Remembering Felicia Langer: lifelong struggler for Palestinian political prisoners

Felicia Langer

Felicia Langer, a German-Jewish lawyer who played a significant role in the legal defence and international support of Palestinian political prisoners over the years, passed away on 21 June in Turingen, Germany, at the age of 87. She played a pioneering legal role in fighting the forced expulsion and deportation of Palestinian political leaders, the demolition of Palestinian homes, the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial under administrative detention and exposing Israeli torture of imprisoned Palestinians on an international level.
A survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, born in 1930 in Poland, she came to occupied Palestine in 1950 with her husband, Mieciu. She belonged to the Communist Party and responded to the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by establishing a law office in Jerusalem with a focus on the defense of Palestinian political prisoners in occupation jails. In this time and thereafter, she defended thousands of Palestinian prisoners.

Felicia Langer

Her writings and documentation played a significant role in exposing the torture and mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners. Her 1975 book, “With My Own Eyes,” (later continued in the 1979 book “These Are My Brothers” and other works) helped to shine an international spotlight on the situation of imprisoned Palestinians involved in the liberation struggle. In 1977, Langer played a major role in the issuance of the British Sunday Times report that highlighted, among others, the case of Rasmea Odeh.
In 1990, she left occupied Palestine, announcing that she can “no longer be a fig leaf for this system.” She traveled to Germany, where she remained an active advocate for Palestinian prisoners, speaking at conferences for their release organized by the European Alliance in Defense of Palestinian Detainees in Berlin, Brussels and elsewhere. She lived in Germany, outside occupied Palestine, for the rest of her life.
One of her last public statements was written in April 2018, an open letter to the imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar. In her message, she said:
“You, my dear, are politically detained by a state that calls itself the only democracy in the Middle East.
“You are a member of the Palestinian parliament, and your arrest comes only because you are politically aligned with your sisters and brothers held in Israeli jails because of their legitimate struggle against the occupation.
“Dear Khalida, you are a sister in struggle. Despite my age, I stand with you and declare solidarity with you and your family from my heart.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins Palestinian prisoners’ organizations throughout occupied Palestine and advocates for justice around the world in mourning the loss of Felicia Langer. We urge all to remember her by continuing the struggle for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners and the liberation of the land and people of Palestine.

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