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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s unflinching opposition to the Nazi-backed German Christians and the Nazi state in the German Church Struggle (1933–45) led his more conservative colleagues in the Confessing Church to ostracize him and label him a radical. Along with Martin Niemöller he was one of the founders of the Pastors’ Emergency League in September 1933 and a devoted advocate of the 1934 Barmen Declaration and the Dahlem Resolution. As a pastor of a German parish in London and director of a Confessing Church seminary in Finkenwalde he continued his struggle against the heresies of the German Christians and their efforts to establish racial criteria for membership in the church, the so-called Aryan paragraph. As the Confessing Church’s primary contact with the ecumenical movement he kept Protestant leaders abroad informed about the Church Struggle. Bonhoeffer was one of the very few churchmen to speak out against Nazi persecution of Jews.

Keywords: Church Struggle, German Christians, Confessing Church, Pastors’ Emergency League, Aryan paragraph, Barmen Declaration, Dahlem Resolution, ecumenical movement

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