Alice Schwarzer

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Alice Schwarzer, 2009

Alice Schwarzer (born December 3, 1942 in Wuppertal) is a German journalist, a prominent contemporary feminist and convicted white-collar criminal. She is founder and publisher of the German feminist journal EMMA and a columnist of Germany's best-selling tabloid Bild. Since the 1980s, Schwarzer hid around 4 million Euros in a Swiss bank account and was therefore convicted in July 2016 for tax fraud by the Amtsgericht Cologne.[1]

Biography and positions[edit]

As the daughter of a single mother she spent her childhood with her grandparents. In 1969 she started working as a journalist.

From 1970 to 1974 she worked as a freelancer for different media in Paris. At the same time she studied psychology and sociology, amongst others lectured by Michel Foucault. She was one of the founders of the Feminist Movement in Paris (Mouvement de Liberation des femmes, MLF) and also spread their ideas to Germany.

In 1971 she raised public attention for the first time with her project Frauen gegen den § 218 ("Women against Section 218", which was the section of the German Penal Code that made abortion illegal). In autumn 1971 she released her first book of the same title. She contributed substantially to the abortion debate in Germany, which resulted in legalization in 1974. (See Abortion in Germany.)

One of her best known books is Der kleine Unterschied und seine großen Folgen (The little difference and its huge consequences), which was released in 1975 and made her famous beyond the borders of Germany. It was translated into eleven languages. Since its release, Schwarzer has become Germany's most high-profile, but also most controversial contemporary feminist. She is a second-wave feminist representing concepts of feminist equality.

One of her goals was the realization of economic self-sufficiency for women. She argued against the law which required married women to obtain permission from their husbands before beginning paid work outside the home. This provision was removed in 1976.

In January 1977 the first issue of her journal EMMA was published. The next years she concentrated on the work for her journal, serving as chief editor and publisher.

With her PorNo campaign, started in 1987, she advocated the banning of pornography in Germany, arguing that pornography violates the dignity of women, constitutes a form of medial violence against them, and contributes to misogyny and physical violence against women. The ongoing campaign has not met with much success.

From 1992 to 1993 she was host of the TV show Zeil um Zehn on German TV channel Hessischer Rundfunk. With her frequent appearances in German TV talk shows she has become an institution on German television.[citation needed]

When her journal EMMA changed to bimonthly release in 1993, she continued to write an increasing number of books, among them one about Petra Kelly and Gert Bastian, called Eine tödliche Liebe (Deadly Love), and biographies of Romy Schneider and Marion Dönhoff. In total, she has released 16 books as a writer, and 15 as publisher.

She campaigned against the law of 2002 that fully legalized brothels. She views prostitution as violence against women and favors laws like those in Sweden, where the sale of sexual services is legal but their purchase is not. (See also: Prostitution in Germany.)

In recent years, she has been highly critical of political Islamism and the position of women in Islam; she favors prohibitions against women in schools or other public settings wearing the hijab, which she considers a symbol of oppression. She warns of a creeping Islamicization of Europe, which in her opinion would lead to an erosion of human rights, especially women's rights.

She has written in favor of the continued legality of circumcision of male children.[2]

4 Million Euro Tax Fraud[edit]

Zürich (Switzerland), one of the world's leading financial centers. Starting in the 1980s, tax fraudster Schwarzer had hidden over 4 Million Euros at the Zürich-based private bank Lienhardt & Partner.

