I have had time to think and to pray about my situation and that of my nation and to have God’s will for me clarified… I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany. I shall have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people…Such a decision each man must make for himself. Christians in Germany will face the terrible alternative of either willing the defeat of their nation in order that Christian civilization may survive, or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying our civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose, but I cannot make that choice in security.
Letter of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to Reinhold Niebuhr, July 1939.
Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor in Germany who bravely sided with the Jews during the Holocaust, smuggled Jews to safety in Switzerland, and was involved in the failed Valkyrie plot to assassinate Adolf Hilter. He was the leader of the underground Confessing Church who seceded from the Nazi state church through the famous Barmen Declaration of 1934. He was instrumental in making the horrors of the Nazi regime known outside of Germany. He was imprisoned, and was executed in a concentration camp on April 9, 1945.
The defeat of his nation for truth, or the victory of his nation for a lie? He knew the choice he had to make.