Holy Week, or Passion Week, as it is known by some Christians, is a time to recall and reflect upon the days when Jesus prepared himself for suffering and death, was arrested, tortured, condemned, and crucified. For TDBI’s namesake, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, suffering was all too familiar for him in the three years leading up to his execution during Eastertide, 1945. During this time, many of his seminarians and fellow pastors were deliberately conscripted into the German military and sent to the front lines as battle fodder. Others, including family members, experienced arrest and were languishing in prison. Dietrich himself spent his last Easter in a cell at the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp. That Easter Week, the first seven days of Eastertide, he experienced a passion of his own, as he was conducted through the Bavarian forest in a crammed prisoner transport vehicle. Christ’s agony was undoubtedly on front of mind as his prisoner group made a short stop-over at a schoolhouse, where Dietrich preached his last sermon. The torturous journey ended at the Flossenbürg camp, where Bonhoeffer, along with five others, were executed at dawn on the Second Sunday of Easter, April 9, 1945.
Dietrich was crucified with His Lord those dark days and our faith tells us he was raised to everlasting life as a new morning broke. Today he lives on in our hearts and minds and his martyrdom inspires new generations to do what is right and good regardless of cost.