A Democratic German Feminist’s Response to the Catastrophe of National Socialism
Epilogue: The Legacy of a Swabian Internationalist
When the Stuttgart branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom met on 30 September 1946, their guest speaker was Luise Rinser. Her ordeal in prison had brought about a revival of her religious faith together with a political reorientation. Putting her involvement with National Socialism behind her, Luise Rinser had become a fervent supporter of western democracy.1 Her lecture, ‘An den Frieden glauben’ (To Believe in Peace), included a critique of the concepts ‘love of homeland’ (‘Heimatliebe’) and ‘love of the Fatherland’ (‘Vaterlandsliebe’) and a commitment to ‘world citizenship’ (‘Weltbürgertum’). During the Third Reich, she argued, nationalistic slogans had been exploited to prepare people for war, confusing patriotism with ‘arrogance’ (‘Überheblichkeit’).2
This must have been music to the ears of Anna Haag, who probably chaired the meeting. But for her there was nothing new about the arguments of ‘An den Frieden glauben’, for her love of homeland had never precluded a peaceful commitment to the wider world. Her membership of the Women’s International League dated back to the 1920s, and during the Nazi period her faith in democracy had never wavered. Indeed, her legacy can best be defined as that of a Swabian Internationalist – ‘eine schwäbische Weltbürgerin’.3
Earlier chapters of this book have shown how Anna’s creativity was shaped by her schooling in rural Swabia and her marriage to a progressively minded Württemberg teacher. She never lost touch with her regional ← 233 | 234 → heritage (even writing...
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