Dietrich Bonhoeffer: 70th Anniversary Of The Execution Of German Pastor Brings His Legacy To A New Generation

April 10, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

4/9/2015 is the 70th anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s execution by the Nazis, and many events were put together to remember and honor the great German theologian. Just days before the liberation of Europe, on April 9, 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged after confronting Adolf Hitler.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Today is the 70th anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s death and the day was remembered by many. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the author of Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian in Community and renowned Christian minister, was hanged on April 9, 1945.

Bonhoeffer was arrested by the Gestapo, thrown in prison for over a year and a half before being executed in a Nazi concentration camp just weeks before the Allies ended the Nazi regime, and Adolf Hitler committed suicide.

The professor and theologian was accused of plotting to kill Hitler during what is historically known as the July 20 plot. The failed plot led to the arrest of 7,000 people, who were part of the German Resistance and 4,980 of them, were executed.

The German Lutheran pastor was considered a great thinker and founder of the Confessing Church, who inspired and mentored those who opposed the Nazification of Germany.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in his 1937 book entitled The Cost of Discipleship:

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

The noted anti-Nazi dissident wrote the following letter before being transferred to Flossenburg concentration camp:

“In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.”

At an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s execution at the Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage, New York, Rev. Jonathan Linman, Ph.D, praised him for being a vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. Linman stated:

“And we need such role models, such mentors to give us the courage to carry the torch of truth and goodness today, now in the 21st century.”

Rabbi Perry Raphael Rank of Midway Jewish Center in Syosset, who attended the event, told reporters:

“The Jewish people so admire and respect his guts and his courage.”

What are your thoughts on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s legacy?

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Comments (4)

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  1. Deanne says:

    Where are these type of courageous people today? We are so in need of them in these times of such morale decay…

    • Rob Klemm says:

      Agreed. We need men like Bonhoeffer and Churchill to step up and call evil by it’s name.

  2. Ironbob says:

    There’s not that many worth saving any more and because of it, men like this are hard to find.

    • Ray Nant says:

      Do you really believe there are not many people worth saving? Do you believe people are fundamentally different now versus then? Or is this just an opportunity to strike a moral pose and have an excuse for inaction?


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