they mention Jehovah’s Witnesses when teaching about the victims of the Nazi concentration camps.

^ par. 2 During World War II, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany, who were also known as Bibelforscher (Bible Students), were imprisoned for their refusal to support the Nazis.

^ par. 4 Gerhard Steinacher was sentenced to death for refusing to join the German army. In his farewell letter, he wrote: “I am still a child. Only if the Lord gives me strength can I stand, and this is what I ask.” The next morning Gerhard was executed. His epitaph reads: “He died for God’s honor.”