Martin Niemöller – Author of First They Came For…

Martin Niemöller was a prominent Protestant pastor in Germany who emerged as an outspoken public critic of Adolf Hitler during the early years of the Third Reich.

Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

First they came 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 Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.

Martin Niemöller was born in Lippstadt, Westphalia, on January 14th, 1892.

This picture shows Niemoller (standing in uniform, upper center) at the Kiel harbor with his crew after a successful cruise.
He had been commander of a German U-boat during the First World War and earned the nickname of “The Scourge of Malta.” Flying a French flag as deception, the U-73 sailed past British warships guarding Gibralter into the Mediterranean where they torpedoed two Allied troopships and a British man-of-war. He was then transferred to the larger, modern U-151, which then set a record by sinking 55,000 tons of Allied ships in 115 days at sea. Niemöller was then given command of the UC-67 with which he temporarily closed the French port of Marseilles as he sank ships in the area, by torpedoes and by the laying of mines.

Under the stipulations of the armistice of November 11, 1918, that ended hostilities in World War I, Niemöller and other commanders were ordered to turn over their U-Boats to England. Along with many others, Niemöller refused to obey this order, and was, as a consequence, discharged from the Navy.

In 1920, he decided to follow the path of his father and began seminary training at the University of Münster. He married Else Bruner on April 20, 1919 and the couple had 6 children.

As inflation and economic and political turmoil increased in Germany during 1922, Niemöller was forced to take on a part-time job laying tracks for the railroads while continuing his seminary studies.

He was ordained on June 29, 1924. In 1931, he became the third and Junior Pastor of Saint Anne’s Church, located in the affluent and much sought-after parish in the Berlin suburb of Dahlem.

Niemöller shared with the Nazi party the dislike for communists and the Weimar Republic about which he said had given Germany ´fourteen years of darkness’ and as pastor, Niemöller’s sermons reflected his strong nationalist sentiment.

He felt that reparations, democracy, and foreign influence had led to damaging social fragmentation and atomization of the individual in Germany. As a monarchist, Niemöller believed that Germany needed a strong leader to promote national unity and honor. When Hitler and the National Socialist Party emerged, touting slogans of strong nationalist leadership and autonomy for private worship of the Christian faith, Niemöller voted for them — both in the 1924 Prussian state elections and in the final national parliamentary elections of March 1933.

At the beginning of 1934, Niemöller’s illusion disappeared when Hitler subordinated the German Evangelic Church and appointed Ludwig Müller as Bishop of the Reich. Some kind of neopaganism was established. The Old Testament was abandoned. All pastors were forced to swear loyalty to the Reich under the saying ‘One People, One Reich, One Faith’. Those who opposed the aberration were arrested and many died in the gas chambers. ‘National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable’, repeated Hitler’s deputy Martin Bormann.

In May 1934, the Confessional Church declared itself as the legitimate representative of Protestantism in Germany and attracted more than seven thousand pastors.

With the aim of maintaining the independence of the Lutheran church from the advances of the totalitarian power, Niemöller founded the Emergency Pastoral League (Pfarrernotbund), an organization of pastors to “combat rising discrimination against Christians of Jewish background” in 1933.

By the autumn of 1934, Niemöller joined other Lutheran and Protestant churchmen like Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer in founding the Confessing Church (Bekennende Kirche), an opposition movement that opposed the Nazification of the German Protestant churches.

Rev. Niemöller was protected until 1937 by both the foreign press and influential friends in the up-scale Berlin suburb where he preached. In that year, he preached his last sermon in the Third Reich knowing that he was soon to be arrested:

“We have no more thought of using our own powers to escape the arm of authorities than had the Apostles of old. No more are we ready to keep silent at man’s behest when God commands us to speak. For it is, and must remain, the case that we must obey God rather than man.”

Hitler, furious by the attitude of the once praised pastor, ordered Niemöller’s arrest on July 1st 1937. Tried in March 1938, Niemöller was found guilty of subversive actions against the State and was condemned to seven months of imprisonment and to pay a fine of two thousand Marks.

After doing his term, Niemöller continued practicing his tenacious disobedience and was arrested again. This time the sentence resulted more severe and he had to spend seven years at the Sachsenhousen concentration camp under the legal figure of ‘protective custody’ and, on Hitler’s command, as ‘personal prisoner of the Führer’. In 1941 he was moved to Dachau, where he stayed until the end of the war.

After the war, Niemöller emerged from prison to preach the words that began this article, that all of us know. It was shortly after the end of the war that Niemöller became convinced that the German people had a collective responsibility for the Nazi atrocities. He often used the word Schuld (guilt).
In October 1945, he was instrumental in producing the German Protestant Church’s “Confession of Guilt” in Stuttgart, in which the German Protestant churches formally accepted guilt for their complicity in allowing the suffering which Hitler’s reign caused to occur.

His November 1945 diary entry and some subsequent speeches he gave imply that a visit that month to Dachau, where the crematorium was being kept as a memorial site triggered the thought that became this famous quotation.

