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Article: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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{{External links|date=May 2011}}
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{{Infobox clergy
|name =Dietrich Bonhoeffer
|image =Pastor_Bonhoeffer.jpg
|image_size =200px
|caption =Bonhoeffer in Germany, circa 1930s
|birth_date ={{birth-date|February 4, 1906}}
|birth_place =[[Wrocław|Breslau]], Germany
|death_date ={{death-date|April 9, 1945}} (age 39)
|death_place =[[Flossenbürg concentration camp]], [[Nazi Germany]]<br />{{Coord|49.734958|12.35577|display=inline|region:DE-BY_type:landmark|name=Execution Site of 20 July 1944 Plot (Nazi Germany Resistance)}}
|education =Doctorate in theology
|church =[[Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union]]<br />[[Confessing Church]]
|writings =Author of several books and articles (see below)
|congregations =Zion's Church congregation, Berlin <br />German-speaking congregations of St. Paul's and Sydenham, London
|offices_held =Associate lecturer at [[Frederick William University of Berlin]] (1931–36)<br /> Student pastor at [[Technical University of Berlin|Technical College, Berlin]] (1931–33)<br /> Lecturer of [[Confessing Church]] candidates of pastorate in [[Szczecin-Zdroje|Finkenwalde]] (1935–37)
|title =ordained pastor
|pronunciation = {{IPA-de|ˈdiːtʁɪç ˈboːnhœfɐ|lang}}
'''Dietrich Bonhoeffer''' (February 4, 1906 – April 9, 1945)<!--full dates in infobox, per MOS--> was a [[German people|German]] [[Lutheran]] [[pastor]], [[Theology|theologian]], and anti-fascist. He was a participant in the [[German resistance]] movement against [[Nazism]] and a founding member of the [[Confessing Church]]. He was involved in plans by members of the ''[[Abwehr]]'' (the German Military Intelligence Office) to [[assassination|assassinate]] [[Adolf Hitler]]. This led to his arrest in April 1943 and execution by hanging in April 1945, 23 days before the Nazis' surrender. His view of Christianity's role in the secular world has become very influential.<ref>{{cite web |url= |title=Dietrich Bonhoeffer Biography |accessdate=May 3, 2008}}</ref>
==Family and youth==
Bonhoeffer was born in 1906 with his twin sister [[Bonhoeffer family|Sabine]] to a prominent middle-class family in Breslau ([[Wrocław]]), the sixth of eight children. His father, [[Bonhoeffer family|Karl Bonhoeffer]], was one of the most distinguished neurologists in Germany as a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the [[University of Berlin]] and the director of the psychiatric clinic at [[Charité]] Hospital in [[Berlin]]. His mother, Paula von Hase, was a daughter of Klara von Hase, a countess by marriage who had been a pupil of [[Clara Schumann]] and [[Franz Liszt]],<ref>Paul Duane Matheney, ''Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works: Vol.9 The Young Bonhoeffer'', p5</ref> and a granddaughter of [[Karl Hase|Karl von Hase]], the distinguished church historian and preacher to the court of [[Kaiser Wilhelm II]].<ref name="Dietrich Bonhoeffer p5">Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ''A Testament to Freedom'', ed. Geffrey B. Kelly, p5</ref> Nonetheless, the Bonhoeffer family was not notably devout. Paula was a college graduate and [[homeschooling|home-schooled]] the children until each was 6 or 7. Bonhoeffer lost his older brother [[Bonhoeffer family|Walter]] to [[World War I]]. His sister Christine married [[Hans von Dohnanyi]], one of the conspirators against Hitler. His twin sister Sabine married Gerhard Leibholz, a notable jurist of Jewish descent who had been baptized as a child.
