Linked with the Women’s International Democratic Federation WIDF.
She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
Born in 1920 of politically active Jewish parents in Vienna, Irma Schwager fled to Belgium in 1938 and then to France. Detained in a camp, she escaped and joined the resistance movement. This experience led her to peace work. And the way that women are affected by wars made her an advocate for the independence of women and against structural violence. After Austria’s liberation from fascism, she returned and became involved in the International Democratic Women’s Federation. She is an advocate for the implementation of the goals of the United Nations Conference on women, and for disarmament … (full text).
Irma Schwager (* 31. Mai 1920 in Wien als Irma Wieselberg) ist eine österreichische antifaschistische Widerstandskämpferin, Politikerin und Philanthropin. Eine erste politische Bewusstseinsbildung erfolgte in der Ära des Austrofaschismus, in der Irma Wieselberg als Schülerin die Restriktionen des autoritären Ständestaates zu spüren bekam. Sie flüchtete nach dem Anschluss 1938 nach Belgien und von dort nach Frankreich, während ihre Eltern dem Holocaust zum Opfer fielen. Nach Kriegsausbruch in einem Internierungslager festgehalten, entkam sie und schloss sich der Résistance an. Irma Schwager betätigte sich im Rahmen der exilösterreichischen Front de libération nationale aktiv an der „Mädelarbeit“ … She says: “Recognize injustice, never again fascism, never again war – this maxim determined my life”. (0n 1000peacewomen).
Irma Schwager – Austria
She works for the Women’s International Democratic Federation.
Watch these videos (in german):
- Irma Schwager am 70. Jahrestag d. Annexion Österreichs, 07.14 min, Jul 25, 2008;
- Irma Schwager über die Notwendigkeit von Widerstand, 5.21 min, July 29, 2008.
Einige Texte auf deutsch:
- Widerstand gegen Unmenschlichkeit und Unrecht wird immer notwendig sein;
- Irma Schwager – Eine Frau im Widerstand;
- Geduld ist eine revolutionäre Eigenschaft;
- 70 Jahre Widerstand, 13. Feber 2008.
Et un texte en français: L’Österreichische Freiheitsfront, une organisation de réfugiés dans la Résistance belge au nazisme.
(0n 1000peacewomen): … Born in 1920 to politically active Jewish parents in Vienna, Irma Schwager fled to Belgium in 1938 and then to France. Detained in a camp, she escaped and joined the resistance movement. This experience led her to peace work. And the way that women are affected by wars made her an advocate for the independence of women and against structural violence. After Austria’s liberation from fascism, she returned and became involved in the International Democratic Women’s Federation.
She is an advocate for the implementation of the goals of the United Nations Conference on women and for disarmament.Recently, a group of women sat together while Elfriede Jelinek’s speech on the occasion of her Nobel Prize for Literature was on the radio. The lively chatter went silent. Irma Schwager wanted to hear exactly what Elfriede had to say with her complex word cascades. That is how Irma is: always interested, always committed, always informed and alert in following the events of the time, past and present.
Irma Schwager has inspired this productive curiosity in her colleagues. In the Austrian Federation of Democratic Women, of which she was long director, she educated the younger generation in political alertness. “There was a time when almost every person was politicized,” she once said. “In 1933 the Nazis came to power in Germany and this danger was also visible in Austria long before 1938.”
Born in 1920 of Jewish parents, Irma experienced the pogroms in the streets of Vienna as a young girl, when Jews were picked up and forced to clean streets amidst the hoots of bystanders. In 1938 the first transports to Dachau took place. While Irma fled the country, her parents, who ran a small shop, stayed in Vienna. Both they and two of her brothers died in the Holocaust.
At age 18 Irma started out for England, but never arrived, instead staying illegally in Belgium and joining a group of political emigrants. In the discussions she began to understand that “you are not only a victim, you not only can resist, you have to.” With the German invasion in May 1940 the situation in occupied Belgium got so critical for Irma that she fled to France. There she was detained in the camp Gurs and joined an illegal Communist organization. With the help of the French resistance movement she succeeded in fleeing the camp.
Now the daily political routine in the Resistance began for Irma. The Austrians made up a group of their own. While the young men tried to infiltrate different positions of the Wehrmacht in order to agitate against the war there, the girls made contact with the soldiers and tried to convince them to turn against the war.
In 1943 when Irma was pregnant, she was sent to her husband who was also active in the Resistance in one of the northern departments. She gave birth to her daughter, with fake documents, and experienced the solidarity of her French comrades. “I had enough clothes for six children.” Irma continued her resistance work and transported leaflets in the baby carriage. “That was wonderfully unsuspicious” – but perilous.
“Recognize injustice, never again fascism, never again war – this maxim determined my life.” To this day, Irma Schwager turns this maxim into political action. After Austria’s liberation from fascism, she was active, domestically and internationally, in furthering the cooperation of women for equality, development and peace and implementation of the United Nations Women’s Decade goals. Her attention was above all aimed at easing tensions between East and West, ending the Vietnam war and, remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki, against rearmament and the nuclear threat. As a contemporary witness she communicates to the young generation the necessity to say “No” early enough and to resist injustice. “It looks as if you put yourself in danger when you are active. But that is not the case. You learn to meet the dangers, you experience solidarity”. (1000peacewomen).
Sorry, there are practically no texts in english in the internet on our peacewomen, Irma Schwager, Austria.
The Google download book: Re/reading the Past, By J. R. Martin, Ruth Wodak, 2003, 275 pages;
Make a Difference by Joining Our Magnet Nurse Team, 16 pdf-pages;
Österreichische Freiheitsfront: on fr.wikipedia;