It was a very dense, intense evening with a highly focussed audience. With over 60 listeners, the exhibition room and the neighbouring library were filled almost to capacity. Dorothee Röhrig began with a personal remark about how much it meant to her from the Dohnanyi family to read her family history in this particular place, in her great-grandparents‘ house. Her daughter’s family and relatives from the extended Bonhoeffer family were also present. Tobias Korenke, great-grandson of the Schleicher family, was in conversation with her. The fact that this family history is both unique and yet also exemplary for this time and the traumas that have continued to affect the generations has left a strong impression on many.
Dear friends of the Bonhoeffer-Haus,
We are pleased to announce that the event that couldn’t take place in April will now be held on Thursday, October 19th at 7:00 PM at the Bonhoeffer-Haus, Marienburger Allee 43, 14055 Berlin.
We invite you to a reading by Dorothee Röhrig, the author of the recent release: „‚You Will Remember Me‘. A Declaration of Love to a Difficult Mother,“ in conversation with Dr. Tobias Korenke.
Date: Thursday, October 19, 2023, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Bonhoeffer-Haus Memorial and Meeting Place, Marienburger Allee 43, 14055 Berlin
Dorothee Röhrig has titled her book with a quote from her mother: „You will remember me,“ and added the subtitle: „A declaration of love to a difficult mother.“ The dtv publishing company writes:
„When Dorothee Röhrig comes across an old photo of her mother, a whirlwind of thoughts is set in motion. What does she know about this woman who was 18 when her father Hans von Dohnanyi was executed? The woman who, after the war, tried to integrate her traumatized mother, Christine, into family life – just as the author later did for her own mother, marked by losses.
With great emotional honesty, Dorothee Röhrig tells the story of her contradictory relationship with her mother and the role of women in an extraordinary family. It’s a reflection on the ambivalence of feelings and what it means to be part of a family that demands so much from each individual.“
The trauma of subsequent generations and the question of how we can bring the strong women in the family, who not only stood behind but also beside their men in resistance, more into focus, is a matter of concern for us at the Bonhoeffer-Haus. This is powerfully illustrated in Dorothee Röhrig’s book, which made its way to the Spiegel Bestseller List for non-fiction books shortly after its release in the spring of 2023.
Dorothee Röhrig will present her book in conversation with the Deputy Chairman of the Bonhoeffer-Haus, Dr. Tobias Korenke, grandson of Rüdiger Schleicher, who was also murdered.
Dorothee Röhrig, granddaughter of Hans von Dohnanyi, who was murdered in the resistance, and his wife Christine, née Bonhoeffer, is coming to Bonhoeffer House the day before her reading at the Leipzig Book Fair. The book, which was published just 6 weeks ago, has already made it onto the Spiegel bestseller list for non-fiction books. Dorothee Röhrig puts the spotlight on the strong women in the family who not only stood behind their husbands in the resistance, but alongside them.
The title of the book is a quote from her mother: „Du wirst noch an mich denken“ („You will still think of me“) and bears the subtitle: „Liebeserklärung einer schwierigen Mutter“ („Declaration of love to a difficult mother“).
The dtv publishing company writes about this:
Dorothee Röhrig will present her book in conversation with the vice chairman of the Bonhoeffer House, Dr. Tobias Korenke, grandson of Rüdiger Schleicher, who was also murdered in the resistance, and his wife Ursula, born Bonhoeffer.
Reading and conversation
Thursday, April 27, 7-9 p.m.
Memorial and Place of Encounter
Bonhoeffer-Haus, Marienburger Allee 43
(10 minutes walk from the S-Bahn station Heerstraße)
Granddaughter of Hans von Dohnanyi and Christine, born Bonhoeffer,
author of the Spiegel best-selling non-fiction book
„Du wirst noch an mich denken. Liebeserklärung an eine schwierige Mutter“ („You will still think of me. A declaration of love to a difficult mother“).
in conversation with Dr. Tobias Korenke, Grandson of Rüdiger Schleicher and Ursula, born Bonhoeffer.
