Letter from the Supreme Ecclesiastical Council. Stuttgart, June 20, 1933
Supreme Ecclesiastical Council.
June 20, 1933.
all Dean's Offices
Subject: Restriction of Propaganda Activities
of "Earnest Bible Students" and
Encl.: 2 copies.
The Ministry of the Interior, by its decree dated June 14, 1933, based on the decree of the Reichspräsident dated February 28, 1933 (Reichsgesetzbl. I page 83), forbade that the followers of the International Bible Students Association and the New Apostolic Sect in Württemberg, call on any individuals, who do not belong to the declared members of this association, for the purpose of distributing printed matter of these associations, or of explaining their teachings.
Contravention is punishable with imprisonment for no less than one month or with a fine of 150 to 15,000 RM [Reichsmark], based on § 4 of the decree dated February 28, 1933. In an issue to the district and local police authorities, the following was explained:
It has been established that the International Bible Students Association e.V. and the New Apostolic Sect with their propaganda activities went far beyond the permissible limits, which have to be drawn from the viewpoint of the German Christian State, under full observation of freedom of religion and conscience. Messengers of the "Earnest Bible Students" prefer going from house to house on Sundays and Christian holidays and force on the population in a pestering way the writings of the Watchtower Bibel and Tract Association of Magdeburg, which are filled with spiteful attacks against the major Christian churches and their organs. In the same way, members of the New Apostolic Sect seek to gain followers for their teachings by an intensive treatment of the population, which, at times, degenerates in trespass. In doing so, they often do not even shrink back from the worst slander of the Christian churches and their organs, which are recognized in Germany as Religious Public Law Associations , and it is not rarely the case that they work by means of threats and misuse of superstition.
These subversive activities, which represent a misuse of the right to free expression of one's opinion, and are suited to carry religious discord not only into individual families, but into the entire community, is incompatible with the idea of a Christian German People's Community, and therefore can no longer be tolerated by the State. For this reason, by means of a decree, the members of these sects are forbidden to practice any propaganda outside of the circle of their members from today onwards.
The sects' own religious life, which is guaranteed by Art. 135 of the Reich's Constitution, is not touched by this.
The police authorities have been provided with the necessary orders for controlling the observance of the ban. At the same time, the population is called upon to support the authorities in their fight against the harmful consequences of sectarians' activities by reporting to the police any contravention against the ban as well as by instituting legal proceedings in cases of trespasses occurring in connection with the propaganda activities of these sects.
The parish offices have to be informed about this.
[several illegible handwitten signatures or notes]
Schw. Hall [date]