German pacifist Mensah-Schramm: Solidarity means people's tenderness

Author : Yevhenia Naumenko Maria Streltsova

Source : 112 Ukraine

First generation of Germans born after the Second World War is responsible for doing everything possible to Nazi crimes never happen again
15:41, 10 May 2017

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Olena Horbenko

Irmela Mensah-Schramm is a representative of the first generation of Germans born after the Second World War. She argues that her generation responsible for doing everything possible to Nazi crimes never happen again.

Half of her life Irmela struggles with the manifestations of Nazism in her country. The activist destroys graffiti and stickers of Nazi content; she takes photo of them and records in the notebook.

She has painted out 130 thousand inscriptions and stripped 74 thousand stickers calling for hatred.

How it all began

Irmela Mensah-Schramm was born in 1945.

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"My parents (Thank God!) were not influenced by the Nazis," she said.

Father was recruited as Wehrmacht soldier. He has been in Stalingrad, but almost immediately he seriously wounded and quickly returned home.

"My father did not tell the stories about the front. The service in the Wehrmacht was for him a prison sentence. He became not just a radical pacifist, he realized that it was used for criminal purposes," said Irmela Mensah-Schramm.

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Her father preferred not to remember about the front, he had many terrible memories about the hospital. For example, telling his daughter a real nightmare: a German soldier was seriously wounded and this inhuman pain made him teat away his brain from the skull bare hands.

The girl was shocked by father’s story, but her activities she began much later.

30 years ago at, a bus stop she saw the sticker that proclaimed freedom to Rudolf Hess (Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party), who was then serving his sentence in prison for war Spandau criminals (Berlin).

On the eve, Irmela has first visited Sachsenhausen National Memorial at the former concentration camp, so her aversion to the Nazis intensified.

Gordon Welters

"I was very impressed. I had a feeling of true sadness and regret. Then I told myself, the pain and grief that Nazi Germany inflicted around the world, must never be repeated. This responsibility is on us, especially those born after 1945, the first post-war generation," says the woman.

Nationalism is a breeding ground for fascism

Since 2003, Irmela organizes seminars on peaceful struggle against violence and intolerance. The activist said that in recent years, the Nazi ideology has greatly strengthened in Germany. Even Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" was reissued.

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"The publication of this book is unbearable nonsense. It must be remembered that anti-Semitism in Germany began long before Hitler's seizure of power. Nationalism has become a breeding ground for fascism and racism. These ideas still continue to live," she said.

When Mensah-Schramm began the fight with the Nazi propaganda, Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany, for example, was still relatively small and harmless. By the way, there were two other parties: Free German Workers' Party and the Nationalist Front. They were banned in the early 90's.

After the ban, National Democratic Party has radicalized. It brought together all members of the prohibited parties.

In addition, many new parties and groups arose. Especially dangerous were nonpartisan group and the "company" of the Reich citizens. In total, there were at least eight parties/groups.

Lasse Lecklin

"Members of such parties just do not understand the concept of democracy. They believe that democracy leads to the death of the nation. Their main slogan is: "The German race is dying out." This is disgusting. Do not overestimate the importance of some people and do not think in these categories," said Irmela.

Put your hate away!

In autumn 2016, Irmela Mensah-Schramm has received notice from the court for the repainting of pedestrian tunnels inscription in Berlin.

Mike Wolff

She transformed "Merkel should go" slogan into "Understand! Put your hate away!" ("Merkel muss weg" into "Merke! Hass weg!").

The Court recognized this fact as a damage to property. The case received wide publicity in Germany.

"The term "freedom" is as important as "democracy." Both definitions are to be understood by everyone. Those who want to have freedom and democracy, should remember about peace. Solidarity is the tenderness of the people. It is necessary to constantly promote these values to people," she said.

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Woman recalls a story that happened to her on 8 May 2005, on her way to Berlin, where she was going to seek out and destroy the propaganda of Nazism.

Then she was approached by a young boy. Before that he was a Nazi and for many years has irritated her.

"He has been always saying words of hatred. But that day he told me, "Frau Schramm, I do not a Nazi anymore, I have quitted,  I want to thank you for this," recalls Irmela.

According to the boy, the tireless activist’s action made him understand that this is time to break with the Nazi past.

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