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May 13 , 2009

Out of Passau

Leaving a City Hitler Called Home


The provocative and harrowing account of how one woman’s life was turned upside down after efforts to uncover her hometown’s complicity in the Nazi regime turned a city against her

Born in Passau in 1960, Anna Rosmus grew up like most of the small Bavarian city’s middle-class residents. 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 at twenty years old, Rosmus stumbled upon a much darker, long-buried history linking her hometown to the Nazi efforts during World War II. In 1994, just before the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the war, she set out to commemorate the forgotten Holocaust victims who had died in Passau, expecting to be greeted with little resistance. What she encountered instead was an obstructionist city council, a virulently resentful local population, and an unsettling degree of latent anti-Semitism.

In Out of Passau, the follow-up to Rosmus’s memoir Against the Stream, she explores not only the troubling history of her city, but also the life-changing fallout—including death threats and her own eventual emigration from Germany to the United States—that resulted from her determination to recognize those who had lost their lives.
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