The Search for Truth

4 February marks the birthday of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in 1906. Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian and anti-Nazi dissident.

Bonhoeffer did his postgraduate work in New York City, where he attended Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, commenting,

Here one can truly speak and hear about sin and grace and the love of God…the Black Christ is preached with rapturous passion and vision.

He would return to Germany with a collection of African-American spirituals. Two days after Hitler was installed as Chancellor, Bonhoeffer delivered a radio address in which he attacked Hitler and warned Germany against slipping into an idolatrous cult of the Führer.

 In August 1936, Bonhoeffer’s authorization to teach at the University of Berlin was revoked and Bonhoeffer spent two years secretly traveling from one village to another to conduct a “seminary on the run” supervision of his students.

Arrested and sent to Flossenburg concentration camp, he was hanged only one month before the Nazi surrender.

Bonhoeffer wrote,

No man in the whole world can change the truth. One can only look for the truth, find it and serve it. The truth is in all places.

His book, ‘The Cost of Discipleship’, is available in the campus libraries which can be accessed by University Staff using their WisCard.