Select a language


Bible literature was duplicated and distributed inside and outside of the camps.


The persecution by the Nazi regime ended, religious freedom was regained, and congregations were reorganised.


The German Constitution (Grundgesetz) guaranteed freedom of faith and conscience. The right to conscientious objection was included in Article 4 paragraph 3 in view of the more than 250 Jehovah’s Witnesses who had been executed by the Reich Military Court.


Activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses were banned in East Germany (lifted in 1990). The Supreme Court sentenced nine Jehovah’s Witnesses to long prison terms as part of a show trial; countless Witnesses suffered reprisals and imprisonment as a result.


After the physical repression of the 1950s, the “education principle” became more prominent in the East German penal system. Outside of prisons, state authorities tried to harm Jehovah’s Witnesses through subversion and misinformation.


In West Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court declared that it was inadmissible to impose a “double punishment” on Jehovah’s Witnesses who are recognised conscientious objectors and refuse alternative civilian service on grounds of conscience.


More than 150,000 delegates from 78 countries – a record number – gathered for a convention in Nuremberg.


The number of Jehovah’s Witnesses in West Germany and West Berlin reached 100,000.


After Wiesbaden, Selters (Taunus) became the new centre for the Watch Tower Society in Germany.


The Religionsgemeinschaft der Zeugen Jehovas in der DDR (Religious Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses in East Germany) received state recognition.


The video documentary “Jehovah’s Witnesses Stand Firm Against Nazi Assault” was premiered at the Ravensbrück Memorial Museum.


In the legal battle to attain corporate rights, the Federal Constitutional Court agreed with the religious association and stated that we cannot be demanded to show a form of loyalty to the state that exceeds loyalty to the law.


Worldwide, nearly 6.5 million Jehovah’s Witnesses were participating in evangelising work in over 235 countries and territories.


Jehovah’s Witnesses began being more frequently acknowledged as victims of National Socialism, for example, in a permanent exhibit entitled “Medizin und Verbrechen” (Medicine and Crime) at the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum near Berlin, which opened in November.


By means of a decision from the Federal Administrative Court on 1 February 2006, the judgment of Berlin Higher Administrative Court became legally binding. Jehovah’s Witnesses were recognised as a corporation under public law.


Most German federal states confirmed the corporate rights (secondary award) in accordance with the application.


By means of a legal regulation that came into force on 27 January 2017, public corporation rights were finally awarded in the last remaining German state (North Rhine-Westphalia). The efforts of Jehovah’s Witnesses to obtain corporate rights, which lasted over 26 years, came to an end.