A "Black Raven"
The Gestapo succeeded in arresting the Watchtower leader Fritz Winkler, who had been a leader of the Watchtower in Germany since 1933. The Watchtower writes about this: „Watchtower" 79 11/1 9 We Did Not Give Up! (Englisch; Germany „Wachtturm" 1. 2. 1980)
In August 1936, the German gestapo (secret police) began a concerted campaign against our underground organization. Fritz Winkler, who had oversight of our work, and most of the regional directors were arrested and imprisoned.
This showed up to be a great success for the Gestapo, since Fritz Winkler was "singing" like a lark. Which again made the Gestapo able to do further arrests. One of these persons arrested because of Fritz Winkler's "singing" was a Georg Rabe (Rabe is the German word for raven). A search on the latest Watchtower Library 2001 gives us no information what so ever of this Georg Rabe, who was a "Bezirksdienstleiter", a Circuit Overseer in East Prussia for the "Bible Students" in Germany.
Rabe was singing as well, and the Gestapo got one particularly interesting name out of him - Erich Frost. Obviously the Gestapo instantaneously "honored" Erich Frost with an arrest as well. Details about this Erich Frost can be found on other pages on The Watchtower Observer. He ended up being one of the most contemptible traitors to the Jehovah's Witnesses then in Germany, but was honored for his services by a new job as a leader after the war!
Naturally there is no doubt these men were pressured hard by the Germans to give the statements in question. But it is also quite clear these leaders who were arrested lacked the strength to be silent. At least none of those who actually survived the Nazi regime. But Winkler, Frost and Rabe survived. Their statements to the Gestapo should not be overestimated, but should neither be hidden under a carpet.
It is also interesting to see the biographies the Watchtower has printed about these men. Rabe wrote in "Wachtturm" juni 1917, page 112, in a "Letter From Readers". Here he is telling about his experiences in Russia, where the "work" was also forbidden, and he is telling he returned to Germany to start working in East Prussia. There is another interesting detail in the Rabe case. Bible Students and so called "Landeskircheliche Gemeinshaften", was looked upon as two of the kind. Made of the same wood, so to speak. The main difference was that the so called "National Church Communities", who did preach some criticism against the "secularized churches", did not cut the naval cord to the same churches. They remained as sects within the large churches, and did hold many of the same ideas. The Bible Students recruited a large amount of members from within these "National Church Communities" - and the leaders of these communities did not appreciate this competition. Warnings were given about these people who counted years to find out the date of the return of the Lord, and the Bible Students as Rabe warned against them.
The connections here is rather interesting, but I hope our readers can search for this in other places.