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DECEMBER 14, 1954 

Printed for the use of the Committee on Un-American Activities 


42885 WASHINGTON : 1954 



APR 6-1955 

United States House of Representatives 

HAROLD H. VELDE, Illinois, Chairman 


KIT CLARDY, Michigan CLYDE DOYLE, California 


Robert L. Kdnzig, Counsel 

Frank S. Tavenner, Jr., Counsel 

Thomas W. Beale, Sr., Chief Clerk 

Raphael I. Nixon, Director of Research 

Courtney E. Owens, Chief Investigator 


Public Law 601, 79th Congress 

The legislation under which the House Committee on Un-American 
Activities operates is Public Law 601, 79th Congress [1946], chapter 
753, 2d session, which provides : 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States 
of America in Congress assembled, * * * 



Rule X 


17. Committee on Un-American Activities, to consist of nine members. 

Rule XI 


(q) (1) Committee on Un-American Activities. 

(A) Un-American activities. 

(2) The Committee on Un-American Activities, as a whole or by subcommit- 
tee, is authorized to make from time to time investigations of (i) the extent, 
character, and objects of un-American propaganda activities in the United States, 
(ii) the diffusion within the United States of subversive and un-American propa- 
ganda that is instigated from foreign countries or of a domestic origin and attacks 
the principle of the form of government as guaranteed by our Constitution, and 
(iii) all other questions in relation thereto that would aid Congress in any neces- 
sary remedial legislation. 

The Committee on Un-American Activities shall report to the House (or to the 
Clerk of the House if the House is not in session) the results of any such investi- 
gation, together with such recommendations as it deems advisable. 

For the purpose of any such investigation, the Committee on Un-American 
Activities, or any subcommittee thereof, is authorized to sit and act at such 
times and places within the United States, whether or not the House is sitting, 
has recessed, or has adjourned, to hold such hearings, to require the attendance 
of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, and 
to take such testimony, as it deems necessary. Subpenas may be issued under 
the signature of the chairman of the committee or any subcommittee, or by any 
member designated by any such chairman, and may be served by any person 
designated by any such chairman or member. 



House Resolution 5, January 3, 1953 


Rule X 


1. There shall be elected by the House, at the commencement of each Con- 
gress, the following standing committees : 


(q) Committee on Un-American Activities, to consist of nine members. 

Rule XI 


17. Committee on Un-American Activities. 

<a) Un-American activities. 

<b) The Committee on Un-American Activities, as a whole or by subcommittee, 
is authorized to make from time to time, investigations of (1) the extent, char- 
acter, and objects of un-American propaganda activities in the United States, 
(2) the diffusion within the United States of subversive and un-American prop- 
aganda that is instigated from foreign countries or of a domestic origin and 
attacks the principle of the form of government as guaranteed by our Constitu- 
tion, and (3) all other questions in relation thereto that would aid Congress 
in any necessary remedial legislation. 

The Committee on Un-American Activities shall report to the House (or to the 
Clerk of the House if the House is not in session ) the results of any such investi- 
gation, together with such recommendations as it deems advisable. 

For the purpose of any such investigation, the Committee on Un-American 
Activities, or any subcommittee thereof, is authorized to sit and act at such times 
and places within the United States, whether or not the House is sitting, has 
recessed, or has adjourned, to hold such hearings, to require the attendance 
of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, and 
to take such testimony, as it deems necessary. Subpenas may be issued under 
the signature of the chairman of the committee or any subcommitte, or by any 
member designated by such chairman, and may be served by any person desig- 
nated by any such chairman or member. 


(Entertainment— Part 2) 


United States House of Representatives, 
Subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities, 

Washington, D. G. 

public hearing 

The subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities 
met, pursuant to notice, at 10 : 35 a. m., in room 227, Old House Office 
Building, Hon. Kit Clardy presiding. 

Committee members present : Representatives Kit Clardy (presid- 
ing) , Francis E. Walter, and Gordon H. Scherer. 

Staff members present: Robert L. Kunzig, counsel; Donald T. 
Appell, investigator; and Thomas W. Beale, Sr., chief clerk. 

Mr. Clardy. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are 
about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the 
truth, so help you God ? 

Mr. Bela. I do. 

Mr. Clardy. May I inquire of you, Bob: Is he going to be accom- 
panied by counsel ? 

Mr. Kunzig. No ; he is not. I was going to ask him that. 

Mr. Clardy. All right. Proceed. 


Mr. Kunzig. Would you state your full name, please, sir ? 

Mr. Bela. Nicholas Bela. 

Mr. Kunzig. I would like to ask you, if you would, to speak as 
clearly and distinctly as you can so that the court reporter, who is 
sitting on your right, can get everything clown properly. 

Mr. Bela. Thank you. 

Mr. Kunzig. Will you give us your present address, please, Mr. 

Mr. Bela. 222 West 23d Street, New York 11, N. Y. ; Chelsea Hotel. 

Mr. Kunzig. I note that you are not accompanied by counsel. You 
understand, of course, that under the rules of this committee you have 
every right to have an attorney at your side all during your testimony. 

Do you desire to be accompanied by counsel ? 

Mr. Bela. No ; I do not. 

Mr. Kunzig. You are perfectly content to testify without the advice 
of legal counsel ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. 

Mr. Kunzig. Mr. Bela, when and where were you born? 



Mr. Bela. I was born in Budapest, Hungary, July 18, 1900. 

