Resistance to unjust laws and dehumanizing practices may be costly. Those who resisted Hitler’s policy of genocide in Germany often paid with their lives. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor paid such a price. He was hanged on April 9, 1945. The camp doctor who witnessed the execution wrote: “I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer ... kneeling on the floor praying fervently to God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the few steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.”
The world still recoils in horror at the reality of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. Martin Niemoller, another pastor imprisoned for opposing Hitler, wrote the following:
In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
They came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.
Go public with your faith: He has never denied us; let’s not deny Him!
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