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View Diary: Instapundit Makes Stuff Up Too (184 comments)

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    The quotation with a life of its own

    "Everbody loves to quote Martin Niemöller's lines about moral failure in the face of the Holocaust: 'First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing. Then came the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did little. Then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me.'

    But interestingly, people use the quotation to imply different meanings - even altering it to suit their purpose.  When Time magazine used the quotation, they moved the Jews to the first place and dropped both the communists and the social democrats. American Vice-President Al Gore likes the to quote the lines, but drops the trade unionists for good measure. Gore and Time also added Roman Catholics, who weren't on Niemöller's list at all. In the heavily Catholic city of Boston, Catholics were added to the quotation inscribed on its Holocaust memorial. The US Holocaust Museum drops the Communists but not the Social Democrats; other versions have added homosexuals."

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