What do you think happened to Rosa Manus when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands on 10 May 1940?
Rosa Manus was 59 years old when she was arrested. She was held in the Netherlands for three weeks before she was sent to Germany and interrogated by the Gestapo. She was never released. For a woman of almost 60, it was difficult to survive the German concentration camps. In July 1942, her family received word that she was dead. After the war, the family received a new message from the Red Cross saying that she had not died before April 1943. It was first assumed that she died in Ravensbrück concentration camp for women, and she is listed on the memorial there. But after the war, witnesses claimed to have seen her, very sick, in Auschwitz.
The International Archives for the Women’s Movement, which Rosa Manus had helped to establish, exists today and is now called the Atria Institute on gender equality and women’s history. The books that Rosa Manus herself owned were spread to the four winds as the Nazis evacuated the cities where all the seized literature was stored. The books ended up in different libraries around Germany, and some ended up abroad. In 2003, parts of Rosa Manus’ private collection were returned from an archive in Moscow that had stored the material. Books are found even today that Rosa Manus owned, in German and some other foreign libraries. Some of these books are to be found in the National Library in the Czech Republic.