Expected to follow his father into [[psychiatry]], Bonhoeffer surprised and dismayed his parents when he decided as a teenager to become a theologian and later a pastor. When his older brother told him not to waste his life in such a "poor, feeble, boring, petty, bourgeois institution as the church", fourteen-year-old Dietrich replied, "If what you say is true, I shall reform it!"<ref>Mark Devine, ''Bonhoeffer Speaks Today'', p5</ref>
==Academic training==
Bonhoeffer attended [[Tübingen]] University for a year and visited [[Rome]], where he became conscious of the universality of the church, before matriculating at the [[University of Berlin]] in 1924, then a centre of [[Liberal Christianity|liberal theology]] under theologians such as [[Adolf von Harnack]]. Around this time, he discovered the writings of [[Karl Barth]], the eminent Swiss theologian whose pioneering work in [[neo-orthodoxy]] was a reaction against liberal theology. Barth believed that "liberal theology" (understood as emphasizing personal experience and societal development) minimized Scripture, reducing it to a mere textbook of metaphysics while sanctioning the deification of human culture. Von Harnack cautioned Bonhoeffer against dangers posed by Barth's "contempt for scientific theology", but the younger Bonhoeffer became increasingly critical of liberal theology as not only too constraining but also responsible for the lack of relevance in the church.<ref>Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ''A Testament to Freedom'', ed. Geffrey B. Kelly, p6</ref> Won over to Barth's dialectical theology, Bonhoeffer was nevertheless not beyond criticizing Barth. The confluence of Barth's [[Christocentric|Christocentrism]] and Harnack's concern to show the relevance of Christianity to the modern world had an indelible effect on Bonhoeffer's approach to theology.<ref name="David Ford p45">David Ford, ''The Modern Theologians'', p45</ref>
Bonhoeffer graduated ''[[summa cum laude]]'' from the University of Berlin in 1927 and earned his doctorate in theology at the age of 21 with his doctoral thesis, ''Sanctorum Communio'' (Communion of Saints), which presented a significantly new way of looking at the nature of the Christian church and was praised by Barth as a "theological miracle." <ref name="Michael Balfour p216">Michael Balfour, ''Withstanding Hitler'', p216</ref>
In order to become a pastor, Bonhoeffer spent a year in 1928–1929 as a curate in a parish of a German community in [[Barcelona, Spain]]. At this time, Bonhoeffer witnessed social chaos and a decline of traditional values amid international financial crisis, and became critical of the church as being insensitive to evident needs of the world around it and instead burying Christ in a load of religiosity.
In 1929, Bonhoeffer returned to the University of Berlin to work on his [[habilitation]] thesis ''Act and Being'' (German "Akt und Sein"), in which he traced the influence of [[transcendental philosophy]] on Protestant and Catholic theologies.
==Bonhoeffer in Harlem==
Still too young to be ordained, Bonhoeffer went to the United States in 1930 for [[Postgraduate education|postgraduate]] study and a teaching fellowship at New York City's [[Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York|Union Theological Seminary]]. Although Bonhoeffer found the American seminary not up to his exacting German standards ("There is no theology here."),<ref name="David Ford p45"/> he had life-changing experiences and friendships. He studied under [[Reinhold Niebuhr]] and met Frank Fisher, a black fellow seminarian who introduced him to [[Abyssinian Baptist Church]] in [[Harlem]], where Bonhoeffer taught Sunday school and formed a life-long love for African-American [[Spiritual (music)|spirituals]] — a collection of which he took back to Germany. He heard [[Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.]] preach the Gospel of Social Justice and became sensitive not only to social injustices experienced by minorities but also the ineptitude of the church to bring about integration.<ref>[ PBS: Bonhoeffer Timeline]</ref> Bonhoeffer began to see things "from below" — from the perspective of those who suffer oppression. He observed, "Here one can truly speak and hear about sin and grace and the love of God...the Black Christ is preached with rapturous passion and vision." Later Bonhoeffer was to refer to his impressions abroad as the point at which "I turned from phraseology to reality." <ref name="David Ford p45"/> He also learned to drive an automobile, although he failed the driving test three times.<ref>[ Christian History, Issue 32, "Bonhoeffer: Did You Know?"]</ref> He traveled by car through the United States to Mexico, where he was invited to speak on the subject of peace. His early visits to Italy, Libya, Spain, United States, Mexico, and Cuba opened Bonhoeffer to [[ecumenism]].
