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This Week in Christian History: Martin Niemöller Dies, Religious Instruction Ban, America's 1st Religious Magazine

Martin Niemöller Dies - March 6, 1984

Martin Niemöller
Martin Niemöller(1892-1984), famed anti-Nazi German theologian. |

This week marks the anniversary of the death of Martin Niemöller, a German theologian who was renowned for his anti-Nazi views.

Founder of Germany's Confessing Church and a former president of the World Council of Churches, Niemöller is most remembered for his famous "first they came" statement.

The poetic statement of self-blame over not speaking out against oppression remains an oft-quoted remarks in American politics. While the exact wording is disputed, the poem is generally rendered as follows:

"First 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 the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Finally, they came for me and there was no one left to speak out."

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