In Memory of Martin Hüneke, Longstanding Member of the German Board of the IBS
On June 14, 2017, Martin Hüneke, a member of the board of the German section of the IBS for many years, died at the age of 87 in Hürth, close to Cologne. We mourn together with his family and friends.
For 23 years, from 1990 until 2013, Martin Hüneke was a member of the board of the German IBS. When after the fall of the wall which separated East and West Germany the two committees of the German Bonhoeffer Society united, Martin accompanied this difficult process with great sensitivity. For many years, he administered our finances very carefully. From 1994 until his retirement from the board he was the editor of what at that time was our most important communication medium, the Bonhoeffer-Rundbriefe. He performed his editorship with inventiveness and thoroughness so that the Rundbriefe became an organ which several times a year presented inspiring and thought-provoking readings.
Martin made a great contribution to organizing several large international conferences. Since his time in London at Bonhoeffer’s Syndenham Church, he cultivated international friendships that have encouraged and inspired many with interest in Bonhoeffer. Even in his advanced age he showed interest in what younger Bonhoeffer scholars as well as students found interesting about Bonhoeffer. With an attentive and humorous personality and a big heart, he was a great blessing for the International Bonhoeffer Society. We are very grateful for his life. His funeral will be held on July 20 in Hürth.
Christiane Tietz, President of the German Language Section of the IBS
“Dear Christiane, my thanks also for your e-mail about Martin Hüneke who I fondly remember. I think I first met him at the Oxford Congress and, if I recall, he was involved in our visit to Bonhoeffer’s Sydenham Church in London. Do I remember rightly that he was once the pastor there? And then especially at the Cape Town Congress! He was one of the few Germans who came and he was very supportive. But my favorite story was when we all visited the black Guguletu Township one evening and I had to ‘rescue’ him from an increasingly excited crowd who were challenging him about his role during the Nazi period! We were all rather taken aback by this, especially in that very poor, uneducated neighborhood. Anyway, I broke into the South African national anthem and everyone joined in enthusiastically. While that was happening Martin and I made a dash for the safety of the bus . . . yes, Bonhoeffer Congresses have their moments.”
John de Gruchy
“Thank you so much for letting us know about the passing of Martin Hüneke. May he rest in peace. I, too, have fond memories of Martin Hüneke’s outgoing and positive presence on so many occasions, I believe first in Oxford (1980), then at successive IBS conferences, and during various stays in Berlin. Early in his term as editor of the IBG Rundbrief, he asked me to provide English summaries and/or translations of particular items for ecumenical occasions, which I sent to the English language section newsletter as well when it seemed warranted, e.g. the eulogy from Eberhard Bethge’s memorial service. By way of thanks, I received (and still receive) a gratis subscription, so that I have been privileged to read each issue cover to cover and have appreciated texts /summaries of presentations and reports arriving this side of the ‘pond’. Thank you!”
“Thank you for sharing this news, which I am sorry to hear but which also prompts me to give thanks for Martin’s life, ministry and friendship. Not least of course because he followed in Bonhoeffer’s footsteps, and those of Eberhard Bethge, as pastor in London and did much to foster interest in Bonhoeffer through the Sydenham Church. It was also always a pleasure to meet him at meetings of the Bonhoeffer Society, and you and I with John Matthews and others will recall the important help he gave on the planning committee for the Prague Congress in 2008. May his loved ones be assured of our prayers and thoughts at this time, in the peace and the hope which Christ brings.”