When Nazi plans were learned and promptly ignored by local and federal authorities in Los Angeles, a number of Jews working in Hollywood secretly funded a spy ring that operated from August 1933 until the end of WWII. These spies uncovered a series of plots aimed at attracting international attention to the Nazi cause and sparking a wave of deadly pogroms throughout the U.S. The most nefarious plot involved blowing up the homes of twenty-four of Hollywood’s most famous figures, twenty-two of whom were Jewish.

Many aspects of film noir, the genre borne out of 1930s and ’40s Lost Angeles, reflect these experiences, along with witnessing corrupt officials and crime unpunished, and the experiences of a post-war sense of dread. Learn these incredible stories with historian Steven J. Ross.

Steven J. Ross is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Southern California and director of the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life. His most recent book, Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America was selected as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History for 2018; it was also on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List for 23 weeks. His previous book, Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics, received the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Film Scholars Award and was selected by the New York Times Book Review as a “Recommended Summer Readings” for 2012. Ross’ Op-Ed pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street JournalWashington PostInternational Herald-TribuneHollywood ReporterHuffington PostDaily Beast, and Politico. He has lectured throughout the U.S. as well as in London, Paris, Sydney, Auckland, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv.
Image courtesy of Steven J. Ross.