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Walther Hamann

Greiz, Germany

Walther was born in the state of Thuringia in east central Germany. Though his parents were Lutheran, Walther became a Jehovah's Witness in 1923. After becoming a master baker and confectioner in 1924, Walther worked in various coffeehouses in Plauen, Magdeburg and Duesseldorf. In 1928 he graduated from a professional school. He married and had two sons.

1933-39: In 1933 I became a pastry-making manager at the Cafe Weitz on Duesseldorf's Koenigsallee. The Gestapo arrested me at the cafe in 1937 because I was an active member of a banned organization, the Jehovah's Witnesses. The Special Court in Duesseldorf gave me a 27-month sentence because of my preaching. Imprisoned in Duesseldorf and Wuppertal-Elberfeld, I was then moved to penal camps in Walchum and Neusustrum in northwest Germany.

1940-44: When I completed my prison term in February 1940, I was given another chance to repudiate my faith. I refused, was beaten and then sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where I was kicked and beaten upon arrival--I saved myself by hiding in a latrine. A month later, my brother-in-law Dietrich, who had been there four years, died at my side. With Jehovah's help I endured hard labor and repeated beatings; when I could, I smuggled food out of the SS kitchen and scraps from garbage cans.

During a forced march towards the Baltic Sea, Walther was liberated on May 3, 1945, after his SS guards fled. He remained in Germany after the war.


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