Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hanns Eisler in the McCarthy Era

Hanns Eisler's persecution by the House Committee on Un-American Activties (HUAC) is more than a footnote in U.S. political and cultural history. Eisler—living in Malibu, California, and supporting himself by writing film scores for Hollywood studios—was the first target of HUAC's probe of alleged Communist subversion in the motion picture industry and the first victim of the notorious "blacklist" that eventually ruined the careers of thousands of directors, screenwriters, artists and academics. To the rising anticommunist star Richard Nixon, then serving his first term as a U.S. Congressman, "the case of Hanns Eisler" was "perhaps the most important ever to have come before the committee."

An extravert who loved to entertain, Eisler was a popular host in wartime Hollywood. His social circle included Charlie Chaplin, Clifford Odets, Charles Laughton, Peter Lorre, Artie Shaw and Ava Gardner. "Chaplin adored him," remembers actor Norman Lloyd. Eisler's beloved teacher, Schönberg, lived nearby. Back in New York, where Eisler had taught composition and counterpoint at the New School for Social Research before the move to Hollywood, he retained the admiring friendship of musicians like Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein and Roger Sessions. Who but Eisler could have organized such unlikely social combinations as Brecht's afternoon with Schönberg or Thomas Mann's dinner with Charlie Chaplin?

Read the rest of this article on


Post a Comment

<< Home

lectionary, lectionary, lectionary, Revised Common Lectionary, Revised Common Lectionary, Revised Common Lectionary, lectionary resources, lectionary resources, lectionary resources, preaching resources, preaching resources, preaching resources, Heidelberg Catechism, Heidelberg Catechism, Heidelberg Catechism, lectionary commentaries, lectionary commentaries, lectionary commentaries, preaching, preaching, preaching, sermon, sermon, sermon, sermons, sermons, sermons, liturgy, liturgy, liturgy, worship, worship, worship, religion, religion, religion, politics, politics, politics, Religious Right, Religious Right, Religious Right, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pat Robertson, Pat Robertson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Jerry Falwell, Jerry Falwell, Left Party, Left Party, Left Party, Gregor Gysi, Gregor Gysi, Gregor Gysi, Oskar Lafontaine, Oskar Lafontaine, Oskar Lafontaine, Germany, Germany, Germany, international relations, foreign relations, Andy Lang, Andy Lang, Andy Lang, spirituality, spirituality, spirituality, ethics, ethics, ethics, culture, culture, culture, music, music, music, church, church, church, United Church of Christ, United Church of Christ, United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church, Episcopal Church, Episcopal Church, theology, theology, theology, Karl Barth, Karl Barth, Karl Barth, Confessing Christ, Confessing Church, Confessing Church, Confessing Church, Barmen Declaration, Barmen Declaration, Barmen Declaration, status confessionis, status confessionis, status confessionis, Third Way, Third Way, Third Way, homosexuality, homosexuality, homosexuality, homosexuality, gay, gay, gay theology, gay theology, gay theology, queer theology, queer theology, queer theology, gays and religion, gays in the church, gays in the church, gays in the church, same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, same-sex relationships, same-sex unions, bible and homosexuality, bible and homosexuality, bible and homosexuality, gays in ministry, homosexual agenda, gay agenda