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LETTERS

Niemoller's anti-Nazi warning still apt for our times

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Gillian Hatch Carlsen

Friday, November 9, 2018

In these dangerous times, when truth, facts our constitution and minorities are under attack, the following poem by Martin Niemoller is worth considering:

"First 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 for me."

Niemoller was a German right-wing, anti-semitic theologian and Lutheran minister. He changed his views under the Nazis, spoke out against Hitler, and was sent to Dachau. Later he became president of the World Council of Churches and spent the rest of his life reprimanding Germans who had supported Hitler, and apologizing to Jews for his former beliefs. A version of this poem is displayed in the United States Holocaust Museum.

Gillian Hatch Carlsen

Elizabeth City

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