There are several themes in the poem "First They Came". Niemoller wrote these words after being liberated from Nazi concentration camps after 7 years. His words are routed deep in meaning and sincerity. For this activity, students will choose a theme and illustrate and explain it in a single storyboard cell. Teachers may choose to have students illustrate more than one theme in the same storyboard, and they can use the template provided and add cells, or use a spider map layout instead.
Guilt: Niemoller felt extreme guilt for his previous anti-Semitic beliefs. He is talking about himself in this poem.
Repentance: This poem is Niemoller’s way of expressing deep remorse for the mistreatment of the Jews.
Personal Responsibility: Niemoller is taking responsibility for the part that he played in looking the other way and saying nothing.
Persecution: Niemoller names the groups of people who were persecuted and mistreated because of their beliefs.
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Objective: Choose one theme of “First They Came” and illustrate and explain it.
Grade Level 6-8
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual
Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & MotifsCommon Core Standards