Anny K. Maass, who headed the West Coast United Restitution Organization assisting Holocaust refugees for 45 years, has died. She was 89.
Maass, who fled the Nazis only to lose both parents and her brother to Hitler's death camps, died July 23 in her Beverly Hills home.
She served as director and manager of the Los Angeles-based restitution office from the time it was established in 1952 until last year when ill health forced her to step down. She had been devoted to aiding early Jewish refugees from Austria and Germany even before American diplomats urged her to flee her native Czechoslovakia at the outset of World War II.
In 1995, in observance of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, Maass received the lifetime achievement award of the Bnai Zion Foundation Western Region. Margaret Marketa Novak, spokeswoman for Bnai Zion, said the Jewish service organization recognized Maass "because of her lifelong dedication, and service beyond the call of duty, helping countless Holocaust survivors file for reparations from the German government."
Born in Moravska Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, Maass studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and earned a law degree at Charles University in Prague. In 1938, she became Czechoslovakia's first woman attorney--only to be stripped of the profession a year later when the Nazis invaded that country and disenfranchised its Jews.
Maass is survived by her son, Jim Maass, of Raleigh, N.C.; a sister, Lilly Landsberger, of New York; four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Memorial contributions can be sent to Bnai Zion, 8455 Beverly Blvd. Suite 300, Los Angeles, CA 90048. Novak said contributions will be used to aid disabled children and pediatric oncology patients.