Cast of Characters:

Enkidu (AKA Slim)
Beowolf (AKA Wolfie)
Blaze (AKA Blaze)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

"First they came..." by Martin Niemöller

"First they came…" is a poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group. (Wikipedia)

There are various versions of this poem. This is the one that is listed as the original at Wikipedia. Other versions include other groups such as the Catholics and the homosexuals. The idea is the same, though. If we don't speak out when we see injustice, we may be next!

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie die Juden holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Jude.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.


Anonymous said...

That poem is one of the most heart-wrenching writings in the Western world. It makes an irrefutable point about moral clarity.

I just wrote to a woman, an enthusiastic supporter of the current american president, and mentioned this poem. She said, "I don't study war history."

I was stunned! These are the people who put a non-citizen in our White House.

Karen said...

Actually, Obama is a citizen.

I think that we all need to speak up, though, when we see injustices taking place, regardless of political orientation.