One of nice things about living in Thalwil (Switzerland) is the fact that there are so many cultural activities. The local reformed church, for instance, regularly organise the so-called ‘Thalwiler Konzerte’. On Sunday November 13, 2016, they hosted Vera Bauer’s program ‘Jener volle Klang der Welt’, a program dedicated to Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a protestant German theologian and vicar who dared to speak up and to take action against Hitler’s Nazi regime before and during WW II. Bonhoeffer’s life is characterized by taking the difficult decisions he felt God wanted him to take. One of these decisions was helping Jews to escape from Germany and to participate in the German resistance during WW II. He was arrested and put in prison when a plan to smuggle seven Jews out of Germany was discovered. Whilst in prison, he was condemned to death for his participation in an anti-Hitler plot. His best known statement is:’Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act’.
Vera Bauer’s program consisted of readings of letters and poems Bonhoeffer wrote when he was in prison. The readings were alternated with music from Telemann, Hindemith and Bach; performers were Vera Bauer (speaker, also designer of the program) and David Goldzycher (on the violin).
The declamations by Vera Bauer were beautiful and reminded me how beautiful the German language is. She also struck exactly the right tone: the combination of optimism and determination that is expressed by Bonhoeffer’s life and works. The music was extremely well chosen and beautifully played by David Goldzycher.
‘Jener volle Klang der Welt’ is a beautiful and impressive program, and I encourage everyone who has an opportunity to attend this program to do so.
For anyone interested to read more about the life of Bonhoeffer I can fully recommend the great biography written by Eric Metaxas.
In this book Metaxas really brings Bonhoeffer alive – so much alive that we cannot help wondering what we would have done under similar circumstances. Bonhoeffer’s life and works force us to think about the practical choices we have to make when we are confronted with injustice, evil and oppression in our direct environment: our workplace, family, church and country. This makes Bonhoeffer now more relevant than ever.
P.S. During the introduction I also learned something new: despite the fact that I have read quite a lot about and by Bonhoeffer, I never knew Bonhoeffer spent time with Karl Barth in Barth’s summer house in Oberrieden, an adjacent village to Thalwil.
All pictures of the performance are taken with an Olympus OMD-EM10 camera in combination with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/4-5.6 ED lens. All pictures were taken in RAW and post-processed in Adobe Lightroom.