Hollywood’s Spies | Congregation Beth Am

Hollywood’s Spies

Jewish Resistance to Domestic Nazism in the 1930's, with Laura Rosenzweig

Join Laura Rosenzweig as she reveals, through film clips and her new book, Hollywood's Spies, the remarkable story of Hollywood’s fight against Nazism in America.

The first Hollywood film to confront the Nazi threat in the United States, Confessions of a Nazi Spy, starring Edward G. Robinson, was released in 1939. It told the story of German agents working to overthrow the U.S. government. The film alerted Americans to the dangers of Nazism at home, encouraging them to defend against it.

Confessions of a Nazi Spy may have been the first cinematic shot fired by Hollywood against Nazis in America, but it by no means marked the political awakening of the film industry’s Jewish executives to the problem. For the six years prior to the release of Confessions, the Jewish moguls of the motion picture industry secretly paid private investigators to infiltrate and report on Nazi groups operating in Los Angeles.

Based on recently released documents, Hollywood's Spies recovers this previously untold true story. Spies risked their personal safety and sacrificed their financial security to monitor and report on Nazi efforts to bring “the Hitler Revolution” to the United States.

Hollywood’s Spies revises the decades-long belief that American Jews, and the Jews of Hollywood, in particular, lacked the political will and influence to effectively assert themselves during the 1930's. In fact, the Jews of Hollywood were not absent from this fight, they were merely hidden.

Due to Shabbat observance, no books will be sold at the event. Please pre-purchase Hollywood’s Spies from your local bookseller or Amazon. (Be sure to shop through AmazonSmile to help generate funds for Beth Am!). The author will be happy to sign your copy.

Laura Rosenzweig is an American Jewish historian who has lived in Palo Alto for 35 years and raised her family here.

Refreshments will be served. This program is co-sponsored by Congregation Beth Am and Sequoia Hadassah.

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