The Story of the Theologian Who Plotted to Kill Hitler: And it’s Not Bonhoeffer

On this anniversary of Kristallnacht, a story of resistance to Hitler you may not know-

It was [79] years on November 9 since [Maurice] Bavaud, born in Neuchâtel, failed in his attempt to shoot Hitler at a rally in Munich because spectators in front of him raised their hands for the Nazi salute.

He was arrested by the Gestapo in Paris and eventually admitted his plans under torture. He was tried on December 18, 1938 and sentenced to death. He was guillotined in the Berlin-Plötzensee prison on May 14, 1941.

Bavaud’s father attempted to rehabilitate his son, resulting in a court decision of December 12, 1955 reversing the death sentence but posthumously condemning Bavaud to a five-year sentence, arguing that Hitler’s life was protected by law just like any other life.

A second verdict of 1956 reversed the prison sentence and Germany paid Bavaud’s family the sum of SFr40,000 in reparation.

The Swiss government admitted in 1989 and again in 1998 that the Swiss authorities had not made a sufficient effort to save Bavaud.

NBC news adds this snippet of detail-

Student Maurice Bavaud, 25, who was from the western Swiss town of Neuchatel, was executed in Berlin’s notorious Ploetzensee prison after failing in his attempt to shoot Hitler at a Nazi parade in Munich on Nov. 9, 1938.  By coincidence, Bavaud made his attempt just hours before Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, when Nazis destroyed synagogues and Jewish businesses across Germany and Austria.

Author: Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.

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