A Faithful Legacy

Taken together, the videos Hanged on a Twisted Cross and A View From the Underside offer viewers a remarkably comprehensive overview of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life and thought. The two videos, quite different, are complementary.

Hanged on a Twisted Cross: The Life, Convictions and Martyrdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a two-hour documentary narrated by Ed Asner, gives a detailed picture of the theologian’s life, with relevant quotes from his theology and letters; comments from others are spoken over interesting archival and family pictures. The script, written by Eberhard and Renate Bethge and Christian Gremmels, whose credentials attest to the video’s accuracy, spares neither the horrors of the death camps nor the failures of the church in Germany to be the church of Jesus Christ.

The film’s depiction of Bonhoeffer family life is especially interesting, with many pictures, some that have not been published before, so that the viewer comes to know and appreciate Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s childhood and the milieu in which he grew up. The how and why of the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party is offered clearly and concisely, providing context for the large Bonhoeffer family’s unity in opposition to them.

Those places important in Bonhoeffer’s life are all shown, even the location of the seminary at Finkenwalde, although the building is now gone; Tegel prison, the recently excavated Gestapo basement; and the concentration camp at Flossenburg, where Bonhoeffer was hanged.

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Sojourners Magazine May-June 1997
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