The Teachings And Legend Of Deitrich Bonhoeffer

2317 words - 9 pages

At a time when being indifferent towards Nazism and Hitler was a criminal offence and expressing those feelings was especially discouraged, one man made his voice heard. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a brilliant intelligence man who wrote theological works which are still influential to Christians throughout the world. He had no intentions of conforming to his society's norms and selling out to the political atmosphere. A new church was formed to stand up against the political powerhouse Nazism and it had Dietrich's name attached to it. He was executed in 1945 for his role in the resistance against Hitler-truly, this was a man who died for his beliefs.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born on February 4th 1906 in Breslau to parents Karl and Paula Bonhoeffer. Dietrich had a twin sister named Sabine, and they were the sixth and seventh children of a family which would total eight children by 1909. He grew up happily, in his middle class family. His family based its' education on deep-rooted traditions and schooling (Bethge, Eberhard, 4). This was to encourage the children to learn, understand and especially to respect the objectives of previous generations, likely because Paula came from a family of distinguished and independent scholars. Their home was equipped with a school room where their mother gave them their primary school education. The children did exceptionally well in school and largely due to the fact that she gave them a great start, they took and exceeded the school-leaving exam at a young age.

Paula handled everything, and this made others assume that she, not her husband, was the one who ruled the house (Bethge, 8). Many of Paula's characteristics were inherited by Dietrich. Karl was not always around, as he had a demanding and time-consuming profession as a university teacher and consulting physician. But on each holiday, Karl devoted himself entirely to his children. Despite his lack of presence he was still able to influence the children's lives significantly, since he taught them to respect and appreciate the ideas and feelings of others and see life in proportion (Bethge, 5-6).

In 1912, the family moved to Berlin and Dietrich's father was appointed the leading position in its field in Germany as professor of psychology and neurology. Berlin is where Dietrich spent much of his life and encountered many life altering events.

In 1914, the First World War broke out and although Dietrich was too young to understand what was going on it affected his family. "Much of his memory of the war must have been lit up by the conversations of his elders, but it is surprising how much more a young boy can remember than he can understand at the time" (Robertson, 1). He lost several cousins and a brother on the front line, and this loss tainted his feelings towards England and America until later in his life when their worth was confirmed.

Later, at school and university, he was known for challenging Lutherans and he often knew the...

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