Liesl Frank, Charlotte Dieterle and the European Film Fund - Martin Sauter - ebook

Liesl Frank, Charlotte Dieterle and the European Film Fund ebook

Martin Sauter

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Setting out to provide a definitive history of the European Film Fund (EFF), the purpose of this thesis is as follows: first, to draw attention to the many exile and refugee organisations by examining one of them, the EFF. As a study of a refugee organisation founded as a result of Nazism, my examination of the EFF not only fills an existing gap in film history as far as the EFF itself is concerned. Refugee organisations in general have received scant attention by exile scholars. By making one refugee organisation the focus of my inquiry, I am also highlighting the presence of women in the topic of exile as two women, Liesl Frank, wife of the writer Bruno Frank, and Charlotte Dieterle, wife of the director William Dieterle, were at the centre of the EFF. My investigation of this organisation demonstrates that women played a much larger role in exile and exile communities than history and literature have thus far accorded them. Additionally, I show how the political situation after 1933, including apathy by the international community, led to the founding of the EFF. Lastly, by shifting the focus away from figureheads of the émigré community to below-the-line film artists, technicians, theatre artists and so on, I foreground those refugees whose lives have hitherto been obscured by their more famous fellow émigrés.

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Liesl Frank, Charlotte Dieterle and the European Film Fund

By Martin Sauter

Submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Warwick University/ German Department

Supervised by Professor Erica Carter

February 2010 

Liesl Frank, Charlotte Dieterle and the European Film Fund

By Martin Sauter

Submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Warwick University/ German Department Supervised by Professor Erica Carter February 2010

I am profoundly indebted to the many people, archives and institutions who have helped this thesis reach completion: to Warwick University for awarding me a bursary that allowed me to embark on my examination by fully concentrating on my research; to my doctoral supervisor, Professor Dr. Erica Carter who shepherded me through this thesis and who taught me what it requires to be a scholar and historian; to Professor Emeritus Dr. John Spalek, Albany, for letting me have the use of his house while I conducted research at the State University of New York at Albany, and especially for generously making his personal exile archive accessible to me; to Gero Gandert from the Kinemathek, Berlin, who encouraged me to write about the European Film Fund and who shared his knowledge about German-Jewish émigrés with me, and, also, for putting me in touch with a number of descendants of erstwhile émigrés in Hollywood; to Robert Koster, Lupita Tovar-Kohner, Pancho Kohner, Renata Lenart, and John Pommer in Los Angeles for generously giving of their time and providing me with first-hand accounts of the exile experience; to Dr. Jan-Christopher Horak, Los Angeles, who also encouraged me in my decision to make the European Film Fund the topic of my doctoral thesis; to Holly-Jane Rahlens, Berlin, for putting me in touch with Gero Gandert and Renata Lenart; to Dr. Carey Harrison, New York, for sharing his memories of his mother, Lilli Palmer, with me; to Dr. Dr. Helwig Hassenpflug, Berlin, for tirelessly answering all my questions regarding the life in exile of the late Blandine Ebinger, his former wife; to Dr. Virginia Sease, Dornach/ Switzerland, and Dr. Erich Frey, Los Angeles, for talking to me about their encounters with Liesl Frank; to Dr. Thomas Elsaesser, Amsterdam, for providing me with a copy of his interview with the late Walter Reisch.

Thanks must also go to the many librarians and archivists who have helped and assisted me in my research: to Barbara Hall at the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills; to Caroline Sisneros at the Louis B. Mayer Library at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles; to Marje Schütze-Coburn and Rachelle Balinas Smith at the Feuchtwanger Memorial Library at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles; to Gerrit Thiess at the Kinemathek Berlin; to John Vernon and Robert Ellis at the National Archives at College Park/ Maryland; to Mary Y. Osielski at the Grenander Department of Special Collections at the State University of New York at Albany; to Katrin Kokot and Sylvia Asmus at the Exile Archive of the German National Library at Frankfurt/ Main; to

Miriam Intrator and Irit G. Pinchovski at the Center for Jewish History in New York; to Carmen Kaspar, Elke Tietz-Allmendinger, Hildegard Dieke and Jan Buerger at the German Literature Archive at Marbach; to Ina Prescher, Synke Vollring, Elgine Helmstädt, Nicky Rittmeyer and Andrea Rolz at the Academy of Arts in Berlin; and to Dr. Stefan Mörz at the Archives of the City of Ludwigshafen. I am also deeply indebted to Barbara Bab-Houlehan, Kentucky, and Marianne Brünn-Kortner, Berlin, for allowing me to photocopy documents pertaining to their fathers, Julius Bab and Fritz Kortner respectively. Furthermore, I would like to thank Dr. Ian Wallace, Bath, Brian Neve, Bath, Dr. Armin Loacker, Vienna, Dr. Helmut G. Asper, Bielefeld, and Werner Sudendorf, Berlin, for their help and advice.

Last but not least, I should like to thank my former employer, Chanel S. A. in Paris, as well as my friends Martin Wörle, Frank Schott, Tülay and Ceyhan Özbek, Bruno Secchi, Benoit Dufrene, Stefan Fuhrmann and Michael Chambers for their understanding, support, and generosity over the past three years.


Setting out to provide a definitive history of the European Film Fund (EFF), the purpose of this thesis is as follows: first, to draw attention to the many exile and refugee organisations by examining one of them, the EFF. As a study of a refugee organisation founded as a result of Nazism, my examination of the EFF not only fills an existing gap in film history as far as the EFF itself is concerned. Refugee organisations in general have received scant attention by exile scholars. By making one refugee organisation the focus of my inquiry, I am also highlighting the presence of women in the topic of exile as two women, Liesl Frank, wife of the writer Bruno Frank, and Charlotte Dieterle, wife of the director William Dieterle, were at the centre of the EFF. My investigation of this organisation demonstrates that women played a much larger role in exile and exile communities than history and literature have thus far accorded them. Additionally, I show how the political situation after 1933, including apathy by the international community, led to the founding of the EFF. Lastly, by shifting the focus away from figureheads of the émigré community to below-the-line film artists, technicians, theatre artists and so on, I foreground those refugees whose lives have hitherto been obscured by their more famous fellow émigrés.

List of Abbreviations

ASC - American Society of Cinematographers

EFF - European Film Fund

ERC - Emergency Rescue Committee

ERF - European Relief Fund

HANL - Hollywood Anti-Nazi League

HICEM - Acronym of the names of three organisations: HIAS (=Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), ICA (Jewish Colonization Agency), and Emigdirect.