Eighty years ago, on April 5, 1943, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi together with his wife Christine were arrested. This marked the beginning of more than two years of imprisonment for Dietrich and Hans until their murder on April 9, 1945.
The reason for the arrests on April 5, 1943 was not the participation of the arrested persons in preparations for the coup, which had already led to attacks that failed. These plans could be kept secret until the attack on July 20, 1944.
The investigations in the Reich Military Court and the Gestapo were directed against the rescue operation of Jews, which had been carried out by the arrestees in addition to the coup planning under the code word „Unternehmen 7 / Enteprise Seven“. Historian and publicist Dr. Winfried Meyer will report on these historically complex and dramatic contexts.
Saturday, April 22, 2023 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Memorial and Place of Encounter
Marienburger Allee 43
14055 Berlin (Charlottenburg)
S-Bhf. Heerstraße, walking distance 10 minutes
Dr. Winfried Meyer, historian, publicist
Impulse lecture, dialogue and discussion
on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the arrest of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans and Christine von Dohnanyi on April 5, 1943.
Hans von Dohnanyi:
Coup planning and rescue operation for Jews
On 8 June 2022, as in the previous year, three professors from the Evangelical School of Theology, EWST, Wroclaw visited us. Dr Wojciech Szczerba, Dr Marek Kucharski and. Dr. Piotr Lorek came to Berlin to strengthen the cooperation with the Evangelical Academy of Berlin and also with the Bonhoeffer House within the framework of the ERASMUS programme. The accompanying group of the Bonhoeffer House was represented by Martina Dethloff, Viking Dietrich, Kurt Kreibohm, Ingrid Portmann and Gottfried Brezger.
The guests from Wroclaw gave a lively and concrete account of the many efforts in their university and in society to provide refugees from Ukraine not only with accommodation, but also with a perspective in their unstable life situation. In the Kreisau Youth Meeting Centre alone, about 100 refugees have found refuge and learning opportunities.
An important point of discussion was the consultation on a project in which the Bonhoeffer House is linked in partnership with the EWST. In March 2022, a joint application was submitted to the EU Commission, on which a decision has not yet been made.
The title of the project is:
Bonhoeffer House: „Who stands firm?“
Learning civil courage with the Bonhoeffer family.
The project aims to complement the 1987 exhibition on the life and work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the house, thematically by focusing on the participation of women in the Bonhoeffer family in the resistance, and medially by using digital means to enable local access in the House and global access worldwide.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s thoughts and actions, rooted in family relationships, ecumenical experiences and the practice of his faith, continue to challenge us today to show civil courage. The German-Polish partnership opens our eyes to learning and acting together in different contexts.
The two Bonhoeffer Houses, the Memorial and Place of Encounter in Berlin and the family’s holiday home in Friedrichsbrunn in the Harz Mountains, have much in common: „civic maturity and civility in Berlin and free space of life in Friedrichsbrunn complement each other“ (Günter Ebbrecht).
After the visit of the team from Berlin to Friedrichsbrunn in June 2018, the team from Friedrichsbrunn now came to Berlin on 7 May 2022. Both sides were happy to finally meet again in real presence. In lively conversation, experiences with the visitors and ideas and perspectives for future work were exchanged. In both houses, the work, which is done exclusively on a voluntary basis, is reaching its limits, especially as new challenges, such as the greater involvement of digital media, have to be met.
The meeting of the two teams is a good basis for joint further thinking on how the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his family and their civil courage can be kept alive for very different groups and issues in society.
Remembering birthdays is important, especially of people who mean a lot to us. But it seems to me that remembering the day of death is even more important, especially for people who lost their lives in the resistance. The birthday belongs to that one person, but the day of death connects them with all those who walked the difficult path with them. This is especially true for the memory of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the others who were persecuted and murdered just before the end of tyranny.
