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Martin Niemöller Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: January 14, 1892
Died: March 6, 1984
Biography | show moreshow less
Martin Niemöller (1892-1984, born Martin Frederick Gustav Emil Niemöller in Lippstadt, Germany), was a submarine Commander in World War I. Strongly anti-communist in the interwar period, he initially supported the Nazis until the church was made subordinate to state authority. Niemoeller spent seven years in concentration camps in "protective custody". He was liberated in 1945 and was elected President of the Protestant church in Hesse and Nassau in 1947, serving until 1964. He is best known for his powerful statement about the failure of Germans to speak out against the Nazis: "First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me." He was elected President of the World Council of Churches in 1961. In the 1950s, Niemoller became an ardent pacifist and a campaigner for nuclear disarmament. He visited Ho Chi Minh at the height of the Vietnam War, and was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1966.

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