Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Memories and Perspectives

Seen on July 3, 2016 @ National Arts Festival, Grahamstown

An appreciation of activist women sums up what curator Trevor Steele Taylor of the FilmFestival has brought together for this year cinefiles in Grahamstown. Resistance, activism, courage and stories that do more than entertain introduce or deepen our knowlegde of heroes of the struggle.

Familiar with the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who was hung for his role in a conspiracy to get Hitler out of the way, and his lived out teaching on community and radical discipleship I am again intrigued by this courageous follower. Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Memories and Perspectives is a sobering documentary hat narrates the well known story through black and white photographs and new footage, interviewing surviving family members and former students and close friends who took his teaching to heart in their own context.

Testimonies about Bonhoeffer’s gentleness, pacificism, depression at times and his work for peace contrast with the blatant militarism, smiling faces and frightening Third Reich that has captured the people’s imagination. What strikes is the lasting effect his example, words and action have on those loved ones that survived him.

Remembering well seems essential for healing.

“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.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Just before WW II brook out Bonhoeffer had the opportunity to study and lecture in all freedom in the United States. A few day after his arrival in New York, he returned, fearing he would not have a right to build his nation when he did not underwent the same suffering. A life that speaks for such a time as this.