Cover image for Hitler in Los Angeles : how Jews foiled Nazi plots against Hollywood and America / Steven J. Ross.
Hitler in Los Angeles : how Jews foiled Nazi plots against Hollywood and America / Steven J. Ross.
Publication Information:
New York, NY, USA : Bloomsbury USA, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2017.

Physical Description:
414 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Map of Nazi and fascist Los Angeles -- Prologue -- I. Creating a Spy Network, 1933-1934: 1. "The most dangerous Jew in Los Angeles" ; 2. The spying begins ; 3. Plots revealed, spies uncovered ; 4. Going for help ; 5. A bitter lesson : the German-American Alliance trial -- II. The Nazi and Fascist Attack on Hollywood, 1933-1935: 6. The moguls and the Nazis ; 7. Inside the fascist front ; 8. HUAC comes to town ; 9. The most charming Nazi in Los Angeles -- III. New Threats, New Spies, 1935-1939: 10. Spy and divide ; 11. The plots to kill the Jews ; 12. Nazi versus Nazi ; 13. Silver shirts, Nazis, and movie stars ; 14. Slaughter the Hollywood Jews ; 15. The most hated Nazi in Hollywood ; 16. The three most dangerous enemies list ; 17. The race is on -- IV. Espionage, Sabotage, and the Coming of War, 1938-1941: 18. Closing in ; 19. Sabotage, secret agents, and Fifth Columnists ; 20. Darkening skies, new dangers ; 21. Pearl Harbor roundup -- Epilogue : Vigilant till war's end and beyond -- Guide to spies, Nazis, and fascists.
Reveals the little known story of a private Los Angeles spy operation organized by attorney Leon Lewis--which included Neil Ness, Joseph Roos, and Charles Slocombe--to stop the rise of Nazis from killing the city's Jews and sabotaging the nation's military installations. Also discusses Nazi threats and their influence on Hollywood film content and the sometimes conflicted role of German consul Georg Gyssling, and also Los Angeles's anti-Semitic political movements.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
979.4 ROS Book Adult General Collection

On Order




The chilling, little-known story of the rise of Nazism in Los Angeles, and the Jewish leaders and spies they recruited who stopped it.

No American city was more important to the Nazis than Los Angeles, home to Hollywood, the greatest propaganda machine in the world. The Nazis plotted to kill the city's Jews and to sabotage the nation's military installations: plans existed for hanging twenty prominent Hollywood figures such as Al Jolson, Charlie Chaplin, and Samuel Goldwyn; for driving through Boyle Heights and machine-gunning as many Jews as possible; and for blowing up defense installations and seizing munitions from National Guard armories along the Pacific Coast.

U.S. law enforcement agencies were not paying close attention--preferring to monitor Reds rather than Nazis--and only Leon Lewis and his daring ring of spies stood in the way. From 1933 until the end of World War II, attorney Leon Lewis, the man Nazis would come to call "the most dangerous Jew in Los Angeles," ran a spy operation comprised of military veterans and their wives who infiltrated every Nazi and fascist group in Los Angeles. Often rising to leadership positions, this daring ring ofspies uncovered and foiled the Nazi's disturbing plans for death and destruction.

Featuring a large cast of Nazis, undercover agents, and colorful supporting players, Hitler in Los Angeles , by acclaimed historian Steven J. Ross, tells the story of Lewis's daring spy network in a time when hate groups had moved from the margins to the mainstream.

Author Notes

Steven J. Ross is 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. He is the author of Hollywood Left and Right , recipient of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Film Scholars Award and nominated for a Pulitzer; Working-Class Hollywood , nominated for a Pulitzer and the National Book Award; Movies and American Society ; and Workers on the Edge . He lives in Southern California.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Winston Churchill said of World War II that, "This is a war of the unknown warriors." Nowhere was this truer than in the little-known story of attorney Leon Lewis and others who thwarted internal and external threats to the security of America during this era. Ross (history, Univ. of Southern California; Working Class Hollywood) brings his knowledge of both history and Hollywood to weave information from the considerable archives of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles. From 1933 until the end of the war in 1945, Lewis and his fellow agents risked their lives to counter Nazi and homegrown nationalist forces plotting sabotage and mass murder. Little has been written about Lewis and his network, despite that they helped the FBI capture and contain these forces. Because state and federal law enforcement were more focused on anti-Communist efforts, several plots came quite close to fruition. VERDICT This rich, academic tome lends an important aspect to the typical look at Hollywood studio acquiescence to Germany, such as Thomas Doherty's Hollywood and Hitler, and provides a counterpoint to Ben Urwand's The Collaboration. Readers interested in a detailed look at this spy operation can have confidence in this well-sourced account.-Maria Bagshaw, Elgin Community Coll. Lib., IL © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Map of Nazi and Fascist Los Angelesp. viii
Prologuep. 1
I Creating a Spy Network, 1933-1934
1 "The Most Dangerous Jew in Los Angeles"p. 7
2 The Spying Beginsp. 21
3 Plots Revealed, Spies Uncoveredp. 35
4 Going for Helpp. 44
5 A Bitter Lesson: The German-American Alliance Trialp. 53
II The Nazi and Fascist Attack on Hollywood, 1933-1935
6 The Moguls and the Nazisp. 67
7 Inside the Fascist Frontp. 79
8 HUAC Comes to Townp. 94
9 The Most Charming Nazi in Los Angelesp. 108
III New Threats, New Spies, 1935-1939
10 Spy and Dividep. 133
11 The Plots to Kill the Jewsp. 152
12 Nazi versus Nazip. 166
13 Silver Shirts, Nazis, and Movie Starsp. 186
14 Slaughter the Hollywood Jewsp. 198
15 The Most Hated Nazi in Hollywoodp. 214
16 The Three Most Dangerous Enemies Listp. 228
17 The Race Is Onp. 247
IV Espionage, Sabotage, and the Coming of War, 1938-1941
18 Closing Inp. 263
19 Sabotage, Secret Agents, and Fifth Columnistsp. 279
20 Darkening Skies, New Dangersp. 298
21 Pearl Harbor Roundupp. 316
Epilogue: Vigilant till War's End and Beyondp. 331
Guide to Spies, Nazis, and Fascistsp. 341
Acknowledgmentsp. 345
Notesp. 347
Indexp. 399