[[Image:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R0211-316, Dietrich Bonhoeffer mit Schülern.jpg|thumb|left|Dietrich Bonhoeffer on a weekend getaway with [[Confirmand#Protestant views|confirmand]]s of Zion's Church congregation (1932)<ref>''Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pfarrer, Berlin-Charlottenburg 9, Marienburger Allee 43: Begleitheft zur Ausstellung'', corr. a. ext. ed., Kuratorium Bonhoeffer Haus (ed.), Berlin: Erinnerungs- und Begegnungsstätte Bonhoeffer Haus, ²1996, pp. 31 and 33. No ISBN.</ref>]] After his return to Germany from America in 1931, Bonhoeffer became a lecturer in [[systematic theology]] at the University of Berlin. Deeply interested in [[ecumenism]], he was appointed by the World Alliance for Promoting International Friendship through the Churches (a forerunner of the [[World Council of Churches]]) as one of its three European youth secretaries. At this time he seems to have undergone something of a personal conversion from a theologian primarily attracted to the intellectual side of Christianity to a dedicated man of faith, resolved to carry out the teaching of Christ as he found it revealed in the Gospels.<ref name="Michael Balfour p216"/> On November 15, 1931 — at the age of 25 — he was ordained at the [[Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union|old-Prussian united]] St. Matthew's Church ({{lang-de|[[:de:St. Matthäuskirche (Berlin-Tiergarten)|St. Matthäikirche]]}}) in Berlin.
==Confessing Church==
Bonhoeffer's promising academic and ecclesiastical career was dramatically altered with Nazi ascension to power on January 30, 1933. He was a determined opponent of the regime from its first days. Two days after Hitler was installed as Chancellor, as Bonhoeffer delivered a radio address in which he attacked Hitler and warned Germany against slipping into an idolatrous cult of the ''Führer'' (leader), who could very well turn out to be ''Verführer'' (mis-leader, or seducer), he was cut off the air in the middle of a sentence, though it is unclear whether the newly elected Nazi regime was responsible.<ref>Eberhard Bethge, ''Dietrich Bonhoeffer'', pp259-60</ref> In April, Bonhoeffer raised the first and virtually only voice for church resistance to Hitler's persecution of Jews, declaring that the church must not simply "bandage the victims under the wheel, but jam the spoke in the wheel itself." <ref>David Ford, ''The Modern Theologians'', p38</ref>
In November 1932 (before the Nazi takeover), there had been an election for [[presbyter]]s and [[synod]]als (church officials) of the German ''[[Landeskirche]]'' (Protestant established churches). This election was marked by a struggle within the Old-Prussian Union Evangelical Church between the nationalistic [[German Christian]] movement and Young Reformers — a struggle which threatened to explode into [[Schism (religion)|schism]].
Hitler now unconstitutionally imposed new church elections in July 1933. Bonhoeffer put all his efforts into the election, campaigning for the selection of independent, non-Nazi officials.
Despite Bonhoeffer's efforts, in the rigged July election an overwhelming majority of key church positions went to Nazi-supported German Christians.<ref>Elizabeth Raum, ''Dietrich Bonhoeffer'', p72</ref> The German Christians won a majority in the general synod of the Old-Prussian Union Evangelical Church and all its provincial synods except [[Evangelical Church of Westphalia|Westphalia]], and in synods of all other Protestant church bodies, except for the Lutheran churches of [[Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria|Bavaria]], [[Evangelical Lutheran State Church of Hanover|Hanover]], and [[Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg|Württemberg]]. These bodies the opposition regarded as uncorrupted "intact churches", as opposed to the other so-called "destroyed churches".