HUAC - House Un-American Activities Committee

IATSE - International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada

IRA - International Relief Association

MPRF - Motion Picture Relief Fund

Chapter One


Until 1989, when the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin, now the Deutsche Kinemathek, acquired the Paul Kohner Archive, the story of the European Film Fund was shrouded in mystery. Though references to the EFF in the then nascent field of exile research were numerous, researchers were confronted with a lack of empirical data and thus had to rely on secondary sources to research what this thesis will argue was a highly significant organisation in the history of film exile. These sources - biographies and autobiographies - tended to be vague or anecdotal in their allusions to the EFF. Referring to the sketchy picture that existed of the EFF, E. Bond Johnson, one of the first scholars to conduct research on the EFF in 1976, quoted Paul Kohner’s brother, Frederick, as commenting that, ‘the only way to write about the Fund is in a sort of Rashomon1 - that’s how multifarious the accounts and opinions were when he began his research on this part of his brother’s activity’ (Bond Johnson in Spalek & Strelka 1976: 136). In 1975, Marta Feuchtwanger, in her oral history with Lawrence Weschler,2 had already said that ‘... there was this foundation which is called European Film Fund, which was founded by Lisl [sic] Frank [...] and Charlotte Dieterle [...].What I should stress also was that the whole film people did so much for it [......]. Nobody ever speaks about it; I’m always upset that they have no more recognition’.3 The relative wealth of archival data now available on the EFF, has spawned surprisingly few investigations of this particular organisation, or indeed of similar organisations that sprang up as a result of the exile experience. To date, the most coherent account of the EFF can be found in H.G. Asper’s seminal Etwas besseres als den Tod ..., but since Asper’s intention was not to furnish a scholarly study of the organisation, his chapter on the EFF is factual and anecdotal rather than analytical. However, Asper’s pioneering account served as an inspiration for me to embark on my own investigation of this organisation.

My thesis sets out, by contrast, to breathe new life into our perception of the EFF by providing its definitive history. To this end, I have drawn extensively on archival sources. Those sources will be discussed at greater length at the end of this chapter. However, the EFF must also be seen as one case study within a lager historiography of exile in Hollywood. This thesis begins therefore with a review of that historiography, which can be broadly classified under three headings: early histories of exile in Hollywood and the United States, autobiographies and biographies, and studies on film exile. I refer in the body of this thesis to the wide range of literature on American film history I have consulted, as well as works on the contemporary politics of the 1930s and 40s that provide a conceptual and contextual framework for my investigation, enabling me to put the EFF - its founding and its operations - into a political and sociological perspective.4

Early Histories of Exile in Hollywood and the United States

Although primary and secondary literature relating directly to the EFF - or any other refugee organisation that emerged as a result of Hitler’s rise to power - is sparse, the related field of literature on exile is vast. The use of the term ‘literature on exile’ is a deliberate choice on my part in order not to confuse what has been written on exile with literature that was written in exile, which John Spalek refers to as exile literature (see: Spalek 1982: xi). Though references to the EFF in the literature on exile are often cursory and sometimes even inaccurate, the findings of exile scholars and researchers prove an important source of information concerning the Los Angeles émigré community in general. As literature on exile has spawned a whole subgenre of popular publications, for reasons of precision dividing the field into scholarly and journalistic approaches would seem appropriate.5

The first book on the broader topic of anti-Nazi emigration goes back to 1939 when Klaus and Erika Mann first published their collaboratively written Escape to Life (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1939). To this day their book has remained a significant and invaluable reference work on exile. The Manns wrote their book from an anti-Nazi stance, as a clear statement against Nazi Germany and its annihilation of German culture, with the intention of drawing attention to the ‘other Germany’, in other words, those Germans who were not contaminated by Nazism. Owing to the extraordinary access both Manns had to various émigré circles that formed around the world - in Zürich, Paris, London, Los Angeles - their book has never lost validity. Klaus and Erika Mann not only lived in a remarkable number of places that became émigré hubs, but knew many exiled writers, directors, and actors intimately. Theirs is a tersely written, sharply observed book, that covers literary as well as filmic emigration. Escape to Life provides an early, yet comprehensive overview of exile while the book’s structure -starting with the political situation in Nazi Germany following Hitler’s takeover and then moving on to discuss various émigré hubs - makes it evident that it served as a blueprint for Jean-Michel Palmier’s arguably more ambitious Weimar en exile (Paris: Payot, 1988), published nearly fifty years later.

One of the first significant publications focussing exclusively on exiled German-Jewish writers appeared in 1947, when the former exile Alfred Kantorowicz, in collaboration with Richard Drews, published Verboten und verbrannt (Berlin: Ullstein, 1947), a first attempt at coming to terms with the extent and ramifications of literary exile. Also included in Verboten und verbrannt are ‘inner émigrés’ such as Erich Kästner and writers like Franz Kafka who, of course, had long been dead when the Nazis came to power, but whose inclusion is due to the central role played by the exiled writer Max Brod in Kafka’s life and the publication of his work. The body of Verbotenund verbrannt consists of brief biographical sketches of nearly two hundred writers, followed by an excerpt of one of their works. Though Verbotenund verbrannt is little more than a compendium of the literary exile, Kantorowicz and Drews explain in the introduction to their book that their aim was to

inspire curiosity; to provide a first, rough, non-sectionalised and not yet complete overview; a reference book, which gives an idea about the scope of those who were banned and burnt;6 nothing more and nothing less (Kantorowicz & Drews 1947: 10).

As a compendium of literary exile, published so shortly after the Holocaust, Verboten und verbrannt was certainly timely and fulfilled its documentary purpose. But a more comprehensive debate on exiled writers and their literary output only started almost twenty years later when in 1965 the exhibition Deutsche Exil-Literatur 1933-45 was opened at the German National Library in Frankfurt/ Main and subsequently travelled to 20 cities in and outside West Germany. This constituted the first significant attempt by West Germany to come to terms with its vanished literary heritage. In John Spalek’s assessment, the exhibition was of ‘seminal importance [...], stimulating] numerous other exhibits that served to call the public’s attention to the fact of the anti-Nazi emigration of the thirties’ (Spalek 1982: xvii). Spalek has also noted that already in the 1950s, several studies had appeared that examined the political emigration (see: Spalek 1982: xvi). Nonetheless, the effect of the Frankfurt exhibition was profound, for it certainly cannot be a coincidence that ‘the bulk of publications, especially on German literature in exile, occurred in the decade starting roughly in 1966 and continuing until about 1976’ (Spalek 1982: xvi).

The end of this decade saw two different publications on the topic of film exile, one of which marks the beginning of serious scholarly examination of exiled German-Jewish film artists. John Baxter’s The Hollywood Exiles (London: Macdonald & Jane’s, 1976) is a largely anecdotal account of European film artists from various European countries who came to live and work in Hollywood, starting in the 1920s. Although his book concludes with the forced emigration due to the rise of Nazism, Baxter’s book prefigured what would later become an important concern of film historians and exile researchers, inasmuch as he looks at the impact European film artists, writers, etc., had on Hollywood, starting with Lubitsch’s departure for Hollywood in 1923. Due to its journalistic style, Baxter’s book falls into the category of popular publications on exile, and thus is of limited consequence to the scholar today. However, seen in the context of its time, his was significant as one of the earliest works to consider the influence of Europeans on popular American culture. Moreover, Baxter’s book was also one of the earliest publications to - albeit briefly - mention the European Film Fund.

