Martin Niemoeller: Hero of the Concentration Camp (1942)


"Hitler Would Have Slain Him Had He Possessed Enough Nerve to Face the Uprising Among Niemoeller's Countless Thousands of Followers"

Miller, Basil. Martin Niemoeller. Hero of the Concentration Camp. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1942.

Octavo. Hardcover. 3rd Edition in 4th Edition dust jacket .

Third edition, in fourth-edition dust jacket, of this rare inspirational biography of cleric and political prisoner Martin Niemoeller, written while he was still in a Nazi concentration camp. This biography was written in 1942, midway through Martin Niemoeller's imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp. Written by Pastor Basil Miller for Christian publisher Zondervan, this book takes, perhaps, a somewhat white-washed view of Niemoeller. One of the more complicated figures of World War II, Martin Niemoeller was initially a member of the Nazi party before he became a Nazi political prisoner. The son of a Lutheran pastor and the recipient of an Iron Cross for his service in World War I, Niemoeller recognized a calling to the pulpit upon leaving the military. As a strong conservative, Niemoeller was anxious to support any government that promised a revival of German values. He, like many Germans of the time, was a casual antisemite. Initially, he supported Hitler and was unopposed to plans to remove Jews from political life and to limit their rights. However, by 1936, Niemoeller began to split with the Nazi Party. He opposed the so-called "Aryan Paragraph," which attacked even Jews who had converted to Lutheranism. Niemoeller's perspective was, admittedly, the barest glimpse of enlightenment within the darkness of his own antisemitism. Nevertheless, Niemoeller openly fought against the measures directed at converts and the church and earned Hitler's personal ire. In 1937, Niemoeller was arrested. He was initially classed as a high-status political prisoner, which protected him from some of the most egregious treatment by the Nazis. Upon his release, he was thrown into Dachau and Sachsenhausen, this time with a "protective custody" designation. In 1939, undoubtedly worn down by his time in concentration camps, Niemoeller offered to lead a U-boat for the Nazis--the same job he had done during World War I. His offer was rejected and he remained in concentration camps until 1945. While he was meant to be killed by the SS toward the end of the war, the chaos of the time meant that the Wehrmacht took charge of him and his fellow prisoners and failed to carry out the order. After the war ended and he had recovered, Niemoeller spent the rest of his life as an activist and pacifist, working in areas like nuclear disarmament and ending the Vietnam War. Niemoeller's past as a Nazi stayed with him, but his views changed markedly during his imprisonment and he ended his life as what he had always aspired to be: a true Christian.  This is the third edition in a fourth-edition dust jacket; any edition of this work is quite rare. Contemporary owner gift inscription. Contemporary holiday gift card laid in. Book fine, dust jacket with light wear to extremities. A near-fine copy.