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Clearly, Jehovah's Witnesses were already victims of Fascist persecution. 4 - "Riet Narciso" documents, Archive of Matteo Pierro.
Another circular, entitled n.441977 of March 13,1940, recognized the victims by name: "Religious Sect of 'Jehovah's Witnesses' or Bible Students and Other Religious Sects Which Have Principles in Contrast with Our Institution." It discussed the "exact identification of those religious sects..differ from the already known sect of the 'Pentecostals'", underlining "the verification of the existence of the sect of the 'Jehovah's Witnesses' and the fact that the literature we have already examined in the above mentioned circular of the 22nd August 1939 n. 5 - From the book "Aula IV - Tutti i Processi del Tribunale Speciale Fascista" (Fourth Courtroom - All the Trials of the Special Fascist Court), AA.
In Italy, as in Germany, the religious group was looked upon with grave concern because of its pacifism (members chose to refuse military service), its political neutrality, and its dislike of any form of totalitarianism. In fact, the Witnesses were often forced to live in secluded villages in the south of Italy, villages that were freed by the allies before September, 1943, allowing them to avoid deportation.
Investigations were made into any citizens who had even taken a subscription to the 'Watchtower', the Witnesses' main magazine.2 Eventually, the O. This spared many from the Nazi concentration camps, where most of the Italian prisoners went.
For example, in 1939, the magazine "Fides" carried an article written by an anonymous "priest caring for souls." He affirmed "the association of Jehovah's Witnesses is atheistic communism and openly attempted to attack the safety of the state." This anonymous priest defined himself as being "actively dedicated against this religious association for three years," raising himself as a protector of the Fascist State. Even the magazine "Rivista Abruzzese di Studi Storici dal Fascismo alla Resistenza" (Abruzzese Magazine of Historical Studies from Fascism to the Resistance) confirms the fact: "The instruction of the hierarchy of the national Establishment, military and civil, lay or ecclesiastical, was for the annihilation by means of condemnation of the supposed leaders and of those considered the most active followers of the newest 'Protestants'," that had come to disturb the "healthy country environment of Abruzzo, Puglie, Campania and Trentino."11 This is reminiscent of the Catholic Church's involvement with the group in Nazi Germany; reporting activities of Jehovah's Witnesses to the authorities.12 To their credit, both under Nazi and Fascist rule, Jehovah's Witnesses were one of the few groups that did not blemish themselves by collaborating with the dictatorial regime. Surely, he knew that hurling these accusations would provoke the regime's intervention. Catholic American writer Gordon Zahn has admitted that, "except for the position that some minor Protestant sect took - the Jehovah's Witnesses and the traditional 'Churches of Peace', for example - there is no reason to believe that the attitude of the German Protestantism was different to that of the Catholic Religion that gave support to the Nazi war."13 With the end of World War II, the group of Jehovah's Witnesses in Italy started to reorganize the activity of proselytism that has brought the number of their preachers from 120 in 1946 to the present 215,000. With their 2,800 communities scattered throughout the national territory, they form the most consistent religious association in the country, second only to the Catholic Church.14 Matteo Pierro 1 - Sentence n. There was small expansion in the 1920's and 1930's, when the Witnesses spread to various provinces including Sondrio, Aosta, Ravenna, Vincenza, Trento, Benevento, Avellino, Foggia, L'Aquila, Pescara and Teramo. 0799 of January 3, 1940 of General Police Inspector Dr.
The first mention of Jehovah's Witnesses' existence in Italy is in a document in the record office. 9 - "Fides" magazine of February 1939, article: "The Jehovah's Witnesses in Italy," p. Or are you an Ex-Jehovah’s Witness who wants to help others?