“First They Came…”

Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)


When the Nazis came for the communists
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

Then they locked up the social democrats
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

Then they came for the trade unionists.
I did not protest;
I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews.
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics.
But I did not speak up because I was Protestant.

Then they came for me,
And, by that time, no one was left to speak out for me.

Martin Niemöller, cell Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen – EBook Margaret A. McQuillan: An Orange in Winter / The Beginning of the Holocaust as Seen Through the Eyes of a Child
Pastor Niemöller’s cell in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp – © Archive M. A. McQuillan

Martin Niemöller was a German pastor and theologian. As an anti‐communist, he first supported Hitler’s rise to power. But when Hitler insisted on the supremacy of the state or religion, Niemöller became disillusioned. He became leader of a group of German clergymen opposed to Hitler. Unlike Niemöller, they gave in to the Nazis’ threats. Hitler personally hated Niemöller and had him arrested and confined in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps. He was released in 1945 by the Allies.



An Orange in Winter Copyright © 2017 by Margaret A. McQuillan and Geschichtswerkstatt Lüneburg e.V.. All Rights Reserved.


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