Pour La Dignité de la Femme

Pour La Dignité de la Femme

Dignity of women in the final stage of our life par Dr. Elke Preusser Franke

Dignity of women in the final stage of our life

By Dr. Elke Preusser Franke


Viele Jahre bringen Weisheit, steht bei Hiob Kapitel 32, Vers 7 Der Verstand der Älteren wird mit dem Alter beständiger.

Job 32:7: Days should speak and multitude of years should teach wisdom.

The understanding of the elder becomes unwavering with age.

The elder we become, the more our actions should be guided by asking ourselves: what do we want to leave behind.

Which traces will we leave when there is no more future but only the past of us?

Growing old and being aged implements a commission we are obliged to pass on to the younger generation setting forth on their way.

This contribution we give, we the elder generation, is the most important part of our dignity. It is the immanent character of this last phase of our life. It is the experience of our life.

Why do we separate society in young and old, knowing that the definition „old“ doesn’t relate to “Dignity of old age”?

Why don´t we differentiate according to the accomplishment of our life. Why don´t we say “person with less or more experience in life?”

This would give those in the last phase of their life the dignity they are entitled to, the dignity they have acquired and earned.

This would help to positively change the opinion in society regarding the elderly.

In a society addicted to the mania for the youth media spread the illusion of eternal youth; advertisement presents models making each wife appear unattractive for the husband.

Word combinations as „old and ugly“, „old and grey” correlate to “young and beautiful”, “young and dynamic” and deepen the chasm between the phases of life- Each woman seems to have the dubious task to look younger. Being old almost seems to be indecent.

Absurd flatteries are meant to help: “You look younger every time we meet” or “you didn´t change at all”. Each woman has to listen to such lies.

Why do we disavow that each age has its special charm, especially since our dignity in the last phase of life has as immanent characteristics those attributes which we could develop:

·         The deepening love of children and grandchildren

·         The growing circle of friends and acquaintances

·         The lasting recognition through occupational, societal and honorary activity

All of this, being the self created social center of life, in the familiar environment.

A high age is of advantage because only a life overarching several time epochs has these experiences to pass on.

“Ask us, we are the last!” is what we say to our young people who didn´t experience either war nor the persecution of the Jewish people.

The young generation didn´t take responsibility in both of the German dictatorships. Some even weren’t born yet. Those times only we elderly experienced. Therefore our commission is to get involved when free democracy is ignored and thoughtlessly adolescent speeches display a new anti-Semitism.

This is where we have to show our dignity as contemporary witness of a bitter life experience, to resist the beginnings which ended in total chaos for Europe in 1945.

Our generation, those who are 60 to 100 years of age, experienced two world wars, bombing, expulsion and bereavement of family and existence.

I became citizen of the most different states without ever having left my birth town Dresden. I was born in the Germany of Hitler, and then born in Saxonia I belonged to the Soviet occupation zone, and then I became citizen of the German Democratic Republic and finally citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany.

I experienced military invasions, revolutions, violently stricken down and peaceful revolutions. I lived among Nazis and Communists and as Jewish lady I always was a foreigner in my own country.

I learned that the history of our Jewish people, our religion and traditions are the foundation for our survival, passed on by the grandparents to the young generation. I understood why Hitler first killed the eldest Jews in the occupied areas.

Also Stalin managed to have generations of Jews grow up without knowledge about their own Jewish background. A people forgetting its history doesn´t have a future.

Our Jewish Women´s Association in Dresden is contact point for the Jewish immigrants from the past Soviet Union. The association was founded 10 years ago with the intention to assist and provide advice and to close the knowledge gap caused by the godless communist government.

As pedagogue, having lived a long life in Jewish tradition, I can pass on part of my life experience. I have the time of retirement at my disposal to help meeting the accumulated needs in the newly originated Jewish Centres.

Jewish ladies always experienced double discrimination. Therefore our association places high emphasis on the importance of a Jewish woman, wife, and mother grandmother in the family.

This implementation of our responsibility for our families and finally thus for world peace is an immanent feminine characteristic which forms our dignity and is based on our stronger emotional approach.

No society can afford to waste this human potential.

But the experiences of our life too often lie bare.

Especially the Dignity of Women is a very precious good.

If we use this human potential according to its commission then our society will be spiritually enriched.

However we aged people many times feel often ignored in modern society. Our dignity and especially the dignity of women only rarely is taken seriously and many times quickly dismissed as antiquated.

Because we have the advantage to have passed through all situations of life we can give the advice and not those who are just entering life.

When in extended families the aged take a dignified position and when based on their life experience the right decisions are made, the survival of the generation is assured.

Associations have councils of elders whereof both benefit on honorary base. The association saves wages and those aged, freed from the pressure of competition with the youth, don´t need to take their accumulated wisdom to the grave.

As pensioner I use this chance to be active.

To pass on the life experience, often times cited, is feeling dignity as responsibility, as share and commission to act.

Finally aging also includes drawing nearer to the Kingdom of God. The longer the last phase of our life continues the closer we stand to the gate to eternal life.

Therefore we can differentiate people according to how much they advanced on the „Way“.  Death is not the end but the reaching of a higher step and we, who have attained a dignified age, have gone the farthest.

To profit from the experiences in the last phase of life means to give us elderly our dignity when we call out to you:

We are old and therefore precious.

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