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The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Manuscript Collection

Identifier: SCM 033

Scope and Content

This is a constructed collection of material by and about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It was collected from various sources by the staff of Special Collections as a research aid. It consists mostly of articles on Bonhoeffer.


  • 1939-2008

Language of Materials

English, German


There are no restrictions on access to this collection. The papers are available for review according to the normal rules of Special Collections.

Preferred Citation

The following is the acceptable citation for publication: The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Manuscript Collection. Special Collections, Princeton Theological Seminary Library.


1906 February 4
Born, Breslau
Doctoral student, theology, Tübingen
Lecturer, theology, Berlin University
Ordained, Matthias Church, Berlin
Authorization to teach at Berlin University terminated
Begins contact with German political resistance
Forbidden to speak in public
Forbidden to publish
1943 April 5
Arrested, held in Tegel Prison, Berlin
1945 April 9
Died, hanged at Flossenbürg concentration camp

Biographical Information

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German pastor and theologian, is particularly well-known because of his activism against Nazi principles, as a leader of the Christian opposition, his role in plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler, and his hanging at a concentration camp just weeks before the end of the war.

Bonhoeffer was born February 4, 1906 to a large upper middle-class family in Breslau. He studied college at Tübingen and earned his doctorate at the University of Berlin. He then spent a year in New York City studying at Union Theological Seminary. After returning to Germany in 1931, Bonhoeffer was a founding member of the Confessing Church and supported Karl Barth's Barmen Declaration of 1934. He briefly served as pastor for two German churches in London before returning to head an underground seminary for Confessing Church members. German authorities, particularly the Gestapo, gradually reduced his freedoms to speak before arresting him in 1943 for sponsoring the escape of Jews to Switzerland. After the authorities discovered his association with the group that unsuccessfully plotted to assassinate Hitler in 1934, Bonhoeffer was moved to a concentration camp at Flossenburg and was hanged on April 9, 1945.


0.3 Linear Feet (1 Box)

Processing Information:

The provenance of certain materials in this constructed collection is not clear. It contains copies of Bonhoeffer's prayer "Gott, zu Dir rufe ich", articles about him, book reviews of his biographies, and materials from memorial services for him. Some of these materials may have been taken from the Paul Louis Lehmann Manuscript Collection. The "Tagebuch," was copied from a document found in the Wilhelm and Marion H. Pauck Manuscript Collection, in 2008. The decision to refolder and describe this collection was made in 2008. In the future other materials from the Lehmann collection might be copied and added to this collection as well. In May of 2008, a small collection of German stamps with Bonhoeffer's image on them and a larger collection of German stamps from the Third Reich (from the same donor) were added to this collection.

The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Manuscript Collection
Kristen J. Nivling
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Princeton Theological Seminary. Library. Special Collections Repository

Princeton Theological Seminary
Wright Library
25 Library Place
Princeton NJ 08540 USA