Martin Niemöller citations

Martin Niemöller foto
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Martin Niemöller

Date de naissance: 14. janvier 1892
Date de décès: 6. mars 1984

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Emil Gustav Friedrich Martin Niemöller, né le 14 janvier 1892 à Lippstadt et mort le 6 mars 1984 à Wiesbaden, est un pasteur, théologien allemand et créateur de l'Église confessante.

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Citations Martin Niemöller

„Our people are trying to break the bond set by God. That is human conceit rising against God.“

— Martin Niemöller
Context: Our people are trying to break the bond set by God. That is human conceit rising against God. In this connection we must warn the Führer, that the adoration frequently bestowed on him is only due to God. Some years ago the Führer objected to having his picture placed on Protestant altars. Today his thoughts are used as a basis not only for political decisions but also for morality and law. He himself is surrounded with the dignity of a priest and even of an intermediary between God and man... We ask that liberty be given to our people to go their way in the future under the sign of the Cross of Christ, in order that our grandsons may not curse their elders on the ground that their elders left them a state on earth that closed to them the Kingdom of God. Statement on behalf of the Confessional Church, signed by nine other pastors, as quoted in TIME magazine (27 July 1936) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,847755,00.html

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„We had been frightened of atomic weapons since 1945. In those days I became convinced — and remain convinced now — that, after Hitler, Truman was the greatest murderer in the world.“

— Martin Niemöller
On his movement toward pacifism and becoming an activist against nuclear weaponry, as quoted in Martin Niemöller, 1892-1984 (1984) by James Bentley, p. 213

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„The oppression is growing, and anyone who has had to submit to the Tempter's machine-gun fire during this last week thinks differently from what he did even three weeks ago.“

— Martin Niemöller
Last sermon before being imprisoned by the Nazi regime of Germany (27 June 1937), as quoted in Religion in the Reich (1939) by Michael Power, p. 142

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

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

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.“

— Martin Niemöller
"First they came..." – The origins of this poem first have been traced to a speech given by Niemöller on January 6, 1946, to the representatives of the Confessing Church in Frankfurt. According to research http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/niem.htm by Harold Marcuse, the original groups mentioned in the speech were Communists, the incurably sick, Jews, and people in occupied countries. Since then, the contents have often been altered to produce numerous variants. Niemöller himself came up with different versions, depending on the year. The most famous and well known alterations are perhaps those beginning "First they came for the Jews" of which this is one of the more commonly encountered: First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me. Another variant extends the comparisons to incude Catholics and Protestants: In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. 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 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. Other translations or variants: In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist; And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist; And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew; And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up. Twenty-five years later Niemöller indicated that this was the version he preferred, in a 1971 interview. When the Nazis came for the communists, I did not speak out; As I was not a communist. <p> When they locked up the social democrats, I did not speak out; I was not a social democrat. <p> When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; As I was not a trade unionist. <p> When they came for the Jews, I did not speak out; As I was not a Jew. <p> When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out. When the Nazis arrested the Communists, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Communist. When they locked up the Social Democrats, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Social Democrat. When they arrested the trade unionists, I said nothing; after all, I was not a trade unionist. When they arrested me, there was no longer anyone who could protest. First the Nazis came… First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a communist; Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak out for me. Online source for German quote: Martin Niemöller Stiftung, 22.09.2005, Wiesbaden http://www.martin-niemoeller-stiftung.de/4/daszitat/a31

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