Considering the absence of scholarly interest since that date, it is interesting that 1976 was also the year in which the European Film Fund was first discussed in an academic context. In John Spalek and Joseph Strelka‘s, Deutsche Exilliteratur seit 1933, Band 1: Kalifornien (Bern: Franke, 1976), E. Bond Johnson attempts to recapitulate the history of the EFF and evaluate its role in the émigré community. However, although Bond Johnson had access to a number of primary sources - including personal testimonies from one of the key figures discussed in this thesis - a lack of empirical data, and the fact that exile research as a field of study to which he could refer was not yet in existence, make his account patchy and sometimes even downright inaccurate. He falls prey, for instance, to the often repeated error of confusing the European Film Fund with the European Relief Fund, which, in fact, was founded much later, after the EFF had already been dissolved. As mentioned earlier, Bond Johnson was well aware of the difficulty of writing about a subject with only limited sources to draw on. Thus he concludes his essay by saying,

the archival material on the EFF is still relatively scarce. Hopefully,

one day the activities of the Fund will be become clearer and its members deserve to be better known. [...] The more we know about the EFF, the better we will be able to understand the exile community, in which the EFF played a crucial role (Bond Johnson in Spalek & Strelka 1976: 144).

The fact that Bond Johnson himself pointed to the complexity and limitations of writing about a topic on which no reliable secondary sources exist, let alone archival material, represented a challenge for my own examination. Mindful of the blurry picture that has prevailed heretofore of the EFF, I was determined to use the archival material that has since become available to unravel the story of the organisation without losing sight of its inadequacies.

Autobiographies and Biographies

The publication of these early books and studies on exile was paralleled by a number of biographies and autobiographies of former émigrés that first began to appear over the course of the 1950s. They may have drawn attention to ‘the ca. 1, 500 film professionals to leave Germany after 1933 and Austria after 1938’(Horak 1986: 241) at a time when exile scholars were still largely preoccupied with the literary emigration. Most noteworthy are Leonhard Frank’s Links wo das Herz ist (Munich: Nymphenburger Verlagshandlung, 1952), Fritz Kortner’s Aller Tage Abend (Munich: Kindler, 1959), Friedrich Hollander’s Von Kopf bis Fuss (Munich: Kindler, 1959), Salka Viertel’s The Kindness of Strangers (New York/ NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1969), Lilli Palmer’s Dicke Lilli - gutes Kind (Zurich: Dromer Knaur Verlag, Scholler & Co., 1974), and Frederick Kohner’s The Magician of Sunset Boulevard - The Improbable Life of Paul Kohner, Hollywood Agent (Palos Verdes/ CA: Morgan Press, 1977). These (auto)biographies came at a time when the topic of exile was not widely discussed in the public domain. Hence, besides serving as a source for exile researchers to glean necessary information on émigrés and the Hollywood émigré community, these books raised awareness among the general public concerning the issue of exile. After all, prior to Lilli Palmer’s publication of her autobiography, who in Germany knew that she was forced to leave the country of her birth because she was Jewish?

In terms of its relevance for researchers, Viertel’s book was probably the most influential.

As one of the premier hostesses of Hollywood’s émigré community, this MGM screenwriter, Garbo confidante, and wife of director Berthold Viertel, had formidable access to various overlapping émigré circles. An actress turned screenwriter by profession, Viertel was politically left wing and an active member of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League. Regular guests at her gatherings consisted of a motley mix of intellectuals, writers, directors and actors. Bertolt Brecht, Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, Garbo, Gottfried Reinhardt were all regular attendees (see: Isherwood 1997: 49, 62, 92). Her memoirs, which focus on the years between 1933 - 45, are candid and peppered with anecdotes and personal observations which made them a treasure trove for exile researchers at a time when primary and secondary sources, particularly those on film artists, were still relatively scarce. This is evidenced, for instance, in the publications of film critic John Russell Taylor (Strangers in Paradise, New York/ NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1983), or Anthony Heilbut, himself the son of German-Jewish refugees (Exiled in Paradise, New York/ NY: Viking Press, 1983), both of whom draw on The Kindness of Strangers. Of these however, Heilbut, Taylor, Viertel, and Kohner, make only more or less cursory mention of the EFF, conveying an inaccurate picture of the organisation which, if anything, contributed to promulgating the legend that surrounds it. However, even now, thirty years after its publication, Viertel’s book is often referred to, for instance, by Carola Stern in her biography of Liesl Frank’s mother, Fritzi Massary (Die Sache die man Liebe nennt, Berlin: Rowolth, 1998) and Diana McLellan in her examination of ‘Sapphic Hollywood’ (The Girls - Sappho Goes to Hollywood, New York/ NY: LA Weekly Books, 2000). As Viertel is central to McLellan’s book, McLellan relies heavily on The Kindness of Strangers, though she reveals details about Viertel’s life that Viertel herself either glossed over or chose to omit altogether, such as, for instance, her amorous relationship with Gottfried Reinhardt or her acquaintance with both Mercedes de Acosta and Marlene Dietrich. This underscores the limitations of autobiographical sources as they are often self-serving. Their point of view is wholly subjective and they are based on the author’s memory which, by nature, is unreliable. Thus, if autobiographies are used at all, they must ideally be backed up by empirical sources.

