Holocaust Artist’s Legacy Is Contested in Germany

But Ms. Koczy’s husband, Louis Pelosi, an American composer who lives in the home they shared in New York state, said in emails and phone calls that he had copies of the same records the archivists found, records he says result from a conversion by the family to Catholicism to protect themselves from persecution.

After being threatened with legal action by Mr. Pelosi, Deutsche Welle, Germany’s public international broadcaster, amended an article on its website to make it clear that the recent statements about Ms. Kozcy’s past were allegations rather than facts.

Mr. Pelosi said that the psychological results of Ms. Koczy’s trauma were too severe to have been invented. He described nightmares, depression, and suicide attempts throughout her life: “Understand that to the end of her life Rosemarie would wake up screaming about the camps, the German boots crushing her and that I would be holding her and holding her to calm her down.”

Photo

Ms. Koczy at work in New York in 1978.

Credit
Emmanuel Yashchin

Ms. Koczy had said that she had been held in Nazi concentration camps in Germany and in what is now France from the ages of three until five, separated from her mother and forced to work.

According to her three-volume, handwritten memoir, “I Weave You A Shroud,” she was sent to an orphanage after World War II, and later worked as a maid in Geneva, where she studied art. Mr. Pelosi said the couple met at The MacDowell Colony, an artists and writers center in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and then spent time in Switzerland and the United States before moving to the United States. She became an American citizen in 1989.

Ms. Koczy is survived by a younger sister, Gisela Grob, whom she wrote was in a concentration camp with her, and a half brother who was born after the war. Ms. Grob did not reply to a request for comment, but Ms. Koczy’s memoirs suggest that…

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