Steven J. Ross – “Hitler in Los Angeles”

Date(s) - 01/04/18
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Seminary Co-Op Bookstore

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Seminary Co-Op Bookstores

Steven J. Ross – “Hitler in Los Angeles”

Seminary Co-op Bookstores

Thursday, January 4, 2018 – 6:00pm – 7:30pm

About the book: Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America is the chilling, little-known story of the rise of Nazism in Los Angeles, and the Jewish leaders and spies they recruited who stopped it.

No American city was more important to the Nazis than Los Angeles, home to Hollywood, the greatest propaganda machine in the world. The Nazis plotted to kill the city’s Jews and to sabotage the nation’s military installations: plans existed for hanging twenty prominent Hollywood figures such as Al Jolson, Charlie Chaplin, and Samuel Goldwyn; for driving through Boyle Heights and machine-gunning as many Jews as possible; and for blowing up defense installations and seizing munitions from National Guard armories along the Pacific Coast.

U.S. law enforcement agencies were not paying close attention–preferring to monitor Reds rather than Nazis–and only Leon Lewis and his daring ring of spies stood in the way. From 1933 until the end of World War II, attorney Leon Lewis, the man Nazis would come to call “the most dangerous Jew in Los Angeles,” ran a spy operation comprised of military veterans and their wives who infiltrated every Nazi and fascist group in Los Angeles. Often rising to leadership positions, this daring ring of spies uncovered and foiled the Nazi’s disturbing plans for death and destruction.

Featuring a large cast of Nazis, undercover agents, and colorful supporting players, Hitler in Los Angeles, by acclaimed historian Steven J. Ross, tells the story of Lewis’s daring spy network in a time when hate groups had moved from the margins to the mainstream.

About the author: Steven J. Ross is Professor of History at the University of Southern California and director of the Casden Institute for the Study of American Jewish Life. His book, Working-Class Hollywood: Silent Film and the Shaping of Class in America, received the prestigious Theater Library Association Book Award for 1999. It was also named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the “Best Books of 1998” and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in History. Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics, received a Pulitzer Prize nomination and a Film Scholars Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Ross’ writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, International Herald-Tribune, Newark Star Ledger, Washington Independent, HuffingtonPost, and Politico.

About the interloctuor: Daniel Greene is adjunct professor of history at Northwestern University and guest exhibition curator of an exhibition on Americans and the Holocaust opening in 2018 at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. He is the author of The Jewish Origins of Cultural Pluralism: The Menorah Association and American Diversity (Indiana University Press, 2011) and co-author of Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North (University of Chicago Press, 2013). He earned his PhD in history at the University of Chicago.