Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Herbert Kline papers

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2016.391.1

Search this record's additional resources, such as finding aids, documents, or transcripts.

No results match this search term.
Check spelling and try again.

results are loading

0 results found for “keyward


    Correspondence, documents, and photographs, related to the work of American documentary filmmaker Herbert Kline, and in particular his work on films documenting political crises in Europe in the late 1930s and early 1940s, in particular the film "Crisis," which treated the subject of Czechoslovakia during the Sudeten crisis of 1938. Includes scripts, correspondence with film companies, letters of reference, news clippings, and other materials related to the production and distribution of "Crisis," as well as material related to a film about the Spanish Civil War, "Heart of Spain" and a subsequent production set in Mexico, "Forgotten Village," on which he collaborated with John Steinbeck.

    Material related to the Spanish Civil War includes various drafts, treatments, and script fragments of the two films that Kline made in Spain in 1936-1937, various draft texts recounting individuals and events he encountered in Spain. Also included are clippings and reviews of Kline’s films, a letter from the Spanish ambassador to the United States, sent to the ministry of propaganda in Madrid, commending Kline’s film “Heart of Spain,” and some of the materials in the “Photographs” series, although not definitively identified, depict individuals that Kline and Rose Harvan likely knew in Spain.

    The materials related to the film Crisis include correspondence and documents related to the production of the film, reviews, and various drafts of portions of the script, including the text of the narration, as well as telegrams sent during production, typescript texts of Kline’s experiences during the filming, and photographs from Czechoslovakia during that period, including some that may depict scenes recorded in the film.

    The remaining materials consist of fragmentary documents and ephemera, some of which relate to Kline’s later productions, such as The Forgotten Village, his wartime experiences, and his relationship with Rose Harvan. Included are photographs that are largely unidentified, but which appear to depict Kline and Harvan in Spain and Czechoslovakia. Also included is a telegram from German filmmaker Max Ophüls, sent to Kline on 3 August 1941, and announcing his escape from Nazi-occupied Europe and his arrival in New York with the words “Tuesday New York So Happy.”
    inclusive:  1934-1946
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    Collection Creator
    Herbert Kline
    Herbert Kline (1909-1999) was an American documentary filmmaker, best known for his works about the Spanish Civil War and the rise of Nazism in Europe, including his 1939 film about the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, Crisis.

    Born in Chicago on 13 March 1909, as Herbert Klein, he was raised in Davenport, Iowa, and left home as a teenager to explore places that interested him throughout the United States. During the Great Depression, he became interested in the plight of the working class, and became involved in leftist political circles in Chicago and New York, becoming the editor of New Theater magazine, and being one of the first to publish and stage the plays of Clifford Odets. When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, he left for Madrid, in support of the Loyalist forces, and it was there that he teamed up with Hungarian photographer Geza Karpathi to make his first film, Heart of Spain, and in 1937 he collaborated with photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson on a second film set in Spain, Return to Life.

    Sensing the unfolding political threat from Nazi Germany in Czechoslovakia, he left for Prague in 1938, and working with Czech cameraman Alexander Hackenschmied (later Hammid), he made the film Crisis, which depicted the Nazi takeover of the Sudetenland. Kline gained access to Nazi rallies by pretending to be a Nazi-party member, and Kline later recounted the irony that he, as a Jewish American and an anti-fascist, had storm troopers following his commands and carrying his film equipment. When Crisis was released in the United States, it proved to be his most successful documentary, and was named one of the National Board of Review’s 10 best films of 1939. Kline’s subsequent films included Lights Out in Europe, an account of the German invasion of Poland, The Forgotten Village, which depicted the struggle to provide basic health care in an isolated Mexican village, a film on which he collaborated with John Steinbeck, and My Father’s House, a 1947 documentary about Holocaust survivors. Kline was blacklisted in the United States during the 1950s as a result of his leftist political affiliations, and did not resume filmmaking until the 1970s. One of his later films was Walls of Fire, a work about Mexican muralists Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

    Kline met Rose Margaret Harvan (1916-1992?) while both were in Spain. Harvan was the daughter of Slovak immigrants who had settled in Pennsylvania, and after working as a dental technician in New York, went without her parents’ knowledge to join the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain. The two married in 1939, and she accompanied Kline during the period when he was filming Crisis in Czechoslovakia. Upon returning to the United States, the two settled first in New York, and then Los Angeles. They worked together on the film The Forgotten Village, but subsequently divorced, and Kline later married Josine Ianco-Starrels, with whom he had two children, and from whom he was later divorced. Kline died in Los Angeles on 5 February 1999.

    Physical Details

    1 box
    System of Arrangement
    The Herbert Kline papers are arranged in four series, in rough chronological order: I. Spanish projects, 1936-1938, II. Crisis, 1938-1939, III. Other materials, 1934-1946, and IV. Photographs, circa 1936-1946. Files are arranged within the series in alphabetical order by folder title.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The Herbert Kline papers were acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016.
    Record last modified:
    2024-03-20 13:56:36
    This page:

    Additional Resources

    Download & Licensing

    In-Person Research

    Contact Us