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September 11: Rosika Schwimmer, Pacifist and Feminist

September 11, 2013

thA founder of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the pre-World War II Campaign for World Government, Rosika Schwimmer was born in Budapest on this date in 1877. Schwimmer founded the Hungarian Feminist Association in 1897. She also helped to found the Hungarian National Council of Women, among other women’s organizations. When Hungary gained independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, Schwimmer became ambassador to Switzerland, but when Mikós Horthy’s government was ousted by communists, she fled to the U.S. Due to her lifelong pacifism, however, she was branded a socialist in the U.S. and was denied citizenship in the 1929 U.S. Supreme Court case, United States v. Schwimmer. In 1935, Schwimmer and historian Mary Beard formed the World Centre for Women’s Archives, and Schwimmer was awarded a World Peace Prize in 1937. She died in New York in 1948.

“I have no sense of nationalism, only a cosmic consciousness of belonging to the human family.” —Rosika Schwimmer