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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.
First They Came... is a poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) about the quiescence of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.
His poem is well-known, frequently quoted, and is a popular model for describing the phenomenon of social chaos, as it often begins with specific and targeted fear and hatred which soon escalates out of control.