- Read the poem:
”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.”
- Talk with your friend:
– Which of the following best describes the message of the quote?
- People should define themselves by their similarities, not by their differences.
- Fear can cause people to stop caring about others or their suffering.
- People should speak out when they see injustice, or they may risk experiencing it themselves.
- Staying silent while witnessing a crime is the same thing as committing the crime.
– Which of the following best support the answer to the question above?
- “First they came for the Socialists”
- “Because I was not a Trade Unionist”
- “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.”
– What does the phrase “because I was not” emphasize about the speaker?
- The speaker is lonely and distanced from the rest of society, which is why he did not speak out.
- The speaker is deeply sorry and wants to justify why he did not speak out against the arrests.
- The speaker regrets not speaking out because he was not being targeted and ignored those who were.
- The speaker is a selfish, prejudiced person who did not care about the suffering of other people.
– How does the repetition used in the text contribute to its overall meaning? What is the overall meaning of this poem?
Who was Martin Niemöller? How is his life connected to the text? This wikipedia page might give us the answer.