BBC announced last week Germany has registered 964,574 new asylum-seekers in the first 11 months of the year, putting it on course for more than a million in 2015. Documents leaked in October suggested the government was privately anticipating the arrival of up to 1.5m.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to welcome Syrian refugees has won her plaudits in some quarters but sparked a backlash in others, with some senior ministers openly questioning the approach.
This comes at the very time Australia's former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is calling upon Muslims to engage in a reformation and many in Germany have already expressed their fears that a significant majority of these asylum-seekers will choose not to assimilate.
A greater fear is for the Jews of Germany with such a huge intake of Muslims whose attitude toward Jews is already fearful and news casts are questioning whether such an intake of Muslims is in some way reflective of long held German prejudices.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Jewish protection
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is perhaps the mid-twentieth century's most revered Church leader. Born February 4, 1906 he was hanged by the Nazis on 9 April 1945. He was a German Lutheran Pastor and a theologian of note, who participated in the German Resistance movement against Nazism and was a founding member of the Confessing Church.
His promising academic and ecclesiastical career was dramatically altered with Nazi ascension to power on 30 January 1933. He was a determined opponent of the regime from its first days. Bonhoeffer delivered a radio address attacking Hitler, in which he warned Germany against slipping into an idolatrous cult of the Führer (leader), who could very well turn out to be Verführer (mis-leader, or seducer). He was cut off the air in the middle of a sentence.
Persecution of the Jews
Three months later Bonhoeffer had become almost a lone voice for Christian resistance to Hitler's "persecution of Jews" when he declared that the church must not simply "bandage the victims under the wheel, but jam the spoke in the wheel itself." He became a strong political church leader against Hitler's unconstitutionally imposed structure onto all German Protestant church bodies.
He refused to be part of the newly structured German Church and spent two years in London after which he returned secretly to Germany visiting many churches and then spent time in the United States leading up to his return to Germany before the outbreak of war, knowing full well he may be struck down.
The rest is history. Working behind the scenes as an Abwehr agent smuggling Jews out of Germany, he was finally arrested 6 April 1943 and thereupon he wrote some of the 20th century's most poignant theological writings. He was executed by hanging only three weeks before Hitler himself committed suicide.
Coming to the fore
Protestant seminaries throughout the world study Bonhoeffer. From a recent report I read, I feel there may come a time very shortly when many more 'Bonhoeffers' may need to come to the fore in Germany.
Five years ago German Chancellor, Angela Merkel is quoted as saying that the German form of multiculturalism 'a total failure' and a study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation reveals that more than one in 10 called for a ''fuehrer'' to run the country ''with a strong hand'.'
News casts are asking whether German history is being repeated with such a change of heart by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel with these 1.5m asylum-seekers?
The television series entitled 'The Nazis – A lesson from history' tells the story of the beginnings of national socialism in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, and showed the inability of the Weimar Republic to find political harmony in Germany after WWI.
The difficulty was in the economic situation. Partly due to the large reparations required of Germany after they lost World War I (which have only just recently been fully paid), for fourteen years from 1919 through to 1933, the economy in Germany fell away in a disastrous fashion.
The Great Depression occurred in the later part of this period, and the vast middle class saw everything they had worked for simply disappear. This series documented how many aspects of German life were politically polarised. People looked to either the far right or to the far left to solve the 'hip pocket nerve' problems.
A strong man
This was a period of street fights and unending civil unrest. In such circumstances, wherever and whenever they have occurred, there is a call for a 'strong man' (a political leader) to run the country and put a stop to all that is wrong with the politic, and more important with the financial system, and to bring a calm and with renewed national identity.
In Germany's situation in 1933 this political 'strong man' void was filled by Adolf Hitler and National Socialism with a platform of radical nationalism. He did what he promised. He ended the hyper-inflation almost overnight. However, he was indeed a 'strong man' and he corrupted the political system to make himself chancellor as well as supreme leader. With this power, and the reality of the State and Army behind him, he settled for nothing less than dictatorial political power.
Any such 'strong man' throughout history, by taking away the people's 'political freedom', soon reveals that a whole lot more gets taken away as the politic and dictatorial nature of the individual determines the society.
With 1.5m Muslim asylum-seekers entering Germany, news casts are commenting this as a crucial time for Germany, the danger of any such 'strong man' and calling for a generation of Bonhoeffer's -
a) a fresh touch of the Spirit of the Lord upon that nation and
b) for the protection of the Jews.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html