Bonhoeffer’s Resistance in Germany

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The CDU-led government’s substantial reclamation of the bourgeois, military and Christian resistance as the basis of West German democracy conformed to the Kohl era’s conservative politics of memory. Manfred Wörner’s appearance on April 9, 1985 was the first time a Federal Minister of Defense honored the men around Canaris, Oster and Bonhoeffer, who had been killed in Flossenbürg forty years earlier.

Nonetheless, his appearance at the concentration camp KZ memorial center in the escort of military police and a military band went badly: Wörner found himself facing a large number of Bonhoeffer’s family members, companions and dedicated admirers who felt severely affronted by the military contingent. At the time, the Protestant peace movement, which had grown rapidly after the NATO Double-Track Decision of 1978, was invoking Bonhoeffer’s pacifism in particular with considerable assertiveness. There was therefore a scandal at Flossenbürg.

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  • © KZ-Gedenkstätte Flossenbürg

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