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Dietrich Bonhoeffer - STALKING A MADMAN

With their increasing "legal" authority, Nazis began direct attacks against Jews on Kristallnacht, "the Night of Broken Glass." Engineered by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's troops began a virulent rampage against Jewish businesses and synagogues, on the evening of November 9, 1938, and continuing into the next day. That night, the Nazis burned more than 200 synagogues throughout Germany.

The following day - next to Psalm 74:8 in his Bible - Bonhoeffer penned in the date of Kristallnacht. It is the only date contained anywhere in his Bible. The verse reads:

They said in their hearts, let us plunder their goods! They burn all the houses of God in the land...Oh God, how long is the foe to scoff? How long will the enemy revile your name?

As Nazi oppression worsened, Bonhoeffer stepped up his activism. He became involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler. He explained this apparent inconsistency with Christian beliefs to his sister-in-law, Emmi Bonhoeffer:

If I see a madman driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders, then I can't, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe and then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver.

By June of 1939, Bonhoeffer was able to get out of the country. Originally fleeing to the safety of America, he returned to Germany in a few weeks. His reason:

I have come to the conclusion that I made a mistake in coming to America...I shall have no right to take part in the restoration of Christian life in Germany after the war unless I share the trials of this time with my people.

Keeping his work undercover, Bonhoeffer continued his political resistance and helped to smuggle 15 Jews to Switzerland in a mission called "Operation 7." The Nazis arrested him in 1943, at his family home, for his anti-Nazi resistance. Weeks earlier, he had announced his engagement to Maria von Wedemeyer.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5139stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Mar 06, 2017


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"STALKING A MADMAN" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 01, 2001. Dec 15, 2017.
       <http://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/128002>.
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