You are currently browsing the daily archive for September 1, 2012.

Since Bonhoeffer in Tegel was not immediately in the Gestapo’s sights, a plan was devised to save his life. One of the friendly guards, Sergeant Knobloch, a factory worker from north Berlin, offered to smuggle Bonhoeffer out of Tegel Prison disguised as a mechanic, and to hide with him in a colony of garden allotments on the edge of the city until the end of the war. Bonhoeffer and his family accepted this offer immediately. The mechanic’s uniform was obtained, and–together with money and food ration coupons–bought by Rudiger and Ursala Schleicher, with their daughter Renate Bethge, on 24 September to Knobloch at his his home in Berlin’s Niedershonhausen district. He concealed everything in the garden colony and planned to escape with Bonhoeffer during the first days of October. 

But things turned out otherwise.

On 30 September Klaus Bonhoeffer came home from work to see a suspicious-looking black car parked in front of his house. He turned round and went to his sister Ursala’s house in Marienburger Allee, where the widow of City Commander Hase had found refuge that very day. When he got there, Knobloch had just arrived also, to make the final arrangements. All the family could  do was inform Dietrich of this latest development.

All that night in the Schleicher home, they struggled to decide what Klaus Bonhoeffer should do: flee, commit suicide, or allow himself to be arrested. He and Rudiger Schleicher had been actively involved only in the later stages of the conspiracy, when it was organized after the arrests of Dohnanyi and Bonhoeffer. His wife happened  just then to be away visiting their children, who had been evacuated to Schleswig-Holstein, Germany’s northernmost province. He was inclined to take his own life, but the family held him back. Ursula Schleicher later approached herself bitterly on this account, since this brother of hers was cruelly tortured in prison. On 1 October the Gestapo came to the house of Marienburger Allee to arrest him.

The next day, Sergeant Knobloch returned with the news that Dietrich had decided to give up on the escape plan, in order not to put his family and fiancée in even greater danger,    

(Ferdinand SchlingensiepenDietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945: Martyr, Thinker, Man of Resistance, 359-360).

September 2012


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