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Gregor Wohlfahrt, Jr.
July 24, 1921 | Koestenberg-Velden, Austria
Gregor was the second of six children born to Catholic parents in a village in the part of Austria known as Carinthia. His father was a farmer and quarryman. Disillusioned with Catholicism, his parents became Jehovah's Witnesses and raised their children according to that religion. As a boy, Gregor loved mountain climbing and skiing.
1933-39: Gregor attended school and worked as a waiter. The situation for Jehovah's Witnesses worsened after Germany annexed Austria in March 1938; Witnesses refused to swear an oath of loyalty to Hitler, believing that their sole allegiance was to God and His laws. On September 1, 1939, the day that Germany invaded Poland, Gregor's father was arrested for opposing military service and executed three months later.
1940-42: Like his older brother, Franz, Gregor refused to be inducted into the German armed forces, following the Witnesses' belief that military service violated God's fifth commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." Gregor was arrested. He was brought in chains before a military court in Berlin and sentenced to death on December 18, 1941. For Gregor, his father's arrest and execution two years earlier on similar charges only strengthened his resolve to stand by his faith.
Gregor was executed by guillotine in Berlin's Ploetzensee Prison on March 14, 1942. He was 20 years old.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C. Citations