Studies on Film Exile

It was also in the mid-1970s that Jan-Christopher Horak, having received a grant from the American Film Institute in 1975, embarked on a series of oral histories, interviewing some formerly exiled film artists such as Douglas Sirk, Paul Andor, Johanna Kortner and Carl Esmond.7Horak’s oral histories were subsequently published in an article, ‘The Palm Trees Were Gently Swaying’ (In: Image 23.1., 1980), which ‘can be regarded as the first written (academic) publication on film emigration’ (Horak in Horak XiX: 1984). Thus, Horak can be credited with launching the scholarly examination of German-Jewish film artists, and in time, he would emerge as the leading figure in the field of exile research. Horak’s article, starting with a quote by Max Reinhardt in which he refers to the ‘wandering Jew’ and the age-old persecution of the Jews, sets out to establish the basic parameters for the scholarly study of film exile by providing an introductory overview of issues relevant to film emigration, including cultural differences (language problems, the difficulties of adapting to a new country, etc.); the travails of the journey into exile, which in most cases did not lead directly to Hollywood but usually either via Vienna or Paris; the problems faced by such below-the-line personnel as the cinematographers Eugen Schüfftan, Curt Courant, etc. Horak’s article not only touches on a number of topics which, at the time, had barely been commented on (e.g. visa regulations, or the relative ease with which musicians established themselves in Hollywood), he also deserves credit for mentioning émigré actresses such as Gisela Werbezirk and Mady Christians, people who, even today, are rarely mentioned in exile studies, reflecting the absence of women from exile research in general. Since exile research was still in its infancy and Horak having had limited archival material and reliable secondary sources to draw on, ‘The Palm Trees ...’ constitutes a grass-roots effort. However, the limited availability of empirical data and trustworthy secondary sources almost inevitably caused ‘The Palm Trees ...’ to have its inadequacies, including factual errors.8 Also, ‘The Palm Trees .’ does not yet have the clear focus of inquiry that Horak would bring to his subsequent examinations of film exile. But, as he himself elucidates, “To measure the influence of the Middle European émigrés on Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s would be a much larger task than the one set forth here” (Horak 1980: 32). In that respect ‘The Palm Trees.’ is revealing, inasmuch as it already hints at what would become Horak’s subsequent preoccupation - the émigrés’ involvement in Hollywood anti-Nazi films - to which he already dedicates several paragraphs in this, his pioneering attempt at an overview of film exile. With this article Horak laid the foundation for the scholarly examination of film exile and, more importantly, provided a stimulus for fellow scholars to follow up on his findings.

Hence, it can be no surprise that barely two years after ‘The Palm Trees ...’ was published, Maria Hilchenbach published her doctoral thesis, Kino im Exil (Munich: K.G. Saur, 1982), which is also an attempt at a general overview of film exile and as such, quite obviously inspired by Horak. Seen in hindsight, it appears that with Horak’s article, the floodgates were opened, and the topic of exiled German-Jewish film artists moved to the centre of the attention of exile researchers. In 1984, for instance, film historians Hans-Michael Bock and Hans-Helmut Prinzler launched the Cinegraph Research Institute and, through the Munich-based publisher Edition Text und Kritik, they have since periodically published important reference works on exiled film artists such as Reinhold Schünzel, Joe May, or E.A Dupont.9Two other significant early 1980s works on exile also both came out in the same year. They are not dissimilar to Horak’s ‘The Palm Trees ...’ in approach and subject matter, since they echo Horak’s concern with finding a more scholarly basis for exile research. However, they became more of a hybrid than Horak‘s article. John Russell Taylor’s Strangers in Paradise (New York/ NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1983), and Anthony Heilbut’s Exiled in Paradise (New York/ NY: Viking Press, 1983), both published in 1983, discuss the broader topic of German-Jewish exile while also making frequent mention of exiled Jewish film artists, including through references to the EFF. While due to its source material, which consists of interviews and empirical data, among other sources, Heilbut’s study has more scholarly value than Taylor’s, which relies on secondary sources only, both must nevertheless be regarded as hybrids between popular and scholarly publications. In contrast to Taylor’s book, Heilbut’s account goes beyond the anecdotal, and rather than being solely based on secondary sources, he also draws on oral histories and personal correspondence with former émigrés. Whereas Taylor is a film critic, Heilbut is an academic. As the American born son of German-Jewish émigrés, Heilbut can be considered a figure whose background provided the impetus for his preoccupation with exile, calling to mind the late Karsten Witte who, in a report on the publication of Berlino-Vienna-Hollywood at the 1981 Venice Biennale alluded to Thomas Elsaesser (UK), Bernard Eisenschitz (France), and Jan-Christopher Horak (USA) with the remark, ‘It was primarily the children of emigrants who first embarked on exile research’.10

Prior to Strangers in Paradise, Taylor, besides writing for Sight & Sound, served in 1969 as jury member at the Berlin Film Festival. He was also Hitchcock’s official biographer and had already published a number of bio-critical studies, all revolving around Hollywood figures from the 1930s/40s, from which it is only a small leap to the topic of exile.11 Taylor’s and Heilbut’s books share some striking similarities as well as some differences. Besides discussing the same subject matter and being published in the same year, they are both influenced by Salka Viertel‘s autobiography, The Kindness of Strangers, from which they frequently quote. While Heilbut focuses solely on German-Jewish emigration, however, Taylor’s book, echoing Baxter‘s, includes émigrés from other European countries.

The scarcity of scholarly literature on exiled film artists at the time led to both books being at least consulted sometimes even cited by, scholars, and consequently both have their detractors as well as their supporters. Although his work is much more ambitious in scope, it is apt to introduce Jean-Michel Palmier’s Weimar en exile at this point. Published five years after Taylor’s and Heilbut’s publications, it resembles theirs inasmuch as it is also something of a hybrid between an scholarly study and a popular publication. Like Heilbut, Palmier draws on a number of sources, including archival data and oral histories. And it is no doubt these oral histories which sparked his preoccupation with exile in the first place, for they were all with well known figures connected to Weimar culture: Blandine Ebinger, Maria Ley Piscator, Lotte Eisner, etc. Nevertheless, Palmier also drew on secondary sources, since exile research at this point was yet in its embryonic stage, and archival sources were still relatively sparse.12

In another parallel to both Taylor and Heilbut, Weimar en exile also remained Palmier’s sole contribution to the field of exile research before his untimely death in 1998. Palmier’s concern with exile derives from the fact that he was a professor of Esthéthique et des sciences de l’art at Université Paris 1/ Panthéon-Sorbonne. Weimar culture was his area of expertise, with his publications on the topic being numerous.13 It is precisely this culture, referred to by Palmier as ‘one of the richest [such] that it strikes us as forming an almost unique example’ (Palmier 2006: 17) which was lost following the Nazi takeover, prompting Palmier to embark on a monumental effort of memorialisation, ‘to remember their story’ (Palmier 2006 18).

In Weimar en exile Palmier strives to cover the entire emigration, including film artists, writers, academics, and political refugees, as well as all the émigré hubs in such countries as France, Switzerland, the UK, the Netherlands, Turkey, and China. Palmier’s book is, in fact, a compendium of German-Jewish exile. This clearly sets it apart from most other studies on exile, and was in its time a far more ambitious undertaking than most previous efforts, including Taylor’s or Heilbut’s. Justifying his decision to take an all-inclusive approach to the topic of exile, Pamier explains that

the scope of the subject, and its complexity, suggest that it should either be tackled collectively or that its scope should be very closely delimited (Palmier 2006: 15).

Weimar en exile bears a faint resemblance to the Manns’ Escape to Life, and the frequency with which he refers to their book make it obvious that it served as an inspiration for his own work. Issues Palmier discusses - and which echo Escape to Life - include the events leading up to the Nazi takeover; Goebbels’ establishment of the Reich Chambers of Culture, what these various chambers entailed, how they functioned and, also, their well-known consequences for Jewish artists; anti-Nazi theatre in exile; émigré periodicals; the rise and fall of the Popular Front; the German Resistance; and the émigrés’ perspectives on post-war Germany.