In opposition to Nazification, Bonhoeffer urged an interdict upon all pastoral services (baptisms, weddings, funerals, etc.), but Karl Barth and others advised against such a radical proposal.<ref>[ Faith and Theology: Ten theses on Dietrich Bonhoeffer]</ref>
In August 1933, Bonhoeffer and [[Hermann Sasse]] were deputized by opposition church leaders to draft the [ Bethel Confession], a new statement of faith in opposition to the German Christians. Notable for affirming God's faithfulness to Jews as His chosen people, the Bethel Confession was however so watered down to make it more palatable that later Bonhoeffer himself refused to sign it. In September 1933, Bonhoeffer and his colleague [[Martin Niemöller]] helped form the ''[[Pfarrernotbund]]'' — a forerunner to the [[Confessing Church]] that was to be organized in May 1934 at Barmen in opposition to the German Christians.<ref>David Ford, ''The Modern Theologians'', p47</ref>
Although not large, the Confessing Church did represent a major source of Christian opposition to the Nazi government. The [[Barmen Declaration]], drafted by Barth and adopted by the Confessing Church, insisted that Christ, not the Führer, was the head of the church. However, the reorganized Protestant churches and the newly established Nazi-submissive [[German Evangelical Church]] — being influenced by nationalism and their traditional obedience to state authority as state churches (until 1918) — acquiesced to Nazification of the churches. In September 1933, the national church synod at [[Wittenberg]] approved the [[Aryan paragraph]] prohibiting non-Aryans from taking parish posts. When Bonhoeffer was offered a parish post in eastern Berlin, he refused it in protest of the racist policy.<ref>[ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, "Dietrich Bonhoeffer"]</ref>
==London ministry==
Disheartened by the German Churches' complacency with the Nazi regime, the 27-year-old Bonhoeffer accepted in the autumn of 1933 a two-year appointment as a pastor of two German-speaking Protestant churches in London: St. Paul's and Sydenham. He explained to Barth that he had found little support for his views – even among friends – and that "it was about time to go for a while into the desert", but Barth regarded this as running away from real battle. He sharply rebuked Bonhoeffer, saying "I can only reply to all the reasons and excuses which you put forward: 'And what of the German Church?'" Barth accused Bonhoeffer of abandoning his post and wasting his "splendid theological armory" while "the house of your church is on fire" and chided him to return to Berlin "by the next ship." <ref>Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ''Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works: London 1933–1935'', p40</ref>
Bonhoeffer however did not go to England simply to avoid trouble at home, but hoped to put the ecumenical movement to work in the interest of the Confessing Church. He continued his involvement with the Confessing Church, running up a high telephone bill to maintain his contact with Martin Niemöller. In international gatherings, Bonhoeffer rallied people to oppose the [[German Christian]] movement and its attempt to amalgamate Nazi racism with the Christian gospel. When Bishop [[Theodor Heckel]] – the official in charge of [[German Evangelical Church#The official German Evangelical Church|German Evangelical Church]] foreign affairs – traveled to London to warn Bonhoeffer to abstain from any ecumenical activity not directly authorized by Berlin, Bonhoeffer refused to abstain.<ref name="Dietrich Bonhoeffer p19">Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ''A Testament to Freedom'', ed. Geffrey B. Kelly, p19</ref>
==Finkenwalde Seminary==
In 1935, Bonhoeffer was presented with a much-sought-after opportunity to study non-violent resistance under [[Gandhi]] in his [[ashram]], but, perhaps remembering Barth's rebuke, decided to return to Germany in order to head an underground seminary for training Confessing Church pastors in [[Szczecin-Zdroje|Finkenwalde]]. As the Nazi suppression of the Confessing Church intensified, Barth was driven back to Switzerland in 1935; [[Martin Niemöller]] was arrested in July 1937; and in August 1936, Bonhoeffer's authorization to teach at the University of Berlin was revoked after he was denounced as a "[[pacifist]] and enemy of the state" by Theodor Heckel ({{lang-de|[[:de:Theodor Heckel]]}}).
Bonhoeffer's efforts for the underground seminaries included securing necessary funds, and he found a great benefactor in Ruth von Kleist-Retzow. In times of trouble, Bonhoeffer's former students and their wives would take refuge in von Kleist-Retzow's Pomeranian estate, and Bonhoeffer was a frequent guest. Later he fell in love with Kleist-Retzow's granddaughter [[Maria von Wedemeyer]], to whom he became engaged three months before his arrest. By August 1937, [[Himmler]] decreed the education and examination of Confessing Church ministry candidates illegal. In September 1937, the [[Gestapo]] closed the seminary at Finkenwalde and by November arrested 27 pastors and former students. It was around this time that Bonhoeffer published his best-known book, ''[[The Cost of Discipleship]]'', a study on the [[Sermon on the Mount]], in which he not only attacked "cheap grace" as a cover for ethical laxity but also preached "costly grace".
