Letter from Prison – CWs Vigil behind Bars


JVA Rohrbach prison
June 2024

Here in Rohrbach prison we are awakened by the sounds of doves and other birds, giving the illusion that all is well in the world.

That is until other sounds, keys rattling, doors being shut, and guards doing the morning body check, bring us back to reality.

We are sitting in a prison cell, 123 km from Büchel Air Force Base, where ~20 U.S. nuclear bombs are deployed.

At the moment, the runway at Büchel is being rebuilt to accommodate the new F-35 fighter jets that will carry the new B61-12 nuclear bombs that were designed and built in the U.S.

The planning, preparation, possession, deployment, threat or use of these B61-bombs is illegal and criminal.

The U.S., Germany and NATO know that each B61 nuclear bomb would inflict unnecessary suffering and casualties on combatants and civilians.

They know teach B61 would induce cancers, keloid growth and leukemia in large numbers, inflict congenital deformities in unborn children and poison food supplies.

“We have no right to obey,” says Hannah Arendt.

Although our actions might seem futile, we understand that it is our right, duty and responsibility to stand against the planning and preparation for the use of these weapons.

They are illegal under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which both Germany and the U.S. have signed and ratified, and under the Hague Convention, the Geneva Convention and the Nuremberg Charter.

International peace camps

International peace camps in Büchel were organised by the G.A.A.A. which consists of, among others, IPPNW, ICAN and DFG-VK, the German War Resisters League.

During the camps we, together with other war resisters and with the help of many supporters, went onto Büchel Air Force Base.

Our aim was to communicate with the military personnel about the illegality and immorality of the nuclear bombs.

We also wanted to withdraw our consent and complicity to their use.

The judges who sentenced us for these actions made a decision to follow some laws and ignore others.

It is common sense, and we all know, that even the law against trespass can be broken when life is endangered.

The judges and prosecutors, as well as the guards in prison, treat us respectfully and politely.

At the same time they stick to laws and rules that are unjust and cause suffering.

The biggest crime in their eyes is to upset the “order”, even though the order is set up to be criminal.

We wake up every day with determined joy to continue our “vigil behind bars”.

A joy constrained by knowing that the other women here have pain, from being separated from their family and children or from constant physical or psychological difficulties or from being locked in a cell all day with nothing to do.

Help us cope

We are only able to “vigil behind bars” through the immense support of people making sure our Catholic Worker houses can continue.

We need people to continue sending us cards and stamps, organising visits and money for phone calls, remembering us in their prayers, doing press work and those that continue fighting the death dealing warmakers in the world.

Blessings to you all!

  • Susan Crane (pictured left) is serving a 229 day sentence, and Susan van der Hijden (pictured right) a 115 day sentence, for their nonviolent nuclear disarmament actions at Büchel air base.
  • Cards and letters may be sent to Crane and van der Hijden. They must be individually addressed to each of the women; the address is JVA Rohrbach, Peter-Caesar-Allee 1, 55597 Wöllstein, Germany.
  • Updates can be found Here and Here
Additional reading

News category: Analysis and Comment.

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