Heidelberg University will return to the theme of the Holocaust during its fourth annual Lichtman-Behm Genocide Lecture Series Sept. 16-18. With an emphasis on women of the Holocaust, the university will welcome as the keynote speaker Anna Rosmus, an author, historian and activist and real-life heroine of the film “The Nasty Girl.”
Rosmus, who hails from Passau, Germany – Hitler’s hometown – has spent more than three decades trying to uncover the atrocities of her hometown’s hidden Nazi past and to combating the extreme right in Germany. At first, she was stonewalled, but she persevered. Years later, she finally gained unlimited access to the city records. What she found was terrible.
Passau had been a Nazi hotbed, Rosmus discovered. The city was home to at least eight concentration camps, slave labor camps and POW camps. As she uncovered the truth, she named names, gave dates and exposed family secrets – and she paid a price for her efforts. She was driven from her home and her family, and now lives in Maryland, where she continues to write history. “The Nasty Girl” documents her grassroots struggle to publicize, and when possible, rectify some of the historical injustices she discovered.
The campus and the community will have an opportunity to hear Rosmus’ story during a presentation at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, in Wickham Great Hall (Campus Center). She will speak on the topic Community Responses to the Holocaust in Hitler’s Hometown: Passau in the Third Reich and Today. The program is free and open to the community.
The Lichtman-Behm Lecture series kicks off on Monday, Sept. 16, with a showing of the film “The Nasty Girl.” Rosmus will meet with Heidelberg students on Tuesday prior to the keynote lecture to discuss her experiences as an activist and historian of the Holocaust.
Additionally, Heidelberg will welcome several hundred local/area middle school and high school students on Wednesday for programming designed especially for them. Heidelberg faculty members Kylee Spencer, Courtney DeMayo, Ellen Nagy, Carol Dusdieker, Marc O’Reilly and Paul Stark will present mini-sessions that will help prepare the students for a separate keynote/panel discussion featuring Holocaust survivor Betty Gold and Jill Rembrandt, director of education and public programs at the Maltz Museum for Jewish Heritage in Cleveland.
Also incorporated into the series is a tribute to the namesake of the lecture series, Jimmy Lichtman, who died in March 2012. Lichtman came to campus twice, in 2010 and 2011, to tell his story as a Holocaust survivor along with U.S. Army friends Don Behm and George Sherman, who helped liberate the Mauthausen concentration camp where he was held. The tribute will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, in Herbster Chapel.
The lecture series concludes with an artistic presentation, entartete Kunst: The Nazi Regime's Persecution of the Arts, Dusdieker, a voice professor at Heidelberg. It will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, in Gundlach Theatre.