Nestled along the Danube in southern Germany, Passau is a pleasant tourist destination known for its historic buildings and scenic views at the intersection of three rivers. But for decades, the small Bavarian city suppressed an intimate association with Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.
Born in Passau in 1960, Anna Rosmus discovered those dark secrets as a teenager—sordid stories of slave labor, forced abortions, and a massacre of Russian POWs. In 1994, she set out to commemorate the forgotten Holocaust victims who had died there, expecting little if any controversy. What she encountered instead was an obstructionist city council, a virulently resentful local population, and an unsettling degree of latent anti-Semitism in a town whose several hundred Jewish citizens had been sent to concentration camps. Eventually the death threats led to her own emigration from Germany to the United States.
Anna Rosmus has been hailed by Marc Fisher of the Washington Post as “a rigorous researcher burning with a passion to tell the story that must be told.” In Out of Passau, she explores not only the disturbing World War II history of her hometown, but also the life-changing fallout that resulted from her determination to recognize those who had lost their lives.