German 43: Exiles and Émigrés
 

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Brecht, Bertolt

(Augsburg 1898–Berlin 1956)

Playwright and poet. Brecht's Hollywood exile lasted from July 1941 to November 1947, when he left the country one day after his HUAC hearing in Washington, DC. Even though Brecht's stay in the US proved to be one of the most difficult times of his life, it turned out to be also one of Brecht's most prolific periods, leading to an outpour of poetry and prose, and to the writing of many plays which, when first performed upon his return to Germany, established his world fame. Yet his efforts to make money in the film industry remained without success. Even though from the very beginning of his stay in Hollywood Brecht wrote scripts, outlines and treatments—more than fifty in all—none of them ever made it onto the screen, apart from his ill-fated collaboration with Fritz Lang, Hangmen Also Die (1943). His poetry cycle "Hollywood-Elegien" and his Arbeitsjournal chronicle his difficult yet perceptive relationship to a culture industry which he abhorred.


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