Above: Martin Niemöller commanding a U-Boat 1914.
Below: Martin Niemöller at his desk, 1936
Both images curtesy of Sibylle Niemöller.
Martin Niemöller was born in Germany on January 14th 1892. After being discharged from the German Navy during WWI for disobeying orders, Niemöller began training to become a priest, got married and had six children.
Like majority of the German population, Niemöller believed that Germany needed a strong leader, therefore he supported Hitler.
In 1934, Niemöller had a change in political stance, after meeting with Hitler and realising that Germany was under a dictatorship. Niemöller then began to openly oppose the Nazis. This resulted in him being arrested several times (1934-1937), being charged with treason and thrown into a concentration camp (1937). Niemöller spent 7 years in concentration camps, until US Troops liberated Tirol in Austria, where Niemöller was imprisoned.
After being liberated, Niemöller became president for the Hessen Nassau Lutheran Church (1947) and began preaching on collective German guilt. By the mid 1950s Niemöller had become a pacifist and was working for peace with international groups. He died on March 6th 1984, aged 92.