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Dr. Gabriele Hammermann, director of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, presents a photograph of the plaque commemorating Max Eckert during her speech.

 
 

JULY 9, 2018
GERMANY

Anonymous No More: Max Eckert Commemorated at Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site

During a ceremony held on May 7, 2018, the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site revealed to an audience of some 200 people a plaque memorializing Brother Max Eckert who was imprisoned at the former Dachau camp for over two years before being sent to the notorious Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. He never returned home. Though Brother Eckert died in relative obscurity, he is now recognized publicly as a man of unshakable faith.

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Recent photograph of the former Dachau concentration camp, where Max Eckert was imprisoned before he was sent to Mauthausen.

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Mauthausen concentration camp, where Max Eckert died.

Records disclose Brother Eckert’s legacy of integrity. He and his wife were fined as early as 1935 for speaking to others about their faith. He later lost his job because he refused to carry a flag with a swastika. In 1937, he became one of the approximately 600 dauntless Jehovah’s Witnesses interned in Dachau. Over two years later, he was transferred to Mauthausen where at least 90,000 prisoners died from the brutal conditions. On February 21, 1940, Brother Eckert’s wife received a telegram that unceremoniously announced: “Husband died today in the camp. For further details contact the police.” He was 43 years old.

During her presentation at the ceremony, Dr. Gabriele Hammermann, director of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, explained: “The Bible Students [as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known] were persecuted because their beliefs did not allow them to become members of any Nazi organizations, give the Hitler salute, or participate in military service.” She further stated: “Former fellow prisoners [described] the attitude of the Bible Students with great respect and especially [emphasized] their steadfastness and willingness to help.”

Brother Wolfram Slupina, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany, acknowledged that Brother Eckert was an obscure figure to many attendees of the ceremony, stating: “We do not even have a picture of Max Eckert.” But he added, the plaque succeeds in “acknowledging the steadfastness [Brother Eckert] showed and his religious conviction without compromise—even to death.”

Without question, Jehovah remembers the faith and integrity of Max Eckert, as well as all other Jehovah’s Witnesses who have died for their faith.—Hebrews 6:10.

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