Saturday, February 5, 2011

"First They Came" - Powerful Words Against Evil....

The power of the language of music is, of course, an intrinsic part of human consciousness; however, some words entered my memory bank this morning which contain, in my view, the same essence of that indescribable power of human communication. In the event you do not know who Martin Niemoeller was, he became a Lutheran Pastor, and for a short time supported the early Nazi aims; that is, until Hitler made the state more powerful than the church. Even though this brilliant young theologian, at first, did not voice opposition to the violent suppression against those whom Hitler viewed as either minorities or the political opposition, the realities of Hitlerism led Niemoeller to speak out - and in an eloquent and courageous statement, he said (and I paraphrase, as I cannot recall the exact words) "First they came for the Communists, and as I was not a Communist, I did not speak out for them. Then they came for the Socialists and Trade Unionists, and as I was neither, I did not speak out for them. Then they came for the Jews, and as I am not a Jew, I did not speak out for them. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me."
He was arrested, and sent to various concentration camps until liberation by the Allies in 1945.
I cannot find a more powerful example of personal courage to come out of that period.

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