Irma Schwager

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Irma Schwager (born May 31, 1920 in Vienna as Irma Wieselberg ; † June 22, 2015 Vienna) was an Austrian anti-fascist resistance fighter , politician ( KPÖ ) and philanthropist.


The first political awareness was raised in the era of Austrofascism , when Irma Wieselberg felt the restrictions of the authoritarian corporate state as a student . At the age of 18, after the “ Anschluss ” , she had to emigrate to Belgium because of her Jewish origins , where she was connected to the KPÖ. After the occupation of Belgium by the German Wehrmacht, she fled to France, where she was interned in the Gurs camp. Here she joined the party group of the KPÖ in 1940. After escaping from the internment camp , she joined the Resistance . In France she pretended to be Susanne Berger from Alsace as part of the TA (Travail allemand) and was active in the “girl's work”. It was the task of these women to convince German soldiers of the futility and hopelessness of the war through discussions and agitation material. “If you managed to build up a certain amount of trust - and that without confidentiality - you could start with cautious Nazi criticism. Then later you could show the Resistance leaflets. Handing them over was extremely risky, ”said Schwager. Eight women each formed a group. Four members of Schwager's group were arrested and taken to a concentration camp , and one member was executed.

In 1945 she returned to Vienna with her husband Zalel Schwager (1908–1984), a Spanish fighter , and their war-born daughter. It was only here that she found out that her parents and two of her three brothers had been deported from Vienna and murdered in the Holocaust . From 1952 she worked in the central management of the Federation of Democratic Women , of which she became chairwoman in 1972. In this role she played a key role in the fight against nuclear armament and the Cold War , for the reform of Austrian divorce law and against the illegalization of abortion . From 1954 she was a member of the Central Committee of the KPÖ, from 1980 to 1990 she was also a member of the party's Political Bureau. In 2005 Irma Schwager was nominated among 1000 women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Irma Schwager was President 1992–96 and from 1996 Honorary President for life of the Austria-Vietnam Society . During the US bombing in 1971, she visited Hanoi and initiated a series of solidarity campaigns in Austria for the victims of the chemical war, primarily deformed and disabled children. In July 2008 she was officially honored by President Nguyễn Minh Triết during his state visit to Austria.

At the 35th party congress of the KPÖ in February 2011, Irma Schwager was appointed honorary chairman of the Communist Party of Austria.

She was the former mother-in-law of the SPÖ politician and former Austrian finance minister Ferdinand Lacina and the grandmother of the musician Robert Rotifer . Rotifer released the album Not Your Door in 2016 , with which he remembers his grandmother.

Irma Schwager rests in Vienna in the cemetery of the fire hall Simmering (group E16, number 200) together with her husband Zalel Schwager.

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Individual evidence

  1. Irma Schwager - a Viennese communist who "turned around" Wehrmacht soldiers . In: Die Standard , April 7, 2015, accessed April 9, 2015.
  2. Irma Schwager proposed as honorary chairwoman . In: . February 25, 2011, accessed June 24, 2015.