Some people made their stand in the only way they knew – through religion
When theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer returned to Germany after studying in the US, he was disappointed – Adolf Hitler had become chancellor and was spreading anti-semitic sentiments. He had to do something. With some fellow clergymen and theologians, Bonhoeffer founded the Confessing Church in 1934, its allegiance first to God, not the state.
Bonhoeffer didn’t stop there. In an underground seminary, Finkenwalde, he taught other pastors his ways until it was uncovered and shut down.
It was time for a change of strategy – Bonhoeffer signed up to the secret service but while he travelled the country reporting on church conferences, he was helping Jews escape the Nazis.
In 1943, he was finally caught. One afternoon in April, a black Mercedes pulled up. Bonhoeffer was bundled into it and sent to prison where he spent two years. He was later transferred to Buchenwald concentration camp and then Flossenbürg. On the morning of 9 April 1945 he was escorted from his bed and had his verdict read to him. He knelt on the floor and prayed to God. Before he climbed the gallows he prayed once more and then the noose was placed around his neck. He died within seconds, but his theology and reputation lived on.
“looking on is not Christian behaviour. Christians are called to compassion and to action”
life: 1906-45 Fate: hanged