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Bonhoeffer wrote in The Cost of Discipleship…
Jesus takes it for granted that his disciples will observe the pious custom of fasting. Strict exercise of self-control is an essential feature of the feature of the Christian’s life. Such customs have only one purpose–to make the disciples more ready and cheerful to accomplish those things which God would have done (169).
It was actually a farewell message to Bishop George Bell. Dietrich Bonhoeffer passed this message through fellow prisoner, English Captain S. Payne Best. It was on April 8, 1945 in the Flossenburg concentration camp, a day before he was executed…
…Will you give this message from me to the Bishop of Chichester (Bell), “tell him that this is for the end, but also the beginning–with him I believe in the principle of our Universal Christian brotherhood which rises above all national hatreds and that our victory is certain–tell him, too, that I have never forgotten his words at our last meeting.” He gave me this message twice in the same words, holding my hand firmly in his and speaking with emotional earnestness.
I am watching the DVD version movie Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace on my laptop right now. It’s not bad, but it is a lot of information squeezed into a movie. And much information is missing! Because the short life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer is so complex a mini-series should be made of his life. A History Channel series perhaps?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes an Easter letter to his parents during his first month in prison. He is allowed to send one letter every ten days. He refers to his fiancée, Maria von Wedemeyer, who was about 19 at the time. He was about 37 when he wrote the letter.
Easter Sunday, April 25, 1943
Today the tenth day is finally here again, so that I may write to you. How glad I am to let you know that I am celebrating a happy Easter here. The liberating thing about Good Friday and Easter is that one’s thoughts turn far away from one’s personal fate toward the ultimate meaning of life, suffering, and everything that happens, and one clings to a great hope.
Since yesterday it has been amazingly quiet in this prison house. The only sound heard is “Happy Easter” as everyone calls to each other with no envy, and no one begrudges the fulfillment of their Easter wishes to those who labor here in these difficult conditions.
Good Friday was Maria’s birthday. In the past year she bore the death of her father, her brother, and two especially beloved cousins with such a firm heart. If I didn’t know that, I would worry about her. Now Easter will console her, her large family will stand by her, and her work in the Red Cross will keep her completely occupied.
Greet her warmly, tell her that I long for her very much. Tell her not to be sad but brave as she has been til now. She is so very young! That is the hard part.
In 1943-1944 on German soil the defendants Dr. Bonhoeffer and Dr. (Rudiger) Schleicher (the brother-in-law of Klaus and Dietrich) took part and agreed to cooperate in the operation to overthrow the National Socialist regime, through the elimination of the Fuhrer by cowardly assassination or another act of violence that included the possibility of his death, and to end the war through ignominious dealings with the enemies…
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was arrested on April 5, 1943. On November 18, 1943, a trial date was set…
Torgau (Zieten Barracks), November 18, 1943
I. In the criminal case against Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, presently in the Berlin Military Detention Center, Tegel branch, a date for trial before the Fourth Senate of the Reich Court, WitzlebenstraBe 4-10, Berlin-Charlottenburg 5, has been appointed:
Friday, December 17, 1943, at 9:30 a.m.
–Estimated length: 1 to 2 days–
II. Attorney Dr. Kurt Wergin, WoyrschstraBe 8, Berlin W 35, is authorized as counsel for the defendant, in accordance with 323, sect. 4 MStGo (Military Criminal Ordinance), 51 KStVO (War Criminal Law Ordinance).
By order of signed,
Senior Reich Military Prosecutor