Mr. Kunzig. "When did you first come to this country? 

Mr. Bela. 1927. If I remember well, December 28. That is when 
my ship arrived in New York City. 

Mr. Kunzig. Did you stay here at that time or did you come back 
at a later time ? 

Mr. Bela. I went straight to Hollywood — practically straight to 
Hollywood. Then I stayed there until June or July of 1931, and 
back to Hungary to get my immigration visa. 

Mr. Kunzig. When did you come to this country again? 

Mr. Bela. In 1932. That was, if I remember, either the end of 
January or early February. 

Mr. Kunzig. And you came as an immigrant at that time ? 

Mr. Bela. That's right. 

Mr. Kunzig. When did you become a citizen? 

Mr. Bela. August 5, 1937. 

Mr. Kunzig. Are you a citizen today ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Kunzig. Will you give the committee a brief resume of your 
education ? 

Mr. Bela. First I wanted to be a pianist and I studied piano and 
conducting. Then I changed into the dramatic arts and I graduated 
in 1922. I have something like a master's degree, and perhaps this 
resume of my career, the high points of which are put down in 
chronological order, as well as in professional order, will give you a 
better idea. 

Mr. Kunzig. May I go off the record for a second ? 

Mr. Clardy. Yes. 

(Discussion off the record.) 

Mr. Kunzig. On the record. 

Thank you, Mr. Bela. 

I have in my hands, Mr. Chairman, a document marked "Bela Ex- 
hibit No. 1" for identification. It purports to be a background analysis 
of the employment — a very thorough one, I may add — of the witness. 

I should now like to offer this into evidence, to be printed at this 
point of the record as Bela Exhibit No. 1. 

Mr. Clardy. That is the document he referred to in his testimony 
just prior to your statement? 

Mr. Kunzig. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Clardy. Thank you. 

(Whereupon the document headed "Curriculum Vitae of Nicholas 
Bela" was marked "Bela Exhibit No. 1" for identification.) 

(Bela Exhibit No. 1 is as follows:) 

Curriculum Vitae of Nicholas Bela 

Musical: Piano under Oeza Tomka and Stephen Thoman, a pupil of Liszt; 
assistant music critic to Drs. Aurel Kern and Inire Haraszti, of the Budapest! 
Hirlap, a daily; assistant correpetitor Royal Hungarian Opera, general manager, 
Dr. Aurel Kern. 

Military: Officers' school of the Royal Hungarian Artillery, graduated as a 
second lieutenant August 1918. 

Theatrical : Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts of Budapest ; majoring in acting 
and directing. September 1919. Paris Conservatoire De La Comedie Francaise, 
Tlie French National Theater; summer term 1920 (conservatoire des allies). 
Scholarship : Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts ; Paris Conservatoire of Drama, 


summer term 1921. Scholarships: The city of Budapest. Manager of the 
Center Theater, Royal Ministry of Culture and Education, etc. 

Academic : University of Budapest, N. A., summa cum laude, dramatic arts, 
June 1922. Baccalaureate, B. A., June 1917. 


Royal National Theater, June 1922; Reinhardt, Berlin, summer term 1922; 
Comedy Theater, Budapest, a repertory theater ; appeared in one play each 
month ; Metteur en scene ; stage director ; six seasons, 1922 to 1928. 

Paris: The Theaters of Antoine, Pitoeff; Jacques Copeau, summer season 

London : With Sybil Thorndike and Lewis Casson : St. Joan ; George Bernard 
Shaw: Getting Married; summer season 1924. 

Berlin : Cherepy Production of film, Fredericus Rex. 

Paris and London: Theater; Film: acting, writing, and cutting, summer 
season 1925. 

Hollywood : First National Studios : Al Rocket, Alexander Korda, Ned Marin 
units, etc., January 1928. Director : Stage productions of The Isle of Coo-Coo, 
a musical comedy by Homer Grunn ; Wilshire-Ebell Theater, Los Angeles ; Lower 
Depths, by Ibsen; When We Dead Awaken, by Ibsen; Hungarian Rhapsody, a 
revue, etc. ; foreign version pictures for First National Studios. 

Acting : 1928. Featured roles in Yellow Lilly, The Night Watch, Adoration, Do 
Your Duty, The Bridge, Ritzy Rosie, Such Men Are Dangerous, The Princess 
and the plumber, The Devil and the Woman, Little Caesar, etc. Screen credits : 
Film Daily yearbook for 1930, 1931, 1932, etc. Also: Who's Who in Hollywood. 

Europe, September 1931. Paris: Associated with Alexander Korda. Berlin: 
With Universal Pictures, Joe Pasternak, December 1931. 

United States: Entered as an immigrant, January 1932. 

Broadway production : Associated with Gilbert Miller, Firebird, starring Judith 
Anderson ; Wee and Leventhal, Nowhere Bound ; Richard Herndon productions ; 
Archie Selwyn, Even Song, starring Edith Evans, etc. 

Editor: Story department, RKO and Columbia Pictures with editors; Kay 
Brown, 1934 to 1937; Carrington North, William C. Lengel, Richard Aldrich, 
William W. Hawkins, Jr., D. A. Doran ; literary agency, owner of Transatlantic; 
Play Doctor ; in charge of continental Europe for Columbia Pictures, story depart- 
ment, season 1937-38. 

Writer: The Hadleys, a serial produced by Standard Pictures, Hollywood; 
also associate producer, 193S-39. 

