Niemoller, Martin

Question:

I teach 8th grade English in Utah and have lost my copy of a poem re: the Holocaust -- lines something like "they came for .. but I wasn't ... so I didn't care/get involved" and then after "they" came for group after group, the final stanza mentions that they came for his type of people and there wasn't anyone left to stand up for him.

Anyway, I really want that poem as it had such a powerful impact on my students. Do you have any idea where I can get a copy?

Gordon McFee answers:

Here it is:

They came for the Communists, and I didn't object - For I wasn't a Communist;
They came for the Socialists, and I didn't object - For I wasn't a Socialist;
They came for the labor leaders, and I didn't object - For I wasn't a labor leader;
They came for the Jews, and I didn't object - For I wasn't a Jew;
Then they came for me - And there was no one left to object.

- Martin Niemoller, German Protestant Pastor, 1892-1984

Hope this helps.

Gord McFee

Question:

I really need to find a very moving quote that I have heard many times before but can't remember the exact wording. I believe that the quote is by Bonhoeffer, but I could be wrong. It says something to the extent of: they came for the Jews, but I wasn't a Jew . . . so when they came for me their was no one left. I am sorry that I can't give you more help. If you have any ideas about this please send me the author and the exact wording of the quote. Thank you so much for your help and keep up the great work!

Harry Mazal OBE answers:

Thank you for your query.

I am one of the persons in the Holocaust History Project that responds to questions from our readers.

The quote is from Martin Niemoeller (1892-1984), a Pastor in the Confessing Church, not by Bohoeffer who was executed by the Nazis shortly before the end of World War II.

The quote appears in the Congressional Record 14 October 1968, page 31636:

When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and there was nobody left to be concerned.

Although there are some variations that have been published on that famous quotation, the words shown above are the exact ones that Niemoeller spoke in Congress.

Yours sincerely,

Harry W. Mazal OBE

Question:

Hello! I have a friend who is truly inspired by Martin Niemoller's famous poem. I can find all kinds of information about it on the web, however, what I truly want is a framed copy to purchase. Do you know of such an item available? I believe this would make a wonderful present for him. Please advise me if you know of any such item in giftshops, etc. Thank you so much for your time.

Sara Salzman Responds:

Hello,

I am submitting this for one of my colleagues.

Hi. My name is Sara Salzman and I'm one of the volunteers at The Holocaust History Project.

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum sells two different posters with the Neimoller quote. They are both under US$15.00, but you would have to frame them yourself.

You can call the Museum gift shop directly at 1-800-259-9998

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