Brecht & HUAC
Bertolt Brecht of Germany is a major figure in 20th-century culture. He fled Hitler and settled in the U.S. at a time when the House UnAmerican Activities Committee was conducting political witch hunts. Anti-Communist hysteria gripped the U.S. Sender Garlin gives an overview of the political climate in the U.S. in the aftermath of WWII. “The atmosphere was frightening,” he says. On October 30, 1947, Brecht was called up by HUAC. He danced around the Committee questions. Someone described the encounter as akin to a “zoologist being cross-examined by apes.” Hear some of the actual exchanges. Brecht was no fool. He knew what was coming. After his testimony he left the country, never to return. The program begins with “Mack the Knife.” with lyrics by Brecht. Aired on KGNU’s “Hemisphere” program.
Interview by David Barsamian.
Recorded at KGNU.
Sender Garlin was a radical journalist and author of Three American Radicals. Howard Zinn said this about him, “As a reporter, he interviewed such diverse figures as Clarence Darrow, Emma Goldman, Lucy Parsons, Huey Long, Lenin’s widow Krupskaya, and Olga Kniper-Chekhova, the Moscow theater star and widow of the great Russian writer. Sender helped form the John Reed Club in the early 1930s and was a founding editor of Partisan Review before he moved on to write for The Masses. His main thrust and satirical barbs were always against the system: the exploitation, the racism, the militaristic nationalism that have plagued this century, whether in the extreme form of Fascism or in more disguised form.” Sender Garlin died in 1999.