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Martin Niemoeller

Date of Birth:
January 14, 1892

Date of Death:
March 6, 1984

Quote count:

Times favorited:

Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller was a prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor. He is best known as the author of the poem First they came....

Although he was a national conservative and initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler, he became one of the founders of the Confessing Church, which opposed the nazification of German Protestant churches. Despite his own antisemitic attitudes, he vehemently opposed the Nazis' Aryan Paragraph. For his opposition to the Nazi's state control of the churches, Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945. He narrowly escaped execution and survived imprisonment. After his imprisonment, he expressed his deep regret about not having done enough to help the victims of the Nazis. He turned away from his earlier antisemitic and nationalistic beliefs and was one of the initiators of the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt. Since the 1950s, he was a vocal pacifist and anti-war activist, and vice-chair of War Resisters' International from 1966 to 1972. He met with Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam War and was a committed campaigner for nuclear disarmament.

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