Production : Representative for Gabriel Pascal Productions in Hollywood, 

Director: Twenty-six short subjects, TV films, for World Plays, Ltd., London, 
1950. Grand Guignol, Originals Only production, New York (Greenwich Vil- 
lage), 1953. 

Author of: 

The Nightingale and the Rose, book for the opera, premier in April 1942, 
on NBC opera series ; music by George Lessner ; produced by Samuel Chotzinoff. 

Silver Nails, one-act play, produced by Howard Young, Belasco Theater, 
Los Angeles, June 1943, starring Henry Hull. 

No Road Home, play in three acts, in collaboration with John Collier (Mar- 
garet Webster, producer-director), 1945. 

Silver Nails, published in the Anthology; The Best One- Act Plays of 1945; 
editor, Margaret Mayorga ; publisher, Dodd, Mead & Co. 

Skeletons, in the Anthology: The best one act plays op 1946-47. 

Suffer the Little Children, in the Anthology : The best one act plays of 


Sleepy Hollow, musical comedy, produced on Broadway at the St. James 
Theater, May 1948. 

The Zenger Case, play in three acts, winner of a National Treater Confer- 
ence play award for the year 1948. 

Fire-Weed, play in 3 acts, produced in London, March 1950. 

T"-en^y-six short subjects for TV films, produced by World Plays, Ltd., London, 
April 1950. 

The Safecracker's Pride, in the Anthology : The best one act plays of 


School for Murder, in association with Irving Strousse, a stage and Arena 
Guild Production, May 1954. 


Mr. Kunzig. As evidenced by this document, exhibit 1, you are by 
profession an actor and a writer? 

Mr. Bela. An actor, writer, director. 

Mr. Kunzig. Where are you presently employed ? 

Mr. Bela. I am not employed. 

Mr. Kunzig. Mr. Bela, have you ever been a member of the Com- 
munist Party? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. 

Mr. Kunzig. Would you tell the committee how you became a mem- 
ber and when you became a member? 

Mr. Bela. Well, I beg of you to bear with me when I tell you this 
story, because it is not that all of a sudden you become a member of 
the Communist Party. If I may so so, it took me a few years to be 
in a position to become a member. It is like saying that you put first 
your toe inside of the door ; then slowly the other toes go in and then 
the whole foot; then your leg, and before you know it you are in all 
the way. Then later on you discover that you are not only in, but 
you are up to your neck in it, and then above your eyebrows. 

So let me try to look into these papers to show you this graphic, 
if I may so so, procession. 

Mr. Kunzig. The papers to which you are referring and which you 
now have in your hand, are they your own notes jotted down on this 

Mr. Bela. That is right. That is it. I prepared these notes for 
the FBI. 

Mr. Kunzig. Have you cooperated with the FBI ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. Indeed I have. 

Mr. Kunzig. Have you given them this information ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, I did. I have several times seen the gentlemen of 
the FBI and also the Immigration Service; and whatever I could 
do to be of any assistance I tried to my best abilities. ^ 

Here I want to say something about my impression, if I may say 
so, since this is the whole story. There is a great deal of impressions. 
Impressions of the Communist Party is also a sort of an emotional 
impression. The FBI people were truly marvelous, and I think 
everyone ought to be proud of them and admire them and the way 
they are working. That is my opinion, and I am saying this with 
the understanding that I have never, never thought that anything 
that I have heard of the FBI could be as substantiated as my own 
personal experience. 

Sir, in 1932 I came back from Europe with my immigration visa. 
One day I was invited by a doctor, Dr. Joseph Hollos. He is dead. 
He was a very fine and wonderful doctor ; I daresay a holy man. I 
thought whatever he said and what he did came out of his heart. I 
liked him very much. 

He invited me to a meeting somewhere in the Hungarian section, 
I do not remember where. This is where everything started. 

I gave a lecture about Hollywood and the Hollywood film making. 
Mr. Walter. Where was this? Where was the Hungarian section? 
Mr. Bela. In New York City, in Yorktown, around 79th Street. 
But I don't even remember where it was. 

Now I gave them a lecture on the art of film making in Hollywood, 
and I was attacked. I was told that my high opinion of Hollywood 


film making was wrong, and I defended that. They told me, "If you 
really want to know who is making good films — the real films — you 
should contact the Film Photo League." That is, the Film and Photo 
League was the place where I went to and that was somewhere down- 
town. I do not remember where. But that was in the Union Square 
district. There were some people there who organized film making 
for the working class, so to speak, and working-class films. 

I remember a man by the name of Tom Brandon, who was and even 
to me today, epitomizes the typical Communist organizer — cold, cal- 
culating opportunist, who would only get whatever he can from you 
and never, if possible, give you anything in return except driving 
you on to study and work ; you did not know enough. 

Mr. Kunzig. Let me ask you at this point, if it lies within your 
knowledge, did this Brandon later operate the Brandon Films in 
New York? 

Mr. Bel\. That's right. The Brandon films. 

Mr. Kunzig. Is he operating that today % 

Mr. Bela. I don't know. 

Mr. Kunzig. I see. Continue. 

Mr. Bela. There was another man called Steve Brody there, and 
also a man called Frank Ward. These people there, and also a man 
named Dave Piatt, who was at that time the second-string film critic — 
as a second-string film critic of the Daily Worker. Then I under- 
stood he was promoted to be the film critic of the Daily Worker, and 
he has been that for a long time. I don't know where he is now and 
what he is doing. I haven't been in contact with him for a very, very 
long time. 

