Martin Niemöller Dies - March 6, 1984
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."