Different versions of the quotation exist. These can be attributed to the fact that Niemöller spoke extemporaneously and in a number of settings. Much controversy surrounds the content of the poem as it has been printed in varying forms, referring to alternating groups such as Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Trade Unionists or Communists depending upon the version.

Nonetheless his point was that Germans — in particular, he believed, the leaders of the Protestant churches — had been complicit through their silence in the Nazi imprisonment, persecution, and murder of millions of people.

At the same time, however, Niemöller, like most of his compatriots, was largely silent about the persecution and mass murder of the European Jews. Only in 1963, in a West German television interview, did Niemöller acknowledge and make a statement of regret about his own antisemitism.

Proposed U.N. Treaty Could Threaten Your Second Amendment Rights

The United Nations does not approve of our Second Amendment. They are hoping to do something about it soon. Using the pretense of a proposed global “Small Arms Treaty” which will be touted as something to fight terrorism, insurgencies and international crime organizations, you can bet that, hidden inside, the treaty will target our Constitutional right for law-abiding citizens to own and bear arms.

While the terms have not yet been made public, if passed by the U.N. and ratified by our Senate, it will almost certainly force the U.S. to:

• Enact tougher licensing requirements, creating additional bureaucratic red tape for legal firearms ownership.
• Confiscate and destroy all ‘unauthorized’ civilian firearms.
• Ban the trade, sale and private ownership of all semi-automatic weapons
• Create an international gun registry (clearly setting the stage for full-scale gun confiscation.

Have no doubt that this plan is very real and has strong support from the Obama administration. In January 2010, the U.S. joined 152 other countries in endorsing a U.N. Arms Treaty Resolution that will establish a 2012 conference to draft a blueprint for enactment. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already pledged to push for Senate ratification.

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton has cautioned gun owners to take this initiative seriously, stating that the U.N. “is trying to act as though this is really just a treaty about international arms trade between nation states, but there is no doubt that the real agenda here is domestic firearms control.”

The majority in the U.S. Senate is smart enough to realize that the U.N.’s gun-grab agenda is unconstitutional, politically suicidal for those who support it, and down-right idiotic—right?

These are people who make a habit of voting for bills that they haven’t read, so let’s not count on them to preserve our Constitutional rights. If we leave it up to them, we could lose both our guns and our rights.

Financial Burden of Mr Obama’s Kinetic Military Actions

Outgoing Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates said last month that the Pentagon expected that they would spend in the neighborhood of $750 million in the 2011 fiscal year on the operations in Libya.

However, according to a Pentagon memo which includes a detailed update on the progress of operations, U.S. operations in Libya had already cost $664 million by mid-May.

The memo states that U.S. costs are running at a rate of about $2 million a day or $60 million a month.

If spending continues at the increased rate until the end of the recently extended NATO authorization period, the Department of Defense could face an extra bill of about $274 million to pay for a combination of air strikes, refueling operations and intelligence-gathering missions. This would only serve to further strain the already bloated military budget.

Any additional costs could also add to pressure on the US to limit its mission in Libya. The House of Representatives just recently passed a non-binding resolution demanding that President Obama explain the US involvement in Libya, forestalling a more radical measure seeking an end to US involvement.

Although it is working under NATO, the US is by far the largest contributor to operation Unified Protector. As of mid-May it was conducting 70 per cent of reconnaissance missions, over 75 per cent of refuelling flights and 27 per cent of all air sorties.

The administration hasn’t seen fit to justify, either to Congress or to the American people, the national security interest requiring American military involvement in the civil war in Libya.

I don’t believe this nation can afford Kinetic Military Actions such as the one in Libya or the not-so-public one in Yemen where we are using drones and fighter aircraft to perform airstrikes in that country as well.

Mr. President, it is time to end these conflicts.

White House Pressuring Netanyahu To Accept Obama’s Peace Plan

Israel Radio Reported Sunday that The United States gave Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu an ultimatum on renewing negotiations with the Palestinians.

Washington is pressuring Prime Minister Netanyahu to agree to its proposal to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on the basis of U.S. President Barack Obama’s May 19 speech.

Netanyahu’s personal envoy, Isaac Molho, spent last week in Washington, where the Americans presented their proposal for resuming talks on the basis of Obama’s speech. Specifically, Obama’s plan calls for negotiating over borders and security first, while deferring issues such as Jerusalem and the refugees until later. It also calls for the borders to be based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed land swaps.

The Americans told Molho that to block European initiatives such as France’s proposal for an international peace conference in Paris, they must have something concrete to offer, like Netanyahu‘s agreement to negotiate on the basis of Obama’s speech.

Since the talks with Molho last week, the White House has been upping the pressure on Netanyahu. On Friday, Steve Simon, who heads the U.S. National Security Council’s Middle East desk, told American Jewish leaders that Netanyahu needs to reply within a month to the U.S. proposal for restarting talks based on 1967 lines. The White House knew this remark would both be conveyed to Netanyahu and leaked to the American and Israeli press, thus making its displeasure public.

An Israeli source who maintains close ties with both senior U.S. officials and people close to Netanyahu said that Washington‘s frustration began with Netanyahu’s trip to Washington last month, when he publicly fought with Obama and then refused in an address to Congress to endorse the president’s outline for talks. The Americans were now speaking very harshly of Netanyahu, said the source.

