Thursday, March 23, 2017

F. L. Alexandre Freytag

from Franco

Alexandre Freytag was appointed by CTR as branch manager in Geneva, Switzerland. It did not end well. You will note that the caption to his photograph calls him “the faithful and prudent servant”.

Quoting from the 1980 Yearbook on the history of Bible Students/Witnesses in France:


Starting with the April 1919 issue, Freytag printed his name on the second page of each French Watch Tower, no longer as “manager” (gérant responsible  in French language), of the Geneva office,

but as “editor” (rédacteur in French language) of the Watch Tower.

As the official French edition of the Watch Tower represented less and less the English edition, some brothers in Switzerland took it upon themselves to publish a more accurate translation of the English-language Watch Tower. Thus there were for a time two French editions of the Watch Tower circulating among the brothers!
In August 1919, Freytag transferred a part of the Society’s literature stock and other property to his own address. Knowing that in January the Paris Congregation had informed Pittsburgh of what was going on, and that on March 25, 1919, Brother Rutherford had been released from prison, Freytag doubtless realized that the Society would certainly soon take action against him. So he began stowing away the property that he intended to keep for himself.
(above taken from 1980 Yearbook 1980 page 49 - The History of the Work in France)

Below is Freytag’s last Watch Tower.

At the bottom of page 2, Freytag put in this announcement:


The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, having taken our name, and publishing a newspaper that is titled the same as ours, now we prefer, to avoid confusion, to publish our newspaper under the name: "The Angel of the Eternal, the Kingdom Messenger of God"

Editorial note
Ultimately the Society took Freytag  to court on three occasions to finally recover the property he had taken (see 1987 Yearbook page 127, History of the Work in Switzerland). The movement Freytag formed  still exists in places like France (1980 Yearbook page 51) and Germany (1974 Yearbook page 85)


Andrew Martin said...

"It did not end well."

Boy, THAT'S an understatement.

Freytag seems to have been an unstable character in the mold of Booth (South Africa) and Paul Johnson. Sad for those who depended on him for direction.

The organization he founded goes under the name "Les Amis de l'homme" in France and "Menschenfreunde" in Switzerland. Both translate as "Friends of Man". They are also known as "The Philanthropic Society of the Friends of Man".

Thanks to Jerome and Roberto for posting.

S.P.Olsen said...

I have met supporters of Freytag outside a JW-assembly in 1974 in Zürich, Switzerland. They were not friendly!

jerome said...

I find it rather surreal that having used the Watch Tower's template cover for the Watch Tower magazine, and advertising CTR's Studies etc. inside the front cover, Freytag would then write: The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, having taken OUR name, and publishing a newspaper that is titled the SAME AS OURS...

Capitalization mine.

Andrew Martin said...

S. P. Olsen - incredible!

Unless I'm misinformed, Menschenfreunde are universalists! So why would it matter if JWs were wrong - they'd get there anyway!

Besides, I thought they were not in to public preaching.

If I'm mistaken, someone please correct me.

Thanks for that personal experience.

Jerome - Freytag's conduct seems like that of someone mentally unbalanced - or just a plain fraud.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

This material came from Franco. Tanks are due to him.

Andrew Martin said...

Sorry, Franco, for unintentionally overlooking your contribution.

What some of you come up with is completely amazing - I don't know where/how you find these things.

Anonymous said...

Yes, good work again from Franco and Jerome.

In my work on conscientious objectors who had been IBSA members in WW1 in Britain I came across several families whose ancestors had left the organisation to pursue their own religious paths in the various Bible Student offshoots. Seldom had the families retained the beliefs of their predecessors although a few acknowledged that religion had played an important role in their upbringing. Interestingly, most thought their fathers/grandfathers had held the line throughout. It was difficult for these to accept that their predecessors had defected from the IBSA and that this body continues to function to this day and arranges wonderful conventions for Jehovah's Witnesses each year.


Chris G. said...

I have a foreign paperback book by Freytag, unsure of the language but it has quite an artful cover to it showing a new earth etc...
Very insightful, thank you Franco and the others who have shared this information. Does anyone know when Freytag passed away and what any of the details are outside of the yearbook accounts of the battle to retain WT properties etc...?


jerome said...

Freytag died in 1947.

Gian said...

Ecco cosa succede a non saper aspettare.
Ogni tanto qualcuno si fa prendere dalla fretta di aver riconosciuta qualche ragione
ed ecco apparire, come oggigiorno sul web, gruppi di dissidenti che trascino fratelli
deboli ma in buona fede.
Dovremmo saper imparare dalla nostra storia.
Grazie per le ricerche.


Welyson Araújo Rios said...

I have two books written by Freytag , but isn't enough...Have you any idea about where I can get his early works??

Welyson Araújo Rios said...

In Italia avevo Chiesa de Dio ( Freitag movement)....Do you know them personally?