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The chilling, little-known story of the rise of Nazism in Los Angeles in the 1930s and the Jewish spy network that stopped it.
A New Book
by award-winning historian Steven J. Ross
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No American city was more important to the Nazis in the run-up to World War II than Los Angeles, home to Hollywood, the greatest propaganda machine in the world. The Nazis plotted to hang twenty prominent entertainment figures, including Al Jolson, Charlie Chaplin, and Samuel Goldwyn; drive through Boyle Heights and machine-gun as many Jews as possible; blow up defense installations and seize munitions from National Guard armories along the Pacific Coast.
Acclaimed historian Steven J. Ross reveals that while United States law enforcement agencies were busily monitoring Reds instead of Nazis, Jewish attorney Leon Lewis recruited military veterans and their wives to infiltrate every Nazi and fascist group in Los Angeles, and encouraged them to rise to leadership positions within these organizations.
From 1933 until the end of World War II, this daring ring of spies uncovered and foiled numerous plans for death and destruction. Ross also shares his startling discovery that Los Angeles German general consul Georg Gyssling, the most hated man in Hollywood, was secretly passing Jews valuable information about Nazi war plans and local sympathizers who were ready to blow up aircraft factories and murder Jews on the day Hitler declared war on the United States.
Featuring a large cast of Nazis, undercover agents, and colorful supporting players, Hitler in Los Angeles tells the suspenseful story of the brave efforts of Lewis and his spy network in a time when hate groups moved from the margins to the mainstream and placed our national security in jeopardy.
About the Author
Articles, Features, and Opinions Pieces:
John Williams and Steven J. Ross, “Tell Us 5 Things About Your Book: ‘Hitler in Los Angeles,’” New York Times, Oct. 29, 2017.
Steven J. Ross, "The Hollywood Nazi who spied for America" - The Washington Post, Oc 25, 2017.“The Nazi Sites of Los Angeles: A walking tour of where the Fascists and Hitlerites Gathered in California,” Talk of the Town column, The New Yorker, Sept. 25, 2017
"Hollywood, Los Angeles Spies, and the Underground Battle Against Hitler"
Review by By Chris Yogerst,
Los Angeles Review of Books. 23 October 2017
“How a network of citizen-spies foiled Nazi plots to exterminate Jews in 1930s L.A.,” Op-Ed, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 8, 2017
“When the Nazis Tried to Exterminate Hollywood,” Hollywood Reporter, Sept. 21, 2017
“When Hitler sent his minions to LA: The true-life Nazi plot against Hollywood," Times of Israel, Oct. 10, 2017,
“How Hitler's fascism almost took hold in Los Angeles,” Los Angeles Times, Sept. 27, 2017