Although Palmier’s mission - large-scale and ambitious as it is - is without precedent, some sections of the book crash under its enormous scope. Clearly, Palmier is much more at ease discussing writers, politicians and academics such as Willi Münzenberg, Bertolt Brecht, Walter Benjamin, or Carl von Ossietzky, as his knowledge on - and probably interest in - them is that much more profound than that concerning film artists. Consequently, while Weimar en exile is a valuable research tool in many respects, it is also a warning sign that by expanding the scope the risk of inaccuracy increases. Certainly, in a move inspired by Horak’s examination of the impact of refugee film artists on Hollywood, the focus of exile researchers slowly started to shift from the mid-1980s on from a general to a more detailed observation of the influence the exiles brought to bear on the US film industry. This is manifest, for instance, in an exhibition held at the Max Kade Institute of the University of Southern California in 1986. While the exhibition covered the German-speaking emigration to Hollywood, starting with Carl Lammle’s arrival in the US in 1884, it nevertheless homed in on the years after 1933. While the catalogue to the exhibition identifies several areas and genres where the impact of émigrés on American popular cinema is palpable (e.g. the horror film, the use of film scores, the social problem film) the fact that exile research was still in its early stages is evidenced by the curator’s comment that after 1933, they could only detect one single ‘genre influenced by the Germans’ (Angst-Norwik & Sloan 1986: 9). This, of course, was film noir, although Paul Schrader - one of the first to link the émigrés’ presence in Hollywood to film noir - himself said that ’there is a danger of overemphasizing the German influence on film noir’ (Schrader in Belton 156: 1996), while film historian Andrew Sarris, for instance, claims that ‘[film noir] is very difficult to define or even categorize as a self-enclosed genre simply because it is largely a critical afterthought in film history’ (Sarris 1998: 104).14

Besides the contentious issue of film noir, Horak and H.G. Asper would eventually identify other genres on which the émigrés brought their influence to bear (see below). Nevertheless, film noir - and the émigrés’ hand in it - has since become a major focal point for exile researchers and film historians. Two scholars to also highlight the refugees’ influence on this genre are Christian Cargnelli and Michael Omasta. In Schatten Exil - Europäische Emigranten im Film noir (Vienna: PVS Verleger, 1997), they contend that ‘one quarter, or based on other criteria one third of films noirs were made by directors from the Old World’ (Cargnelli & Omasta 1997: 9). However, their book does much more than underscoring the high émigré presence in film noir. Taken together, the contributing essays amount to a study of the lives and working conditions of the refugees in exile, using their impact on film noir as a basis. For instance, the chapter on cinematographer Franz Planer, who collaborated on a number of films noirs, tells of the ‘tricky undertaking [to attain membership in the American Society of Cinematographers]’ (Müller in Cargnelli & Omasta 1997: 156), thus drawing attention to one of the major obstacles the exiles faced: that of union membership. Another chapter examines the émigré contribution to films that are hybrids between film noir and anti-Nazi films. In essence, Schatten Exil underscores the degree to which American film history and exile research are invariably connected. Cargnelli and Omasta’s book is also a fine example of how exile research has evolved from the wide angle vision of its infancy to the narrow focus of today which allows for much more detailed scrutiny of, for instance, a particular genre or a particular group of émigrés.

Another example to underscore this point is Josef Garncarz’s contribution to Phillips’ and Vincendeau’s Journeys Of Desire (London: BFI, 2006). Unlike Horak in Anti-Nazi-Filme der deutschsprachigen Emigration von Hollywood 1939 - 1940 (see below), Josef Garncarz’s preoccupation in ‘The Ultimate Irony - Jews Playing Nazis in Hollywood’ is not so much with the émigrés’ influence on anti-Nazi films, but the question of the motivation for them to star in these. Hence, rather than just gauging the émigrés’ input in anti-Nazi films, Garncarz - whose essay appeared twenty years after Horak’s trailblazing study - takes his examination one step further. This aptly illustrates the development exile research has undergone.

While early publications on film exile like those by Heilbut, Taylor, but also those by Hilchenbach, Horak and Palmier suffered from a dearth of empirical data as well as a lack of reliable secondary literature, which often resulted in inaccuracy, their contributions were the fundament for what would become known as exile research. It is owing to those early contributions, which, as we have seen, were often overviews or compendiums on exile, that a more detailed and focussed examination of film exile has become possible.

Jan-Christopher Horak

Over the years, two towering figures have emerged in the field of research on exiled German-Jewish film artists, with both scholars having significantly contributed to our understanding of exile in Hollywood and its implications. The first of these is Jan-Christopher Horak. Taking into account Horak’s family history as the son of émigrés, and the political and cultural background of the 1970s, it is not surprising that he should have emerged as a leading figure in exile research. Horak stands as a scholar and pioneer to whom every subsequent exile researcher is indebted, inasmuch as he embarked on groundbreaking research at a time when no academic studies on the émigré film artists were available. Horak’s contribution to exile research is invaluable in several respects. First, he pioneered an oral history approach. Furthermore, by identifying genres specific to émigrés, he not only provided subcategories for future researchers, but also laid the foundation for similar investigations.

Horak’s preoccupation with exile research was triggered by his MA thesis on Lubitsch. This preoccupation with Lubitsch - who was, after all, an early émigré - resulted in his oral history project and the subsequent publication of ‘The Palm Trees ...’. This, in turn, sparked an more focused inquiry of how - or if - these exiled film artists had any influence on American culture, particularly its film industry, leading to the publication of Anti-Nazi-Filme der deutschsprachigen Emigration von Hollywood 1939 - 1940 (Münster: MAKS, 1984), his doctoral thesis. Put differently, quoting Horak himself, ‘once the biographical and filmographical facts of emigration are established, research can now move on to the next stage’ (Horak 1984: XV).

Anti-Nazi-Filme built on his previous research insofar as Horak drew on, first of all, the oral histories he previously conducted, as well other findings already used in ‘Palm Trees .