In these days in which the war in Ukraine, with the suffering of the people in the country and in exile, and with the threat to other countries in Europe, occupies our thoughts, it can be helpful to remember the historical and political foundations of the European peace order, which is a thorn in Putin’s side. Among its roots are the designs of the ‚Kreisauers‘ and the ‚Freiburgers‘. They risked their lives in resistance to the National Socialist state of injustice and arbitrariness when they worked in the middle of the war (1942/43) on the goals of a peace order after the war. The guiding idea was to overcome the dangers of nationalism by distributing the threatening concentration of power in the nation state downwards and upwards: through an infranational structure of federalism with the principle of subsidiarity and a supranational structure of a sovereign European confederation of states. The decisive factor was the establishment of a lasting legal order after the tyrants had been disarmed. The rule of law, to be established against all nationalist opposition, was seen as the prerequisite and basis for the responsibility of the individual in the social, economic and political spheres. In the new society liberated from National Socialism, this included the rule of law to protect personal development and the establishment of democratic structures as the highest educational goals.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer also took part in the discussion about peace aims. For all those who were working conspiratorially towards this, the success of their plans depended on a clarification of the peace conditions of the Allies in the event of a possible overthrow in Germany. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was predestined to promote this clarification because of his ecumenical relations, especially with Bishop George Bell. In England, a discussion had developed in church-related circles about the ideas for a ’new Europe‘ after the war. In July 1941, William Paton, as spokesman for a discussion group with high-ranking church, social and political leaders, published in July 1941 a peace draft with the theme „The Church and the New Order“.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer responded to secial points of this draft during his second trip to Switzerland (28 August – 26 September 1941) together with Willem A. Visser’t Hooft, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, which was still in the process of being established. Eberhard Bethge describes this memorandum from Geneva as a „highly political book review“. In the comments on Paton’s 4th chapter („The Ideal and the Next Steps“), Dietrich Bonhoeffer concretises the peace goals in his draft:
„What matters is whether a state order in Germany is realized that acknowledges its responsibility to the commands of God. That will become evident in the total removal of the Nazi system, including and especially the Gestapo; in the restoration of the sovereignty of equal rights for all; in a press that serves the truth; in the restoration of the freedom of the church to proclaim the word of God in command and gospel to all the world.“
Bonhoeffer contradicts the „division of the whole of reality into sacred and profane“ and thus challenges the secular understanding of the world historically founded in the Enlightenment. The ‚Kreisauers‘ and the ‚Freiburgers‘ also formulate a reference to God in their ideas for a peace order. Bonhoeffer, however, explicitly seeks the basis of the legal order not in the ideal of the individual’s personal right or human rights, but in God’s command to protect the other, which is guaranteed in God’s Otherness (1st commandment) and in the divine monopoly on the use of force and can be experienced in Christ as the ‚Man for Others‘. „Whoever confesses the reality of Jesus Christ as the revelation of God, confesses in the same breath the reality of God and the reality of the world, for they find God and the world reconciled in Christ.“
What does this Christian confession in interreligious dialogue mean today for the ideas of the rule of law in Europe in the face of religious-cultural plurality and diversity of life-stiles? On what normative foundation can the „common house of Europe“ exist in stormy times and also withstand the imperial warlike attacks of the „Russki Mir“ („Russian World“)? Certainly not only through the demonstration of military strength to the outside world, but fundamentally through the internal strengthening of civil, state and international law. In a legal and peaceful order that is committed to the commandment of love, the last will be first (Matthew 19:30). Its success is not based on the assertiveness of the interests of the strong, but on the social participation of the weak in society and in the international community of states. If the dignity of ‚the Other‘ is to be respected, protected and its violation through aggression, hatred, disregard and exclusion also sanctioned, openness, willingness to learn and readiness for dialogue is the path of empathy and solidarity with all those who are threatened by exclusion. The Christian commitment to the commandment of love becomes the preparation for God’s reality in the unreconciled world. Dietrich Bonhoeffer experienced the promise of this commandment of God, which demonstrates its reconciling power in Christ’s word and deed, in ecumenism, in the „universal Christian brotherhood that rises above all national hatreds“.
