Niemoeller, Martin

Niemoeller or Niemöller, Martin

(both: mär`tĭn nē`mölər), 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 ChurchConfessing Church,
Ger. Bekennende Kirche, German Protestant movement. It was founded in 1933 by Martin Niemoeller as the Pastors' Emergency League and was systematically opposed to the Nazi-sponsored German Christian Church.
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. 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).