January 27, 2023 marks the 78th anniversary of the day the survivors were liberated at the Auschwitz concentration camp. With the "Remembrance Day in German Football," the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga and the clubs of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga commemorate the victims of National Socialism on the 17th and 18th match days. In 2004, the day of remembrance was created by the "Never Again!" initiative to bring to life the message of the survivors of the former Dachau concentration camp.

This year, the focus of the initiative is on women in the resistance. Here we think especially of concentration camp survivor Esther Bejarano, who accompanied and inspired the "Never Again!" initiative for many years. We see her words as an obligation: "You are not guilty of this time. But you are guilty if you don't want to know anything about that time. You need to know everything that happened then. And why it happened." In July 2021, Esther Bejarano passed away at the age of 96.

There were also some women resistance fighters in Bochum. Else Hirsch is to be highlighted here. Else Hirsch was one of the most important Jewish resistance fighters in Bochum. Born in Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1889, she came to Bochum in 1926 because she was required by assignment to teach at the Israelite school.

In the fall of 1933, the school came into the Nazi crosshairs. Else Hirsch was dismissed and there was no longer any financial aid for Jewish pupils. On Pogrom Night in November 1938, SA hordes devastated the school building. Else Hirsch fought to have the school reopened. This succeeded, transformed into a private school, from the beginning of 1939 until 1941, after which the school was dissolved by Nazi Germany.

But Else Hirsch did not resign. To prepare Jews for their emigration, she gave private language courses in English and Hebrew. Together with a community secretary, she organized transports of Jewish children and young people from Bochum to Holland and England from the end of 1938 to August 1939.

Unfortunately, Else Hirsch herself did not manage to escape to a foreign country, because from 1941 the emigration of Jews was forbidden. She was deported to the ghetto in Riga and killed. Even there she still gave lessons to the children and cooked nettles and lion's number for old people as vegetables for the meager meals.

Today, a street in Bochum, the naming of a school and a Stolperstein commemorate her honorable work during the Second World War.

In many parts of the world today, women continue to stand up against authoritarian regimes and fight for human rights, self-determination and a life free of violence. It is important to draw attention to this. Even in democratic countries like Germany, discrimination and exclusion still exist today. We are all called upon not to accept this.