Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Nicholas Rothe

General Summary

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a very intelligent boy who was raised in Berlin and studied theology in the University. His family was well liked and he eventually lived his dream of becoming a pastor. In addition to being extremely gifted musically, he was also a founding member of the Confessing Church in Germany, and he participated in underground conspiracies against Hitler. He refused to go against his beliefs even to save his own life.


Things I've Learned

There weren't too many things within this book that I didn't already know, but certain areas were reinforced that I didn't know much about. I now know that there were very complex underground groups of people looking to overthrow Hitler or to help the Jews. Dietrich was part of one of these groups, in one part of the book, he helps his long time friend, Hans von Dahnanyi plan a way to safely escort a small group of Jews in hiding out of Germany. Another thing that I had learned was that finding a job within the church was a very difficult thing to do during this time. Dietrich had trouble finding a job, despite his degree in theology. Germany had taken control of the churches and the decisions that the churches made. And Dietrich did not want to be drafted so he needed to find work in religion somewhere. Another thing that was reinforced in my current knowledge was that more than just Jews were held in camps. Dietrich was held in numerous camps before he was finally executed. Although the treatment he received seemed to be somewhat better. Or maybe it was just the constant uplifting feel you got when you read about him and his faith, or his relationship with God. These are three things that I have learned or have had reinforced in my knowledge about the Holocaust while reading this novel.


Quotes

In this novel, Dietrich himself was not quoted that often. But quotes from the bible are what he quoted quite often.

1. John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
I think this shows that Dietrich is very sure that you must lead a good life in order to meet the Father. He stands up for what he believes in time and time again throughout the book. And he always makes right and just decisions. He does what he feels he needs to do to make sure that he can get to the Father one day.

2. "This is the end-for me, the beginning of life"
Dietrich wrote this in a book to his friend in England, shortly before being taken to Flossenburg where he was later executed. This shows that he thinks even in death, there is life. His death wasn't marking the end, but rather, a whole new beginning. In the kingdom of Heaven with Jesus Christ.

3. "He was calm and composed, I had never seem someone die so completely submissive to the will of God."
I think this shows that he was always prepared. He was very aware that only certain death awaited him, and he basically accepted it. He knew that he was going to die, but he was certain he had taken the proper steps to ensure his entrance to Heaven. And he knew that once this moment was gone, all would be happy. He would finally be home.


Reflection

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a religious man who loved his family, and his music. He was always very talented and smart. He lived his life in a very admirable way, always standing up for what he believed to be just. Dietrich was always very sure that no matter what he did, he had made the necessary preparations. Even in death.
The book illustrates in a very good way a part of the Holocaust that I didn't know too much about. The underground planned escapes of Jews throughout Germany. And sadly enough for Dietrich, the failed assassination attempt of Adolf Hitler. It showed how these basically rebel groups would scheme there way through things in order to achieve something for the greater good of the people.


Recommendations

I would recommend this book to a more mature audience. The book can be hard to follow at some points but if you're interested enough you should be able to keep up. I would recommend reading this because of the almost attachment you get to this man, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as you keep reading. You learn about his life, and how he worked in this underground group to help the Jews and attempt to assassinate Hitler. It started out slow but as you got farther and farther, it was very easy to keep reading.


Bonhoeffer - Agent of Grace