Holocaust author scheduled for lecture series

Heidelberg University is to welcome author, historian and activist Anna Rosmus to its fourth annual Lichtman-Behm Genocide Lecture series.

The series is to return to the theme of the holocaust.

Rosmus is from Passau, Germany, the hometown of Adolf Hitler. As a teenager, she decided to write an essay depicting the history of Passau. Passau had always claimed to be a part of the Resistance during World War II, but through research, Rosmus discovered many town leaders were supporters of Hitler and the Nazi party. She also discovered there were eight concentration camps built in and around Passau.

Because of her discoveries, Rosmus was shunned and driven from her home. She now lives in Maryland.

Rosmus is the author of several books, including “Resistance and Persecution in Passau from 1933 to 1939,” which won Germany’s Gerschwister-Scholl Award. She also is the heroine of the film “The Nasty Girl.” The film documents her struggle to publicize and correct the historical injustices she discovered.

Along with Rosmus, the lecture series is to include an emphasis on women in the holocaust, featuring a keynote and panel discussion with a holocaust survivor and Heidelberg faculty. These discussions are to be given to local middle and high school students Sept. 18.

“The basic component of this series is to raise awareness,” said Courtney DeMayo, Heidelberg assistant professor of history. “It is also important to learn about the aspects that are lesser known like the smaller camps and slave labor and forced abortions that Rosmus describes. Students have a chance to understand who the victim is, who the villain is, and what is activism and what is resistance. Also it is important for students to understand what it is we can do now and how to prevent situations occurring in the future.”

The series is to also give a tribute to Jimmy Lichtman. Lichtman visited the Heidelberg campus in 2010 and 2011 to tell his story as a holocaust survivor along with U.S. Army friends Don Behm and George Sherman. He died in March 2012.

“Our goals for this program is to learn about what happened and what humans have done not just in the past, but in the present reality,” Paul Stark, director of campus ministry and religious life, said. “One small act can save a life.”