Tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog het Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ‘n jong teoloog  die Duitse Nazi’s profeties gekritiseer. Hy is gevang en in die konsentrasiekampe aangehou.  Tydens sy moelike gevangenisskap het hy telkens geskryf en getuig dat Jesus sy Here is en sy enigste anker. Hy word dan ook in Flossenburg op 9 April 1945 tereggestel – ‘n paar dae voordat die geallieerde magte Duitsland bevry het. Op 4 Maart 1946 ( na sy dood) verskyn een van sy gedigte in die tydskrif  Christianity and Crisis. Hierdie gedig is uit sy gevangenisskap in ‘n sel geskryf. In hierdie roerende gedig gee hy uitdrukking aan die  innerlike konflik wat in hom gewoed het. Dit is   vir my so aangrypend dat ek dit graag deel. 


Who am I? They often tell me

I stepped from my cell’s confinement

Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,

Like a squire from his country-house.

Who am I? They often tell me

I used to speak to my warders

Freely and friendly and clearly,

As though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me

I bore the days of misfortune

Equally, smilingly, proudly,

Like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of?

Or am I only what I myself know of myself?

Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,

Struggling for breath, as though hands were

compressing my throat,

Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,

Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,

Tossing in expectation of great events,

Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,

Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,

Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other?

Am I one person today and tomorrow another?

Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,

And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?

Or is something within me still like a beaten army,

Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.

Whoever I am, Thou knowest, 0 God, I am Thine!