Bonhoeffer spent the next two years secretly travelling from one eastern German village to another to conduct "seminary on the run" supervision of his students, most of whom were working illegally in small parishes. The [[von Blumenthal]] family hosted the seminary in its estate of [[Słonowice, Pomeranian Voivodeship|Groß Schlönwitz]]). The pastors of Groß Schlönwitz and neighbouring villages supported the education by employing and housing the students (among whom Eberhard Bethge, who later would edit Bonhoeffer's "Letters and Papers from Prison") as vicars in their congregations.<ref name="Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1996, p. 51">''Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pfarrer, Berlin-Charlottenburg 9, Marienburger Allee 43: Begleitheft zur Ausstellung'', corr. a. ext. ed., Kuratorium Bonhoeffer Haus (ed.), Berlin: Erinnerungs- und Begegnungsstätte Bonhoeffer Haus, ²1996, p. 51. No ISBN.</ref>
In 1938, the Gestapo banned Bonhoeffer from Berlin. In summer 1939 the seminary was able to move to Sigurdshof, an outlying estate (Vorwerk) of the [[von Kleist]] family in [[Tychowo, Sławno County|Wendisch Tychow]]. In March 1940 the Gestapo shut down the seminary there following the outbreak of World War II.<ref name="Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1996, p. 51"/> Bonhoeffer's monastic communal life and teaching at Finkenwalde seminary formed the basis of his books, ''The Cost of Discipleship'' and ''Life Together''.
Bonhoeffer's sister Sabine, along with her Jewish-classified husband Gerhard Leibholz and their two daughters, escaped to England by way of Switzerland in September 1940.<ref>[ PBS Bonhoeffer: Timeline]</ref>
==Return to the United States==
In February 1938, Bonhoeffer made an initial contact with members of the [[German Resistance]] when his brother-in-law [[Hans von Dohnanyi]] introduced him to a group seeking Hitler's overthrow at [[Abwehr]], German military intelligence.
Bonhoeffer also learned from Dohnanyi that war was imminent and was particularly troubled by the prospect of being conscripted. As a committed pacifist opposed to Nazi regime, he could never swear an oath to Hitler and fight in his army. Not to do so was potentially a capital offence. He worried also about consequences his refusing military service could have for the Confessing Church, as it was a move that would be frowned upon by most Christians and their churches at the time.<ref name="Dietrich Bonhoeffer p19"/>
It was at this juncture that Bonhoeffer left for the United States in June 1939 at the invitation of Union Theological Seminary in New York. Amid much inner turmoil, he soon regretted his decision despite strong pressures from his friends to stay in the U.S. He wrote to [[Reinhold Niebuhr]]: "I have come to the conclusion that I made a mistake in coming to America. I must live through this difficult period in our national history with the people of Germany. I will have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people... Christians in Germany will have to face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose but I cannot make that choice from security." <ref>Eberhard Bethge, ''Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Eine Biographie, p736</ref> He returned to Germany on the last scheduled steamer to cross the Atlantic.<ref>Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ''A Testament to Freedom'', ed. Geffrey B. Kelly, p35</ref>
==Agent of Abwehr==
Back in Germany, Bonhoeffer was further harassed by the Nazi authorities as he was forbidden to speak in public and was required to regularly report his activities to the police in 1940. In 1941, he was forbidden to print or to publish. In the meantime, Bonhoeffer – a pastor – joined the Abwehr (a German military intelligence organization) which was also the center of the anti-Hitler resistance. Bonhoeffer presumably knew about [[Operation Spark (1940)|various 1943 plots]] against Hitler through Dohnanyi, who was actively involved in the planning. In the face of Nazi atrocities, the full scale of which Bonhoeffer learned through the Abwehr, he concluded that "the ultimate question for a responsible man to ask is not how he is to extricate himself heroically from the affair, but how the coming generation shall continue to live."