What makes Sonia Rosenberger so nasty? It isn’t what you would think, or even what the cover of The Nasty Girl would seem to suggest. Precocious though she may be, Sonia’s crimes are those of an historian. She earned the title in her hometown by asking the wrong questions about its history.
I love her.
Sonia’s journey into super-villainy began with an essay contest. As a young student at a Catholic school in Germany, Sonia decided to enter into a national writing contest. She had two topics to choose from; “The concept of Europe” and “My Hometown During the Third Reich.” Sonia’s teacher sensibly encouraged her to go with the first topic, but Sonia had been brought up to believe that the good people of her home town had resisted the Nazis. How could she pass up the opportunity to reveal the heroics of her friends and neighbors?
Please don’t fault Sonia for the innocence of her original intentions! Even the dark flowers of villainy take some time to bloom.
You see it wasn’t long before it became clear to Sonia that something was amiss. Everyone in town seemed to agree that the only true Nazi had been the mayor, but she could not quite seem to get her hands on his files at the local library. What little information she could find on Professor Juckenack, the great hero of the resistance, turned out to be an essay in support of Nazi racial politics. And no-one could seem to remember the concentration camp in town, at least not without a little needling on the subject, in which case they were quick to point out that it was far better than all the others. …the camp that didn’t exist, that is.
Something was amiss!
So, you might wonder what would a good girl wold do upon finding such a mystery? What should a good girl do upon discovering that the people she most looked up to seemed to be damned uncomfortable whenever she tried to talk to them about her personal project? Well, I personally have no idea what a good girl would do about such a quandary, but I can tell you what this bad Betty did.
She dug deeper!
Despite hints, pleas, and even threats, Sonia just kept pressing on in pursuit of the unwelcome truth. Hell, she even kept at it after someone chucked a brick through her car window. Trust me, that was just the beginning. Sonia ignored the advice of neighbors, parents, and even her husband in her pursuit of the truth, sacrificing health and safety in an effort to learn just what had really happened in her hometown during the Nazi years.
I ask you, would a good girl do that? Not a chance!
Left with no other options, Sonia sued the town to gain access to the mayor’s old documents, and when the town changed its laws to prevent her from getting access yet again, …she just sued the town again. She acted as her own lawyer in both ventures, by the way. (Yeah, she’s just that bad-ass.) And do I need to say that she won the second case too? That’s right; good guys don’t always win. Sometimes they get their butts kicked by villainous nasty girls.
I’m not even going to tell you what Sonia did when the town library pretended to lose the mayor’s files in yet another effort to hide the truth from her villainous campaign. Suffice to say this juggernaut of naughtiness would not be dissuaded! You know what else I’m not going to tell you? What Sonia found out about Professor Juckenack and his activities under the Third Reich. Nor will I tell you what happened when he sued her for writing about it in her book on the subject. I’m not going to tell you, because I’m feeling a little bad myself today. (Sonia has inspired me to evil.) And if you want to know the answers to these questions, well then you are just going to have to come over to the dark side and dig a little yourself.
But you know what the best part of this story is? It is actually based on the life of a real person. her name is Anna Rosmus of Passau, Germany, and she is every bit as wicked as the celluloid creation she inspired. Anna didn’t stop with one book about her hometown, she turned her tireless pursuit of unwelcome truths into a career in scholarship, much of it dedicated to ensuring that the memorials to this painful chapter in German history would not be forgotten, neglected, concealed from the public, or outright defaced. Time and again, Dr. Rosmus has called attention to realities good decent folk would just as soon forget.
Who would do such a thing?
Only a nasty girl.
A very nasty girl indeed!
(The image of Anna Rosmus is from http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/133c/133cPrevYears/133c04/133c04l17-NaziPast70s80s.htm)