Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) was a modern Christian martyr who voluntarily returned to Germany to speak out against Hitler and accept almost certain death for doing so. He was executed shortly before the Allies defeated Germany near the end of World War II.
The integrity of his Christian faith and life, and the international appeal of his writings, have led to a broad consensus that he is the one theologian of his time to lead future generations of Christians into the new millennium.
He was hanged in the concentration camp at Flossenbürg on April 9, 1945, just three weeks before the city was liberated . His brother and two of his brothers-in-law also died at the hands of the Nazi regime for their participation in the Protestant resistance movement. The letters he wrote during these final two years of his life were posthumously published by his student and friend, Eberhard Bethge, as Letters and Papers from Prison. His correspondence with his fiance, Maria von Wedermeyer, has been published as Love Letters from Cell 92.
An SS prison doctor who was at the execution described Bonhoeffer as "kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God", and he went on to say "at the place of execution, he again said a short prayer... In almost 50 years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God."
- Bonhoeffer.org A website dedicated to his memory describes his sacrifice
- A Third Testament: Free e-book about Christian saints, including Augustine, Kierkegaard, and Bonhoeffer