Mr. Clardt. I want you to go back just briefly to that man and his 
company — Mr. Brandon. 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Clardt. I happen to be more or less interested, and I have been 
for a long time, in the taking of amateur films, and I have a brother in 
Hollywood who is slightly interested in the professional angle. That 
name Brandon I have seen repeatedly in both professional and ama- 
teur magazines, advertising films of various kinds that may be pur- 
chased and obtained. 

I want to be certain whether or not that is the same man, or the 
same organization, or whether or not it is an offshoot, or another one ? 

Mr. Bela. I really don't know. I understood that that might have 
been the man, but I remember that he went into business in the distri- 
bution of 16-millimeter films. 

Mr. Clardy. That is what I have in mind. And he has had ads in 
the Hollywood professional movie magazines and in the amateur 
movie magazines, describing various kinds of films. I wondered if 
you had had enough contact with him to know the type or kind of 
16-millimeter films that he had been distributing and putting out ? 

Mr. Bela. Sir, I really don't, because I have not seen the man, I 
believe, since 1937. I met him only once in 1951. He was running a 
picture in the Belmont Theater, and late at night I went to see the 
picture. It was his picture. He stood in the box office and waved at 
me, and I waved at him, and that was all my contact with him since 
what I believe is 1937. 

Mr. Clardy. Then prior to that time, however, he was, according 
to the information given to you, producing or distributing pictures 

42S85— 54— pt. 2 2 


designed to promote the Communist cause. At least that is the import 
of what you said earlier, I believe. Am I correct in that ? 

Mr. Bela. Something like that. Yes. They were making pictures 
of a waterfront strike, and there was some fighting going on, and the 
union needed support and soup kitchens, and things were put up there. 
Sixteen millimeter films were made by this very Film and Photo 
League. The Film and Photo League was also a front for showing 
advanced so-called art films. These were done in the New School for 
Social Research, which they hired for the showing. They had a tre- 
mendous list of intellectuals and people of the art world to support 
this truly excellent project, because they did have fine films which 
would not go commercially. That was one of the activities of the Film 
and Photo League. 

Mr. Kunzig. I think the record should show at this point 

Mr. Bela. I beg your pardon. Brandon was definitely, I know, the 
leader of this Film and Photo League and what I have later learned 
to know as the political leader. This is one of those strange things 
when they always insist that art is not good unless it is political, 
which I had at that time a great difficulty to swallow. But later on, I 
am sorry to say, I did swallow it. 

Mr. Clardy. Political from the Communist angle in this case, how- 

Mr. Bela. Indeed, sir. 

Mr. Kunzig. I think the record should show at this time that Bran- 
don Films, Inc., has been at various times the official agency import- 
ing Soviet and Iron Curtain films into this country and distributing 
them in this country, in addition to other films which this Brandon 
Films, Inc., distributes throughout the country. 

Mr. Clardy. Do we have his present location ? I mean, the location 
of the outfit itself? I know it is in New York City because I have 
seen their ads repeatedly. I would like to nail it down, to be sure. 

Mr. Kunzig. Some years back the address was 1600 Broadway, New 
York City, phone, Circle 6^1868. I do not have the latest address. 

Mr. Clardy. I am familiar with that building, having been in it. 
There are quite a lot of different enterprises of different kinds in that 
one structure. I suspect it is still being used. There is a camera 
supply outfit or two there that supplies cameras and tripods and other 
things, and because of my interest in it I know it. 

Le us come back to it. You were instructed to get in touch with the 
outfit he headed up by whom ? 

Mr. Bela. I was not instructed. During the, let us say, discussion 
there in which I was attacked and I was told, "You, with your Holly- 
wood; you should go down there and know what. That is the real 
films that you should see and make; and there is where you will learn 
what real film making is." 

Mr. Clardy. In other words, you were being put in your place as to 
what was really the last thing in film production? 

Mr. Bela. Naturally I swallowed the bait, and at that time quite 
frankly there were some absolutely superb Russian films made. In 
those days that was the declining years of the silent film art in Russia, 
which was something. 

Mr. Clardy. To come back to it, who was it, or what group of people 
suggested this to you ? 


Mr. Bela. Somebody from that Hungarian group to whom I gave 
this lecture on Hollywood. 

Mr. Clardy. Then you subsequently discovered the Communist- 
front nature of the operations ? 

Mr. Bela. It took me quite a while to know where I was and what 
it was about. This was the beginning of my indoctrination. They 
insisted mainly that you learn, and you learn theory— theoretically. 
And they patted on my shoulder if I came up with something, and 
they surrounded me. 

Mr. Kunzig. Mr. Bela, you have a bit earlier this morning told this 
committee under oath that you were at one time a member of the 
Communist Party ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Kunzig. You are now explaining just how you became a mem- 
ber, and I should like the record to show at this point, to keep our own 
record straight, Mr. Chairman, that in the past Mr. Bela has been 
identified as a member of the Communist Party before this committee 
by Sol Shor, 1 by Leo Townsend, 2 by Martin Berkeley, 3 and by Eve 
Ettinger. 4 

Mr. Clardy. Berkeley, I know, is from California. Where are the 
others from? 

Mr. Kunzig. All are from California. So we have four identifica- 
tions previously under oath before this committee, and now Mr. Bela 
himself is coming to tell the entire story of his Communist Party 

Will you continue, please, testifying how you became a member of 
the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Clardy. Before he does that, I think I would like to ask him 
the general question : You are acquainted with the four persons who 
have been named by counsel ? 