Showing that there is still strong support for Israel in America, Netanyahu’s position was met with bi-partisan support in the U.S. Congress last month, when Netanyahu was proceeded by the top Democratic senator who gave a speech critiquing sentiments expressed by Obama.

“A fair beginning to good-faith talks means that Israel cannot be asked to agree to confines that would compromise its own security,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told some 10,000 AIPAC activists on the night before Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session.

“And I believe the parties that should lead those negotiations must be the parties at the center of this conflict – and no one else.”

He said deal-making must take place at the negotiating table, and that “those negotiations will not happen – and their terms will not be set – through speeches, or in the streets, or in the media. No one should set premature parameters about borders, about building or about anything else.”

Israeli Cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser said that Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear in his speech to the U.S. Congress that “the ball is now in the Palestinians’ court” and if PA President Mahmoud Abbas accepts Israel as a Jewish State, “ninety percent of the conflict will be resolved,” Israel Radio reported.

Hauser stated that all remaining problems could be negotiated, but it seems that there is “not the slightest hint that the Palestinians were willing to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.”

Hauser would not give any specifics into Netanyahu’s claims in the speech that some settlements would end up beyond Israel’s border as part of an agreement with the Palestinians.

He said that the prime minister’s point in his speech was that he is willing to give the Palestinians an offer “generous enough” to lead to a peace agreement.

Hauser said that by doing so, Netanyahu showed that the problem was not territory, but rather the Palestinian refusal to accept Israel.

America has stood with Israel since President Harry Truman recognized Israel a mere 11 minutes after she became a state in 1948. But during his tenure as President of the United States, President Obama has initiated a policy which shows contempt for Israel’s concern and safety.

In an era dubbed the ‘Arab Spring’ we have seen increased volatility in the Middle East region. President Obama has chosen to add to fuel to the fires burning in the already unstable region including this call for Israel to return to the 1967 borders without preconditions.

As demonstrated by Netenyau’s reception in the U.S. Congress, this president does not speak for the entire nation on this issue. Like many others, I choose to stand with our friend Israel.

Another Slap In The Face of Britain By Obama Administration

On his recent trip to London, President Obama was singing the praises for the Special Relationship between our two countries, but his administration has continued to slap Britain in the face over the issue of the Falkland Islands, an issue of high sensitivity in the UK. Washington has signed on to a “draft declaration on the question of the Malvinas Islands” passed by unanimous consent by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) at its meeting in San Salvador this week.

The issue has been heavily pushed by Argentina and, in signing on, the United States finds itself on the same side as Venezuela and Nicaragua.

The declaration calls for Argentina and Great Britain to enter into negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falklands, a position which London views as completely unacceptable.

Washington backed a similar resolution in June of last year, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear in a joint press conference with Cristina Kirchner in Buenos Aires in March 2010 that the Obama administration fully backs Argentina’s calls for negotiations over the Falkands. The State Department has also insultingly referred to the Islands in the past as the Malvinas, the Argentine name for them.

The sovereignty of the Islands is not a matter for negotiation, and Britain plainly state they will never give in to threats from Argentina or its tyrannical allies.

As Margaret Thatcher famously reminded the world, in an address to the House of Commons after the Argentine invasion in April 1982, the Falklands are, and always will remain British.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Barack Obama has been the most anti-British president in modern American history. The Special Relationship has been significantly downgraded, and at times humiliated under his presidency, which has displayed a shocking disregard for America’s most important partner and strategic ally.

Girl Stoned to Death For Violation of Sharia Law – Update!

The UK Daily Mail is reporting that a 19-year-old Muslim girl was stoned to death by Muslims, not in Afghanistan or Iran, but in an Eastern European village in the Ukraine. Katya Koren’s battered body was found a week after she disappeared, buried in a forest in the Crimea region near her home.

Friends said she liked wearing fashionable clothes and had recently come in seventh in a beauty contest.

Police have opened a murder probe and are now looking into claims that three Muslim youths killed her.

One of the three, named as Bihal Gaziev, told police that she had “violated the laws of Sharia”. Gaziev, 16, who is now under arrest, allegedly added that he had no regrets about Katya being killed.

The majority of Muslims in Ukraine are ethnic Crimean Tatars and live in the Crimean peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea.

While initial media reports said three Muslim youths were responsible for the murder of Koren, claiming her death had been justified under Islam, the Daily Telegraph now writes that local police are claiming “her killing had nothing to do with sectarian violence and that the girl had been killed by a psychologically troubled classmate who had given her a lift on his moped and then robbed and possibly raped her before battering her to death with a rock.”

Sergei Reznikov, a senior policeman involved in the case, told the Telegraph: “A student did it, killing his classmate. There is no other underlying reason, neither religious nor linked with inter-ethnic conflicts.”

According to an official report on a Crimean government website, the 16-year-old classmate confessed to her murder, and gave as his reason, “I just wanted to kill her.” The suspect is being evaluated currently for whether he is of sound mind.