Bonhoeffer - Pastor, Pacifist, Nazi Resister
What caused pastor & theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer finally to take up his cross and follow Jesus at all cost? It was when the German churches welcomed Nazi doctrine & dominance. How could Christians succumb to such evil?
The PBS documentary BONHOEFFER tells the dramatic story of one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, his life and his resistance to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. While the German Church establishment embraced National Socialism, Bonhoeffer challenged his church to stand with the Jews in their time of need. Learning of the death camps, Bonhoeffer’s religious convictions led him to the seemingly paradoxical conclusion that the only ethical solution was to conspire to assassinate Hitler.
Extensive research in archives in both Europe and the U.S. yielded extraordinary archival footage - including a speech by Hitler praying for God’s blessing on him and the German people- and compelling images of the Catholic and Protestant churches open support of his regime. Bonhoeffer’s life and thought are traced through family photographs from his childhood and early education in Germany to his travels to New York, where he met with black church leaders in Harlem and was exposed to the realities of racism and intolerance. It was in America that Bonhoeffer became convinced of the importance of social and political engagement on a personal level and for the Church community as a whole. Alongside this thorough visual documentation is extensive commentary by a number of Christian intellectuals including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, John de Gruchy and Geffrey Kelly on Bonhoeffer’s contribution to theology and philosophy. BONHOEFFER creates a well rounded picture of a man whose influence continues to be felt not only by his writings, but also by his the example of his life.