Good News

Reader's Digest International - - My Life - BY TIM HULSE Vet­eran French cy­clist Robert Marc­hand af­ter set­ting a new one-hour record for his age group.


Scrub­bing out hate

SO­CI­ETY Vis­it­ing cities all over Ger­many, 71-year-old Ber­liner Irmela Men­sah-Schramm (pic­tured) spends sev­eral days a week search­ing for banned Nazi sym­bols and anti-im­mi­gra­tion slo­gans, which she then erases. In her bag, she car­ries red paint, nail pol­ish re­mover and a scraper. If she sees a painted swastika, she turns it into a red heart in­stead.

Her mis­sion started 31 years ago, when she was shocked to dis­cover a sticker at her lo­cal bus stop call­ing for the re­lease of Nazi war crim­i­nal Ru­dolf Hess. Find­ing it still there on her way home, she scraped it off with her key­chain. Over the next three decades, she con­tin­ued to take ac­tion against neo-Nazi pro­pa­ganda, re­mov­ing more than 130,000 of­fen­sive signs and stick­ers.

Her work is not with­out risks: she’s been as­saulted a few times and last year was threat­ened with a €1,800 fine for de­fac­ing pub­lic prop­erty.

But she is un­re­pen­tant. “I’m re­ally con­cerned by this hate pro­pa­ganda. And I want to take a stand,” she says. “Free­dom of speech has lim­its. It ends where ha­tred and con­tempt for hu­man­ity be­gin.”

“I am not here to be a cham­pion. I am here to prove

that at 105 years old you can still ride a bike.”

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