Bonhoeffer with Confirmands from Berlin 1932.

Union Theological Seminary: D. Bonhoeffer, Klemm, Marion and Paul Lehmann, Erwin Sutz, 1931.

In the courtyard of the Wehrmacht Prison in Berlin-Tegel, together with captured officers of the Italian Air Force, early summer 1944 From left: Mario Gilli, Dante Curcio, Oberfeldwebel Napp, who arranged the recordings, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Edmondo Tognelli. Early summer 1944.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
(1906-1945)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in 1906 in Breslau. His upbringing in the large family of a prominent psychiatrist enabled him to receive a high level of education. At the age of 21 after completing his master's degree, at the Protestant Faculty of Theology of the University of Tübingen, he went on to complete his Doctor of Theology degree from Berlin University. In 1927 Bonhoeffer graduated summa cum laude. In the 1930s, he completed a post-doc internship in New York, where he had the opportunity to collaborate with Reinhold Niebuhr. Bonhoeffer himself said that his stay in the United States and contact with other Christian denominations there gave him a completely different perspective on faith. As a result, he was appointed secretary of the ecumenical, international organisation the World Alliance for Promoting International Friendship through the Churches. After his return to Germany, he became a lecturer in systematic theology at the University of Berlin and was ordained at Old-Prussian United St. Matthew, Berlin-Tiergarten. The 20s and 30s were also a period of theological and philosophical academic work, which resulted in publication of "The Communion of Saints" and "Act and Being". After the Nazis came to power, Bonhoeffer delivered a radio address in which he attacked Hitler and warned Germany against slipping into an idolatrous cult of the Führer. The theologian was involved in the creation of anti-Nazi structures in the German Protestant Church – the Confessing Church (Bekennende Kirche), where he educated future pastors in the underground seminary in Finkenwalde. Despite the prohibition of the Confessing Church from 1937, Bonhoeffer continued his covert activities. In 1941 Bonhoeffer had joined the Abwehr, where undercover as an agent he served as a courier for the German resistance movement and other operations such as helping German Jews escape to Switzerland. On 5 April 1943 he was captured and imprisoned at Tegel military prison awaiting trial. There he continued his work in religious outreach among his fellow prisoners and guards. After the failure of the 20 July Plot assassination on Adolf Hitler he was accused of association in conspiracy. He was transferred first to Buchenwald and then to Flossenbürg concentration camp.  Bonhoeffer was condemned to death on 8 April 1945 by an SS judge at a drumhead court-martial without witnesses. He was hanged the next day.