SEPTEMBER 19, 2023
On July 6, 2023, a group of 15 young Jehovah’s Witnesses from the city of Kassel, Germany, were awarded first place for their project that highlighted the courageous example of Sister Wilhelmine Pötter, who died as a result of Nazi persecution.
Throughout the city of Kassel, the Stolpersteine in Kassel Foundation has placed small monuments in the form of stepping stones to commemorate those who lost their lives during the Nazi regime. Among the ones who have been remembered are Wilhelmine and her husband, Justus Pötter. Wilhelmine also has a street named after her in the neighboring village of Niestetal. As part of the foundation’s tenth anniversary, students from all over the city were invited to select one or more victims of Nazi persecution, report on their life, and discuss what lessons they learned.
The group of brothers and sisters, aged 13 to 23, selected Wilhelmine for their project. They produced a 24-minute video about her life entitled Obedient to God Alone. The video recounted how she was imprisoned by the Nazis in 1937 and died in 1942 in the Ravensbrück concentration camp at the age of 49. Additionally, the students created small posters featuring photographs of the letters Wilhelmine wrote to her husband and family while incarcerated. These posters were displayed at the bus stop on the street named after Wilhelmine.
In a letter to her husband, dated April 25, 1937, Wilhelmine wrote: “Dear Justus, I was happy to know that we both remained calm and confident as we received our sentences. Now, we leave everything in the Lord’s hands, so that he may continue to guide and direct us. Above all, I ask the Lord in prayer to strengthen us both spiritually and physically, so that we can fulfill our promise to him to remain faithful to the end. He will never allow a heavier load than we can bear. So we will look to our Lord and Master with strong trust.” Her prayer was answered, as they both remained faithful until their deaths.
Sister Alexandra Altemeier, age 23, shared this remark in the video: “Wilhelmine and her husband knew that being a follower of Christ would mean facing opposition. They accepted persecution, arrest, and even death as the price for their conviction, knowing that God would not forget them.” Brother Ole Schröder, age 18, also helped with the project. He noted: “Sister Pötter’s example really motivates me. Her faith and loyalty to God, her endurance, and that fact that she did not lose her joy are all worthy of imitation. Her example has shown me how valuable a friendship with God is.”
At the award ceremony, the entire video was shown to an audience of 180 people, including other students, members of the press, the town mayor, the head of the Department of Culture, and the director of the school district.
Along with our brothers and sisters who participated in this project, we too are encouraged and motivated by Justus and Wilhelmine’s examples of faith and courage. We are confident that Jehovah will never forget his faithful ones.—Hebrews 6:10.