The Plot to Kill Hitler: Chapters 10–12

This biography chronicles the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a clergyman who resisted Adolf Hitler's regime.

Here are links to our lists for the book: Prologue–Chapter 4, Chapters 5–9, Chapters 10–12, Chapters 13–22, Chapter 23–Epilogue
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Full list of words from this list:

  1. lavish
    characterized by extravagance and profusion
    When he crossed the gangplank to board the Columbus, Bonhoeffer was met by a crisply outfitted crew who showed him the lavish appointments of the ship.
  2. conducive
    tending to bring about; being partly responsible for
    He couldn’t imagine how this noisy, chummy environment was conducive to serious scholarly thought and writing.
  3. firebrand
    someone who deliberately foments trouble
    He studied with the best American theologians, including Reinhold Niebuhr—a firebrand who seemed to Bonhoeffer to lecture more about current events than about God.
  4. counterpart
    a person or thing having the same function as another
    Dietrich felt that his American counterparts were too interested in fairness to be really rigorous thinkers.
  5. rigorous
    strict; allowing no deviation from a standard
    Dietrich felt that his American counterparts were too interested in fairness to be really rigorous thinkers.
  6. activist
    a reformer who works to achieve social or political change
    Frank Fisher would go on to become a pastor in Atlanta, Georgia, and a civil rights activist.
  7. formative
    capable of molding or fashioning
    Fisher would become a good friend, and he would open the door to the most formative experience Bonhoeffer would have in the United States.
  8. statute
    an act passed by a legislative body
    In the United States, Jim Crow laws, state and federal statutes mandated racial segregation in public facilities such as schools, libraries, buses, restaurants, restrooms, and drinking fountains.
  9. repugnant
    offensive to the mind
    The way the southerners talk about the negroes is simply repugnant, and in this regard the pastors are no better than the others.
  10. unnerve
    disturb the composure of
    It is a bit unnerving that in a country with so inordinately many slogans about brotherhood, peace and so on, such things still continue completely uncorrected.
  11. inordinate
    beyond normal limits
    It is a bit unnerving that in a country with so inordinately many slogans about brotherhood, peace and so on, such things still continue completely uncorrected.
  12. subdued
    restrained in style or quality
    The rafter-shaking music of the Abyssinian Baptist Church was a far cry from the subdued, ethereal chanting of the German Lutheran church.
  13. ethereal
    characterized by unusual lightness and delicacy
    The rafter-shaking music of the Abyssinian Baptist Church was a far cry from the subdued, ethereal chanting of the German Lutheran church.
  14. pacifist
    someone opposed to violence as a means of settling disputes
    According to Lasserre, the boy who once loved play guns, toy soldiers, and war games became a pacifist that day.
  15. oppressed
    burdened psychologically or mentally
    He would say later that his experiences with the poor taught him to see life “from below from the perspective of the outcast, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless, the oppressed, the reviled—in short, from the perspective of those who suffer.”
  16. revile
    spread negative information about
    He would say later that his experiences with the poor taught him to see life “from below from the perspective of the outcast, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless, the oppressed, the reviled—in short, from the perspective of those who suffer.”
  17. gentile
    a Christian as contrasted with a Jew
    Bonhoeffer has long been considered a candidate for the designation of Righteous Gentile, an honor given to those who risked their lives to save Jews from extermination.
  18. posthumously
    after death
    Stephen Wise, Jr., the rabbi's son, fought for Bonhoeffer to receive this award posthumously.
  19. chaplain
    a member of the clergy ministering to some institution
    He was home from the United States and excited to be starting a new job as a lecturer and chaplain at the university, where he would introduce German students to the exhilarating music and worship style he’d come to love in New York.
  20. fervor
    the state of being emotionally aroused and worked up
    While Bonhoeffer had been away in the United States, anti-Jewish fervor had crept through the campus.
  21. bombastic
    ostentatiously lofty in style
    The short man with the mustache and the bombastic speeches portrayed himself as the salvation that Germans had been waiting for.
  22. rapt
    feeling great delight and interest
    Soon, he became one of the most popular lecturers on campus; on any given evening more than two hundred students would be sitting at rapt attention, with others listening in the hallway.
  23. charismatic
    possessing an extraordinary ability to attract
    Even though he was a popular and charismatic teacher, Bonhoeffer felt a yearning to get away from lectures with privileged young people like himself.
  24. confirmation
    sacrament admitting a person to participation in the church
    And so he decided to teach a confirmation class for teenage boys in a rough, seedy section of Berlin.
  25. seedy
    shabby and untidy
    And so he decided to teach a confirmation class for teenage boys in a rough, seedy section of Berlin.
  26. catcall
    a cry expressing disapproval
    Bonhoeffer went to the front of the room, leaned against the wall, his hands in his pockets. He didn’t say a word. Minutes passed. The catcalls subsided.
  27. subside
    wear off or die down
    Bonhoeffer went to the front of the room, leaned against the wall, his hands in his pockets. He didn’t say a word. Minutes passed. The catcalls subsided.
  28. rivet
    hold someone's attention
    Then he told them a story about his time in Harlem, about boys like themselves, poor and overlooked by society. They were riveted.
  29. patrician
    characteristic of the nobility or aristocracy
    The boys of the Wedding neighborhood came to love and respect the young teacher with the patrician background—and Bonhoeffer, in turn, moved from his parents’ wealthy home in Berlin to the boys’ neighborhood so he could better understand their lives.
  30. resurgence
    bringing again into activity and prominence
    We will fight for your resurgence!
  31. chancellor
    the person who is head of state (in several countries)
    A few months later, on January 30, 1933, Hitler became the chancellor of Germany and christened himself the Führer, the supreme leader.
  32. denounce
    speak out against
    Just two days after Hitler was named Supreme Leader, Bonhoeffer denounced the idea of a leader who called himself a führer.
  33. coup
    a sudden and decisive change of government by force
    He said he’d acted alone, but Hitler claimed that the fire was part of an attempt to overthrow the government, a coup organized by a large group of his political enemies.
  34. arson
    malicious burning to destroy property
    The day after the arson, Hitler convinced the president to suspend the constitution, giving himself sweeping emergency powers, claiming a threat to the country.
  35. deviant
    a person whose behavior does not conform to social norms
    The first concentration camps were work camps, designed to hold political prisoners and so-called social deviants.
Created on July 7, 2020 (updated July 22, 2020)

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