Setting out to provide a definitive history of the European Film Fund (EFF), the purpose of this thesis is as follows: first, to draw attention to the many exile and refugee organisations by examining one of them, the EFF. As a study of a refugee organisation founded as a result of Nazism, my examination of the EFF not only fills an existing gap in film history as far as the EFF itself is concerned. Refugee organisations in general have received scant attention by exile scholars. By making one refugee organisation the focus of my inquiry, I am also highlighting the presence of women in the topic of exile as two women, Liesl Frank, wife of the writer Bruno Frank, and Charlotte Dieterle, wife of the director William Dieterle, were at the centre of the EFF. My investigation of this organisation demonstrates that women played a much larger role in exile and exile communities than history and literature have thus far accorded them. Additionally, I show how the political situation after 1933, including apathy by the international community, led to the founding of the EFF. Lastly, by shifting the focus away from figureheads of the émigré community to below-the-line film artists, technicians, theatre artists and so on, I foreground those refugees whose lives have hitherto been obscured by their more famous fellow émigrés.
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About the Author
German by birth, I have spent long periods of my life in France and in the UK. It was while studying European Cinema Studies at Bath University that my preoccupation with the German-Jewish Exiles began. Over the course of my research, I realised that in Exile Research women have been neglected by scholars and researchers alike, prompting me to concentrate on their role in the exile community in 1930s/ 40s Hollywood, eventually leading to yet another focus in the form of exile organisation as it turned out that both, women and organisations, played a much larger role in the exile community than conventional scholarship would have it.