Dänemark: Annelise Ebbe

For me it is essential to always move forward from the patriarchal culture of war to my feminist culture and vision of peace.

— Annelise Ebbe

For 40 years, Annelise Ebbe has been actively engaged in peace work and women’s rights worldwide and in Denmark. As vice president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), president of Danish WILPF, founder of the Danish Women in Black network, president of the Danish Peace Council, and an eager contributor to discussions on the public agenda, her continuous work and personal engagement as a pacifist and feminist has made her a well-respected and outspoken leading figure in the anti-war movement, the women’s movement as well as on the public agenda.

Ever since she was a young girl Annelise Ebbe has feared war. Growing up in the aftermath of World War II, in a family linked to the Danish resistance movement, the issues of war, death, and destruction were deeply rooted in her conscience from early on. Stories of imprisonment or death of family members did not escape her attention. Neither did the fear of the cold war and a possible nuclear threat which followed. Throughout her childhood, she was haunted by nightmares of war, even in daytime she would suddenly start crying when horrible images and thoughts of war loomed up in her. With fear it is all or nothing. Either you embrace it or you fight it. Annelise chose the latter. At 15 years of age, she joined the Danish Campaign against Nuclear Weapons and thereby took her first step into a life-long career as a pacifist, which has gained her major recognition internationally. In 1996, Annelise visited the former Yugoslavia and found herself passing through her very own childhood nightmare. War had torn the region apart and entire villages were burnt down. She met women who had lost husbands, children, and homes. Annelise was paralyzed by the misery and horror around her, but she also found herself questioning the very meaning of peace work. Does it actually make sense? The local women engaged in peace work she met provided her with the answer: Yes! Across ethnic and religious boundaries these women joined forces in a common striving for peace and nonviolent conflict solutions. For Annelise this experience today stands as one of the major rays of hope and reasons for keeping up the fight for a peaceful future.

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Women in Black Denmark Danish Peace Council