A Modern Martyr

The quiet resistance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Statue of Bonhoeffer, Westminster Abbey. Peter Horree/Alamy.

Seventy-five years ago, with the Allied victory in Europe merely a month away, a German pastor was led to the scaffold. As far back as February 1933, when many observers saw little threat in the new chancellor, he was one of the earliest to denounce Hitler. Off and on for the next 12 years, Dietrich Bonhoeffer would resist the Nazis: first through sermons and support for Jews, then as a clerical diplomat and double agent. He was a scion of the Prussian nobility and a German patriot; but when his name was called on 9 April 1945 at Flossenb├╝rg concentration camp, he was hanged as a traitor. 

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