And no one spoke.

Something to Talk About

 

Most people have not heard of Martin Niemoller, and understandably so. Research of the name would tell you he was a Lutheran pastor born in Germany in 1892. He served in the Germany navy during WWI and supported Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the early 1930’s. However, in 1937 he was arrested by Hitler for opposing Nazi control of the Protestant churches. He was sent to several forced labor camps including Dachau prison. He was freed when the Allied forces liberated the camp in 1945. After the war he continued to pastor the German people. He remained a controversial figure until his death in 1984.  

His reflection and analogy years later of Hitler’s rise to power is not a military or political determination of power gained but, rather a synopsis on how the German people allowed Hitler to seize absolute control. The following is a short excerpt from a poem he wrote: 

“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.” 

The pronoun “they” used in this poem is referring to the Nazis. Over the years people have substituted the victims and power-hungry perpetrators stated in this poem to suit current events. It is good to be reminded of past events, if we choose to learn from them instead of repeating them. 

The Nazi news service, organized and operated by Joseph Goebbels Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945, controlled all news outlets, the news content and distribution. If a news source opposed the party, it was put out of business. Does that sound familiar today? 

The pre-war Nazi party included a group of thugs known as the “Brownshirts.” In 1921 Hitler formally organized this group consisting mostly of veterans of WWI and unemployed workers. The German name for this group was “Sturmabteilung” meaning Storm Unit. Their job was to intimidate political opposition by harassment, vandalism, and violence. Does this sound familiar today?   

In 1931, German government officials (the Weimar Republic) feared the Nazi radicals. In an effort to prevent violence from this group a law was passed to register all firearms under the pretext of “public safety.” Law abiding citizens complied with this law. Their names were put on a list. When the Nazis seized power in 1933, they obtained the list. Gun registration puts your name on a list. 

 

In 1933 Adolf Hitler organized the Hitler Youth for the purpose of educating and training male youth in Nazi principles. Tens of thousands of young men went through this indoctrination. Today, some United States politicians and news commentators (Hillary Clinton and Katie Couric) are chanting that Trump supporters need to be re-programed or de-programed. 

Is the United States on the brink of experiencing a “repeat of history?” Hitler’s arrival into world events could be attributed to divine providence or simply a coincidence of fate. We know of his involvement. Do we know who is involved in today’s events? Who is organizing, who is controlling, who is funding the events we see in our country today? Events that are paralleling the events of the past.  

 

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