Dietrich Bonhoeffer's anti-Nazi resistance still resonates 75 years after his executioin
The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation recently welcomed delegates attending the recent 13th International Bonhoeffer Conference in Stellenbosch.
The Conference is named in memory of Dietrich Bonhoeffer the German theologian and anti-Nazi dissident who was executed at the Flossenbürg concentration camp in 1945.
Making a notable speech on religion and human rights in nthe US in 1994, Archbishop Tutu spoke of how from Hitler tom the Ku Klux Klan Christianity had been been perversely used to justify despicable acts of racism. “Apartheid in South Africa was perpetrated not by pagans but by those who regarded themselves as devout Christians.” he said.
He added: “Religion which should produce peace, reconciliation, tolerance, respect for human rights has often promoted the opposite conditions. And yet the potential for great good in the impact and influence of religion remains…”
In a message to the conference, CEO of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Piyushi Kotecha, said the Archbishop congratulated the conference organisers for the event’s forward-looking theme: How the coming generation is to go on living.
She described Bonhoeffer as an early European proponent of Ubuntu. and compared the timelessness of his message of healing unity in the Nazi era to that of the Archbishop’s witness of reconciliatory justice during apartheid.
“Given the violent intolerance that surrounded them, they might have remained silent and got on with their work. Yet they had the courage to stand up for justice, not for themselves but for the rest of us. In our world of inequity, battling a climate emergency crying out for collective action, their bravery inspires anew,” Kotecha said.