Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's interesting how many versions of this poem, attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), exist...

Original Translation
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.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.
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.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.


Two Other Versions:

New England Holocaust Memorial

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Mentally Ill

First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the sick, the so-called incurables, and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't mentally ill.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left
to speak up for me
And then, also, some people have incorporated it into songs. The one on the v. bottom is my fave:

From the Scottish musical duo Hue and Cry
When they came for the Jews and the blacks, I turned away
When they came for the writers and the thinkers and the radicals and the protestors,
I turned away
When they came for the gays, and the minorities, and the utopians, and the dancers,
I turned away
And when they came for me, I turned around and around, and there was nobody left...


'Madame Guillotine" by the Legendary Pink Dots

First they rounded up the reds
But I'm not red so…
Then they rounded up the blacks
But I'm not black so…
Then they rounded up the gypsies
And the junkies and the donkeys.
Now I'm scared to whistle 'swanee'
'Cause they'll ask me for my spit…

Charles Mingus "Don't Let It Happen Here."

One day they came and they took the Communists
And I said nothing because I was not a Communist
Then one day they came and they took the people of the Jewish faith
And I said nothing because I had no faith left
One day they came and they took the unionists
And I said nothing because I was not a unionist
One day they burned the Catholic churches
And I said nothing because I was born a Protestant
Then one day they came and they took me
And I could say nothing because I was as guilty as they were
For not speaking out and saying that all men have a right to freedom
On any land
I was as guilty of genocide
As you
All of you
For you know when a man is free
And when to set him free from his slavery
So I charge you all with genocide
The same as I
One of the 18 million dead Jews
18 million dead people

Asian Dub Foundation "Round Up"

dem come for de rasta and you say nothing
dem come from the muslims you say nothing
dem come for the anti-globalist you say nothing
dem even come for the liberals and you say nothing
dem come for you and will speak for you? who will speak for you, who ?

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