Friday, June 17, 2011
(A Letter from His Father by Joseph Bail,
1862-1921, French painter)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) was a German Lutheran minister and theologian in Nazi Germany. He was a pacifist but after a long and serious examination of his conscience, he decided the regime was so evil that he would join a conspiracy to assassinate Hitler.
Arrested in 1943 by the Gestapo, Bonhoeffer spent months in solitary confinement. He was hanged in 1945, only weeks before the end of the War in Europe. He was 39 years old.
Dietrich had a great teacher in his father. Karl Bonhoeffer was a noted psychiatrist who possessed a “great tolerance that left no room for narrow-mindedness and broadened the horizons of our home,” wrote Sabine, Dietrich’s twin sister. “He took it for granted that we would try to do what was right and expected much from us, but we could always count on his kindness and the fairness of his judgment.” ~ Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
My father could hear a little animal step,
or a moth in the dark against the screen,
and every far sound called the listening out
into places where the rest of us had never been.
More spoke to him from the soft wild night
than came to our porch for us on the wind;
we would watch him look up and his face go keen
till the walls of the world flared, widened.
My father heard so much that we still stand
inviting the quiet by turning the face,
waiting for a time when something in the night
will touch us too from that other place.
~ William Stafford (1914-1993), appointed U.S. poet laureate 1970-1971