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Klaus Bonhoeffer

Stolperstein für Klaus Bonhoeffer; Foto: CW Hupka, 2015
Emmi und Klaus Bonhoeffer, ca. 1930 Bild: Bildarchiv des ibg und des Gütersloher Verlagshauses
Alte Allee 11

Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf – Charlottenburg

01/05/1901 in Breslau / Wrocław
Jurist, Chefsyndikus der Lufthansa
from the 1st of October 1944 up to the 23rd of April 1945 in Berlin Moabit
04/23/1945 in Berlin

Alte Allee 11 was the place where Klaus Bonhoeffer and his wife Emmi Delbrück lived with their three children from 1937 to 1945. Their house was bombed on one of the last days of World War II. Bonhoeffer's wife managed to escape from the ruined house. Relatives in Schleswig-Holstein had already been taking care of the children since the summer of 1944.
Klaus Bonhoeffer was born on 5 January 1901 in Breslau/Silesia (now Wrozlaw/Poland). He was the third of eight children. His parents were Paula von Hase and Karl Bonhoeffer, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology. From childhood on Klaus Bonhoeffer was filled with a passionate sense of fairness and sense of what is right. His innate highly critical intellect led him to choose the study of law which ended with his Ph.D. graduation. He then worked as a solicitor. He accepted Lufthansa's offer of a position as company lawyer ('Syndikus') in 1936 and, two years later, as chief executive of the company ('Chefsyndikus').
Klaus Bonhoeffer was a perceptive opponent of the Nazi regime from the very beginning. In the light of Hitler's appointment as German Chancellor ('Reichskanzler'), the prompt imposition of a police state and racial dictatorship had marked out the path to arbitrary and organized terror, murder and to a World War, European disaster. His political awareness was a source of inspiration to him and to his close companions, his brothers-in-law, Hans von Dohnanyi, Rüdiger Schleicher and Justus Delbrück, along with his cousin Ernst von Harnack, all of whom were lawyers; and, of course, Dietrich, five years his junior, and Doctor of Theology. All of them were actively and constructively involved in the life-threatening but not futile attempt to bring about a coup d’état in the name of humanity and violated laws and in the best interest of both domestic and foreign policy. On the basis of these principles they hoped to avert great evil and thus achieve a democratic state founded on the rules of law.
Bonhoeffer was arrested on 1 October 1944 and sentenced to death by the NS People's Court ('Volksgerichtshof') on 2 February 1945. He was removed from the prison in Berlin-Moabit and executed by an SS special unit firing squad on a debris site on the night of 22/23 April 1945, together with his brother-in-law, Rüdiger Schleicher, and several other fellow prisoners. Their bodies were found in the rubble, and then buried in a deep bomb crater on the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof, a well-known old cemetery in Berlin-Mitte, together with some seventy bombing victims.
A stumbling stone was let into the pavement in front of the house now standing at Alte Alle 9-11 on 23 June 2015 to honour Klaus Bonhoeffer as a non-Jewish victim of the Nazi regime. The ceremony was followed by a commemoration in the 'Bonhoeffer Haus' at Marienburger Allee 43 where Klaus Bonhoeffer's parents had lived since 1935. This was also the place where many confidential discussions took place. Emmi Bonhoeffer's reminiscences and reflections on her life were compiled in 2004 and published by the Lukas Verlag.
Pfarrer Dietrich Zeilinger: „Bruder, Mitverschwörer, Märtyrer. Klaus Bonhoeffers essenzieller Beitrag zur Konspiration“ Authors: descendents of Klaus Bonhoeffer, Stolperstein-Initiative Eichkamp

Biographical Compilation

Nachfahren von Klaus Bonhoeffer, Stolperstein-Initiative Eichkamp

English Translation

Elke Elsner