Anti-Nazi-Filmeconstitutes the first scholarly attempt to assess the mark the émigrés have left on the film industry of a host country, in this case the United States. His study, as Horak points out in the introduction ‘combines two areas of research which thus far have always been looked at separately - if at all: research on the German speaking emigration in Hollywood and research on American war propaganda’ (Horak 1984: XVii). He starts from the premise that the contribution of the émigrés to America’s film industry was more evident in the anti-Nazi films than in any other genre, maintaining that ‘the influence of the emigrant film-artists in Hollywood should not be underestimated, since as Europeans, they were in the position to fill certain gaps in Hollywood’s film industry’ (Horak 1984: XV). According to Horak, ‘of around 180 films, made between 1939 and 1945, which can be classified as anti-Nazi films, the émigrés contributed to sixty of them’ (Horak 1984: 80). Horak starts his examination by providing a detailed history of German-Jewish exile, including ties between the German and American film industries prior to 1933. He then looks at film propaganda in WWII, moving on to describe the changes in the official US position towards Nazi Germany and how this differed at times from that of Hollywood. Horak then gives an exhaustive account of the Office of War Information and its inception in June 1942, detailing its influence and the effect of its instructions on the US film industry. The body of Horak’s book, however, consists of a cross-section of 13 anti-Nazi films, selected for the significance of aspects of their production history and their reception. For each film, Horak starts by first recounting its production history, before moving on to its reception, followed by biographical sketches of émigré participants. He then gives a brief description of the film’s narrative followed by a textual analysis in terms of anti-Nazi propaganda. Horak surmises that even though the émigrés had a tendency to complain about the lack of realism in the antiNazi films, their input is nevertheless discernible. Not only did they manage to include in the narrative news from Nazi-occupied territory, gleaned from the exile press (e.g. Aufbau15), but in some cases they even had their own experience to draw on, as in the case of Mortal Storm (MGM, USA 1940), which owes its accurate depiction of Nazi barbarity to the émigré screenwriters George Froschel and Paul Hans Rameau, who had suffered at the hand of the Nazis.

Anti-Nazi-Filme ... was a landmark in film history inasmuch as it identifies a genre to which the émigrés measurably contributed. Horak shows how anti-Nazi films drew on other, preexisting genres such as, for instance, the gangster film, and how their narratives, symbols, and characters were modified to be recycled in the anti-Nazi films. Moreover, it is evident that Anti-Nazi-Filme ... is meant to inspire future researchers to follow up on the ground Horak has broken.

Fluchtpunkt Hollywood (Münster: MAKS, 1984) was published as an appendix to Anti-Nazi-Filme ..., Horak’s doctoral thesis. Fluchtpunkt can be regarded as an expansion of ‘The Palm Trees ...’ as the range of issues discussed is much broader. These issues include, for instance, emigration to Austria, Hungary, France and the UK, as these were the countries where most of the émigrés first sought refuge before finally settling in the US. Fluchtpunkt also makes it clear that it was political developments (e.g. the yielding to Nazism by Austria and Hungary; the invasion of France and the Blitzkrieg on the UK by Nazi Germany) that forced the émigrés to move on to the US. He also takes into account the film-business relations between Germany and the US prior to 1933, concluding that the subsequent integration of refugees arriving after the Nazi takeover was facilitated by the sizable German community that had already established itself in Hollywood by the time the majority of the exiles arrived. Other aspects he discusses in more detail than in ‘The Palm Trees .’ are the various waves of emigration (the first big wave arrived following the Anschluss, and the second after the outbreak of WWII), anti-Semitism and racism the émigrés faced in the US, and the founding of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League. However, certain topics receive more attention than others, such as the collaboration in both Europe and the US between Koster, Pasternak and Jackson. This anticipates a future preoccupation of Horak‘s, which culminated in an article he co-wrote with Asper (see below). Unsurprisingly, Fluchtpunkt also covers the anti-Nazi films which, of course, had become his chief preoccupation.

Besides being a compendium of film exile - in which regard it resembles a number of similar publications discussed above that came out at the same time - what sets Fluchtpunkt apart is that it was one of the first reference works on film exile. In fact, the better part of the book consists of a lexicon of biographical data pertaining to exiled film artists. Needless to say, in those pre-Internet days when Fluchtpunk was first published, and when scholars had limited access to reliable biographical data on former émigrés, Fluchtpunkt was an invaluable, if not unique, research tool, enabling the reader to gather information at a glance on a vast number of émigrés, including actors, directors, producers, and all kinds of below-the-line personnel.

Horak’s chapter on ‘Exilfilm’ in Geschichte des deutschen Films (Jacobsen, Kaes,

Prinzler (eds.). Stuttgart, Weimar: Metzler: 1993) also draws on his previous publications, notably on Fluchtpunkt Hollywood and Anti-Nazi-Filme, to provide a comprehensive summary of what was by now the mature field of exile research. The article allowed Horak to raise important new questions, such as the definition of exile film as opposed to film exile. Horak explains that exile film and film exile are two different entities, the latter, according to him, denoting the actual duration of exile of the exiled film artist, while the former specifically defines a film ‘that was made outside Germany after 1933, produced, directed, and written by German emigrants’ (Horak in Jacobsen, Kaes, Prinzler 1993: 101).

Demarcating exile film is indeed crucial, as it allows us to identify the possible contributions and influences of the émigrés on the film industry in the host country, be it France, the Netherlands, or the United States. Hence Horak rightly claims that ‘exile film must be embedded in film history as a chapter that runs parallel to that of the Third Reich’ (Horak in Jacobsen, Kaes, Prinzler 1993: 102), for, as he makes clear, ‘for a lot of German film-makers of the 1960s, the real German film history was not defined by fathers tainted by the Third Reich, but by émigrés like Fritz Lang and Lotte Eisner’ (Horak in Jacobsen, Kaes, Prinzler 1993: 102). Examples in support of Horak might include Werner Herzog’s friendship with Lotte Eisner and his remake of Murnau’s Nosferatu (Prana-Film Gmbh, Germany 1921; Werner Herzog Filmproduktion/ ZDF/ Gaumont International S.A.,W-Germany 1979); Schlöndorffs acceptance speech at the Academy Awards in 1980, in which he thanked Fritz Lang in particular; or Douglas Sirk’s influence on R.W. Fassbinder. Horak himself mentions several similar examples, including genres in which the émigrés had already excelled during their Weimar period and which were imported into the host country, one of them being the Kostümfilm,16 or its subgenre, the biography film or biopic. Moreover, the fact that a number of American films were based on German plays by émigré authors, e.g. Carl Zuckmayer’s Der Hauptmann von Köpenick, which was released as I Was A Criminal (John Hall Productions, USA 1945) in the USA in 1945, and involved a host of émigré-contributors, among others, Alfred Bassermann (male lead), Richard Oswald, the director, remaking his own Berlin production from 1931, Albrecht Joseph (screenplay), also proves Horak’s claim that exile film and the film of Third Reich cannot be separated. Horak explains, ‘for the exiled film-artists, exile film, like exile literature and exile journalism, was a continuation of the democratic traditions of German culture, such as they were prior to Hitler’s rise to power’ (Horak in Jacobsen, Kaes, Prinzler 1993: 102): democratic traditions which also found their expression in charitable organisations such as the EFF, which granted support for émigré film artists from all walks of life.

