Dietrich Bonhoeffer monument at the St Petri Church
St Petri Church is one of the oldest of Hamburg’s five principle churches. A monument to the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer has stood outside the church since 1979. Bonhoeffer was murdered in the Flossenbürg concentration camp in 1945. The sculpture of him was designed by Fritz Fleer (1921–1997) and donated by the publisher Axel Springer. At the dedication ceremony, Springer said: ‘Bonhoeffer did not die only in protest against the inhumanity of his time. He also has something to say to our era, which enjoys freedom without making sensible use of it.’
The sculpture depicts Dietrich Bonhoeffer in prisoner’s clothing, with his hands bound. The theologian was one of the leading thinkers in the Confessing Church (Bekennende Kirche), which tried to diminish the influence of the German Christians (Deutsche Christen) movement in regional Protestant churches. The Confessing Church also resisted the planned Nazification that would have turned it into a Reich church. Bonhoeffer, who had an international and ecumenical outlook, was appointed head of a Confessing Church seminary in Finkenwalde near Stettin in 1935. The seminary was closed by the Gestapo in 1938. Bonhoeffer allied himself with opposition circles in the Wehrmacht and became an intermediary between the resistance movement and the Western powers. He was arrested in April 1943 and held in the Wehrmacht prison in Berlin-Tegel and later in the Buchenwald concentration camp. Shortly before the end of the war, on 9 April 1945, Bonhoeffer was executed along with other members of the resistance in the Flossenbürg concentration camp.
St Petri church Hamburg
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