They First Came...
Maker: Northern Sun Merchandising
Date Made: 1980s
Place Made: United States: Minnesota, Minneapolis
Measurements: 59.5 cm x 42 cm; 23 7/16 in x 16 9/16 in
Main Subject: Anti-Semitism; Human Rights
Materials: glossy paper (fiber product)
They first came for the Communists and I did not speak up -- because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak up-- because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not 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. Pastor Martin Niemoeller (Nazi victim) Northern Sun Merchandising 2916 East Lake Street Minneapolis, Minnesota 55406 (612) 729-2001
Acquisition Number: 1996-103
Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) was an outspoken advocate for accepting the burden of collective guilt for World War II as a means of atonement for the suffering that the Nazis had caused before and during World War II. Before becoming a pastor, Niemoller had been a U-boat captain in World War I and supported Hitler before his rise to power. But Niemoller soon parted from the Nazis; from 1933 to 1937, he consistently opposed everything that they supported. Until 1937, the foreign press as well as Niemoller's influential friends in the affluent Berlin suburb where he preached protected the pastor. Eventually, he was arrested for treason and found guilty, but initially received only a suspended sentence. However, on Hitler's direct orders Niemoller was quickly re-arrested. Until the end of World War II, he was held at the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps, narrowly escaping execution. After the war, Niemoller preached the words on this poster. Niemoller emerged also as an adamant pacifist and advocate of reconciliation.
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