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Martin Niemoeller

Niemoeller or Niemöller, Martin (both: märˈtĭn nēˈmölər) [key], 1892–1984, German Protestant churchman. He studied theology after distinguishing himself as a submarine commander in World War I. Though at first a supporter of National Socialism, Niemoeller (then a pastor at Berlin-Dahlem) preached courageously against the Hitler regime after it came into power in 1933. He attacked Hitler's creation of the German Evangelical Church and became the leader of the German pastors' emergency league and of the Confessing Church. Briefly arrested in 1937, he was imprisoned again from 1938 until his liberation (1945) by the Allies. After his release Niemoeller became (1947) church president (the equivalent of bishop) of the Evangelical Church in Hesse-Nassau, with his seat at Wiesbaden, and founded (1948) a cooperative council of all German Protestant churches, of which he became president. Among his writings are his autobiography, Vom U-Boot zur Kanzel [From U-boat to pulpit] (1934).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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