Inge Scholl-A Patriot for Democracy

by Giselher Technau

Page 3

Her role as an activist did not cause Inge Aicher-Scholl to be universally loved and admired among Germany's citizens. Considerable civil commotion was caused in September 1985 when she and her brother-in-law, Fritz Hartnagel, a pensioned judge, repeatedly joined in blockading the American military depot in Mutlangen, protesting the refitting of missiles with nuclear warheads. Arrested and brought before the court, she stated that refitting missiles with atomic warheads would only increase the danger of an armed conflict between the East and West, and that the first victims would be the people of the two states of Germany. "In every instance, my motive is humanitarian, to save people from an atomic conflict. When peace is endangered, a type of social self-defense must occur." Inge Aicher-Scholl quoted from a flyer distributed by her siblings: "Tear off the coat of indifference that covers your heart! Decide for yourself, before it is too late!" Admittedly she emphasized that a comparison of present-day Germany with the Germany of the Nazi era is absurd: "We live in a democracy, not in a dictatorship."

Inge Aicher-Scholl (sitzend Mitte) mit ihrem Schwager Fritz Hartnagel (sitzend hinten), 1985 bei einer Blockade in Mutlangen gegen die Atomraketen
Inge Aicher-Scholl (sitzend Mitte) mit ihrem Schwager Fritz Hartnagel (sitzend hinten), 1985 bei einer Blockade in Mutlangen gegen die Atomraketen

In 1988, Inge Aicher-Scholl was sentenced to a fine for obstructing the American troops. The peace movement of the 1980s in which she took part was initially underestimated. With its emphasis on humane alternatives, that movement changed history. The Cold War concept of friend/foe, which emerged from World War II, became obsolete. The citizens of the Soviet-controlled countries rose up against coercion and tyranny in "cooperative self-defense" and formed democratic governments in many European countries. The German Democratic Republic opened its borders; the great majority of its citizens demanded its integration into the Federal Republic of Germany, which was born on October 3, 1990. Han Scholl's last words-"Let freedom live!"-were realized almost 50 years after his death.

After a serious illness, Inge Aicher-Scholl died on September 4, 1998 at the age of 81. Since the departure of her family in the early 1920s from Ingersheim-Altenmünster, she returned only once to Crailsheim, when she opened an exhibition about the White Rose in the city hall with a speech. On this spot on July 20, 1964, at the invitation of the County Youth Group, her father, Robert Scholl, had given an account of the resistance and of the sacrifice of his children, Hans and Sophie.

(translated into English by Janice Langohr)

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