Mr. Bela. I am, except I really do not remember Leo Townsend, 
and I am sorry. I am sure there are many whom I do not remember. 

Mr. Clardy. The other three, however, you recollect clearly? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir, indeed; very well; very well acquainted. 

Mr. Clardy. Thank you. 

Mr. Walter. These films that were being imported by this man 
were propaganda films, weren't they ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. Inasmuch as on a close analysis of those pictures — 
the Russian pictures — they carried some sort of propaganda. 

Mr. Walter. Surely. Did you tell the FBI in your conversations 
with representatives of that organization about these films? 

Mr. Bela. I told them those facts which I am telling now. 

Mr. W alter. It seems to me, Mr. Kunzig, you ought to call the 
FBI's attention to this because, if what the witness has testified to 
has continued within the statutory period, it certainly seems to me 
this man should have registered under the Foreign Registration Act. 

Mr. Appell. I think so. 

1 Sol Shor made a sworn statement to the committee on March 12, 1953, giving details 
of his past Communist activities. 

a Leo Townsend appeared as a witness before the committee on September 18, 1951, at 
which time he save the committee details of his past Communist activities. 

3 Martin Berkeley appeared as a witness before the committee on September 19, 1951, 
at which time he gave the committee details of his past Communist activities. 

4 Eve Ettinger made a sworn statement to the committee on September 10, 1951, giving 
details of her past Communist activities. 


Mr. "Walter. Oh, excuse me. 

Mr. Appell. I think so. 

Mr. Clardy. You are sure he is registered? 

Mr. Appell. I am not certain of it, but several years ago when I 
checked on Brandon Films I found that he had registered. 

Mr. Walter. As a foreign agent? 

Mr. Appell. Yes. 

Mr. Clardy. I think it would be undoubtedly well if we called it to 
their attention, so that we can check it again as of now. The fact that 
he is distributing propaganda Kims as of today is something we should 
have called forcefully to the public's attention. 

Proceed, Mr. Kunzig. 

Mr. Kunzig. All right. 

Mr. Bela, would you then continue getting down to the point as to 
when and how you became an actual member of the Communist 

Mr. Bela. As I said, it was not a sudden decision. It came slowly. 
It fitted into — if I may say so — my conviction about Christianity, 
namely, love thy brother, and everyone is your brother. Therefore, 
that was to me the key point in which I thought that they would carry 
out those needs that the world awaited. This was my conviction. 
Slowly I came to be looking at the Communists as the scientific and 
practical way of carrying out this premise — the basic Christian 

Mr. Kunzig. And roughly when was this that you began to feel that 
communism was the answer to your problems ? 

Mr. Bela. In the thirties — the late thirties. Roughly, step by step, 
I came to it in 1933, 1934, 1935 — I became more and more convinced 
of this — of the validity of this theory. 

Mr. Kunzig. How did you actually become a real member ? 

Mr. Bela. Well, it came about that I left for Hollywood in 1938. 
When I was — by that time — what was known as very close to the party ; 
very close to the party. That was when I got to organizing the Screen 
Readers' Guild. The Screen Readers' Guild was organized by a group 
of people who were, technically speaking, inside and outside readers. 
These are the people who read the books and plays, write resumes to 
the studio. This has to be done in a very efficient manner, so as to 
point up the possible film values in their property. Also picking stories 
for stars or directors, or producers, and knowing the field thoroughly. 

Mr. Kunzig. What did this have to do with your becoming a mem- 
ber of the Communist Party ? Let us get to that point. 

Mr. Bela. Because through this Screen Readers' Guild I got in 
contact with Communist leaders, such as Jack Lawson — John Howard 
Lawson. 1 

Mr. Kunzig. You knew him to be a member of the Communist 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. At that time I knew it, and I was duly awed 
by the prospect of meeting this very, very fine man and a great person. 
So this was the time of the organization of the Screen Readers' Guild. 

Mr. Kunzig. Continue, please. 

1 John Howard Lawson appeared as a witness before the committee on October 27, 1947, 
at which time lie need the lirst amendment in refusing to answer questions regarding his 
alleged Communist activities. Subsequently, he was cited for contempt of Congress. This 
citation was sustained by the courts, and Lawson had to pay a fine and serve a sentence. 


Mr. Bela. In this Screen Readers' Guild I have had some people 
who I knew were members of the Communist Party, like Lee Sabinson, 1 
Ed Huebsch, 2 and a man by the name of John Stuart, who wanted to 
get into the reading and through that into the editorial end of the 
film business; but he was a columnist or an article writer for the New 
Masses. That is a magazine that was at that time in its floribus. 

Mr. Clardy. How do you spell that word ? 

Mr. Bela. F-1-o-r-i-b-u-s. 

Mr. Kunzig. The record should show this magazine is now known 
as Masses and Mainstream. 

Mr. Bela. There is also a woman named Sybill Mills, who com- 
pletely disappeared, from my sight anyhow, around 1937. I have 
never seen her any more. 

Mr. Kunzig. Will you spell that first name, please? 

Mr. Bela. S-y-b-i-1-1. 

Mr. Kunzig. These names you have just mentioned — did you know 
all of these people to be members of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. I knew at that time they were members of the. 
Communist Party, but later they still — I have no knowledge of. 

Mr. Kunzig. This is prior to your becoming a member? 

