Hollywood's Spies:

The Undercover Surveillance of Nazis in Los Angeles

 Laura B. Rosenzweig, PhD

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Based on award-winning research* and published by NYU Press, Hollywood's Spies recovers the true and untold story of how the Jewish executives of the motion picture industry in the 1930s paid private investigators to infiltrate Nazi groups operating in Los Angeles. Why? Because during the 1930s Germany conducted a clandestine propaganda campaign in this country to transplant Nazism to the United States. As a result, the 1930s was the most antisemitic period in American history. In response, Jewish leaders across the country organized anti-Nazi resistance operations to expose the domestic Nazi threat to Americans. In Los Angeles, that self-defense effort was spearheaded by the Jewish leaders of Hollywood.

Hollywood’s Spies corrects the decades-long belief that American Jews, and the Jews of Hollywood in particular, lacked the political agency and influence to effectively assert themselves politically during the 1930s.  The information collected by Hollywood's spies provided local, federal and congressional officials with critical evidence of nativist sedition and German meddling in American political culture. Drawing on more than 15,000 pages of archival documents, Laura B. Rosenzweig offers a compelling narrative illuminating the role that Jewish Americans played in combating insurgent Nazism in the United States during  the 1930s.




*Award-winning Research

Hollywood Spies is based on award-winning research with grants from the Annenberg Foundation, the University of California Center for Humanities Research, the Historical Society of Southern California, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and the American Jewish Archives.


A welcome new voice in the world of Jewish writing and scholarship, Laura Rosenzweig has produced a book that tells a virtually unknown story and that deserves to be told, the struggle by American Jews to infiltrate and discredit pro-Nazi antisemites. Rosenzweig is a gifted storyteller and the story she tells in Hollywood's Spies is an important one.

Dr. Rosenzweig’s research presents new evidence of Jewish American courage, perseverance, and patriotism during the most antisemitic decade in U.S. history.  Her book recovers the story of Jewish American resistance to Nazism in the 1930s, reminding us all that democracy is not a spectator sport.

If you have little interest in intrigue, history, and unearthing new worlds, then by all means read no further.  If, however, you want to read a vitally important story, skillfully written by a new and gifted voice in the world of modern Jewish history, then pull up a chair and begin. You are in for an exciting ride.



Center for Jewish Studies


The product of over a decade of research, this book documents the work of the Los Angeles Jewish Community Committee in infiltrating and combating Nazi groups in Los Angeles between 1934 and 1941. Independent scholar Rosenzweig...has produced a fine, very-well-documented study.



Jewish Literacy; Words that Hurt, Words that Heal: How to Use Words Wisely and Well.

Hollywood’s Spies exposes a buried story about underground plots waged by Nazis against major Hollywood figures as part of a plan to win over the United States.  

Publishers' Weekly

Los Angeles Review of Books


Stephen S. Wise Temple

Los Angeles

Hollywood’s Spies is a story of ingenuity, bravery, and, above all else, dedication to the idea that people can make a difference.

San Francisco Review of Books




Laura Rosenzweig is an American Jewish historian. She holds a PhD in U.S. History from the University of California/Santa Cruz, an MA in Education from Stanford and a BA in History from Union College. Laura has taught U.S. and American Jewish History at San Francisco State University and the University of California/Santa Cruz.




For media inquiries or to book a speaking engagement

 contact publicist betsy.steve@nyu.edu