"They Took the Other Road" - Organized Resistance in Austria

Members of the small Christian group Jehovah's Witnesses, in Nazi parlance called "Bible researchers," uncompromisingly rejected the Nazi state, refused the mandatory Hitler salute as well as service in the Hitler Youth. The Nazi regime persecuted Jehovah's Witnesses consistently and brutally mainly because of their refusal to perform military service and work in the armaments industries.


Between June and August 1940, officers of the Gestapo Headquarters Vienna arrested more than fifty members of Jehovah's Witnesses. In the course of house searches, Gestapo officers confiscated numerous religious writings as well as printing paper, duplicating machines, and typewriters, which, as they observed, were hidden in "expertly set-up hiding places."


House search (photo: DÖW)

Among the arrested was also Johann Wielandner in whose house in Vienna's tenth district the Gestapo officers discovered in the course of two house searches - one was documented in photographs - numerous writings, one typewriter, etc. in a camouflaged basement. On January 28, 1941, Wielandner was sentenced to six years imprisonment for "undermining military morale" by the Regional Court Vienna as Nazi special court. (Photo: DÖW)


House searchHouse searchHouse search

House search, July 12, 1940 (Download >>) and July 23, 1940 (Download >>) (PDF, 342 und 129 KB)


Sentence of the Regional Court ViennaSentence of the Regional Court Vienna



Sentence of the Regional Court Vienna as Nazi special court against Johann Wielandner, January 28, 1941
Download >> (PDF, 875 KB)




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