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The Sun And Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler's Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood

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Charlie Chaplin pays her a brief compliment in his autobiography, and producer Gottfried Reinhardt states correctly in his that “the history of Hollywood, which is not yet written, is incomplete without an appreciation of Salka Viertel’s distinct talent for human relationships. Queen Christina” (1933) ranks with “Camille” (1936) and “Ninotchka” (1939) as one of Garbo’s three greatest sound films. For many of Hitler’s exiles, Hollywood beckoned because the movies always need scripts, music, imaginative directors and glamorous faces.

is especially noteworthy, as is her examination of Viennese modernism, Berthold Viertel: Eine Biografie der Wiener Moderne . S. citizen in February of 1939, only months before the official outbreak of war in Europe on September 1 of that year. She typifies the mostly Jewish immigrants who fled continental Europe and landed in Hollywood during the rise of Hitler. I love this book for the enjoyable way it explained her contributions to movie scripts and friendships. Salka Viertel has been more or less forgotten in America because too few people believed that what she accomplished was important.Then a decisive encounter at the home of émigré German director Ernst Lubitsch changed the direction of her professional career. S. government blackout rules, while a houseful of enemy aliens who had barely escaped their deaths in Europe let off steam. Rifkind does a wonderful job of telling the multifaceted and somewhat tragic life story of a brilliant woman.

is especially noteworthy, as is her examination of Viennese modernism, Berthold Viertel: Eine Biografie der Wiener Moderne. Rifkind firmly establishes Viertel's unique place in history as someone who singlehandedly comforted a generation of European emigrees who made their way to Los Angeles in the 1930s to escape fascism and the murdering Nazis. Or that it was Erika Mann, Heinrich’s niece and Thomas Mann’s eldest daughter, who risked her life by sneaking into Nazi-dominated Munich in the summer of 1933 to rescue her father’s manuscript of Joseph and His Brothers from the Mann family home, which was then under constant Gestapo surveillance. S. military intelligence officer and later wrote the screenplay for the 1951 award-winning film “Decision Before Dawn,” as well as “The African Queen” and other notable films. She was furious upon discovering that many Germans and Austrians acted as if nothing significant had happened between 1933 and 1945.Many newcomers who sought employment in the burgeoning film industry had a limited command of English, were uncomfortable with the social informality of southern California, and felt alienated and humiliated by their loss of cultural prominence in Europe. The actress Shelley Winters once spotted Salka — then well into her 50s — making out in a convertible with the young Montgomery Clift following a party at Gene Kelly’s. What kept the luckiest of the 1930s refugees going, as Elie Wiesel wrote about Adam in the book of Genesis, is that God gave them a secret: not about how to begin, but how to begin again.

These were Hitler’s gift to America— prodigious individuals who enriched the film culture and the intellectual life of our nation, and whose influence continues to resonate. Etsy’s 100% renewable electricity commitment includes the electricity used by the data centers that host Etsy. Thus after 1933 she was extra sympathetic to the attempts of the panicked human beings who began to launch themselves desperately, in any way they could, toward the possibility of safety in America.Salka increased her activist work on behalf of exiles, funding relatives to escape Europe, and even more friends of friends fleeing Nazi persecution and trying to make their way in the US. In her book, The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler’s Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood, author and book critic Donna Rifkind vividly describes the 1930s and 1940s, when 10,000 German-speaking refugees, most of them Jews, found a safe haven from Nazism in Los Angeles.

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