For this question I am looking for answers from Jehovah's Witnesses, if possible.

In this YouTube video ("The Schoolgirl The Nazis and The Purple Triangles") this lady Simone Arnold talks about how she repeatedly got in trouble in Germany during WW2 because of her refusal to do the Hitler salute.

The video mentions Jehovah's Witnesses points of views about army service and the Hitler salute, but it does not provide much of any references to the Bible. The same thing is mentioned in this article from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum:

While Witnesses contended that they were apolitical and that their actions were not anti-Nazi, their unwillingness to give the Nazi salute, to join party organizations or to let their children join the Hitler Youth, their refusal to participate in the so-called elections or plebiscites, and their unwillingness to adorn their homes with Nazi flags made them suspect.

The Wikipedia article on "Nazi salute" also states (last paragraph under "From 1933 to 1945"):

Jehovah's Witnesses came into conflict with the Nazi regime because they refused to salute Adolf Hitler with the traditional "Heil Hitler" salute, believing that it conflicted with their worship of Jehovah. Because refusing to salute Hitler was considered a crime, Jehovah's Witnesses were arrested, and their children attending school were expelled, detained and separated from their families.

What I am curious about is the reasoning against these smaller acts of loyalty to the "state" or ruler, such as the Nazi salute. After all doing this salute did not seem to be a problem for most Germans, a vast majority of whom were baptized Protestant or Catholic.

So, assuming that the Jehovah's Witness reasoning comes from their interpretation of the Bible, I would like to ask:

What were (or are) the Jehovah's Witness arguments against doing the Nazi salute?


2 Answers 2


As you state (emphasis mine):

the reasoning against these smaller acts of loyalty to the "state" or ruler, such as the Nazi salute

Jehovah's Witnesses are only loyal to Gods Kingdom, as Jesus said himself (John 18:36):

My Kingdom is no part of this world. If my Kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my Kingdom is not from this source.

Jehovah's Witnesses do not take part in this world's politics and they don't 'take their sides' in conflicts. They don't declare their loyalty to any other government then Gods Kingdom, no matter how small.

Jehovah's Witnesses have "deep respect" (1 Peter 3:14) for the government and their officials, and they listen to them as long as they don't ask us to disobey Gods laws.

Related required reading from the site of Jehovah's Witnesses on Political Neutrality.

  • 2
    More information in their legal section: Political Neutrality
    – Jham
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 14:00
  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. For more on what this site is all about, see: How we are different than other sites. Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 14:36
  • Somehow I thought there was more (than just loyalty only to God's Kingdom) to this thing considering that the "Heil Hitler" salute had elements of person worship in it. So I take saying "Sieg Heil" (Hail Victory) would have been just as "wrong" as saying "Heil Hitler"?
    – user19845
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 2:30
  • 1
    @coderworks That would be correct. One nation's victory is another nation's defeat, so saying "Hail Victory" wouldn't be a very neutral thing to say. JWs do not participate in politics.
    – user32540
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 2:51
  • 1
    The link in your comment would be good to edit into your answer
    – 007
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 22:57

The phrase "Heil Hitler" roughly means salvation belongs to Hitler. Ascribing salvation or allegiance to Hitler would be a form of idolatry.

The Bible states in ps 3:8 Salvation belongs to Jehovah

Salvation is not to be ascribed to human institutions or their symbols (Exodus 20:4,5) (1 Cor 10:14)

For further information please follow the links below.


https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2002685#h=4: I0-10:866

  • "The phrase "Heil Hitler" roughly means salvation belongs to Hitler." *citation needed I don't speak German, so I can't take that at face value.
    – user3961
    Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 15:01
  • The word heil in German mean salvation. Google "heil in German". You will see the direct German to English translation means salvation.
    – 1982
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 12:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .