Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb_We are all familiar to the martyrs throughout history. We are also familiar with notable patriots that stood strong for their countries. Of the former class, we have the early Christian martyrs who stood up for their fair and were willing to die for it; St. Peter and Joan d’Arc come to mind. When we talk of patriots, who can forget those American colonists who were willing to stand up against the most powerful military force in the world at the end of the 18th century; Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, and Samuel Adams come to mind. But, few men (or women) have been both patriots AND martyrs. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was such a man!  


Bonhoeffer was a patriot, in that, he was not willing to remove himself from Nazi Germany in the 1930s to the safety of either the British Isles or the United States. Yes, he sojourned to those countries to develop his theology and work at creating multinational alliances to unite Christians in support of the human rights of all peoples, including the Jews. But in the end he returned to his homeland to speak up against the Nazi régime and their persecution of the Jews. He was implicated in one of many plots to assassinate Der Führer, Adolf Hitler. For that he was imprisoned in Berlin; he was later transferred to Buchenwald Concentration Camp after his role with the conspirators in the 1945 assassination plot.

As a patriot, he took his Christian values seriously and opposed the takeover of the Lutheran Church by the Nazis. He worked against Hitler, speaking out on radio and in small groups against the policies of the Nazi machine. He even became a double agent to be able to pass on secrets to the allied forces. He took his German citizenship seriously and sought to bring back sanity to the German state during the oppressive rule of the Nazis (1933-1945). In his own way, he was an example to his countrymen and a patriot in every sense of that word.

Westminster_Abbey_C20th_martyrsBonhoeffer was a light in the dark days of the Nazis. Even when in the concentration camps awaiting death, he kept his personal faith in his God and was an example to those around him. Even as he prepared to walk to his death on the gallows, the camp doctor observed that: “I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer … kneeling on the floor praying fervently to God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the few steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.” 

We now will proceed to examine this martyr and patriot in the dark days of German history in more detail… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

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Quotations Related to Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/dietrich_bonhoeffer.html ]


“A god who let us prove his existence would be an idol.”
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy.”
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.”
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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