In ‘Three Smart Guys’, written in collaboration with Helmut G. Asper (In: Film Criticism, Vol. XI, nr.2, 1999), Horak further develops his comments on genre in exile film, here in relation to musical comedy. The title of the article refers to the first of a string of films by émigré-director Henry Koster, starring Deanna Durbin, Three Smart Girls (Universal Pictures, USA 1936). Like all of the film’s sequels, it was produced by émigré Joe Pasternak. The financial success of Three Smart Girls gave Koster and Pasternak enough clout to get their studio, Universal, to send for their collaborator, the screenwriter Felix Jackson, who was still in need of a visa.

When Horak and Asper wrote their article, Horak was head of the archives at Universal Studios, and thus had unrestricted access to the studio’s archives and records. Horak and Asper convincingly show how ‘three refugees from Adolf Hitler’s Germany [Henry Koster, Joe Pasternak, Felix Jackson] adapted themselves to the working methods of the studio system, while at the same time bringing to bear their European heritage. In doing so, they not only influenced briefly the formation of a major American film genre, the musical comedy, through the discovery and nurturing of a young star [Deanna Durbin], but in the process also literally saved a major Hollywood studio, Universal, from certain bankruptcy’ (Asper & Horak 1999: 135). Asper and Horak draw interesting parallels between the light, musical comedies Koster, Pasternak and Jackson had made in Europe and their subsequent Deanna Durbin musicals at Universal, showing that the latter were a continuation of the former, the only significant difference being that their star had now changed as the primary stars of their European output, Dolly Haas and Francisca Gaal, were now replaced by Deanna Durbin. The article also illustrates compellingly how the blueprint of Koster, Pasternak, and Jackson, since it had proven so profitable, was emulated by studios such as MGM. For all we know, the MGM musicals of the 1940a and 50s would not have been the same without the influence those three émigrés had on Hollywood’s film industry.

As many émigrés were still alive when Horak first embarked on exile research, he was able to rely on first-hand accounts. These oral histories, as we have seen, were Horak’s initial contribution to the field. Also, by shifting the focus away from the émigrés themselves to their creative output, he opened our eyes to the mark they left on the film industries of their host countries. Horak was also the first to clearly define exile film, thus narrowing the area of investigation from a plethora of films to which a number of émigrés contributed in varying degrees, to those films in which the input of the émigrés is distinctly discernible. In addition, he redefined the concept of national cinema, concluding that in the light of the substantial émigré contribution, the boundaries and the definition of German national cinema become blurred and thus are open for debate. Lastly, by looking at the contribution of cinematographers to (exile) film, Horak opened the field of vision beyond directors, screenwriters and actors to below-the-line personnel.

Yet, in spite of Horak’s substantial contributions - or, possibly, because of them - there is still ample room for further exploration. For instance, organisations that evolved as a result of exile have thus far received scant attention, yet their role was pivotal and often crucial to the survival of the émigrés. Therefore, Horak’s contribution to exile research must be seen as an incentive, an inspiration, to follow his lead. One scholar who has done so, and whose work is clearly influenced by Horak, is Helmut G. Asper.

Helmut G. Asper

Surveying the field of exile in the US further, a second figure, Helmut G. Asper, emerges as another important scholar therein. Their approaches complement each other insofar as Horak’s study of the émigrés offers an analytical framework for exile research, while Asper is best described as a painstaking gatherer of empirical data with an unerring focus on the existing gaps in exile research. Asper is a professor at Bielefeld University, specialising in German theatre in the 17th and 18th century as well as film, radio and theatre in the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. His preoccupation with theatre is evident in his first edited publication on exile, Walter Wicclair und Marta Mierendorff: Im Rampenlicht der dunklen Jahre (Berlin: Sigma, 1989). The book homes in on the German stage actor Walter Wicclair - who fled Nazi Germany to settle in Hollywood - and his companion, Marta Mierendorff, and contains essays on theatre in exile, the Third Reich and in post-war Germany. In Asper’s subsequent edited publication, Wenn wir von gestern reden sprechen wir über heute und morgen - Festschrift für Marta Mierendorff zum 80.Geburtstag (Berlin: Sigma, 1991), the field of vision is expanded from theatre in exile to exile in general (e.g. exiled writers, screenwriters, painters, etc.), while Asper’s own contribution to the

book revolves around another German stage actor, Fritz Kortner, and his film, Der Ruf (The Last Illusion, Objektiv-Film Gmbh, Germany 1948/49).

Kortner, renowned for his theatre work in Germany until the Nazis forced him into exile, would eventually once again become one of Germany’s most noted post-war theatre directors. Der Ruf constitutes Kortner’s first project following his return to Germany from his exile in the United States. The film revolves around a professor - Mauthner, played by Kortner - who was forced into exile following Hitler’s rise to power. Once he returned to post-war Germany, the hostility and aversion towards Mauthner eventually led to his death. Asper’s concern in this essay is not so much emigration as remigration; thus he considers parallels between Mauthner’s narrative and Kortner’s own experiences, and the reaction the film received when it was first shown to German audiences. Der Ruf - even though directed by Josef von Baky, a non-émigré -was the brainchild of Kortner and written solely by him. Kortner saw the film as an act of reconciliation with Germany and the Germans. That he failed in this attempt, with Der Ruf resulting in a critical as well as a commercial failure, is testimony to post-war Germany’s reluctance to come to terms with its Nazi past.

Among Asper’s chief publications on exile research is, however, his seminal Etwas besseres als den Tod .... (Marburg: Schüren, 2002). Although published in 2002, its afterword indicates that Asper started research on the book seventeen years prior to its publication, interviewing many of the émigrés featured in the book between 1985 and 1987, among them Henry Koster, Walter Reisch, Paul Henreid and Felix Jackson. Some of Asper’s interviewees had never been interviewed before, including Ernest Lenart, Herbert Luft, Annemarie Schünzel-Stewart, Rudi Fehr or Rudi Feld. This fact, not to mention the book’s scope (655 pages, afterword and appendix not included), makes Etwas ... a unique research tool for any exile researcher or film historian.

Although Asper does dedicate several chapters to émigré actors, directors, screenwriters, and producers, the groups who traditionally had been at the centre of exile research, there is no denying that one of the main features of Etwas ... is Asper’s shift of focus to below-the-line personnel - editors, cinematographers, production designers, technicians - film-artists who had hitherto tended to be neglected by researchers. One example is Asper’s chapter on the all-but-forgotten production designer Rudi Feld, who, prior to his emigration collaborated with Kurt Gerron on his famous cabaret films.17 Gerron’s films featured a number of future émigrés,

including Blandine Ebinger or Sig Arno, but also artists who never made it into exile and perished in a concentration camp, as did indeed Gerron himself, or his collaborators Max Ehrlich and Otto Wallburg.

