Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes an Easter letter to his parents during his first month in prison. He is allowed to send one letter every ten days. He refers to his fiancée, Maria von Wedemeyer, who was about 19 at the time. He was about 37 when he wrote the letter.
Easter Sunday, April 25, 1943
Today the tenth day is finally here again, so that I may write to you. How glad I am to let you know that I am celebrating a happy Easter here. The liberating thing about Good Friday and Easter is that one’s thoughts turn far away from one’s personal fate toward the ultimate meaning of life, suffering, and everything that happens, and one clings to a great hope.
Since yesterday it has been amazingly quiet in this prison house. The only sound heard is “Happy Easter,” as everyone calls to each other with no envy, and no one begrudges the fulfillment of their Easter wishes to those who labor here in these difficult conditions.
Good Friday was Maria’s birthday. In the past year she bore the death of her father, her brother, and two especially beloved cousins with such a firm heart. If I didn’t know that, I would worry about her. Now Easter will console her, her large family will stand by her, and her work in the Red Cross will keep her completely occupied.
Greet her warmly, tell her that I long for her very much. Tell her not to be sad but brave as she has been til now. She is so very young! That is the hard part.