Exposing the Nazis

Speaker Anna Rosmus discussed how she revealed her hometown’s secret

[PullQuote1 quote=”We younger ones cannot change the past, what we can do is learn our lessons and make the future better. ” author=”Anna Rosmus” title=”Ferris State University”]

Anna Rosmus knew she had to take action when she discovered horrifying secrets about her hometown of Passau, Germany when she was a teenager.

Rosmus, a political activist, delivered a lecture on Friday, Oct. 23 about how she discovered that the town of Passau had been a part of the Nazi regime during World War II, although officials denied they had any part in supporting Hitler and the Nazi party.

Public officials denied the Holocaust and refused to put an end to the Neo-Nazi parties and “right-winged” or national socialist organizations in Germany.

“I wondered what I could do to play a role to help the survivors,” said Rosmus during her speech. She decided to take action by holding rallies and protests to help bring out the truth.

What ultimately prompted Rosmus’ decision to take action was entering an essay contest that required her to do research about the history of Passau. In her speech she said it was required that students learn about their hometown. Her father, the principal of her school, encouraged her to write the essay regarding the truth behind Passau.

Rosmus won the essay contest. Her 220-page essay eventually became a book, known as “Out of Passau.” Since then, she has published four books and was a winner of the Geschwister-Scholl-Preis, a literary prize, in 1984.

Incidents Rosmus brought up in her speech were times when Jewish citizens were attacked, a journalist was ‘knocked to the ground and kicked,’ and an 18-year-old was attacked for her Mongolian looks. These were just some of the atrocities Rosmus discussed that encouraged her to want to make a difference.

Rosmus said that she, as a 27-year-old mom and student at the time, lead the largest protest the city had ever seen.

“Hundreds of policeman surrounded us, we were just peaceful demonstrators,” said Rosmus. She added, “Policemen refused to look at the Nazi symbols, they said they didn’t see anything with a smirk on their face; it made headlines in the United States and Europe.”

Rosmus again started a rally with her uncle in the town where there were “swastikas displayed like giant necklaces in the windows.” She said she and her uncle took pictures of the evidence before it was removed. Again, authorities denied the incident.

Throughout her lecture, Rosmus shared stories about the successes she has reached and struggles she has endured in bringing out the truth of Passau’s involvement with the Nazi regime in WWII.

Rosmus added that Neo-Nazi organizations are no longer allowed to exist in Germany and she has successfully helped survivors of the Holocaust be recognized.

Students found Rosmus’ lecture to be informative, eye-opening and inspiring.

“It was very well informed, she definitely had a lot to say. It was definitely well put together. I enjoyed it, I want to know more,” said liberal arts major Shainna Beaderstadt.

Freshman Petra Coronado agreed. She said, “I enjoyed it a lot, it was very interesting, and she gave us a great message that we can apply as college students in our society.”

That’s exactly what Rosmus encourages, she urges students to “get involved in your community.” She said, “Not only do you have the right to speak up, you have a moral obligation to do so.”