Nazis, 2 Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Me

Several years ago, and before I was married, I was living in an apartment complex in Kentucky. One day, two white-shirt wearing individuals approached me in my parking lot, and one of them said something like, “Hello. May I ask you a question? Do you find yourself thinking about God a lot in these troubled times?”

I said, “Why, yes I do.”

“Would you like to talk about Him with us?”

“Why, yes I would,” I replied, though I was a little confused about why I was starting every response with the word “why.”

Before they could recite the next line in their script, I followed up with a question of my own. “Are you guys Jehovah’s Witnesses?” I’m not sure why I didn’t guess Mormons, but, as the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

“Yes, we are Jehovah’s Witnesses,” one of them replied.

“Let me ask you a question,” I said, as we stood there in the parking lot. “Did you guys get persecuted by the Nazis?” Okay, from anybody else that might be kind of random, but I’m a history professor, and hey, if you’re going to ambush me in a parking lot and try to have a deep conversation then you need to take what you get.

“Yes, we were” was the reply. “We even have a video.”

“Well,” I said, “why don’t you bring it over some time? We can watch it together.”

They said they would, but truth be told, they never followed through.

So what’s the moral of the story? Ya know, I figured this week, I would let you readers tell me. What do you think we can learn from any of this?

PS: I later met a pair of their associates,  and one of them loaned me two videos. The Nazis persecuted the Jehovah’s Witnesses because this religious group never pledged allegiance to any flag (or Reich, as it turned out), so Hitler didn’t trust them. A few thousand were sent to the camps, and a few hundred were killed. Today, there are more Jehovah’s Witnesses around than there are Nazis, so Hitler failed here, too.

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