Inheriting Dietrich Bonhoeffer (2001)
DOI link for Inheriting Dietrich Bonhoeffer (2001)
Inheriting Dietrich Bonhoeffer (2001) book
Clearly this Bonhoeffer was different from the one who came to play a striking role in post-war years in the theology and church life of the old federal republic. In both cases contact with the substantial Bonhoeffer was delayed by the fragmentary publication of his later work, especially in the East. But in the West, in all manner of calendar mottoes and edifying cards of texts, Bonhoeffer played a bizarre role as a sort of West German Patience Strong, a bizarre role which was nevertheless the route by which many came to have a serious interest in him. This Bonhoeffer, who would never have obtained a visa for entry into the DDR, was the upright martyr for the Christian faith. The visa was
so-to-speak readily granted for the distinguished anti-fascist resistance-fighter, who was believed to have had a positive relation to the communist resistance. This Bonhoeffer, moreover, could be presented as a witness to the historical legitimacy of ‘real existing socialism’. As Gerhard Winter, the Greifswald Marxist, who was a regular spokesman for the party in these matters, put it, ‘Today Christians who feel obliged to the humanist inheritance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer continue his struggle under modern conditions with the same force of decision … Bonhoeffer’s struggle is continued when Christian fellow-citizens, who like everyone else in the DDR find security and safety, support the policy of our state, which is directed to peace, détente, and the welfare of the people’.