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Dialogue of Cultures
'Death, Where Is Thy Sting?'
Just as Illinois Governor Ryan made his best effort to rid this nation of the painful scourge of capital punishment, a leading associate and close friend of Lyndon and Helga LaRouche, who had made it her "personal mission" to free America of the death penalty, passed away. Marianna Wertz died early on Jan. 15, Martin Luther King's birthday, at 54, having fought for many years against cancer and effects of its treatment. Her life, marked both by great human compassion, and a bold determination to make a difference, was full of such self-chosen missions; and in nearly all, she achieved such victoriesnever final, but always joyful, to her very last hours. Her work since 1989, known to all our readers, of investigating and writing about every case, every development which could hasten the final discrediting of capital punishment, was only one of those missions, chosen by her, but inspired by the long friendship with the LaRouches which was her treasured blessing.
Mrs. Wertz also enjoyed a special friendship of many years with Mrs. Amelia Boynton Robinson of Selma, Alabama, the civil rights heroine whose autobiography, Bridge Across Jordan, she edited, and whose vast international work for the SchillerInstitute she often coordinated. "Marianna was like a daughter to me, and a friend, and the best editor you could ever imagine," said Mrs. Boynton Robinson. "She was a combination of everything good, and she did it all so well." At Selma's dedication of the National Voting Rights Museum in 2002, and honoring the lifelong struggle of Mrs. Boynton Robinson and her late husband S.W. Boynton, she asked that the concluding presentation focussing on her continuing work around the world today, be given by Mrs. Wertz, in September 2001, at the Schiller Institute celebration of Mrs. Boynton Robinson's 90th birthday.
As Vice-President of the Schiller Institute, Marianna Wertz's work included the preparation, together with her husband of 27 years, William Wertz, of the three-volume work Friedrich Schiller: Poet of Freedom, by which the Institute uniquely put Schiller's great dramas, poetry, and essays together into circulation in English, some for the first time. She became a passionate translator of Schiller's poetry into English; her translation of some of his most beautiful philosophical poems, including the great The Artists, is awaiting publication in a fourth volume of Poet of Freedom which she had prepared.
Her greatest satisfaction lay in challenging herself to do what she saw was necessary, but difficult; her happiness came from changing, inspiring, and organizing others to do more, and to be happier. She formed and conducted the Schiller Institute's West Coast chorus in the early 1980s, for example, never having attempted such work before. In her last year of life, despite very poor health, she volunteered to take up again the physically arduous but rewarding work of daily organizing, fundraising and recruitment to the growing LaRouche movement, inspiring those she worked with.
Because of her long-deteriorating health, Marianna Wertz's leadership in association with Lyndon and Helga LaRouche was "quiet, but very effective." She counted herself extraordinarily blessed: by her lifeat 30, after first beating cancer, she said that 50 years on Earth would be great luck; by her very loving marriage; by the friendship and inspiration of Lyndon and Helga LaRouche. She used her talents well; and just before her last heart surgery, said that if she were now to die, she had lived a most wonderful life. And so her death was "swallowed up in victory."
From the January 20, 2003 New Federalist:
The Exemplary Life of Marianna Wertz
What can be said of Marianna, like the sublime Jeanne d'Arc whom Lyndon LaRouche has been holding up as a model of effective dedication to God's work on Earth, is that she lost the physical battle she waged for 27 years, against cancer, and then the effects of the treatment which eradicated it. But, in the course of her fight, she won, by contributing substantially to winning the war for humanity's survival, and showing others how the war for humanity can be won.
Marianna, whom you see in the picture to the right, speaking in celebration of her beloved friend and civil rights heroine Amelia Boynton Robinson, was a small woman, whose size contrasted dramatically with her spirit of fight against injustice. Shortly after she joined the LaRouche movement in the early 1970s, however, she was forced to mobilize for a different kind of fight, a fight against the form of cancer called Hodgkins disease. The treatment was effective, but the effects of the radiation greatly weakened both her heart and her bones, making it necessary for her to have a heart bypass operation a few years later, and hip replacement operations, up to the recent one that led to the complications that in turn led to her death.
As a result of her physical limitations, Marianna had to exercise what many would consider stringent self-control in order to do her political work. She had to pay meticulous attention to diet, exercise, and fatigue. She did it without complaining, because she was committed, above all, to being a productive human being.
It is impossible to recall all her valuable projects in this short space. Her prime dedication, one could rightly say, was as an officer and leader of the international Schiller Institute, founded by Helga Zepp LaRouche in 1984. Marianna was a "prime mover" in all the Institute's work, from building support for LaRouche's economic development programs, to producing volumes of translations of the work of the Institute's namesake, poet Friedrich Schiller. No Schiller Institute publication was produced without her thoughtful input, both as a skilled editor, and writer.
In the meantime, her physical weaknesses continued to create problems for her. There was never a time when she didn't have to take them into accountand figure out how to make her maximum contribution in spite of them. Indeed, to those who knew her up close, those physical problems were getting worse, further limiting her stamina and activity.
There are many who, under those circumstances, would have come up with excuses to "bow out," to take a long, extended vacation, or reduce the pressure. Not Marianna. Instead, she worked with her husband, LaRouche movement leader Will Wertz, to figure out what kind of contribution she could best make, given the physical limitations she had, to contribute to the fight of the LaRouche movement.
One of the areas where she worked intensivelyand to palpable effectwas on the matter of the death penalty, which she took as an evil which had to be overcome here in the United States. Her interviews and articles were circulated broadly internationally, and it was surely poetic justice that, during the last few days before her death, Illinois Governor George Ryan took his courageous action to commute the sentences of more than 140 inmates on Death Row.
