Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 -1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, and key founding member of the Confessing Church.
Bonhoeffer’s writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential, and his book The Cost of Discipleship has been described as a modern classic.
Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews.
Bonhoeffer was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years. Later, he was transferred to Flossenbürg concentration camp.
After being accused of being associated with the 20 July plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was quickly tried along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then hanged on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime was collapsing.
Bonhoeffer’s life as a pastor and theologian of great intellect and spirituality who lived as he preached – and his being killed because of his opposition to National Socialism – exerted great influence and inspiration for Christians across broad denominations and ideologies, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, the anti-communist democratic movement in Eastern Europe during the Cold War, and the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa.
Overshadowed by the dramatic events of his life, Bonhoeffer’s theology has nevertheless been influential. His theology has a fragmentary, unsystematic nature, due at least in part to his untimely death, and is subject to diverse and contradictory interpretations, sometimes necessarily based on speculation and projection.
Bio Reference Attribution https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer
Photo Attribution © (Photographer Unstated), Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (Date Unstated)
Source Attribution https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/dietrich-bonhoeffer
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