Similarly to many of his fellow émigrés, Feld had a difficult start in the US, not least because entry for production designers into their union was as strict as it was for other below-the-line-personnel. But, as Asper explains, since ‘Feld remained very close to his fellow émigrés’ (Asper 2002: 383), he eventually managed with their help to elbow his way into the Hollywood film industry. Not only that, but archival evidence shows that during this period of hardship Feld became a beneficiary of the EFF, and his is just one example of how crucial this organisation was for the survival of émigré film artists. In hindsight, the fact that Feld got his first break in an anti-Nazi film - after 11 years in exile - seems no surprise, as it seems to have become a rite of passage for émigrés to first prove their mettle in this particular genre. However, at long last, in 1946, Feld did obtain union membership, and his struggles in exile notwithstanding, as the title of Asper’s book aptly suggests, this was indeed better than the alternative: death in a concentration camp.

Asper also discusses a number of other émigrés who had previously received scant attention from film historians, including the editors Albrecht Joseph and Rudi Fehr or the choreographers Ernst and Maria Matray. The parallels to Horak are clear: Asper too started his research on exiled film artists with a series of oral histories, and in both cases the results of their findings led to crucial contributions to the field of exile research. In Horak’s case this was ‘The Palm Trees ...’, while Asper’s Etwas ... was no doubt influenced by Horak and as such could be considered an expansion of Horak’s work in ‘The Palm Trees ...’ as well as Fluchtpunkt Hollywood. Neither work is concerned with any aspect of exile in particular, but rather represents an all-inclusive overview of film exile, illustrating the diversity and the consequences of the German-speaking emigration to Los Angeles. More than Horak‘s, because of its scope and its emphasis on below-the-line personnel, Asper’s book also serves as a memorial to émigrés who had fallen by the wayside of exile research until he put them centre stage, commemorating their life, achievements, and ordeals as a result of Nazi rule.

In the introduction to Etwas ., Asper briefly sketches the political situation in Germany following Hitler’s rise to power, before moving on to discuss the various stations of exile such as France, England, the Netherlands, and Palestine, and dedicating a paragraph to those film artists who did not make it into exile and were subsequently murdered in the concentration camps, including the aforementioned Willy Rosen, Otto Wallburg and Kurt Gerron. But the body of Etwas .consists of ten chapters, each dedicated to a particular profession at the Hollywood film-studios, and discussing the impact of the émigrés. By covering virtually all professions associated with filmmaking - directing, producing, acting, writing, editing, cinematography, production-design, post-production - Asper is able to shed light on those among the émigrés who had until that point rarely been mentioned by exile researchers, including Reginald Le Borg, Gerd Oswald (directors), Helmut Dantine, Wolfgang Zilzer (actors), Albrecht Joseph (editor), and Fini Rudiger (animator). He would continue this enterprise in a later work, Nachrichten aus Hollywood, New York und anderswo (Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 2003), where he considers the correspondence of cinematographer Eugen Schüfftan and his wife Marlise with Siegfried and Lili Kracauer. Asper’s introduction consists of a biography of both Schüfftan and Kracauer, based on secondary as well as archival material, interspersed with excerpts from the Schüfftan-Kracauer correspondence and focussing on their lives following their arrival in the United States. Asper stresses that though Schüfftan’s and Kracauer’s friendship ‘was already mentioned by Karsten Witte in the afterword of the [second] German edition of Kracauer’s From Caligari to Hitler, nobody has so far followed up on it’ (Asper 2003: 1).18Nachrichten ..., by contrast, shows how a focus on a cinematographer can open up new perspectives, and his study was also useful for my own research since both Kracauer and Schüfftan were at one time beneficiaries of the European Film Fund.

In the last chapter of Etwas... , Asper considers exile film and film genres. Once more echoing Horak, Asper singles out Zuckmayer’s play Der Hauptmann von Köpenick,19 remade in Hollywood under the title, I Was a Criminal (USA 1945). As we have seen, Horak used I Was a Criminal as an example to emphasize the difficulties which a study of exile film introduces into the definition of a national cinema. The film was made in Hollywood, is based on a German play, is cast nearly in its entirety with émigré actors, and has an émigré director remaking a film he himself had previously made in Weimar Germany. All this prompts Horak to question whether this film should be seen as part of American or German film history. By contrast, Asper’s intriguing and extensive account of the film’s production highlights the difference in approach between Horak and Asper. Asper’s forte lies in the investigation of empirical data rather than any address to academic concerns, such as, for instance, issues in national cinema.

One shortcoming of Etwas ... is its tendency to the anecdotal, another is its failure to mention any aid organisations in which the émigrés were involved other than the short chapter he dedicated to the European Film Fund, though as one of the few consistent accounts on this organisation that are available, Asper‘s book is an important milestone for my own research. Other aid organisations, however, such as, for instance, the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League, the Emergency Rescue Committee or the American Guild for German Cultural Freedom, to name but a few, are almost entirely ignored, highlighting a gap in exile research that is waiting to be filled.

A subsequent work, Filmexilanten im Universal Studio (Berlin: Bertz & Fischer Verlag, 2005), also has its origins in interviews Asper conducted in the 1980s with Henry Koster, Hans J. Salter and Curt Siodmak, who drew Asper’s attention to ‘the vast extent and significance of the work of the exiled German speaking film artists at Universal’ (Asper 2005: 292). Asper also mentions that it was the appointment of Jan-Christopher Horak as founding director of Universal Studio’s Archives and Collections which inspired him to embark on the project, as Horak not only ‘opened the archives to researchers from day one, but also encouraged [Asper] in his undertaking .’(Asper 2005: 292). The synergy between Horak and Asper would eventually result in the article discussed above, ‘Three Smart Guys‘, which Asper terms an ‘interim result of his undertaking’ (Asper 2005: 292). But while ‘Three Smart Guys’ focuses on the influence on Universal of only a small group of émigrés - Henry Koster, Felix Jackson and Joe Pasternak -Filmexilanten examines how Universal was influenced and shaped by the émigrés as a whole. Here, Asper does not solely home in on the twelve years of Nazi power, but looks at the studio’s history from its beginnings until the 1950s. Like Horak, Asper is interested here in the impact of the émigrés on certain aspects of Hollywood or/ and American culture.20He argues that ‘Universal is particularly suited for such an examination [measuring the émigrés’ influence] as émigré directors, producers, screenwriters, composers, actors and actresses worked there for well-nigh thirty years ...’ (Asper 2005: 11). Although the same applies to, for instance, Warner Bros.,21Universal was distinct in that it was founded and run by a German immigrant. In addition, Universal had close affiliations with the German film industry going back to the Weimar Republic while Paramount’s - as well as MGM’s - affiliations with UFA were of a merely financial nature.22 23