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The Education Forum

Anti-Jewish Conspiracy

John Simkin

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On 26th May, 1938, the United States House of Representatives authorized the formation of the Special House Committee on Un-American Activities. "The Speaker of the House of Representatives is authorized to appoint a special committee to be composed of seven members for the purpose of conducting an investigation of (1) the extent, character, and object of un-American propaganda activities in the United States, (2) the diffusion within the United States of subversive and un-American propaganda that is instigated from foreign countries or of a domestic origin and attacks the principle of the form of government as guaranteed by the Constitution, and (3) all other questions in relations thereto that would aid Congress in any necessary remedial legislation."

In 1947 HUAC announced it wished to interview nineteen members of the film industry that they believed might be members of the American Communist Party. This included Herbert Biberman, Alvah Bessie, Lester Cole, Albert Maltz, Adrian Scott, Dalton Trumbo, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner Jr., Samuel Ornitz, John Howard Lawson, Larry Parks, Waldo Salt, Bertolt Brecht, Richard Collins, Gordon Kahn, Robert Rossen, Lewis Milestone and Irving Pichel. It has been pointed out that ten of the nineteen were Jews (Milestone, Collins, Kahn, Maltz, Rossen, Ornitz, Lawson, Bessie, Biberman, Cole) and two others had been involved in the recent film, Crossfire (1947), that was an attack on anti-Semitism (Scott and Dmytryk).

It has been argued that the HUAC was attempting to purge the Jewish community from Hollywood rather than dealing with former communists (they had all left the party by this stage).


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