Perhaps no single group in postwar Germany has the iconic status equal to the Trümmerfrauen ("rubble women"), those stoic women who systematically - brick by brick - cleaned up the bombed-out cities and were the initial driving force behind Germany's Wirtschaftswunder ("economic miracle.") They were heroically rebuilding what their menfolk (but not just the men) had destroyed, or caused to be destroyed.
So it seemed natural and uncontroversial that the city of Munich would want to honor the memory of its Trümmerfrauen. City official placed a stone marker with the inscription "Den Trümmerfrauen und der Aufbaugeneration Dank und Anerkennung München nach 1945". ("Munich after 1945 commemorates with thanks the rubble women and the reconstruction generation.") And the following sentence was added "Im Wissen um die Verantwortung" ("With fully knowledge of the responsibility'). So we can all now feel proud of the memory of Munich's heroic Trümmerfrauen, right?
Not so fast. say Green Party representatives Katharina Schulze und Sepp Dürr. The two history buffs looked at the postwar records and discovered that of the 1500 workers clearing rubble in Munich after the war, only 200 were women, and most of them were "Alt-Nazis" - former Nazis who were compelled to work if they wanted to eat. The two Greens demanded that the stone marker be removed, and covered it temoporarily with a sheet with the words "Let's have a memorial for the right people - not the "Alt-Nazis"." Needless to say, their actions provoked a firestorm of outrage in the press and on the blogs.