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Paul Schneider: The Witness of Buchenwald

Until recently I had never heard the name Paul Schneider.  Then, I was introduced to his powerful story by a compelling lecture by John Dwyer.  Following that lecture I bought and read an English translation of Rudolf Wentorf’s book, Paul Schneider: The Witness Of Buchenwald. This edition is not the greatest.  The translation is odd at a number of places. There are typos, places with words typed on top of others, etc.  It could really use some cleaning up.  However, in spite of all that, the story is so powerful that it is well worth reading.

Schneider was a pastor in Germany under the Nazis, who refused to capitulate to the party.  Because of his bold preaching he was arrested and eventually martyred.  He was the first Protestant pastor to be murdered by the Nazis, and is memorialized in the German Resistance Memorial Center.

The story of his bold witness is deeply moving.  In this post I want primarily to point out the example of his pastoral heart for his people.  He did not seek martyrdom but sought the glory of Christ and the good of his people.  Note these quotes from this biography:

“Who is the shepherd of souls?  Only he whose own soul has waded and suffered through the depths of human existence, always stirring in joy and despair.  He must be borne along by the experience that in the middle of his own powerlessness Christ is his help, Christ who is ever-present.” 36

“Therefore the church, as the community of those who believe in God, is answerable for every single member.  If one member of a body is sick, then the whole body is sick.  The direction an individual Christian takes with his life cannot be a matter of indifference to the church.” 41-42

“One question daily pressed on Pastor Schneider: How can I as a pastor, i.e., as a shepherd, save this congregation whose members have been entrusted to me from that spiritual death which inevitably leads to the loss of eternity?” 52

“His own temperament made him no warrior, but rather much more one ever ready to care for souls.” 59

“At all times he was one who cared for souls; his care for men, even for his opponents, never let go of him.” 61

One Comment

  1. Bill Reimer says:

    The edition you mention is an abridged translation. Regent College Publishing has recently released an unabridged translation of the book by Daniel Bloesch. ISBN 9781573834179

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