Silence is not Golden by
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Prompted By Silence

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The world seems more perilous daily, and apprehension about the future is intense.  If the antidote to despair is action, then here is much to do with the time that is left.

You know this quote.

The prompt of “silence” brought to mind a famous quote by Niemöller that seems ever more relevant, with a few modern substitutions.  I looked it up and discovered that he was a pastor and anti-semite who started out supporting Hitler, but ultimately found that his principles could not be reconciled with Nazism and paid the price for his opposition with eight years in prison and concentration camps.  A controversial figure, he continued to evolve and after the war he was a voice for acknowledging one’s complicity and for changing.

You know this quote.  It hangs in the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum. It still resonates:

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

—Martin Niemöller

Profile photo of Khati Hendry Khati Hendry


Characterizations: moving, well written

Comments

  1. Khati, I well knew that quote and knew the speaker’s name and that he was a pastor, and in fact once had it on a magnet on my fridge, but now thanx for the back story that I hadn’t known.

    • Khati Hendry says:

      I got my information from the US Memorial Holocaust Museum site, which has quite a long and interesting article on Niemöller. I knew the quote but not the full story. In any case, it does seem excruciatingly relevant today.

  2. It is worth being reminded of that quote a few times every year. Thanks for doing that. An interesting take on the prompt of “silence.”

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