Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Called by God
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Nazi Germany produced an unusual group of Christian martyrs-among them, the nun philosopher Edith Stein, the mystical philosopher Simone Weil, and the peasant conscientious objector Hans JSgerstatter-but perhaps none so complex as the Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Dietrich early in life decided he wanted to be a Christian theologian. Yet his family background and connections ensured that he wouldn't be one in the narrow mold of so many of his colleagues. He was one of the few German churchmen who spoke forthrightly against the persecution of Jews as Jews and not merely of Christians of Jewish descent. His family connections drew him into a dangerous double game. His "employment" as a member of the Counterintelligence Office of the High Command of the Armed Forces enabled him to continue work as a pastor and seminary director. It allowed him to travel abroad, where he worked for a negotiated peace. And it eventually drew him into the plot to kill Hitler. He was executed on 9 April 1945, three weeks before Hitler committed suicide. The life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer has been told at great length and in magnificent detail by his younger colleague, Eberhard Bethge. It's a biography that will never be surpassed but which only the most devoted will have the perseverance to read. Elizabeth Raum has retold the story concisely and readably for a whole new generation of readers.