Fahrrad Demo Fessenheim
Bicycle demonstration to Fessenheim from Switzerland and Germany with controls at the border.
Reference / film number : Solange Fernex S8 02 Auswahl A
Date : Between 1972 and 1975
Coloration : Color
Sound : Mute
Running time : 00:11:45
Reel format : Super 8 mm
Genre : Amateur movie
Thematics : Environment, Ecology, Industrial and cultural heritage, Industry
Archive : Archiv soziale Bewegungen Freiburg
Context and analysis
The protest against the planned nuclear power plants on the Upper Rhine is an outstanding example of cross-border cooperation. Because people from the Alsace, Kaiserstuhl and Swiss joined forces to protest against the significant threat to their home region. They discovered Alemannic as their common language, which was expressed in their protest banners and protest songs. A region stood together to oppose the great plans of industrialization. What plans there was to make the Upper Rhine to a second Ruhr area, revealed an article in the offical State Gazette of Baden-Württemberg on 23.9.1972 very clear: "Namely, the EC even closer together, (...) so the Rhine Valley between Frankfurt and Basel is an economic axis at all. Whether there is still room for environmental protection, must be doubted. Experts therefore believe that the level should be released for commercial and industrial use, while the functions of 'living', 'recreation' and so on should be located in the Vorberg area and in the side valleys of the Rhine. " The parliament of Baden-Württemberg adopted 1971 the state development plan and created the legal basis for such an industrialization offensive.
Protest is developing
Against such plans there was early resistance, e.g. from 1970 against the planned nuclear power plant Kaiseraugst in Switzerland, from 1972 against the approved construction of the nuclear power plant in Fessenheim, from 1972 against the four planned reactors in Breisach / Burkheim, from 1974 against the planned bleaching plant in Marckolsheim and against the reactor in Wyhl. In 1974, 21 Baden-Alsatian citizens' initiatives and the Swiss nuclear power opponents also joined forces, writing history. With their protests and building occupation, they were able to prevent the Upper Rhine region from being exploited for its sole industrial use. That would have had significant consequences for the farmers and winegrowers, who also feared for the climate in the region. It was a cross-border protest of many social groups, and it developed an identity of the region, not only by the vernacular and the dialect. Prevention of the construction of nuclear power plants in Whyl, Gerstheim, Breisach and in the Swiss Kaiseraugst and the construction of the bleaching company in Marckolsheim; only in Fessenheim and Philippsburg was not successful.
Solange Fernex filmed the demonstrations on Super 8
Solange Fernex (1934 - 2006) from South Alsace was a committed fighter against nuclear power and is considered the mother of the French anti-nuclear movement. She shot some Super 8 films about the protests in Marckolsheim, Wyhl and other places in the 1970s. She was active in the protests herself. Already in the 1970s, she ran in elections. In 1983, she participated in a 40-day hunger strike against worldwide nuclear weapons tests (Jeûne pour la Vie) and the following year she was co-founder of the French Greens, for which she ran for the European Parliament in 1989. In 2001 she was awarded the 'Nuclear-Free Future Award'. In November 2006 she died of cancer.
Demo against Fessenheim
Her film about a bicycle demonstration to Fessenheim shows the international networking of the protest movement. Because the banners are written in German, French and Alemannic ("Stop now with the Drac in Alsace", "Fessenheim sure - shut down!", "Pour un Rhine ... .."). Several of the protesters have Swiss pennants on their bicycles. The demonstrators are on entry to France from Switzerland and on their return to Germany - probably in Sasbach - controlled by the border guards and must show their ID cards. The borders are not open yet. On the way back, they pass by tobacco farmers, who prepare the freshly harvested leaves for drying. Tobacco was grown in the Upper Rhine region for a long time, but it became less important as, according to the tobacco industry, quality and price could not compete with imported tobacco. The conclusion of the film is a gathering. Opinions are given from a stage down. On one side of the room there is an art exhibition with posters against the destruction of the world ("Every year again, the jackhammer rushes down"). The most recent picture shows the situation in October 1972. Also on display is a poster of the Nelson Foundation for "Earth Day", which has been celebrated since 1970 on 22 April. It shows the earth overpopulated by people, some of which already crash.
Places and monuments
BIBLIOTHEK DES WIDERSTANDS BAND 18, "Lieber heute aktiv als morgen radioaktiv I", Laika Verlag, Hamburg, 2011. FERNEX Solange, "Non violence triumphant", in: The Ecologist, 12/1975. LÖSER Georg, "Die Badisch-Elsässischen Bürgerinitiativen", in: Bibliothek des Widerstands Band 18, S.19 - 75. MAYER Axel, "AKW Whyl: Dreißig Jahre nach der Bauplatzbesetzung - Ein Rückblick, in: Bibliothek des Widerstands Band 18, S. 81 - 85.
- This film analysis is still in progress. It may therefore be incomplete and contain errors.