Alexander Langer

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Alexander Langer (born February 22, 1946 in Sterzing ; † July 3, 1995 in Florence ) was a German-speaking (in his self-image "inter- ethnic ") politician from South Tyrol . Already in his early years of study he was an important figure in the integration of the Italian 1968 movement , and from the late 1970s as an influential peace and environmental activist . In 1978 Langer was the first member of the state parliament of the alternative movement that he largely influenced in South Tyrol . In Italy he was one of the leading pioneers of the Green Party from the early 1980s , which he represented in the European Parliament from 1989 until his death in 1995 .


Family and school time

Alexander Langer grew up as the eldest of three sons of the Viennese doctor Artur Langer and the Sterzing pharmacist Elisabeth Kofler in a middle-class family; accordingly, he attended high school in Bolzano on private Franziskanergymnasium , where he in 1964 as one of the best graduates of Italy graduated .

Studies and employment

In 1964 Langer began studying law in Florence , which he successfully completed in 1968. During this time his political engagement began in the environment of extra-parliamentary groups, whereby he was particularly involved within the Lotta Continua movement, for whose eponymous magazine he was temporarily responsible as editor-in-chief. After completing a complementary degree at the Faculty of Sociology at the University of Trento in 1972, Langer taught alternately at various high schools in Bolzano and Merano and from 1975 to 1978 at a high school in Rome .

Political commitment

The death of the dissident and writer Norbert Conrad Kaser motivated Langer to return to South Tyrol in August 1978 and to continue his political engagement in the province. In November 1978 Langer became a representative of the Neue Linken / Nuova Sinistra (NL / NS), in 1983 with Andreina Ardizzone Emeri for the Alternative List he founded for the other South Tyrol (ALFAS) and in 1988 with Arnold Tribus for the Green Alternative List in elected the state parliament and at the same time the regional council of Trentino-South Tyrol . In July 1982 Langer traveled to Libya with a delegation from different countries (including Otto Schily , Gertrud Schilling , Roland Vogt , Adriano Sofri ) at the invitation of the dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi . In the mid-1980s, Langer played a key role in the development of the Italian Green Party , as its representative he was elected to the European Parliament in 1989 and 1994 . As a member of the European Parliament, Langer was primarily committed to bringing peace to the civil war in the former Yugoslavia .

Alexander Langer campaigned throughout his life for social exchange and a more intensive understanding between the at times strongly polarized ethnic groups in South Tyrol. In addition to his commitment as a politician, Langer was mainly active as a journalist in this regard. Already in his high school days he took part in the publication of the journal die bruecke , in which Italian and German treatises and dossiers were published for the first time. The main aim of this and other publications, such as the Südtiroler Volkszeitung or Tandem , was to break the media monopoly of the regional daily newspaper Dolomiten of the Athesia publishing group, which until then had largely determined the public discourse in South Tyrol. In this context Langer spoke of the "importance of mediators, bridge builders, wall jumpers, border crossers" and formulated provocatively that South Tyrol needed the "traitors of ethnic unity, but no defectors."

In 1995, Langer intended to run for the office of mayor of the city of Bolzano as the head of an inter-ethnic list of citizens ; his candidacy failed in advance due to a legal formality. On the occasion of the 1991 census, Langer refused to declare that he belonged to one of the three language groups in South Tyrol . A subsequently submitted, so-called ad hoc language group declaration, which should have made a candidacy possible, was rejected by the responsible electoral authority. As early as 1981, Langer had obviously wrongly declared himself to be Ladin in protest against the declaration of language group membership by name. After entering the state parliament in 1983 as one of two Ladin representatives, he unwillingly obtained a post for the Ladin language group in the state government, which was, however , filled by Hugo Valentin , the Ladin SVP mandate.

On July 3, 1995, Alexander Langer unexpectedly committed suicide near his adopted home of Florence.


Alexander Langner's political and journalistic legacy has been prepared in numerous book publications and film documentaries in several languages ​​(see list of literature). In 2003 the Italian composer Giovanni Verrando and the director Yoshi Oida dedicated the opera Alex Brücke Langer to him , which was premiered in the Bolzano City Theater. In 2010 the Italian singer-songwriter Massimo Priviero published the title Splenda il sole , in which he refers to Alexander Langer.