Mr. Bela. That's right. 

Mr. Kunzig. Because you have not told us yet when you became a 
member. I wish you would kindly get to the point of when you be- 
came a member and give us that detail. 

Mr. Bela. I tried to show the way I got closer and closer to the 

Mr. Kunzig. How did you know these people were members of the 
Communist Party, that you just mentioned ? 

Mr. Bela. Because they took the leadership and they talked in a 
manner that you can immediately identify — even then I could iden- 
tify — because they were the superior people. They were the people 
who knew how to organize ; they were the people who told you what 
to do and in which way to proceed. 

Mr. Kunzig. After you became a member yourself, so the record is 
clear, did you then find out from the inside that these people you just 
named were actually members of the party? 

Mr. Bela. Well, sir, I was in Hollywood at that time. When I be- 
came an actual dues-paying, card-carrying party member, coming 
under the discipline of the Communist Party, then I was in Holly- 
wood, and I did not have any contact any more with the people in 
New York. That is why I would not know from the inside there 
whether they were or not. I was convinced when I was here. 

Now, in Hollywood, I got there sometime in July — I don't remember 
exactly— 1938 — and then getting settled, and all that, and joining the 
Screen Writers' Guild, and then through Martin Berkeley, as a mat- 
ter of fact, I was introduced to the membership, and through the 
membership some people suggested that I ought to become a member. 

Mr. Kunzig. Membership of what? 

1 Lee Sabinson appeared as a witness before the committee on May 7, 1953, at which 
time he used the fifth amendment to avoid answering questions regarding his alleged 
Communist activities. 

2 Edward Huebsch appeared as a witness before the committee on March 25, 1953 at 
which time he used the fifth amendment to avoid answering questions regarding his alleged 
Communist activities. 


Mr. Bela. Member of the Communist Party. 

Mr. Kunzig. But through the membership of what? 

Mr. Bela. Through the membership of the Screen Writers' Guild. 

Mr. Clardy. To go back a moment, you said something just a little 
earlier that interested me. When Mr. Kunzig asked you how you 
knew these people you have identified were members of the party 
before }^ou actually joined yourself, you said you could tell them by 
their conversation and by the manner in which they conducted them- 
selves, if I understood you correctly. Is that right? 

Mr. Bela. That's right. 

Mr. Clardy. Then would you say that any person of normal intel- 
ligence who associates with Communists as you now have indicated 
you did then, ought to be able to detect in a very short time that the 
people he is consorting with do belong to the party ? It does not take 
a blueprint in order to show a man of reasonable intelligence that the 
people he is dealing with are Communists, if they are such, does it ? 

Mr. Bela. I would say "Yes." 

Mr. Clardy. In other words, if you have the normal intelligent out- 
look on life and associate with Communists you soon discover it, don't 
you ? 

Mr. Bela. I would say "Yes." 

Mr. Clardy. The reason why I bring that up, Mr. Kunzig, is because 
we have had quite a number of witnesses before us who have pleaded 
that despite the fact that they belonged to 10 or 20 or 30 and more 
Communist fronts, they continually say, "Well, I was entirely inno- 
cent. I didn't know they were Communists. I didn't have any idea 
that they were." 

It has always occurred to me it would be impossible for anyone to 
associate closely with half a dozen or so Communist groups without 
knowing that to be the fact; and you have confirmed my judgment 
on it. 

I am not wrong on that, am I ? 

Mr. Bela. No ; you are not. 

Mr. Clardy. Go ahead. 

Mr. Kunzig. Would you continue with your testimony as to how 
you became an actual member of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Bela. Well, I went to a bookshop. I think it was on — I think 
it was on La Brea. 

Mr. Kunzig. Would you spell that? 

Mr. Bela. L-a B-r-e-a Avenue. 

Mr. Kunzig. Where? 

Mr. Bela. In Hollywood. 

There I met some people — a woman and a man. In the back room 
of that bookstore they told me that I would meet some other people. 
That is the way I met again Jack Lawson and I met — I have to refresh 
my memory. 

Mr. Kunzig. You may look at your own notes, if you so desire. 

Mr. Bela. What was her name? She was a very important per- 
son. I am sorry. I can't find her name right away. 

Mr. Kunzig. What happened when you went in the back of the 
store ? 

Mr. Bela. Anyhow, then I was told that I would have to join a 
beginners' class. 


Mr. Kunzig. In what ? 

Mr. Bela. In Communist indoctrination. This beginners' class 
went on and they held meetings in homes of different people who 
just at that time, as myself, had joined the party; and it was always 
rotating and going to one house one week and the next house another ; 
and this way we would meet. And always an older member would 
be there to give us lectures and to give us also lists of books which 
we would have to read, and also make question-and-answer periods. 

Mr. Clardy. This had to do with dialectical materialism of various 
kinds ? 

Mr. Bela. Right. Indeed so. And I want to say I was very en- 
thusiastic. I fully believed and I worked like a dog to be good and 
to be up to the expectations. I was doing my utmost to acquire the 
knowledge which I did not have, having been apolitical before. 

So this sort of a disciplining, and this sort of a teaching went on. 
I don't remember exactly how long. You were split up and you were 
split up in small groups. I think they were called fractions. 

Mr. Kunzig. Before I go into these fractions and houses and places 
where these meetings and teachings were held, I want to ask you at 
this point why you felt it necessary to become a member of the Com- 
munist Party ? 

