Irmela Mensah- Schram, also known as the “Hate Destroyer”, is a 72-year-old former teacher from Germany who has been traveling across the country carrying a small scraper and a can of spray paint. For over three decades, she has been cleaning the streets of hateful messages whether they may be propaganda posters or street graffiti.
She already had received death threats, physically assaulted by neo-Nazis and the police have fined her numerous times but this didn’t stop her from removing hateful stickers wherever she may spot them anywhere.
She removed her very first hateful sticker in 1986 when she was about to get on a bus in her home city in Berlin. She saw a sticker glued to the bus station that says “Freedom for Rudolph Hess”. Hess was Hitler’s deputy and was in Spandau prison at the time, serving a life sentence for war crimes he convicted of at the Nuremberg Trials forty years earlier.
She immediately removed the sticker and she felt better after, so from then, she kept doing it whenever she saw right-wing propaganda.
She knows that what she has been doing for decades is a Sisyphean task because for every hateful message she removes, another pops up somewhere else but she just simply replied, “If I don’t do it, who will?”
Over the years, she has accumulated and might have been the most extensive collection of hateful posters, stickers, and graffiti in Germany. Her 80-odd binders were curated an exhibit at German Historical Museum.