Gottfried Brezger, Rev. ret., Chairperson of the Board
Memorial and Place of Encounter Bonhoeffer-Haus, registered association, Berlin
„The Restoration of an authentic Worldly Order under God’s Command“- Peace goals for the time after the end of the Nazi state: Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (DBWE). Volume 16. Conspiracy and Imprisonment: 1940-1945. Minneapolis 1996, 532.
 William Paton: The Church and the New Order, Gateshead on Tyne, July 1941.
 Eberhard Bethge: Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Theologe – Christ – Zeitgenosse. Eine Biographie. München 1970, 3. Auflage.
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer DBWE 16,532.
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics, DBWE 6,57.
 Ibid. 62.
 Today, the formulation in Bonhoeffer’s draft of the response to Paton in anticipation of the German defeat and the Russian victory makes us take special notice: „It is not pan-Germanism, but rather pan-Slavism that is the coming danger“. The memorandum, written jointly with Visser’t Hooft, says: „Even though we may consider the British-Russian alliance a justifiable and unavoidable political decision, we must not minimise the danger which Russia represents for all what we hold dear.“ DBWE 16, 532f.,539.
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s last words, a message to Bishop George Bell, DBWE 16,469.
Katharina von Schnurbein, since 2015 the first European coordinator on combatting Antisemitism, visited the Bonhoeffer House on the occasion of her participation in the commemorative forum on the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference on 20 January 1942.
Katharina von Schnurbein on 19 January 2022 in front of the 1st panel of the exhibition in the Bonhoeffer House:
Places in Berlin with a reference to Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
We enjoyed a lively exchange of thoughts about the current significance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s thoughts and actions in the confrontation with anti-Semitism. „Only those who shout for the Jews may also sing Gregorian“ she wrote in our guestbook. Ms von Schnurbein is very well informed about the history and significance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, not least through her meeting with Laura M Fabrycky in Brussels and reading her book ‚Schlüssel zu Bonhoeffers Haus‘. She was pleased about the volunteer work in the house and drew our attention to funding programmes of the European Commission under the aspects of Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV). We have taken up her suggestion and are in the process of checking whether the conditions of the call for proposals of one of the various programmes could fit in with our urgent objective: to complement the visits to the House by digitising the worldwide memory and encounter with the resistance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the context of his family.
Laura M. Fabrycky was from 2016-2018 a member of the team at the Memorial and Place of Encounter Bonhoeffer House, Marienburger Allee 43 in Berlin.
We invite you to a live digital conversation (in English) and excerpts from her book (in German) and ask for registration: email@example.com
„Wie ich Welt und Weg Dietrich Bonhoeffers entdeckte“ („Exploring the world and wisdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer“) is the subtitle of the book. The key to the house given to her becomes a mission for Laura to also give other people a key to connect their own questions and experiences with the life and thinking of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: „Even though not a single aspect of my live resembled Bonhoeffer’s, the Bonhoeffer-Haus bore witness as a place to human experiences knew in my daily life.“ (18). Published in 2021 by Gütersloher Verlag, with a brief chronology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life and extensive notes, this book is not a biography; it is the narration of personal experiences. Laura emphasizes individual aspects of Bonhoeffer’s life and thinking and takes us along on her journey with him.
Laura M. Fabrycky, a US-American, lived in Berlin with her family during her husband’s service at the US Embassy and became familiar with this country. In the Bonhoeffer House, this very special historical place of learning, she went in search of traces. As a member of the Bonhoeffer House team, she accompanied in English visitors through the Bonhoeffer family home for two years. She came from the outside and reported from the inside. The book is an exploratory journey which, when read, opens up interesting approaches to the life and work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in its historical context and in its current significance.
Laura M. Fabrycky
Keys to Bonhoeffer’s Haus
Exploring the World and Wisdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Fortress Press, Minneapolis / USA, 2020.