Als die Nazis mich holten
When the Nazis came for me

Pastor Martin Niemöller

As member of the Cambridge University chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (pacifist association),
I heard Niemöller recite a version of this poem at a meeting, held in late 1963 or early 1964, not far
from the Catholic church on Lensfield Road. I remember him mentioning at least communists,
social democrats, trade unionists and Jews.
[About other groups Niemöller is reported to have mentioned on various occasions]

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist
.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

Als sie die Juden holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Jude.
When they came for the Jews,
I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn't a Jew.
 [No original found]

When they came for the sick, the so-called incurables, I didn't speak up, because I wasn’t mentally ill.

When they came for the Catholics, I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr,
der protestieren konnte.
When they came for me,
there was no-one left
to speak out.

More about this poem and about Martin Niemöller