The Hollywood Mogul Who Founded Universal Studios and Rescued Jews from Hitler’s Germany

Wednesday marked the 80th anniversary of the death of Carl Laemmle, who produced such films as All Quiet on the Western Front, Frankenstein, and Dracula. Born in Laupheim, Germany in 1867, Laemmle came to the U.S. in 1884 and would go on to open one of Chicago’s first move theaters and to found what later became Universal Pictures. He also spent his final years trying to save Jews from the Nazis, as Rafael Medoff and Sandy Einstein write:

Laemmle experienced the Nazi menace [from afar] even before Adolf Hitler rose to power. The Berlin premiere of All Quiet on the Western Front in December 1930 was violently disrupted by a Nazi mob led by Joseph Goebbels. . . . In January 1932—more than a year before Hitler became chancellor of Germany—Laemmle outlined his fears in a letter to the newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, who had published occasional columns by Hitler.

Soon after the Nazis came to power, a street which had been named after Laemmle in his hometown of Laupheim was renamed Hitler Street. Soon after that, Universal closed its offices in Germany.

[At the time], one of the devices the Roosevelt administration used to obstruct immigration [was a legal requirement that] a would-be immigrant find an American citizen who would pledge to support him financially in the event he could not support himself. . . . Laemmle served as the financial guarantor for more than 300 Jews, many from Laupheim, to come to the United States. Some of them were his relatives; most were not. By the spring of 1938, U.S. officials stepped in to block Laemmle’s rescue initiative.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: American Jewish History, Hollywood, Holocaust

Hamas Has Its Own Day-After Plan

While Hamas’s leaders continue to reject the U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal, they have hardly been neglecting diplomacy. Ehud Yaari explains:

Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have been engaged in talks with other Palestinian factions and select Arab states to find a formula for postwar governance in the Gaza Strip. Held mainly in Qatar and Egypt, the negotiations have not matured into a clear plan so far, but some forms of cooperation are emerging on the ground in parts of the embattled enclave.

Hamas officials have informed their interlocutors that they are willing to support the formation of either a “technocratic government” or one composed of factions that agree to Palestinian “reconciliation.” They have also insisted that security issues not be part of this government’s authority. In other words, Hamas is happy to let others shoulder civil responsibilities while it focuses on rebuilding its armed networks behind the scenes.

Among the possibilities Hamas is investigating is integration into the Palestinian Authority (PA), the very body that many experts in Israel and in the U.S. believe should take over Gaza after the war ends. The PA president Mahmoud Abbas has so far resisted any such proposals, but some of his comrades in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are less certain:

On June 12, several ex-PLO and PA officials held an unprecedented meeting in Ramallah and signed an initiative calling for the inclusion of additional factions, meaning Hamas. The PA security services had blocked previous attempts to arrange such meetings in the West Bank. . . . Hamas has already convinced certain smaller PLO factions to get on board with its postwar model.

With generous help from Qatar, Hamas also started a campaign in March asking unaffiliated Palestinian activists from Arab countries and the diaspora to press for a collaborative Hamas role in postwar Gaza. Their main idea for promoting this plan is to convene a “Palestinian National Congress” with hundreds of delegates. Preparatory meetings have already been held in Britain, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Qatar, and more are planned for the United States, Spain, Belgium, Australia, and France.

If the U.S. and other Western countries are serious about wishing to see Hamas defeated, and all the more so if they have any hopes for peace, they will have to convey to all involved that any association with the terrorist group will trigger ostracization and sanctions. That Hamas doesn’t already appear toxic to these various interlocutors is itself a sign of a serious failure.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian Authority