Laura Rosenzweig to Discuss Hollywood Spies with Palisades Historical Society

The Pacific Palisades Historical Society will host author Laura Rosenzweig, who will discuss her new book, “Hollywood’s Spies: The Undercover Surveillance of Nazis in Los Angeles.”

The program will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Rd. Admission and parking are free. Refreshments will follow the program. For more information, visit pacificpalisadeshistory.org.

Rosenzweig is an American Jewish historian who has taught U.S. and American Jewish history at UC Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University. She received her bachelor’s degree from Union College, her master’s degree from Stanford and her doc- torate in U.S. history at Santa Cruz.

Laura Rosenzweig

“Hollywood’s Spies” was supported by grants from the Institute for Humanities Research at the University of California, the Historical Society of Southern California and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture in New York.

The book details the story of the secret Nazi Germany-sponsored propaganda war to transplant Nazism to the United States during the 1930s. Los Angeles was a hotbed for this extremist political activity.

Alarmed by the rise of Nazism in their own backyard, Jewish executives in the motion picture industry secretly paid private investigators to infiltrate, monitor and report on the political activities of these groups. 

Stunned by the evidence of German intrusion into American political culture and by the seditious plots their informants uncovered, the moguls partnered with local veterans’ groups to channel this information to local and federal authorities.

The information collected by Hollywood’s spies was used by the FBI, military intelligence and congressional committees to expose the Nazi threat. However, neither the public nor even the authorities themselves understood the role that the Hollywood moguls had played in gathering that evidence.

Hidden from history for 80 years, the story is now told in Rosenzweig’s book, which she will discuss with Historical Society President Eric Dugdale, on stage at the Pierson. The book was published in September by New York University Press.

Rosenzweig had worked in education for 35 years (including three years teaching at the Brentwood School) and now lives in Palo Alto with her husband, Cary. She currently works for the University of California office of the president.

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