WWII German Pastor Niemoller: Speak Up for the Rights of Others

German Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemoller
WWII Post War Poetic Confessional

“I didn’t speak up”

They came first for the Socialists, and I didn’t speak up –
            because I wasn’t a Socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up –
            because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up –
            because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up—
            because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me –
            and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Silence and Guilt

“We preferred to keep silent.
“We are certainly not without guilt.
“I ask myself again and again, what would have happened, if in the year 1933 or 1934—there must have been a possibility—14,000 Protestant pastors and all Protestant communities in Germany had defended the truth until their deaths?
 “I can imagine that perhaps 30,000 to 40,000 Protestant Christians would have had their heads cut off, but I can also imagine that we would have rescued 30–40 million people, because that is what it is costing us now.”

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