"Community Responses to the Holocaust in Hitler's Hometown Passau in the Third Reich and Today" with Anna Rosmus. Ms. Rosmus will discuss acts of genocide and war crimes committed in her hometown of Passau, Germany, explain Passau’s place in the Holocaust and address community response to the hidden atrocities committed there.
The small town of Passau, Germany, always claimed it was resistant to the Nazi regime of the 1930s – that is, until a teenager named Anna Rosmus decided to write an essay on the history of her hometown. Her innocent idea opened a Pandora’s box in Passau. Local officials refused to answer questions about their roles during World War II and she was prohibited from seeing important historical records.
Anna dedicated the next four years to uncovering the truth of Passau. What she found was disturbing: many of the town’s leaders who were admired as resistance fighters were actually staunch supporters of Hitler and the Nazi party. Eight concentration camps were built in Passau and surrounding areas.
Her diligent research caused a storm of opposition and threats against her life in Passau, and she was subsequently shunned. Her first award-winning book, “Resistance and Persecution in Passau from 1933-39,” documented Passau’s hidden past.
Anna continues to dedicate her life to uncovering anti-Semitism and the Nazi past of her hometown and to combating the neo-Nazis and extreme right in Germany. She has published numerous books such as “Exodus: In the Shadow of Mercy,” which detailed the treatment of Jews in Passau from the beginning of the 20th century and “Wintergreen: Suppressed Murders,” which documents atrocities in Passau at the end of the war, the murder of 2,000 Soviet prisoners and forced abortions performed on slave laborers in the area. She also has contributed to “Holocaust and Genocide Studies” and The New York Times, and she will soon publish “75 Years: Night of Broken Glass.”
She isn’t always the author. Anna has been the subject of a biography, “Anna Rosmus: The Witch of Passau” and her life was the basis for the Academy Award-nominated film “The Nasty Girl.” Twice, she was featured in a “60 Minutes” segment by Morley Safer.
Additionally, she has sponsored 50th and 60th anniversary commemorations in Germany and Austria, bringing Jewish survivors and American liberators together to preserve this memory and making certain that effaced memorials in or near Passau are restored.