CSUN Lecture Series Explores Early Plots Against Nazis in Los Angeles

Picture of the book "Hitler in Los Angeles," by Steven J. Ross.

Steven J. Ross will discuss his book, “Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America,”at CSUN on Oct.25.

From 1933 until the end of World War II, when tension among nations ran high, American Jews conspired against Nazi activities in Los Angeles during the rise of Hollywood power.

On Thursday, Oct. 25, Steven Ross, professor of history at the University of Southern California, will discuss his Pulitzer Prize-nominated book, “Hitler in Los Angeles” — exploring Jewish plots against Nazis — at the next Richard W. Smith Lecture in Cultural Studies at California State University, Northridge.

Yan Searcy, dean of CSUN’s College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, said the goal of this event is to “illuminate the obscure, cultivate discourse and apply the knowledge gained.”

“Hitler in Los Angeles” describes how Jewish people foiled plots against Nazis in Hollywood and throughout America and, specifically, how a man named Leon Lewis used his network of spies to combat Nazism and American-born fascist leaders in Los Angeles.

“I am expecting the audience to be surprised by how the intersection of economic conditions, media and popular culture, immigration and cultural change that impacted LA nearly 80 years ago can inform current dynamics facing Los Angeles and the nation,” Searcy said. “The Delmar T. Oviatt Library figures prominently in housing the archives that informed Dr. Ross’ book.  While the book can be categorized as history, its contents reflect elements in all of the departments housed in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.”

In 2000, Ross discovered historical documents in CSUN’s online exhibit – In Our Own Backyard: “Resisting Nazi Propaganda in Southern California 1933-1945” – which helped to inform and further encourage the historian to continue his research into the topics.

CSUN’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences’ annual Richard W. Smith Lecture event will be held in the Whitsett Room, Sierra Hall 451, located on the west side of campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge.

To RSVP, contact csbsevents@csun.edu, or call (818) 677-6517 for additional information.

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