Saturday, 8 March 2008

Pastor Niemöller's famous poem

The Lutheran pastor was imprisoned for 7 years in Sachsenhausen and Dachau. Poet-in-Residence publishes Niemöller's most famous poem below, to mark the 70th anniversary of Hitler's march into Austria, and for educational purposes. He then adds a verse of his own.
This week the Austrian press, radio and televison are full of historical flashbacks, comment and opinion. There's no getting away from it. A day that will live in infamy as somebody once said about something else. Something that we'll no doubt come to in due course.
An interesting aside to all this is the business of re-naming of streets. Zeitgeist and political climate demands that Vienna's Frieden-platz (Frieden=Peace) becomes Mexico-platz becomes again Frieden-platz becomes Hermann-Göring-platz becomes Roosevelt-platz. If the name changes again Poet-in-Residence's money will be on Vivaldi-platz, for a Vivaldi memorial was recently imported from Italy and erected there.

First They Came for the Jews

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Martin Niemöller (1892 - 1984)

And here's P-i-R's version:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Slavs
and I did not speak out
because I was not Slavic.
Then they came for the Gypsies
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Gypsy.
Then they came for the psychiatric cases
the mentally handicapped
and the infirm
but again I did not speak out.
And then they came for
the little children
suffering in the hospitals,-
ideal material for their cruel experiments.

And finally someone spoke out.

But it was far too late.

1 comment:

  1. __ You’re invited to view my latest video “684”__ a collection of some short poems. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QQVtsjdiDw )

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