The Plot to Kill Hitler: Chapters 13–22

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. innocuous
    not injurious to physical or mental health
    The Aryan Paragraph first appeared in the innocuous-sounding Law for the Restoration of Professional Civil Service.
  2. stipulate
    make an express demand or provision in an agreement
    It stipulated that only those of Aryan descent, without Jewish parents or grandparents, could hold government jobs.
  3. culminate
    reach the highest or most decisive point
    Institutionalized anti-Semitism culminated in the Reich Citizen Laws, stripping those without so-called Aryan blood of their citizenship.
  4. blatant
    without any attempt at concealment; completely obvious
    The rest of the country might have fallen under Hitler’s spell, but Bonhoeffer thought that the clergy, men who had taken solemn vows to love and care for their fellow man, would take a stand against such blatant injustice.
  5. cleric
    a religious leader or other person in religious orders
    He was only twenty-seven, but he was already known for his opposition to Hitler. As he spoke, the clerics fidgeted in their seats.
  6. snub
    reject outright and bluntly
    When the meeting ended, Bonhoeffer was snubbed by most of the others in attendance.
  7. morality
    the quality of being in accord with right or good conduct
    He announced that his government would make Christianity “the basis of our collective morality.”
  8. jeer
    laugh at with contempt and derision
    As storm troopers stood guard, a lone voice cried out in opposition. It was Bonhoeffer. But he was drowned out by jeering and catcalls.
  9. reprimand
    rebuke formally
    He’d already been reprimanded by church elders after opposing the Aryan Paragraph; if he spoke at Gerhardt’s father’s funeral, would he get in more trouble?
  10. canon
    a body of rules established as valid and fundamental
    He reminded Bonhoeffer that Lutheran canon law prohibited ministers from officiating at funerals of the “unbaptized.”
  11. officiate
    perform a ceremony or religious ritual
    He reminded Bonhoeffer that Lutheran canon law prohibited ministers from officiating at funerals of the “unbaptized.”
  12. chide
    scold or reprimand severely or angrily
    His family didn’t chide him, but his conscience did.
  13. sullen
    showing a brooding ill humor
    His mother began to worry about him, saying he’d become sullen and withdrawn.
  14. indoctrinate
    teach uncritically
    This paramilitary group was designed to indoctrinate children ages fourteen to eighteen into the Nazi philosophy and to recruit future members of the SS, the elite Nazi military guard: The members of the group held large rallies and performed in athletic contests.
  15. intrepid
    invulnerable to fear or intimidation
    The young people enrolled in these groups, Hitler said, would be "a violently active, dominating, intrepid, brutal youth."
  16. fateful
    ominously prophetic
    Also destroyed were the works of Heinrich Heine, a Jewish writer who had penned these fateful words nearly a hundred years earlier: “Where they burn books, they will ultimately also burn people.”
  17. meekness
    the feeling of patient, submissive humbleness
    But now he decided that Christianity, which preached “ meekness and flabbiness,” was not in keeping with Nazi ideals of “ruthlessness and strength.”
  18. communism
    a form of socialism that abolishes private ownership
    According to him, there are two evils in the world: Communism (which he said was responsible for Germany's defeat in World War I) and Judaism.
  19. heresy
    a belief that rejects the orthodox tenets of a religion
    Church leaders were deeply divided. Some enthusiastically embraced Hitler’s plan to strip all “Jewish” elements from their religion and to ban pastors with any “Jewish” blood, like Bonhoeffer’s friend Franz Hildebrandt. Others considered this heresy.
  20. submissive
    inclined or willing to give in to orders or wishes of others
    Clergy “are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs, and they sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them.”
  21. dissent
    express opposition through action or words
    Bonhoeffer and the dissenters didn’t want to create a schism; they wanted to form a wing of the church that would put allegiance to God ahead of allegiance to the Nazi party, one that would give aid to those hurt by the new anti-Jewish laws and one that rejected the Aryan Paragraph.
  22. schism
    the formal separation of a church into two churches
    Bonhoeffer and the dissenters didn’t want to create a schism; they wanted to form a wing of the church that would put allegiance to God ahead of allegiance to the Nazi party, one that would give aid to those hurt by the new anti-Jewish laws and one that rejected the Aryan Paragraph.
  23. avow
    declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true
    He was an avowed pacifist, a lowly junior pastor. But a dangerous new question had begun to take shape in his mind: Was there another way he could fight Hitler?
  24. treatise
    a formal text that treats a particular topic systematically
    From all outward appearances, Bonhoeffer was ministering to a lower-class parish of butchers’ and bakers’ families by day and writing a weighty theological treatise in his apartment by night.
  25. conspire
    act in agreement and in secret towards a deceitful purpose
    To conspire with a foreign government—especially one of the enemies that had defeated Germany in the Great War—wasn’t just dangerous.
  26. meddlesome
    intrusive in an offensive manner
    They quickly discovered the source of the information: It was that meddlesome young minister, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
  27. compliance
    the act of submitting, usually surrendering power to another
    It was a pledge of compliance, an agreement to refrain from any contact with other churches or any speech critical of the regime.
  28. passive
    peacefully resistant in response to injustice
    His friends and mentors disagreed, saying the passive resistance put forth by Gandhi was no match for the brutality of the Nazis.
  29. kindred
    related by blood or marriage
    Jews will not be permitted to employ female citizens of German or kindred blood as domestic workers under the age of forty-five.
  30. revered
    profoundly honored
    Later that summer, the German president, Paul von Hindenburg, a revered war hero, passed away.
  31. garrison
    a fortified military post where troops are stationed
    It was an emotional and patriotic moment when Hitler summoned his troops to a garrison in Berlin in the middle of the night.
  32. unconditional
    not subject to any restrictions or limitations
    But when they raised their hands, they found themselves swearing an oath of unconditional obedience not to their country but to Adolf Hitler himself.
  33. meager
    deficient in amount or quality or extent
    He had come to the seaside town of Zingst with meager funds from the Pastors’ Emergency League and a handful of idealistic young theology students to create a seminary for the new Confessing Church.
  34. idyllic
    charmingly simple and serene
    In this idyllic setting, the men read, meditated, did manual labor, and listened to Bonhoeffer’s Negro spirituals.
  35. amass
    collect or gather
    In a locker hidden in a town about twenty miles outside Berlin, he’d amassed a collection of documents, photographs, and witness statements about the Nazis’ abuse of power.
  36. swindle
    deprive of by deceit
    He had proof of the disappearance of political enemies, Jews, and others. Detailed records of the arrests and torture. Proof of the ways that Hitler’s underlings had swindled Jewish citizens out of possessions and money.
  37. fortitude
    strength of mind that enables one to endure adversity
    Bonhoeffer had given Dohnanyi and the other members of the conspiracy the spiritual fortitude and moral justification to act.
  38. atrocity
    an act of shocking cruelty
    In his position, he had early notice of the Aryan laws; later he collected a detailed file of Nazi atrocities.
  39. tutelage
    teaching pupils individually
    Out on a walk one day, the young men under Bonhoeffer’s tutelage debated the issue.
  40. unbeknownst
    occurring or existing without the knowledge of
    Unbeknownst to him, family members and church leaders were arranging for him to go back to the United States.
Created on July 7, 2020 (updated July 22, 2020)

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