Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the most well-known Protestant theologians of XX century, an active anti-fascist, a man who had an extraordinary personal courage, who was executed in a German concentration camp for a few weeks before the German surrender. He is a symbol of Lutheran martyrdom in the XX century. His statue, placed on the western facade of Westminster Abbey in London among the ten Christian martyrs of that time. Several parish churches are named in his honour. Also a postage stamp released in his memory in Germany.
The Bonhoeffer’s theological views had a great influence on the further development of the Christian theology. Bonhoeffer supposed that the Christians should pray and “live for others” in this world, behaved well, demonstrating in this way their faith . He supposed that the inmost meaning of the biblical concepts can be conveyed to the modern people in the irreligious way.
When it became clear that Hitler intended to use the German church in his own purposes, Bonhoeffer went to London and became the English pastorate member. He refused to recognize the public church, which became the instrument of Hitler’s policies and supported the establishment of the Confessional Church. And then, supported by many Anglican Communions, he returned to Germany to take part in the activities of the Confessional Church.
He wrote a book where he justified the moral struggle with the Nazi regime and then he participated in a conspiracy to Hitler’s overthrowing.
Bonhoeffer became a Canaris counterintelligence service agent as well as a courier for communication with foreign organizations in Sweden and Switzerland.
When the plot was failed, Bonhoeffer was imprisoned in the Gestapo basement on Prinz Albrechtstrasse. Then he was sent to Buchenwald, and then transferred to the Flossenburg Camp.
According to the military tribunal verdict, Bonhoeffer was executed on April 9, 1945 in Flossenburg. Only a few days were left for him to manage to witness the end of hostilities in Europe but it never happened.