Pastor Martin Niemöller's (1892–1984) powerful speech about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group. Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945 because he opposed the Nazi control of churches. The formal charge was that of insufficiently support the state.
He narrowly escaped execution and survived imprisonment. After his imprisonment, he expressed his profound regret about not having helped the victims of the Nazis and ultimately himself. This is from his speech given 6 January 1946 to representatives of the Confessing Church in Frankfurt.
"They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
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 Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up."