The period from January 30, 1933, when Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, to May 8, 1945 (V-E Day), the day commemorating the end of World War II in Europe, is known as the Holocaust (Shoah in Hebrew). During this period approximately 13 million people, including six million Jewish men, women and children, were murdered at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators.
Visitors to the Memorial are greeted at one end by words attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller, whose expression of the lesson of the Holocaust has become legendary.
They came first 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 trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
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 no one was left to speak up.
Pastor Niemoller had delivered antisemitic sermons early in the days of the Nazi regime, but later opposed Hitler and was sent to a concentration camp.
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