The memory of Langer's life and work was institutionalized for the first time with the International Alexander Langer Prize , which has been awarded annually by the Alexander Langer Foundation in Bolzano since 1997 . In the years that followed, several public squares, bridges and cycle paths in South Tyrol and Italy were named after Alexander Langer, including in Langer's home town of Sterzing , in Monte Urano (province of Fermo ), in Città di Castello (province of Perugia ), in Rovigo and in Rovereto ( Trentino ). The municipality of Brentonico (Trentino) named its municipal library after Alexander Langer as early as 1996. The Italian nature lovers maintain a refuge named after Alexander Langer in Saviore dell'Adamello . In 2012, a primary school building in the district of Firmian was named after him in the municipality of Bozen, one of Langer's long-term activities. Since the building opened in September 2014, German and Italian-speaking school classes have been accommodated together in the building, in keeping with Langer's commitment to connecting language groups.

At the party-political level, Langer's personality and work created an important integration function, especially for the South Tyrolean Greens, even years after his death , although the thematic focus of the party has increasingly shifted away from the language group issue towards environmental protection since Langer's death.

Publications (selection)

  • Essays on South Tyrol. 1978-1995. Alpha & Beta, Meran 1996. (edited by Siegfried Baur and Riccardo Dello Sbarba )
  • The majority of the minorities. Why is our world ruled by ethnic cleanliness madness and unfounded trust in majorities? . Verlag Klaus Wagenbach , Berlin 1996. (edited by Peter Kammerer ).
  • Fare la pace. Scritti su 'azione non-violenta'. 1984-1995 . Cierre, Sommacampagna / Verona 2005. (edited by Mao Valpiana)
  • Vie di pace / make peace. Rapporto dall'Europa. Nuovi movimenti e vecchi conflitti: tra autodeterminazione e cooperazione, federalismo e nazionalismo, convivenza e razzismo . Edizione Arcobaleno, Milano 1992.
  • Scuola di Barbiana / Lorenzo Milani : The student school. Letters to a teacher / Scuola di Barbiana. Lettera a una professoressa , Wagenbach, Berlin 1973. (together with Marianne André, with a foreword by Peter Bichsel )


  • Gaia Carolli and Davide Dellai (eds.): Fare ancora / Continuing. Ripensando a Alexander Langer / thinking about Alexander Langer . Alpha & Beta, Merano 2011.
  • Jacopo Frey / Nicola Gobbi: In fondo alla speranza. Ipotesi su Alex Langer , Comma 22, Bologna 2013, ISBN 978-88-6503-100-1 (comic)
  • Florian Kronbichler : What was good - an Alexander Langer abc . Edition Raetia , Bozen 2005, ISBN 978-88-7283-227-1
  • Elfriede Niederkofler: Alexander Langer as a member of the state parliament . phil. Diploma thesis, Innsbruck 1989


  • Christoph Franceschini , Helmut Lechthaler: '... carry on what was good' - Alexander Langer. 1946–1995 , Audiovision OHG on behalf of RAI-Sender Bozen , Terlan / Bozen 1997.
  • Francesca Nesler, Nicoletta Arena: Alexander Langer. Impronte di un viaggiatore , RAI broadcaster Bozen 2000.
  • Dietmar Höss: Uno di noi: Alexander Langer. Idealismo e politica. impegno per un mondo migliore , Blue Star Film / CAB Centro Audiovisivi Bolzano, Bozen 2007.
  • Cristina Fratelloni: Alexander Langer. L'utopia concreta (series: La Storia siamo noi), RAI , Rome 2013. Online video

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Zeit Online, November 13, 2011
  2. Der Tagesspiegel, April 8, 2011
  3. ^ Günther Pallaver : South Tyrol - from dissociative to associative conflict resolution model . In: Hannes Obermair u. a. (Ed.): Regional civil society in motion. Festschrift for Hans Heiss (=  Cittadini innanzi tutto ). Folio Verlag, Vienna-Bozen 2012, ISBN 978-3-85256-618-4 , p. 355–385, here: p. 374 .
  4. Casa rifugio Alexander Langer ( Memento from September 9, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  5. ^ Resolution of the municipality of Bolzano of July 10, 2012 to name the primary school building in Firmian after Alexander Langer
  6. Press release of the South Tyrolean provincial administration of September 8, 2014 on the opening of the Alexander Langer School