The Witness of German Resistance to Hitler
A sermon given in Christ Church Cathedral Oxford in 2019
Standing in the middle of what remains of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the northern outskirts of Berlin, as I did some years ago, I found myself sympathising with those who keep their heads down. During the Nazi period Sachsenhausen held political dissidents and prisoners-of-war, tens of thousands of whom perished. But as I looked over to the neat suburban bungalows that lined the street leading up to the camp’s front gate, I thought to myself, “Suppose I had lived over there, and suppose the dreadful reality of what was happening in here had begun to press itself upon me, what, exactly, would I have done? What, exactly, could I have done? And what, exactly, could I have done that would have made any difference?” The answer: probably nothing. And so I understood why so many, there and then, decided to draw the curtains and turn away. After all, they had families to take care of, jobs to hold on to, and lives not to waste on futile heroics.