European Film Fund

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The European Film Fund (EFF), also known as the European Relief Fund, was a non-profit organization established by the talent agent and producer Paul Kohner.[1]


The European Film Fund was founded on November 5, 1938 on the initiative of Paul Kohner, Ernst Lubitsch, and Universal Pictures studio head, Carl Laemmle.[2][3] Founder members were William Dieterle, Bruno Frank, Felix Jackson, Salka Viertel and Ernst Lubitsch. The Domicile of the EFF was Paul Kohner Talent Agency and president was Ernst Lubitsch, because he was the most famous European filmmaker in Hollywood. The organisation was founded to help the European emigrants who needed Affidavits, money or jobs. That's why, Liesl Frank, Bruno Frank's wife, worked together with the Emergency Rescue Committee.

The Fund collected and distributed money, some filmmakers donated one percent of their fees. For example, Michael Curtiz und William Wyler who had European roots were especially generous. Furthermore, there were earnings from benefit performances.

In the early 1940s the Fund earned about $40,000. Some Persons were supported by credits, others by donations. Several beneficiaries of the EFF got jobs in the film industry (esp. at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Bros.) as screenwriters.[4] These jobs weren't paid very well but they often were the precondition for getting visa. Many European filmmakers couldn't repay the money, because they didn't find well paid jobs.

"The more clear-headed émigrés understood very soon that these salaries paid them by Hollywood were fictitious, at least when the realized that, while they earned $100 or $200 a week for completely useless work, a real screen writer earned $3,500. It was quite symbolic that once their contracts expired[…]."[5]

In 1948 the Fund was closed.

List of benefit recipients[edit]



  1. ^ Paul Kohner Agency records, 1935-1988: Biography/History. Los Angeles, CA: Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 1988. OCLC 801267898. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  2. ^ Hoffman, Allison (20 February 2013). "Hollywood's Unknown Rescuer". Tablet. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  3. ^ Doherty, Thomas (29 December 2015). "Remembering the Hollywood Mogul Who Rescued Hundreds of Germany's Jews (Guest Column)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  4. ^ Adorno, Theodor W./ Eisler, Hanns / McCann, Graham: Composing for the Films. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005. p. XIII-XIV)
  5. ^ Palmier, Jean-Michel: Weimar in exile: the antifascist emigration in Europe and America. Verso, 2006. p. 550
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-23. Retrieved 2008-11-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Adorno, Theodor W./ Eisler, Hanns / McCann, Graham: Composing for the Films. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005. p. XIV)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]