<ref>Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "After Ten Years"</ref> He did not justify his action but accepted that he was taking guilt upon himself as he wrote "when a man takes guilt upon himself in responsibility, he imputes his guilt to himself and no one else. He answers for it...Before other men he is justified by dire necessity; before himself he is acquitted by his conscience, but before God he hopes only for grace."<ref>Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ''Ethics'', p244</ref> (In this connection, it is worthwhile to recall his 1932 sermon, in which he said: “the blood of martyrs might once again be demanded, but this blood, if we really have the courage and loyalty to shed it, will not be innocent, shining like that of the first witnesses for the faith. On our blood lies heavy guilt, the guilt of the unprofitable servant who is cast into outer darkness.”<ref>Bethge, ''Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography'', 1975, p155</ref>)
Under cover of the Abwehr, Bonhoeffer served as a courier for the German resistance movement to reveal its existence and intentions and, through his ecumenical contacts abroad, to secure possible peace terms with the Allies for a post-Hitler government. His visits to Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland were camouflaged as legitimate intelligence activities for the Abwehr. In May 1942, he met Anglican [[Bishop George Bell]] of Chichester, a member of the [[House of Lords]] and an ally of the Confessing Church, contacted by Bonhoeffer's exiled brother-in-law Leibhol; through him feelers were sent to British foreign minister [[Sir Anthony Eden|Anthony Eden]]. However, the British government ignored these, as it had all other approaches from the German resistance.<ref>Slack, "George Bell", SCM, 1971, pp 93–4</ref> Dohnanyi and Bonhoeffer were also involved in Abwehr operations to help German Jews escape to Switzerland. It was during this time that Bonhoeffer worked on ''Ethics'' and wrote letters to keep up the spirits of his former students. He intended ''Ethics'' as his ''[[magnum opus]]'', but it remained unfinished when he was arrested.
On April 6, 1943, Bonhoeffer and Dohnanyi were arrested not because of their conspiracy but because of long-standing rivalry between [[Schutzstaffel|SS]] and Abwehr for intelligence fiefdom. One of the informers of Abwehr, Wilhelm Schmidhuber, was arrested by the Gestapo for involvement in a private currency affair. In the subsequent investigations the Gestapo uncovered Dohnanyi's operation in which 14 Jews were sent to Switzerland ostensibly as Abwehr agents and large sums in foreign currency were paid to them as compensation for confiscated properties. The Gestapo, which had been looking for information to discredit Abwehr, sensed that they had a corruption case against Dohnanyi and searched his office at Abwehr where they discovered notes revealing Bonhoeffer's foreign contacts and other documents related to the anti-Hitler conspiracy. One of them was a note that discussed plans for a journey by Bonhoeffer to Rome, where he would explain to church leaders why the [[Operation Spark (1940)|assassination attempts on Hitler in March 1943]] had failed.<ref>Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ''Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works: Conspiracy and Imprisonment'', p14</ref> Nevertheless, Bonhoeffer's involvement in assassination plots was not known by the Gestapo as Abwehr succeeded in explaining away the most damaging documents as official coded Military Intelligence materials.{{Citation needed|date=February 2011}} Dohnanyi and Bonhoeffer were, however, suspected of subverting Nazi policy toward Jews and misusing Abwehr for inappropriate purposes. Bonhoeffer was suspected of evading military call-up, using Abwehr to circumvent Gestapo injunction against public speaking and staying in Berlin, and using Abwehr to further Confessing Church works, amongst other charges.
