Our Interlocutors

»The Cloud of Witnesses«

We would like to thank our interviewees in Switzerland, South Africa, the USA and Germany. Without them this film would not have been possible.

In the order of their appearance in the film:

Portrait John de Gruchy

Dr. John de Gruchy

The South African was 21 years old when he first heard about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church from Eberhard Bethge while studying in Chicago in 1960. He immediately recognized parallels to the situation in his native South Africa. John de Gruchy is Professor Emeritus at the University of Cape Town and Associate Professor at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Rev. Dr. Ferdinand Schlingensiepen

As a young pastor, he met Eberhard Bethge and they became close friends. In 1971, he invited people to a first Bonhoeffer conference in Düsseldorf, where he proposed the founding of the International Bonhoeffer Society. His biography of Bonhoeffer, which was translated into several languages, was published in 2005.

Portrait Ferdinand Schlingensiepen
Portrait Jutta Koslowski

Rev. Dr. Jutta Koslowski

She researches and publishes on the biographical and family background of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his family. In 2022, she was Dietrich Bonhoeffer Visiting Professor at Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Koslowski is a pastor in the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau and a lecturer at the Ludwigsburg University of Education.

Dr. Christine Schliesser

The theologian was on the board of the German-speaking section of the International Dietrich Bonhoeffer Society for many years. Dr. Christine Schliesser is Director of Studies at the Ecumenical Centre for Faith and Society at the University of Fribourg and a private lecturer in Systematic Theology and Ethics at the University of Zurich. She is also a Research Fellow at the Chair of Historical Trauma and Transformation at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Portrait Christine Schliesser
Portrait Eboni Marshal Turman

Rev. Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman

She was the first female “Assistant Minister” at the Abyssinian Baptist Church. A position she held for over ten years. Today, Dr. Turman teaches theology and African-American religion at Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, CT, USA.

Dr. David Levering Lewis

The professor emeritus of New York University wrote, among other things, the standard work on the history of the Harlem Renaissance: “When Harlem Was in Vogue”. The particular focus of his work is on social history and the civil rights movement in the USA. Prof. Lewis received the Pultizer Prize for both volumes of his biography of W.E.B. Du Bois.

Portrait David Levering Lewis
Portrait Calvin Butts

Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III

Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III (1944–2022) was pastor at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem since 1972, where he served as senior pastor for several decades until his death.

Dr. Samuel K. Roberts

One of the historian's main focuses is the urban history of African-America. Samuel Roberts is a grandson of Bonhoeffer's friend Albert Franklin Fisher. The professor of history and socio-medical science teaches at Columbia University in New York City, USA.

Portrait Samuel Roberts
Portrait Cecilia und Charles Small

Cecilia and Charles Small

Cecilia and Charles Small grew up in Harlem in the 1930s. They have been deacons at the Abyssinian Baptist Church for many years.

Dr. Nico Koopman

The South African professor of theology is concerned with the effects of Christian faith on moral and public life. He became acquainted with Bonhoeffer's life and works through Allan Boesak. Dr. Koopman teaches systematic theology and ethics at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Portrait Nico Koopman
Portrait Allan Boesak

Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak

After being denied a full theological degree in South Africa because of his skin color, Boesak studied with Bonhoeffer expert Gerard Rothuizen in the Netherlands. Boesak later played a central role in the end of the apartheid regime in his home country.

The Team Behind the Documentary

This film was the joint idea of the American theology professor Reggie L. Williams and the German filmmaker Hellmut Schlingensiepen. They conducted most of the interviews for this film together and met again and again to discuss the content concept of the film.

Rev. Dr. Reggie L. Williams

The professor of theology teaches Christian ethics at McCormick Seminary in Chicago, USA. He has long researched Bonhoeffer's experiences in the USA and published his extremly valuable book on the subject “Bonhoeffer's Black Jesus” in 2014. A revised version was published in 2022.

Portrait Reggie Williams
Portrait Hellmut Schlingensiepen

Hellmut Schlingensiepen

In 2005, the filmmaker and his colleague Christian Coers published a short film portrait of Dietrich Bonhoeffer entitled “Wer glaubt, der flieht nicht...” (“Those who believe do not flee...”). Since then, the German resistance against National Socialism has been a central theme of his work. When work on the film had to be put on hold during the pandemic, Schlingensiepen wrote a book about the Harlem Renaissance, which will be published in 2025.

›Geschichte: begreifen‹,
Gesellschaft zur Förderung von didaktischen
Medien zur deutschen Geschichte e.V.
Board Speaker: Barbara Rozoll-Golly
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