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saving’ contracts from the studios that guaranteed work visas and $100 weekly stipends. The more famous joined the exclusive salons established in Santa Monica and the Palisades by the pre-Hitler immigration of European film stars and directors.66 Yet, despite their acknowledgement that Los Angeles did indeed appear like ‘paradise’, many of the anti-fascist exiles grasped at the first opportunity to leave for New York or, later, to return to the ruins of war-ravaged Europe. However, their recoil from ‘paradise’ is only seemingly paradoxical. In part they were tormented by their own incestuous choice. Adorno in Minima Moralia: Refactions from Damaged Life (a journal he kept in Los Angeles during the war) recalled the ‘isolation [which] becomes worse through the formation of exclusive, politically controlled groups, suspicious of their members, hostile towards those branded as different. . . . Relations among outcasts are even more poisonous than among the residents.’67 (Adorno certainly knew what he was talking about; Brecht thought that the Los Angeles soirées of the Institute for Social Research (the ‘Frankfurt School’) resembled ‘graduate seminars in a wartime bunker’.)68 Segregated from native Angelenos, the exiles composed a miniature society in a selfimposed ghetto, clinging to their old-world prejudices like cultural lifepreservers. But their collective melancholia was also a reaction to the landscape. With few exceptions they complained bitterly about the absence of a European (or even Manhattan) civitas of public places, sophisticated crowds, historical auras and critical intellectuals. Amid so much open land there seemed to be no space that met their criteria of ‘civilized urbanity’. Los Angeles, for all its fleshpots and enchantments, was experienced as a cultural antithesis to nostalgic memories of pre-fascist Berlin or Vienna. Indeed, as the September song of exile wore on, Los Angeles became increasingly symbolized as an ‘anti-city’, a Gobi of suburbs. The formation of a critical consensus about Los Angeles/Hollywood (the two hopelessly conflated in the minds of most exiles) was, moreover, a seminal moment in the European reconceptualization of the United States. What had been largely romance - European fantasies of cowboys, Lindbergh and skyscrapers - was now mediated through actual experience in a city that stood in the same quasi-utopian relationship to the rest of the United States as America as a whole had stood to the Weimar imagination of the