The Sun And Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler's Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood
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Besides those already mentioned, she and Berthold were acquainted with Rilke, Kafka and Einstein, as well as the composer Kurt Weill, satirist Karl Kraus, novelist Alfred Doblin and critic Theodor Adorno. is especially noteworthy, as is her examination of Viennese modernism, Berthold Viertel: Eine Biograﬁe der Wiener Moderne .
Viertel fought valiantly as an anti-Nazi activist, advocate for refugees, and as a female creative artist determined to navigate her way around Hollywood. As to whether or not they were lovers, there is ample gossip but no smoking lipstick or other positive evidence, says Rifkind, who gives a literary shrug at this facet of the Greta/Salka relationship. Salka Viertel is an all but forgotten figure from Hollywood’s golden era, often portrayed as little more than a screenplay consultant to Greta Garbo. Given hyperinflation and economic uncertainty in Germany, they took a chance on America, parking their sons in Dresden with a nanny. Berthold was frequently directing plays in New York City and Europe for long stretches of time with his mistresses.W. Murnau and Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein, who were being disrespected by the industry that acknowledged them as cinematic masters. It's all here in this book - war, passion, film, art, friendship, loyalty, exile, glamour, danger, love, heartbreak, and courage.
Today, he is remembered, if at all, only as the author of “ Professor Unrat,” the novel adapted into the Emil Jannings-Marlene Dietrich film classic, “ The Blue Angel. Meanwhile, at her house in Santa Monica she opened her door on Sunday afternoons to scores of European émigrés who had fled from Hitler--such as Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, and Arnold Schoenberg--along with every kind of Hollywood star, from Charlie Chaplin to Shelley Winters.
Many were Jewish and many were world-renowned figures in the arts, most notably composer Arnold Schoenberg, Nobel Prize-winning novelist Thomas Mann, stage and film impresario Max Reinhardt, playwright Bertolt Brecht and screen legend Marlene Dietrich. Viertel was born Salomea Sara Steuermann in Sambor, a city then in the province of Galicia,  which was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but today is in western Ukraine. The actress Shelley Winters once spotted Salka — then well into her 50s — making out in a convertible with the young Montgomery Clift following a party at Gene Kelly’s. Her father, Joseph Steuermann, was a lawyer and the mayor of Sambor  before antisemitism forced him to renounce his office. While she was able to save her mother, a brother, and a sister, other members of her family, including another brother, were murdered during the Shoah .