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Consul General Thomas Pröpstl presenting Sister Simone Arnold-Liebster with Germany’s Order of Merit

JANUARY 24, 2024

Germany Recognizes Simone Arnold-Liebster With Nation’s Highest Award for Efforts to Educate Young People

Germany Recognizes Simone Arnold-Liebster With Nation’s Highest Award for Efforts to Educate Young People

On December 15, 2023, Sister Simone Arnold-Liebster received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Order of Merit is Germany’s highest award extended to individuals for their outstanding service to society. It was presented to Simone by Consul General Thomas Pröpstl at a ceremony in Chambéry, France. Simone, who is now 93 years old, was acknowledged for her efforts to preserve the memory of Nazi tyranny and those who resisted its ideology of hate and violence.

To date, Simone has spoken to audiences in 25 countries. Nearly 65,000 have attended her appearances, including many students and school faculty members. Despite her age, she continues to make these visits via videoconference, during which she answers questions from young people and relates lessons learned when she was their age. After attending one such appearance, a student wrote: “Through Simone’s story, I have seen the power and strength we can gain when we believe in something with our entire being.”

Simone Arnold-Liebster speaking to a group of students in Colorado, U.S.A., via videoconference

In presenting Simone with this award, Consul General Thomas Pröpstl commented: “It is most remarkable how you were able to draw strength from your personal story of suffering. You have always done this with an open heart and a conciliatory, positive view of the future. For this, I pay you my great personal respect.”

Under the Nazi regime, Simone and her family, like thousands of other Jehovah’s Witnesses, suffered horrific trials. When Simone was 12 years old, she was taken from her home and forced to live in Konstanz, Germany, in the Von Wessenberg Reformatory, a penitentiary school where the Nazis attempted unsuccessfully to “reeducate” her. As a result of her steadfast refusal to compromise her neutrality, young Simone was humiliated, malnourished, subjected to forced labor, and forbidden to talk for nearly two years. Reflecting on that time, Simone remarked: “Jehovah supported me; I kept integrity.”

We truly appreciate Simone’s faithful record of integrity as she continues bringing glory to our Father, Jehovah God.—Matthew 5:16.