Martin Niemoeller

The Failure to Speak Up Against the Nazis


This quotation is often cited incorrectly. The exact phrasing was supplied by Sibylle Sarah Niemoeller von Sell, Martin Niemoeller's wife. The remark was made in reply to a student's question, "How could it happen?"


“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.”

Martin Niemoeller