Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Yearbook Experience - Viktor Gutshmidt

(experiences of Viktor Gutshmidt, photo on pg 110 of the 2008 Yearbook)

Lectures Helped Some to Learn the Truth (pgs 127-130)
Lectures were used to wage ideological warfare against Jehovah's Witnesses in the Soviet Union. Says Viktor Gutshmidt: "Our camp was regularly visited by speakers who gave lectures promoting atheism. The brothers always asked questions. Sometimes the lecturers were unable to answer the simplest questions. Usually the hall would be full, and everyone listened very attentively. People came voluntarily because they were curious about what Jehovah's Witnesses would say at the conclusion of the lecture. Once the camp was visited by a lecturer who was formerly a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church. Everyone knew that he had renounced his faith during his time in a camp and had become an atheist. 'Were you an atheist before you went to prison, or did you become one afterward?' asked one of the brothers when the lecture concluded. 'Think about it,' answered the lecturer. 'A man went into space, but he didn't see God there.' 'When you were a priest, did you really imagine that God would be watching people from a distance of little more than 200 kilometers [120 miles] above the earth's surface?' asked the brother. The lecturer said nothing in reply. These exchanges gave many prisoners food for thought, and afterward, some began to study the Bible with us.
At one of these lectures, a sister asked permission to say something. 'Go ahead; you're probably one of Jehovah's Witnesses,' said the lecturer. 'What would you call a person who stands in a field and yells, "I'll kill you!" when there is no one around?' said the sister. 'Well, you could hardly call him smart,' answered the lecturer. 'If God doesn't exist, why fight against him? If he doesn't exist, then there is no one to fight with.' The audience broke into laughter."

Of course, lectures on Soviet ideology were not held just in the camps. They were mainly organized for the public in large cities. Experienced lecturers visited towns and cities, especially where there were large concentrations of Witnesses, such as Vorkuta, Inta, Ukhta, and Syktyvkar. Brother Gutshmidt says: "Once in 1957 a lecturer came to the Palace of Culture for the miners of Inta, where 300 people had gathered. He explained the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses and how they preach...In two hours he covered six of such visits word for word according to our method, and from his notes, he read all the scriptures used. My wife, Polina, wrote me about this while I was serving time in a camp and described how the brothers attending the lecture could hardly believe their ears. After this lecture, the newspaper published negative comments about the Witnesses, but it did contain a complete description of the Kingdom. Furthermore, the entire lecture was aired on the radio. Thanks to that, thousands of city residents heard about how Jehovah's Witnesses preach and what they preach about.
In 1962 a speaker from Moscow arrived to give a lecture on Jehovah's Witnesses. After discussing their modern-day history, he said: 'Every month millions of dollars come pouring into Brooklyn in the form of voluntary donations to develop the Witnesses' activity in various lands. But not one of the leaders owns even a wardrobe for his clothes. They all eat at the dining hall together, both the housekeeper and the president, and there is no difference between them. All of them call one another brother and sister, as we call one another comrade.' For a while, silence reigned in the hall. Then he added, 'But we will not adopt their ideology, as fine as it might appear, because we want to create all of this without God, with our own hands and heads.'
"This encouraged us greatly because for the first time, we heard the truth about Jehovah's Witnesses from the authorities themselves. Such lectures also presented many other people with opportunities to hear the truth about Jehovah's Witnesses from the authorities."

(photo of the Gutshmidt family on pg 129, -Viktor with his sister (top), daughters, and wife, Polina, about a month before he was arrested in 1957)
We Would Have Shot All of You (pgs 107 & 110)
Early in 1957, the authorities mobilized for renewed action against Jehovah's Witnesses. Brothers were followed, and homes were searched. Viktor Gutshmidt recalls: "Once when I came home from the ministry, everything in the apartment had been turned upside down. The KGB were looking for literature. They arrested me and interrogated me for two months. Yulia, our youngest daughter, was 11 months old, and our elder daughter was 2 years old. During the investigation the inspector said to me, 'Aren't you German?' For many at that time, the word 'German' was synonymous with 'Fascist.' Germans were hated. 'I'm not a nationalist by nature,' I said, 'but if you're talking about the Germans who were held in the concentration camps by the Nazis, then I am proud of those Germans! They were called Bibelforscher, and now they are called Jehovah's Witnesses. I am proud that no Witness ever fired a bullet from a machine gun or a shell from a cannon. Of those Germans I am proud!' The inspector was silent, so I continued: 'I am confident that not one of Jehovah's Witnesses has participated in any of the rebellions or uprisings. Even when the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses are under ban, they persist in worshipping God. At the same time, the Witnesses recognize and obey the lawful authorities if their laws do not break the higher laws of our Creator.' Unexpectedly, the inspector stopped me and said: 'We have never studied any group as closely as we have studied the Witnesses and their activites. If anything in the records had been found against you, even the shedding of one drop of blood, we would have shot all of you.'

*that just PROVES how much the authorities really know about us, and KNOW that we are peaceful and not extremists or a 'threat' to their government...Yet the battle still isn't over, because look how they are still harassing us and launching propaganda media attacks even right now. 40-50 years later! Ridiculous!

this is a JW-media news release from June, about a raid conducted during a meeting where a 15 year-old was illegally held in custody, and a pregnant sister was arrested and later suffered a miscarriage on account of it. (And they have the nerve to say WE break up families???)
And here's the March news release where doctors turned private medical files of Witness patients over to the authorities without permission, and even refused treatment and sent home one sister who was about to undergo major surgery at the hospital.

AND check out this recent VIDEO CLIP on Youtube. (the news reporter is doing a pretty good job of trying to be unbiased) but then watch how there's some scenes playing in the backround showing all kinds of weird, extreme religious behavior which has absolutely no relation to us or our beliefs at all. Uhh, shouldn't the government be using their time to arrest and prosecute ACTUAL criminals?