Theology of the Cross against Hitler and Terror

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The suffering and cross of Jesus Christ were the center of Friedrich von Bodelschwingh’s personal piety and theology of the cross, which he expressed impressively in a hymn he composed the year before World War II started. The hymn can partly be read as a prophecy. National Socialists must have found the first two verses of the first stanza objectionable since they were inconsistent with the ideas of heroism and Führer worship around Hitler.

It contains such formulations as a thousand nights of death, hell’s powers of deception, the gate of death, death’s children, etc., which already anticipated what the Nazis’ crimes stand for: Death and destruction. Bodelschwingh counters with the “nevertheless” of the hope of life grounded in the Passion of Jesus Christ – the enemies of Jesus Christ must fall silent before the victory of Golgotha.

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  • © Hauptarchiv Bethel, 2/91-22

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