For a year and a half, Bonhoeffer was imprisoned at [[Tegel]] military prison awaiting trial. There he continued his work in religious outreach among his fellow prisoners and guards. Sympathetic guards helped smuggle his letters out of prison to [[Eberhard Bethge]] and others, and these uncensored letters were posthumously published in ''Letters and Papers from Prison''. A guard named Corporal Knobloch even offered to help him escape from the prison and "disappear" with him, and plans were made for that end. But Bonhoeffer declined it fearing Nazi retribution on his family, especially his brother Klaus and brother-in-law who were also imprisoned.<ref>Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ''A Testament to Freedom'', ed. Geffrey B. Kelly, p43</ref>
[[Image:Flossenbürg April 9 1945 Memorial.JPG|thumb|right|upright|Flossenbürg concentration camp, Arrestblock-Hof: Memorial to members of German resistance executed on April 9, 1945]]
After the failure of the [[July 20 Plot]] on Hitler's life in 1944 and the discovery in September 1944 of secret Abwehr documents relating to the conspiracy, Bonhoeffer's connection with the conspirators was discovered. He was transferred from the military prison in Berlin Tegel, where he had been held for 18 months, to the detention cellar of the house prison of the [[Reichssicherheitshauptamt|Reich Security Head Office]], the Gestapo's high-security prison. In February 1945, he was secretly moved to Buchenwald [[concentration camp]], and finally to [[Flossenbürg concentration camp]].<ref>Photographs of the Flossenbürg concentration camp in April 1945 are available at<br> {{dead link|date=November 2011}}<br> {{dead link|date=November 2011}}<br> {{dead link|date=November 2011}}</ref>
On April 4, 1945, the diaries of [[Admiral]] [[Wilhelm Canaris]], head of the Abwehr, were discovered, and in a rage upon reading them, Hitler ordered that the Abwehr conspirators be destroyed.<ref name=PlottingHitler>{{cite book|year=1994|author=[[Joachim Fest]]|isbn=0-297-81774-4|title=[[Plotting Hitler's Death: The German Resistance to Hitler, 1933-1945]]|publisher=Weidenfield & Nicholson}}</ref> Bonhoeffer was led away just as he concluded his final Sunday service and asked an English prisoner [[Sigismund Payne Best|Payne Best]] to remember him to Bishop George Bell of Chichester if he should ever reach his home: "This is the end — for me the beginning of life."<ref name="Eberhard Bethge p. 927">Eberhard Bethge, ''Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography'', p. 927</ref>
Bonhoeffer was condemned to death on April 8, 1945, by SS judge [[Otto Thorbeck]] at a [[drumhead court-martial]] without witnesses, records of proceedings or a defence in [[Flossenbürg concentration camp]].<ref name=GermanResistance>{{cite book|year=1996|author=Peter Hoffman|isbn=0-77-3515313|title=The History of the German Resistance, 1933–1945|publisher=McGill-Queen’s Press}}</ref> He was executed there by [[hanging]] at dawn on April 9, 1945, just two weeks before soldiers from the United States [[90th Infantry Division (United States)|90th]] and [[97th Infantry Division (United States)|97th Infantry Divisions]] liberated the camp,<ref>[ Robert W. Hacker, "Knocking the Lock Off the Gate at the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp; April 23, 1945," excerpted from Robert W. Hacker: Flossenbürg Concentration Camp, Phoenix 2000, unpublished manuscript. Flossenbürg memorial archive.]</ref><ref>{{cite web|url=|title= Memories of the chaplain to the US 97th Infantry Division at the online Museum of the division in WWII|date= 29 May 2011}}</ref> three weeks before the Soviet capture of [[Berlin]] and a month before the [[capitulation (surrender)|capitulation]] of [[Nazi Germany]]. Like other executions associated with the July 20 Plot, the execution was particularly brutal. Bonhoeffer was stripped of his clothing and led naked into the execution yard, where he was hanged with thin wire for death by strangulation. Hanged with Bonhoeffer were fellow conspirators Admiral [[Wilhelm Canaris]], Canaris' deputy General [[Hans Oster]], military jurist General [[Karl Sack]], General [[Friedrich von Rabenau]],<ref>[]</ref> businessman [[Theodor Strünck]], and German resistance fighter [[Ludwig Gehre]]. Bonhoeffer's brother, [[Klaus Bonhoeffer]], and his brothers-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi and [[Rüdiger Schleicher]] were executed elsewhere later in the month.
The camp doctor who witnessed the execution wrote: “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.”<ref name="Eberhard Bethge p. 927"/>
==Theological legacy==
==Theological legacy==
Reason: ANN scored at 0.900017
Reporter Information
Reporter: 0.00999375390381012 (anonymous)
Date: Saturday, the 27th of August 2016 at 11:59:55 PM
Status: Reported
Saturday, the 27th of August 2016 at 11:59:56 PM #105707
0.00999375390381012 (anonymous)

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