Bonhoeffer’s Martyrium

Bonhoeffer’s Martyrium

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and pastor. He was born on February 4, 1906, in Breslau, a city that now belongs to Poland. He died on April 9, 1945, in the Concentration Camp Flossenbuerg. US forces liberated the camp 14 days later.

Bonhoeffer was a vocal opponent of the Nazis and in 1939 he was a teacher at Union Seminary in New York City. He decided to return to Germany in 1939, because he was convinced that his country needed persons who stood with the victims of tyranny and racism. Bonhoeffer returned to Germany shortly before WW2 began. His Brother in law, Hans von Dohnányi recruited him as an agent for the Abwehr, the military intelligence service of the German army. Part of the Abwehr was involved in several failed plots to assassinate Hitler. Bonhoeffer most likely either knew of these plots or was directly involved. That led to a profound struggle of his conscience as the biblical command not to murder conflicted with the goal of the military resistance to kill Hitler. Bonhoeffer was arrested in 1943. He was hanged in the Concentration Camp Flossenbuerg.

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