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Willibald Wohlfahrt

Koestenberg-Velden, Austria

Willibald was the youngest of six children born to Catholic parents in a village in the part of Austria known as Carinthia. Disillusioned with Catholicism, his father and mother became Jehovah's Witnesses when Willibald was an infant, and they raised their children in their new faith. His father became the leader of the local Jehovah's Witness congregation.

1933-39: Willibald lived in a beautiful area near lakes and mountains. The Wohlfahrts were active in Jehovah's Witness missionary work, even though the Austrian government was opposed to the teachings of the faith. In 1938 the Nazis took over. Willibald's father was arrested on September 1, 1939, for opposing military service; three months later he was executed.

1940-45: Willibald's oldest brother was sent to a concentration camp and his brother Gregor was executed for refusing to join the German military. When Willibald was 14, he and his remaining sisters and brother were taken away by the Germans. Willibald was sent to a Catholic convent in Landau, where a Nazi instructor tried to indoctrinate him. He beat Willibald when he refused to salute Hitler. When Allied armies approached, Willibald was sent to the battle front to dig trenches for the German home defense.

Willibald was killed in 1945 while on the work detail digging trenches in western Germany. He was 17 years old.

 

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