Something you don’t see every day: The story of a German woman who erases Nazi graffiti.
“I scratched off the first sticker in 1986, at a bus stop in front of my house,” Mensah-Schramm said as she ambled through the streets armed with her spray paint and metal scraper. It demanded “Freedom for Rudolf Hess” – Adolf Hitler’s deputy, who at the time was still alive and in prison in Berlin.
“The sticker was there all day and I couldn’t understand why nobody else took it off – people can be so ignorant,” she said.
For 25 years, Mensah-Schramm has taken it on herself to clean Berlin of neo-Nazi propaganda scrawled by skinheads and other right-wing groups. She calls herself the “political cleaning lady of the nation” and during one of her recent tours of the city she said that in the last four years alone, she has scratched away more than 36,000 right-wing stickers.
She said seeing racist slurs sprayed on walls across the German capital with its atrocious Nazi past made her angry and she felt a personal responsibility to do something about them.
“Freedom of speech ends where hatred and racism begin,” Mensah-Schramm said.
I once took down a campaign sign for a viciously anti-Semitic political party in NJ. It was on the median of Route 22, and I passed it on the way to and from work on a daily basis. It annoyed me no end. So one night, I was passing by with a friend. It was late. I stopped the car on the shoulder, ran out, and pulled it down.
Boy, that felt good.
This woman is doing what she’s doing for even less reason—simply because she feels it’s the right thing to do. Good for her.