Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Who stands firm?

Mark Tooley remembers the martyrs at Flossenbürg:
April 9 was the anniversary of the executions of Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer and five fellow anti-Nazi conspirators in 1945 at Flossenbürg concentration camp. ....

The most senior among the imprisoned conspirators was Admiral Wilhelm Carnaris, head of the Abwehr (German military intelligence) which enabled him for years to disguise and protect much of the anti-Hitler conspiracy. ....

Hans Oster
Also among them was Carnaris’ deputy General Hans Oster, who had recruited Bonhoeffer into Abwehr service. The son of a pastor in the French Protestant church in Alsace, Oster had devoted years to the anti-Hitler plot. He was arrested in 1943 for shielding Abwehr officers helping Jews. One conspirator described Oster as “a man such as God meant men to be, lucid and serene in mind, imperturbable in danger.” ....

Over two years before execution, Oster was one of several Christian friends in the resistance to whom Bonhoeffer wrote a famous letter of reflection about a decade under Nazism, saying:
Who stands firm? Only the one for whom the final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all these, when in faith and sole allegiance to God, he is called to obedient and responsible action; the responsible person, whose life will be nothing but an answer to God’s question and call.
In this spirit, General Friedrich von Rabeneau, an army archivist, was directly motivated to turn against Nazism early in the 1930s due to his Christian faith. A member of the Order of St. John, a Protestant chivalric and charitable order, he eventually was forced out of the military after which he studied theology at the University of Berlin, until his arrest. He was executed six days after Bonhoeffer and the others. ....

The monument at Flossenbürg to the seven martyrs cites 2 Timothy 1:7: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”