The maternal side of Paula’s family included artists and musicians. Her mother, Clara von Hase, née Countess Kalkreuth (1851–1903), took piano lessons from Franz Liszt and Clara Schumann, wife of the composer.
On February 4, 1906, their fourth and youngest son, Dietrich, was born ten minutes before his twin sister, Sabine,
All of the Bonhoeffer children were born in Breslau, where Karl Bonhoeffer held the chair in psychiatry and neurology at the university, and was director of the hospital for nervous diseases.
When Dietrich turned eight, he began piano lessons. All the children had music lessons, but none showed such promise. His ability to sight-read was remarkable. He became so accomplished that he seriously thought of taking it up as a career.