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 From Our Archives

The “Unforgettable” Came Just in Time

The “Unforgettable” Came Just in Time

“UNFORGETTABLE!” That is how many described the “Creation Drama.” It came just in time and made an indelible impression on the mind of those who saw it. Indeed, the “Creation Drama” gave a great witness to Jehovah’s praise shortly before the Hitler regime unleashed fierce persecution upon His people in Europe. But what was the “Creation Drama”?

The book Schöpfung (Creation) lent its name to the new drama

In 1914 the headquarters of Jehovah’s people in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A., released the “Photo-Drama of Creation.” It was an eight-hour photographic slide and motion picture production, complete with color and sound. The “Photo-Drama” was viewed by millions of people worldwide. A shorter version—the “Eureka Drama”—was also released in 1914. But by the 1920’s, the slides, films, and projection equipment had become badly worn. Yet, there was a demand for “Photo-Drama” presentations. For instance, residents of Ludwigsburg, Germany, asked, “When will the ‘Photo-Drama’ be shown again?” What could be done?

To meet the need for further presentations of the Drama, in the 1920’s representatives of the Bethel family in Magdeburg, Germany, bought films from a news agency in Paris, France, and slides from graphics companies in Leipzig and Dresden. These were put together with some old “Photo-Drama” slides that were still usable.

Brother Erich Frost, a gifted musician, composed music to accompany the films and slides. The narration was taken in part from our book Creation. That is why the revised version of the “Photo-Drama” was given a new name—“Creation Drama.”

The new Drama was the same length as the “Photo-Drama”—eight hours—and was shown in several installments on consecutive evenings. It presented gripping details about the days of creation, reviewed Biblical and secular history, and pointed out that false religion had failed mankind. The “Creation Drama” was shown in Austria, Germany, Luxemburg, and Switzerland, and to German-speaking audiences elsewhere.

Erich Frost and his music notes for the “Creation Drama”

Erich Frost explained: “At the Drama presentations, I encouraged my colleagues, particularly those in the orchestra, to  use the intermission to go from row to row and offer the audience our wonderful books and booklets. We placed more literature this way than was possible from house to house.” Johannes Rauthe, who organized presentations in Poland and the present-day Czech Republic, remembers that many people in attendance left their addresses so as to be called on. Those addresses were the basis for productive return visits.

Into the 1930’s, the “Creation Drama” played to packed halls, and Jehovah’s Witnesses were the talk of the town. By 1933, almost one million people had attended the presentations organized by our branch office in Germany. “Just to see the Drama,” Käthe Krauss recalls, “on each of the five days, we walked six miles (10 km) each way, through woods and up and down hills and dales.” “The ‘Creation Drama’ laid the foundation for my love of the truth,” says Else Billharz.

Alfred Almendinger relates that when his mother attended the Drama, she “was so thrilled that she bought a Bible and searched for the word ‘purgatory.’” Since she could not find it in the Bible, she stopped attending church and got baptized. “Countless people came into the truth through the ‘Creation Drama,’” recalled Erich Frost.3 John 1-3.

No sooner had the “Creation Drama” exhibitions reached their peak than Europe was engulfed in the storm of Nazism. Beginning in 1933, the activities of the Witnesses in Germany came under ban. From that time onward and until the end of the second world war in 1945, Jehovah’s servants in Europe suffered intense persecution. Erich Frost spent about eight years in captivity. But he survived and later served at Bethel in Wiesbaden, Germany. How good it was that the unforgettable “Creation Drama” came just in time to bolster the courage of so many Christians about to face tests of faith during World War II!—From our archives in Germany.