OCTOBER 9, 2013
SELTERS, Germany—A monument honoring the late Max Liebster, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who endured over five years of imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps, was publicly dedicated on June 21, 2013, in Lautertal-Reichenbach. The mayor and other city officials unveiled the monument in a ceremony attended by local residents as well as Mr. Liebster’s widow, Simone Liebster, who is also one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
As a Jew living in Germany during Hitler’s Nazi regime, Mr. Liebster was arrested by the Gestapo in 1939 and thereafter suffered in five different concentration camps: Sachsenhausen, Neuengamme, Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald. Eight of his family members perished in the camps. Among them was his father, whose body he personally carried to the Sachsenhausen crematorium.
Mr. Liebster became acquainted with fellow prisoners who were Jehovah’s Witnesses in the concentration camps. He was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses after he regained his freedom in 1945. According to one of the bronze plaques affixed to his monument, Mr. Liebster’s faith “gave [him] the strength and will to survive.” He lived until the age of 93 before passing away in 2008.
The invitation to the unveiling ceremony states that Mr. Liebster “was firmly convinced that Christian values could bring out the best in people.” Wolfram Slupina, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany, comments: “We are glad that the bravery of one of our many fellow worshippers who took a conscientious stand in the face of religious intolerance is being commemorated. This monument is truly a testament to the power of the Bible’s message of peace and unity, to which Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to be loyal.”
International: J. R. Brown, Office of Public Information, tel. +1 718 560 5000
Germany: Wolfram Slupina, tel. +49 6483 41 3110