On this date in 1945, less than a month before Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allies, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed at the Flossenbürg concentration camp. One of Germany's most famous theologians and best loved pastors, Bonhoeffer had been arrested two years earlier for plotting to assassinate Hitler.
Bonhoeffer said and wrote many things worth remembering, not only for Christians but for all people. Here are a few of his comments on our responsibility to work for justice:
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
If I see a madman driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders, then I can’t, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe and then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver.
We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.
If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.
The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.