Between the wars, hundreds of German and East European artists fled fascism and landed in Los Angeles—many to find refuge at the home of another émigré, screenwriter and activist Salka Viertel. Literary critic (and native Angeleno) Donna Rifkind will discuss her biography of Viertel, The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler’s Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Donna’s research for the book spanned 10 years and multiple continents, where she uncovered the often-hidden stories of the artistic and intellectual refugees who influenced the Hollywood of the 1930s.
Donna Rifkind is a prolific book critic whose reviews appear in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times Book Review. She was a 2006 finalist for the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle. The Sun and Her Stars is her “marvelous, knowledgeable” (Boston Herald) look at the life of Salka Viertel, the émigré screenwriter and Garbo confidante, who created a Hollywood haven for scores of European refugees—including Thomas Mann, Arnold Schoenberg and Bertolt Brecht—who had escaped the horrors of Nazi Germany.
Photo Credit: Julie Brown
Funds provided by the Arthur E. Guedel Memorial Lectureship Fund and the Sally & William A. Rutter Endowment for the Performing Arts