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Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1939)
The theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) was one of the best-known representatives of the so-called Confessing Church [Bekennende Kirche or BK]. With a membership base of some 3,000 pastors, the Confessing Church was the Protestant churches’ most significant attempt at institutional resistance to the Nazi dictatorship. The Confessing Church declared racial ideology incompatible with Christianity, and protested state control of ecclesiastical politics. Bonhoeffer also worked with resistance groups in the Wehrmacht's Office of Military Intelligence. On April 5, 1943, he was arrested and charged with undermining the strength of the military. Two years later, he was hanged in the Flossenbürg concentration camp on April 9, 1945. Today he is known chiefly for the memorandum "Who Can Resist Temptation?" (December 1942), in which he called on the German people to show courage and take responsibility before themselves and God. Photo by Rotraut Forberg.