One day near the middle of the last century a minister in a prison camp in Germany conducted a service for the other prisoners. One of those prisoners, an English officer who survived, wrote these words:
“Dietrich Bonhoeffer always seemed to me to spread an atmosphere of happiness and joy over the least incident, and profound gratitude for the mere fact that he was alive”¦ He was one of the very few persons I have ever met for whom God was real and always near”¦ On Sunday, April 8, 1945, Pastor Bonhoeffer conducted a little service of worship and spoke to us in a way that went to the heart of all of us. He found just the right words to express the spirit of our imprisonment, and the thoughts and resolutions it had brought us. He had hardly ended his last prayer when the door opened and two civilians entered. They said, “Prisoner Bonhoeffer, come with us.” That had only one meaning for all prisoners”“the gallows. We said good-bye to him. He took me aside: “This is the end; but for me it is the beginning of life.” The next day he was hanged in Flossenburg.”
I read it every year on this day and every year it (still) brings me to tears–KSH.