Mr. Bela. I felt that only as a party member could I work well 
toward the goal, toward the betterment of human beings; toward 
seeing that there would be no ills ; toward seeing that right would be 
done to everyone. And it was a sort of, if I may say so, a missionary 
zeal that I had. 

Mr. Kunzig. Did you perhaps have in mind that it might make 
employment in Hollywood easier ? 

Mr. Bela. No. Not at all. No, because I had a fairly good job 
at that time — a writing job. I had no intentions of thinking about 

Mr. Kunzig. Did the connections that you made through the 
Communist Party at any time help you, as far as employment was 
concerned ? 

Mr. Bela. Not me. It did not help me at all. 

Mr. Clardy. That was because you were already pretty well taken 
care of? 

Mr. Bela. "Well, yes. Not exactly, sir, because 1 found that out and 
it is only now hindsight. It took me some bitter experiences to learn 
that they were the epitome of opportunism; that to them everything 
was done only from one angle — how to get themselves into power — 
into power for position. The individual meant only as much as he 
could do for them. 

They were not out for idealistic ends, but they were out for power; 
that the individual was as good to them as he was good as an important 
man with a big name to draw the crowd. 

That was driven in time and again, and they did not realize that by 
plainly telling this to members there might be some who would resent 
this, as I resented it, and began to resent it more and more and more. 
But this is another question indeed. 

Mr. Kunzig. I want to tie down the date. When did you actually 
become, as you said yourself a few moments ago, a card-carrying mem- 
ber of the Communist Party? 


Mr. Bela. That was around November. 

Mr. .Ktjnzig. Of what year? 

Mr. Bela. 1938. 1938, around November. 

Mr. Kunzig. When did you leave the party, so that we can have 
our dates clear in the record I 

Mr. Bela. Also around November 1943. 

Mr. Kunzig. 1943? 

Mr. Bela. 1943. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Kunzig. Did you join the Communist Party in California? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Kunzig. When did you go to California? 

Mr. Bela. I arrived in 1938 — either June or July. I don't remem- 
ber the exact date. 

Mr. Kunzig. And then it was shortly after that that you became a 
member of the party ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. It took me that long to get established there in a 
house, and things like that, and start going in a routine way, and then 
think about the other things. I can also date it for another rather 
curious reason. This is as follows : 

I had known a man in Columbia Pictures, Michael Kraike. 
Michael Kraike and I worked first at RKO and then at Columbia 
Pictures, and then he went out to the coast as an assistant west coast 
story editor. So as soon as we arrived, naturally we looked him up, 
and I remember well that his wife was expecting a baby. We lived 
very close — Fox Hills, to be sure, behind the Fox Studios, on Enslay 
Avenue — 1717 Enslay. 

Anyhow, sir, this was a friendship from New York. WTien I 
joined the party I was told that I was not allowed to see Mike Kraike 
because Mike Kraike was a Trotskyite. Mike Kraike was against 
everything that we stood for, and that I must not see him. And Mike 
Kraike at that time and I dropped each other completely. I think 
I dropped him ; he didn't drop me. 

Until much later, when he and his wife had already had a 5- or 
6-year-old baby, a little girl, whom I remember that the mother was 
expecting. This is my best way to remember how they work and 
how I joined the party. From then on they dictated my personal 
life as well as my public life, so to speak. 

Mr. Kunzig. Even to the point where you gave up close personal 
friendship at rhe dictation of the party ? 

Mr. Bela. That is right, sir. 

Mr. Clardy. And the reason why they wanted you to do that is 
even though the Trotsky ites were Communists, they were not the 
genuine brand that Stalin or the rest of the group represented? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. And in that way they cut you off from your 
personal life so that you completely rely on your party friends. You 
are at their mercy, so to speak, for social contacts, and personal con- 
tacts. So that after, when I left the party, it was really like stepping 
into a void. Luckily I had another outlet, which is not that impor- 
tant, because of a hobby of mine, which is water polo. I thought 
that I would bring to this country certain things that I thought I knew 
well, and a culture which I wanted to give to this country as much 
as I could. This is not only the theater and the art of film making, 
but also in athletics — water polo — in which the Hungarians excel. 


I took over as I played water polo for Hollywood. Then I became 
an amateur coach and as their amateur coach I brought them up so 
that they won a senior championship, and this team of mine went at 
last in 1948 to the Olympic games. All along I was fighting for 
teaching those boys, the wonderful fellows down there, the up-to-date 
modern water polo, so that we should get 10 points and not somebody 
else, because my conviction is that this country has the talent and we 
could do it if we had the means. 

Anyhow, there I had established a very solid friendship basis for a 
lot of my activities. 

Mr. Kunzig. Again to keep the record clear on this, Mike Kraike — 
did you find out later he was a Trotskyite? Let us get the record 
clear as to just what his position was in this line. 

Mr. Bela. He was a*t that time a Trotskyite, and later on I have a 
recollection he just dropped out — completely out of politics. And 
after I left the party I saw him quite often, but not that — somehow, 
yon know, in the friendship something broke, because he felt that T 
did not behave fairly toward him, and he was right, 

Mr. Kunzig. I want to ask one further question before we go back 
to what we were discussing. 

Were you ever invited to become a member of the Communist Party 
in New York, prior to going to Hollywood ? 

Mr. Bela. Not really; not really. Strangely enough, they did not 
ask me to join the party here. And later on I found out and I had 
some rather hard words exchanged with party members, that they 
did not think that I was emotionally really suited to be a Communist 
or a member of the Communist Party. 

