For all that some Jews embrace Niemoller, he of the famous 'first they came for the communists' poem; he was a Nazi and enthusiastically supported Hitler until Hitler's policies, not those involving Jews of course, violated his Christian principles he also commanded troops in a right wing coup that predated Hitler and described Nazism as based on a 'solid moral christian foundation'
He voted for the Nazi party and made speeches on behalf of Nazism and Hitler. His difference with the Nazis came not over killing Jews but killing Jews who had converted to Christianity (a position he shared with the Catholic Church) but he remained an ardent nationalist even from Dachau, he wrote a letter volunteering to serve in the navy when WW2 began.
His allies attempted to pass off the letter as a forgery but when Niemoller was rescued, he admitted it was authentic and that he had "never quarreled with Hitler over political matters, but purely on religious grounds".
In other words Niemoller had not disagreed with Hitler only to the extent that Hitler disagreed with Christianity. Niemoller remained a despicable personage who milked sympathy for Germany while at the same time calling President Truman, the second greatest murderer in the world after Hitler.
After the war he developed ties to the Soviet Union, advocated against the Cold War, befriended the Viet Cong leadership and received many prizes and honors from the brutal Soviet regime while denouncing the West.
The famous poem he was credited with, never appeared in his writings or was credibly authored by him, though it has been attributed to him. Its actual source remains unknown.
What a terrifying revelation! Most people would take that poem at face value, a cautionary tale against bigotry of all kinds--religious, racial, ethnic--what have you. We must look out for one another for the sake of humanity and survival.ReplyDelete
How how mindboggling to learn its true meaning.
This sort of reminds me an episode on the original Twilight Zone. For those unfamilar with the plot, a family is rescued from earth by a progressive and seemingly altruistic society of aliens.
While on the spaceship, the human family wants for nothing. They have all the luxuries they could imagine; meals fit for a king.
And then...the catch. The humans find a book titled "To Serve Man." No one is able to decipher the meaning of the book until one night, when all chance of escape or rescue is lost, the true meaning of the book is discovered!
"To serve man is a cook book! one of the doomed characters screams.
I don't mean to be flip, but reading the underlying truth about that poem had the same effect on me. I wish I could articulate it better.
I know the episode quite wellReplyDelete
a lot of political rhetoric is like that, it looks shiny on the surface but when you think about it, it begins to fall apart
the transformation of martin niemoller to a saint has been particularly dubious and many go on to quote and praise a man who was not remotely deserving of it, unlike some germans and christians who really did stand up to the nazis from the very beginning
I think we can seperate the message of the poem from the messanger.ReplyDelete
can you seperate the person from their politics?ReplyDelete