In the 1980s, Schwarzer set up a bank account at the Zürich-based private bank Lienhardt & Partner, to keep her assets hidden from German tax authorities.[3] During the following years, Schwarzer transferred earnings gained from book-sellings and public presentations to this Swiss bank account, thus avoiding taxation in Germany. Including interest and compound interest, her illegal assets piled up to an amount of 4 Million Euros.[4]

According to Section 371 of the German tax code (Abgabenordnung), the perpetrator of a tax fraud may avoid punishment if he or she admits to the offence and provides a full display of unpaid taxes to the authorities (German: strafbefreiende Selbstanzeige). Schwarzer attempted to make such a display in secret to German tax authorities to keep her behaviour unknown to the general public. However, in February 2014 the German newspaper Der Spiegel wrote an investigative article on the topic, turning the whole affair public.[5]

As a reaction, Schwarzer made a statement on her private web page on the matter.[6] Under the heading "In eigener Sache" ("on one's own account"), Schwarzer admitted to being a tax fraudster.[7] In that statement, Schwarzer tried to self-exculpate her crimes by claiming that in the past, she had been scared of political opponents in Germany and "was honestly afraid" that she might have to leave the country one time and thus needed to be financially prepared.[8]

In May 2014, German tax authorities and criminal prosecutors raided a number of real estates owned by Schwarzer.[9] At the same time, judge-issued search warrants on several of Schwarzer's banking accounts were executed.[10] It turned out that Schwarzer's initial self-display submitted to German tax authorities was incorrect and she had in fact never covered the whole amount of her unpaid taxes. In such cases, self-displays do not have any exculpatory effect under German tax law. Consequently, in July 2016 Schwarzer was fined for tax fraud with a penalty at a six-digit range by the local court (Amtsgericht) of Cologne.[11]

Awards[edit]

  • In 1996, she received the German "Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande" (Cross of Merit on ribbon), and in 2005, the "Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse" (Cross of Merit, First class). The Cross of Merit is the only general state decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • In 2004 she received the "Danubius Prize" for "her passionate fight for the rights of women".
  • In December 2004 she was made Knight of the French Legion of Honor.
  • On January 15, 2005 she received the Staatspreis of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
  • In 2007 she received the Else Mayer Foundation award.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Schwarzer, Alice (1984). After the Second Sex. Pantheon. ISBN 0-394-72430-5. 
  • Schwarzer, Alice (1984). Simone de Beauvoir today: Conversations, 1972–1982. Hogarth Press. ISBN 0-7011-2784-8. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Strafbefehl gegen Alice Schwarzer". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 10 July 2016.  "Steuerhinterziehung: Gericht erlässt Strafbefehl gegen Alice Schwarzer". Der Spiegel. 10 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Schwarzer, Alice (2 July 2012). "Soll die Beschneidung verboten werden?". Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2013.  (Automated English translation via Google Translate: "Should circumcision be banned?")
  3. ^ "Strafbefehl gegen Alice Schwarzer". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 10 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "Strafbefehl gegen Alice Schwarzer". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 10 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "Alice Schwarzer beichtet Schweizer Steuergeheimnis". SPIEGEL.DE (in German). 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2016-07-12.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  6. ^ Alice Schwarzer: In eigener Sache, 2 February 2014. See also "German feminist Alice Schwarzer admits to Swiss account, then goes on offensive". Deutsche Welle. 2 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Alice Schwarzer: In eigener Sache, 2 February 2014. See also "German feminist Alice Schwarzer admits to Swiss account, then goes on offensive". Deutsche Welle. 2 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Alice Schwarzer: In eigener Sache, 2 February 2014: "Ich habe in Deutschland versteuerte Einnahmen darauf eingezahlt in einer Zeit, in der die Hatz gegen mich solche Ausmaße annahm, dass ich ernsthaft dachte: Vielleicht muss ich ins Ausland gehen.".
  9. ^ "Durchsuchung bei Alice Schwarzer - Neuer Verdacht auf Steuerhinterziehung". Spiegel Online. 7 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Durchsuchung bei Alice Schwarzer - Neuer Verdacht auf Steuerhinterziehung". Spiegel Online. 7 June 2014. 
  11. ^ GmbH, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (2016-07-10). "Steuerhinterziehung: Strafbefehl gegen Alice Schwarzer". FAZ.NET (in German). Retrieved 2016-07-11. 

External links[edit]