But, what is exemplary about Marianna Wertz's life, is something beyond "the issues." It is set in the work of Friedrich Schiller, and Lyndon LaRouche, on the question of the "sublime."
The "sublime" is a quality by which the individual overcomes physical limitations, even death, in order to make an immortal contribution to future generations of mankind. That idea of immortality is not an ego-driven one, as it was not in Marianna's case: the "look at me and how great I am" quality that many confuse with heroism. Rather, the sublime is the quality by which one says, "I have only one life; how shall I spend that which is limited, for the benefit of generations to come?" As such, it represents the determination to overcome physical limitationsin the case of Christ, the ultimate sublime personality, even deathin order to make that contribution.
Of course, to do so requires not only courage, but the wisdom of the soul, to decide where to make the fight.
Marianna Wertz relied on the wisdom of Lyndon LaRouche, while working on developing it in herself, and exercising the courage to continue fighting, against the physical pains and odds. She lived to work for humanity. If many more people followed her example, we would make more rapid progress in preventing a New Dark Age.
A message from Amelia Boynton Robinson
This World Has Been As Heaven to Me
On Marianna and Heaven
Marianna was like a daughter to me, and a friend, and the best editor you could ever imagine. She was a combination of everything good and she did it all so well.
"I have a different outlook on heaven and hell than most people. My father used to sing this hymn:
When you become a part of God and live as He wishes you to live, then when pestilences and mistreatments come against you you can deal with them as part of God's will.
Although we know we have to bear the cross here, when death comes we can look back and see that our work here has been done well.
It's like being in a classroom where we have learned our work, passed our examinations and been able to put our studies to good use. Then the teacher says, if you are in the lower grades, 'You may go out and play now'. Or if you are in the higher grades, 'You may be excused'.
I can imagine Angels coming to Marianna telling her that God is waiting for her now. It takes away a lot of our darkness and despair to know that He has relieved her of her pain and tribulations. She's gone to a higher ground, and knowing that takes away our sadness.
We all have to leave this world. It's as if we've lived in one house, and while we may be sad to leave some things behind when we learn that we have to move away, we are full of happiness for what will come next.
We've done our work, we've sung our song, we've done some good, tried not to do wrong.
God said, 'Come up Marianna.' And like the Scriptures say, 'Our Spirit will return to God.' And He knows what He wants to do.
Obituary for Marianna Wertz
Marianna Wertz of Leesburg, Virginia, born on August 14, 1948 in Pasadena, California, died on Martin Luther King's birthday, January 15, at age 54, after undergoing cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins. Through a sublime fight, she survived 27 years after first contracting cancer in 1974, soon after her marriage.
In 1971, she joined the political movement of Lyndon LaRouche, whom she considered it a blessing to have known. She was Vice-President of the Schiller Institute founded by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, and she translated many of the most beautiful poems of the German poet Friedrich Schiller into English. Her commitment to truth, beauty, and justice was reflected in the untiring campaign she waged against the death penalty in the pages of New Federalist and EIR. She also edited numerous books, including Civil Rights heroine Amelia Boynton Robinson's Bridge Across Jordan.
Marianna lived in Leesburg for 17 years. She worked for EIR magazine in editorial and sales. She got her education at UCLA (BA in political science) and Harvard University (Masters in Education).
She is survived by her husband of 27 years, William F. Wertz, Jr., her brothers Anton Chaitkin and David Chaitkin, and her sisters Naomi Minno and Amy Blumberg.
On Sunday, January 19, 2003 the following obituary was published in the Washington Post on page C11, despite the fact that the Washington Post had vowed never to mention Lyndon LaRouche without slandering him:
Writer and Translator,
Marianna Wertz, 54, a writer and translator who served as vice president of the Schiller Institute, an organization founded by Helga Zepp LaRouche, died Jan. 15 at a hospital in Baltimore aftrer surgery for a heart ailment.
Mrs. Wertz had lived in Leesburg since moving to this area 17 years ago.
She joined the poitical movement led by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. in 1971. She wrote for such LaRouche publications as the New Federalist and the Executive Intelligence Review on such subjects as her opposition to the death penalty.
She also held editorial and sales posts with the latter publication.
Mrs. Wertz, who translated works by the German poet Friedrich Schiller, edited several books, including 'Bridge Across Jordan' by civil rights figure Amelia Boynton Robinson.
Mrs. Wertz was a native of Pasadena, Calif., and a political science graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles. She received a master's degree in education from Harvard University.
Survivors include her husband of 27 years. William F. Wertz, Jr. of Leesburg, two brothers, David Chaitkin of New York and Anton Chaitkin of Leesburg, and two sisters, Naomi Nimmo of South Carolina and Amy Blumberg of New York state.
If you are one of Marianna's many friends who would like to help celebrate her beautiful life, you can share your thoughts and memories through this website. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will post your messages on this site, and print them later for her husband, William Wertz, Fidelio Magazine Editor and Schiller Institute President in the USA.
Humboldt's Education Reforms (Fidelio Magazine, Summer 1996)
Humboldt's Classical Education Curriculum (New Federalist, March 1993)
Supermax Prison Expose --( New Federalist, May 2000)
The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the LaRouche Campaign (2000)
Pope Brings `The Common Good' To Judge Globalization and War (EIR, May 2001)
Marianna's Articles on the Death Penalty are Forthcoming
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