On Saturday, June 24, 2023, in cooperation with the Arnold Liebster Foundation, a public memorial service was held at the site of the planned memorial to Jehovah’s Witnesses persecuted and murdered under National Socialism, in Berlin’s Tiergarten, Straße des 17.
On August 22, 1936, the Gestapo carried out an arrest operation at the Goldfish Pond. In the course of a wave of arrests in 1936, leading Jehovah’s Witnesses were imprisoned throughout Germany. At least 17 of those arrested died as a result of torture.
The memorial service commemorated the persecution and opposition of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The event was welcomed by Uwe Neumärker, Director of the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Benz, Spokesman of the Advisory Board of the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. There was a musical program by Andreas Vogelsang on the trumpet.
The focus was on a reading from texts about and from Jehovah’s Witnesses persecuted under National Socialism. The actresses Lisa Altenpohl, Greta Ipfelkofer and Varya Popovkina read excerpts from, among others, Max Liebster, who was persecuted as a Jew during National Socialism and repeatedly reported on his encounters with Jehovah’s Witnesses in concentration camps: “My listeners could hardly believe it when I described to them how the ‘purple triangles’ had taken care of each other and warmly welcomed us Jews into their midst and treated us with dignity, which the Nazis had robbed us of long before. I told them that the Witnesses had taken even the harshest punishments to help us and give us food.”
Uwe Neumärker, Claudia Roth, Dr. Anna Kaminsky, Petra Pau, Ruth Burger, Johannes Hoenen, Dr. Tim Müller, Sandra Witte and Sarah Breithoff also read.