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February 20, 2014 1:18 pm

Actress Emmy Rossum Says Her Childhood Nanny Was Awarded Prize by Hitler

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Emma Rossum, in 2011. Photo: Adam Bielawski / WikiCommons.

Emma Rossum, in 2011. Photo: Adam Bielawski / WikiCommons.

Jewish actress Emmy Rossum told Complex magazine that her first of many childhood nannies had been awarded a singing prize by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

“My first nanny was an Austrian woman named Gertie,” Rossum said, according to E-Online‘s review on Thursday of the February/March Complex cover story. “Hitler gave her a prize as a child for singing the best German national anthem. My mom is Jewish, so that was a little awkward, but Gertie was a great nanny.”

“She would tell that story but she knew Hitler was a bad guy. There’s no getting around that,” Rossum said. “And she was a child; she didn’t know any better when she was singing the German national anthem. Clearly if she was working for a Jewish family she had no prejudice herself.”

Last year, Rossum stood up to pop star Justin Bieber who had said, in Holland, that if Holocaust victim Anne Frank were alive today, he hoped she would be one of his fans, a “Belieber.”

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Rossum,  27, born in New York City, is the only child of Cheryl Rossum, a Jewish single mother of Russian ancestry who worked as a corporate photographer who instilled the “Jewish code of ethics and morals” in the actress, according to an interview in Shalom LifeHer parents separated when her mother was pregnant, and she only met her father, a Protestant of English and Dutch ancestry, twice, as of 2007, according to USA Today.

Rossum said she was named after her great-grandfather, whose first name was Emanuel, using the feminine spelling Emmanuelle, according to a Q&A on YouTube.

In the Complex interview, Rossum said she had many matronly nannies, and they all professed to her the power of prayer, which she believed in, and then didn’t.

“They were all women who were in their 60s—my mom wouldn’t let anyone who was of procreating age take care of me. My nannies taught me that if you wanted it bad enough, impossible things could happen, like your dad coming back,” she said.

“That was something that was verbalized to me as a kid, like, ‘If you light this many candles or if you pray or do this or do that….’ It made me disillusioned as a teen when that didn’t happen, and when I started becoming known as an actress and it still didn’t happen. There were a lot of disappointments,” she said.

“That’s something I draw on for characters and that’s definitely where my distrust stems from. I feel like I’m going to read this and be like, ‘Wow, I was way too open.‘”

Rossum’s entertainment career began when she was seven years old when she joined the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus, with which she performed for $5 or $10 per gig, for five years, according to Vanity Fair. After several television roles and independent movies, her first studio film was in Clint Eastwood’s ‘Mystic River.’

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