MUSKEGON, MI – The July 20, 1944 “Valkyrie” plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler is one that required courage, wit and, ultimately, sacrifice.

HO Dietrich Bonhoeffer 2Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hung for fighting Nazi oppression in 1945.

One of the men involved with the plot, German theologian and Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, is proof of that.

A fervent opponent of Nazism, he was executed by hanging in April of 1945  in connection with the unsuccessful plot to kill Hitler, just two weeks before Allied forces liberated the concentration camp where he was held for nearly two years.

Bonhoeffer was only 39 when he was killed, but 69 years later his legacy lives on thanks to the efforts of people like Muskegon native Rev. John Matthews.

Matthews, who is now a pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, Minn. has studied the life and teachings of Bonhoeffer for more than 40 years.

On May 8, he will return home to speak about Bonhoeffer’s life and writings and their relevance to church and society at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Muskegon, 1006 Third St. The speech, the highlight of an annual Muskegon lecture event, is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

The 33rd Annual Charles H. Hackley Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities is sponsored by the Friends of the Hackley Library.

“No matter the walk of life you’re from or what you’re interests are, the lessons from a person who showed the courage and conviction Dietrich Bonhoeffer showed is an inspiration for all of us,” said Carolyn Madden, president of the Friends of the Hackley Library. “Rev. Matthews has dedicated his life to his teachings. He will talk about how to apply those lessons to today’s world.”

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