1881 – 1942 Netherlands
Dutch Feminist and Peace Activist. Vice-President of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (ISWA) and co-founder of the Women’s League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Leading officer of the Women’s Disarmament Committee of the Liaison Committe of the Women’s International organisations that started in 1931. Founding president of The International Women’s Archives in Amsterdam.
She was murdered by the Nazis in Bernburg
“The women must stand strongly together and tell the statesmen that we do not care to which party and country they belong, but no human lives must be offered again”.
Rosa Manus wrote these lines in 1932 in a letter to suffragist and pacifist Josephine Schain (USA) [bron Schain Papers, box 7, folder 1].
More than nine million women from all over the world demanded disarmament in a petition to the League of Nations Disarmament Conference in 1932. Rosa Manus was the driving force behind this petition assembled by women’s organisations and she organised the handover to the president of the conference. This conference failed miserably due to the antipoles of World War I and the rise of Hitler in Germany.
The present permanent UN Conference on Disarmament has been determined and paralysed by differences between superpowers and other countries about the necessity of military means and balance of power. Nevertheless the Conference has succesfully negotiated agreements against the proliferation and development of weapons of mass destruction. Women’s peace organisations follow Rosa Manus demanding disarmament and calling for peaceful solutions of conflicts and the ban of weapons that destroy human lives and societies. ( Ite van Djik)