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Flechtheim Scholarship Background Information

The Flechtheim Scholarship was established in 2006 by a legacy from the donor’s maternal grandfather, Julius Flechtheim, a former professor of Jurisprudence at Berlin University who died as a victim of the Holocaust in 1940. He was a contemporary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who lectured on systematic theology at the same time and who was killed by the Nazis in 1945.

The legacy funding the scholarship was made available by Father Stephen Moore, Julius’s grandson, after the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims in 2005 recognised the legitimacy of a life insurance policy taken out by Professor Flechtheim 70 years earlier.

In their respective fields both men recognised in the upheaval of their country that true responsibility (both secular and temporal) means freedom and true freedom means responsibility. Both confronted the ‘principalities and powers’ of the Third Reich: Flechtheim stood up for justice as defined by international law; Bonhoeffer was martyred for his confrontation over the legitimacy of the State’s authority. In a setting where democracy was replaced by authoritarianism, both challenged the authenticity of theological and political power.

The scholarship is offered in the hope that it will give fresh inspiration to all who are called to ask the awkward moral and ethical questions by encouraging study into the ethics of responsible action with particular reference to Bonhoeffer’s theology.

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