Mr. Kunzig. You discussed earlier when you were out in Holly- 
wood in the first days of your becoming a member you were sent to 
various indoctrination classes and groups in different homes, and 
moved around from place to place, 

Could you tell us in whose homes these meetings were held and 
whom you met there and came to know to be members of the Commu- 
nist Party? 

Mr. Bela. Well, I would not remember it that way, sir. I would 
only remember that way that later on when I got my bearings — after 
all, you are in a group of 10 people whom I have never met before. 
After 6 or 7 weeks you are separated from them and it blurs out. But 
later activities I somehow remember better. 

I could not tell in whose house I was as a new member. 

Mr. Kunzig. Continue that and give us the names of those w T hom 
you did find to be members of the Communist Party with you? 

Mr. Bela. There was a girl, Jessie Burns. 

Mr. Kunzig. Who is Jessie Burns ? 

Mr. Bela. Jessie Burns was a reader at the MGM studios — an inside 
reader at MGM studios. She was there at that time. 

Then I have known a fellow there, Paul Jarrico, 1 and Gordon Kahn. 

Mr. Kunzig. Would you give us as much identification as you could 
on these people ? 

Mr. Bela. He was a brilliant newspaper man. A little fellow, who 
wore a monocle, and he was also of Hungarian origin, and this is one 
thing that 

1 Paul Jarrico appeared as a witness before the committee on April 13, 1951, at which 
time he used the fifth amendment to avoid answering questions regarding his alleged 
Communist activities. 

42885— 54— pt. 2 3 


Mr. Clardy. Which 1 of the 2 are you talking about ? 

Mr. Bela. Gordon Kahn. He was one of the most brilliant news- 
paper men. T think he came from Chicago. 

Mr. Walter. Where was he born? 

Mr. Bela. In this country. I think a second generation man, but 
I am not sure where lie was born. I could tell he had no accent like 
I have still, you see. 

Mr. Kunzig. I would like the record to show at this point. Mr. 
Chairman, that an investigation which was made has shown there is 
no record at the present time of any registration by Brandon Films 
under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. That is at the present 

Mr. Walter. I think, Mr. Chairman, we should call this fact to the 
attention of the Department of Justice, because if they are distribut- 
ing them I think within the purview 7 of the statute they are agents 
and ought to register. 

Mr. Clardy. I quite agree and I think counsel before the day is 
over should call it to the attention of the Department of Justice. 

Mr. Kunzig. That will be done, Mr. Chairman. 

Would you continue now, Mr. Bela, with the names of those whom 
you knew to be members of the Communist Party? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. Isobel Lennart was a reader first. Then he 
was promoted to writing and he became one of the finest screen writers 
in Hollywood. 

John Howard Lawson, of course. 

Robert Lees. 1 

Lawson was, of course, the leader out there. 

Mr. Kunzig. The leader of what ? 

Mr. Bela. The leader of the party. The intellectual leader of the 
party. A dictator, and absolutely the last word, against whom you 
couldn't say a word. You were slapped down. He was no doubt a 
man of great knowledge ; no doubt a tremendous actor. I felt he was 
absolutely heartless. 

When I was looking for heart and feeling and emotion, and a feeling 
of love for one another, because they talked about this as the great 
fusing element which would bring the people together, there was no 
such thing on their minds. They were only interested in how to get 
power, power, and power, over and over. 

(Representative Scherer left the hearing room at this point.) 

Mr. Bela. Whatever group they were in ; to control it. They talked 
about the working class ; they talked about the labor unions ; and they 
made out as if they had discovered that there was such a thing as the 
working class and the labor union. And he certainly was the theoreti- 
cal cornerstone of the whole thing. He was the man who knew every- 
thing best. 

Mr. Kunzig. Did you ever find in your experiences in the Commu- 
nist Party that there was a real sincere interest and a desire to help 
the workingman and laboring classes? 

Mr. Bela. Well, I had one of my worst disagreements on this be- 
cause I could not understand the workingman of this country. I un- 

1 Robert Lees appeal cd as a witness before the committee on April 11, 1951, at wbicli 
time he used the fifth amendment to avoid answering questions reu.'irdin.u: bis alleged 

< Jommunisl acl i\ it ies. 


derstood the intellectuals; I understood the artists; I understood what 
they needed. I never understood the workingmen. I have not come 
from a working-class background. Therefore I felt that my job and 
my feelings were all for the intellectuals; for the intellectual method- 
ical people; for the professional people; the artists. What do I have 
to do with the working class? And this was, of course, against every- 
thing that they held up as their final doctrine. 

I think that they have in Hollywood — in such a way that I would 
not know about it because I was in the writers" group — but I knew 
that they went out to lecture or lead certain laboring groups, but I 
was never given such tasks. I heard about them, and when I heard 
about them I accepted that this is what the Communist Party is for, 
but I could not identify myself with that point of view. 

To answer you, I am sure that they tried, but it is beyond my ken. 
I don't know that. 

Mr. Kunzig. Whom else did you know then as members of the party 
with you? 

Mr. Bela. A man by the name of Marc Lawrence. 1 

Mr. Kunzig. Can you identify him further, please? Was he an 
actor or writer ? 

Mr. Bela. He was an actor. There are few actors about whom I 
knew that they were a party member, because on one occasion there 
was some reading of a play, or something, and I think he was invited 
to be there, and I knew that this was a picked crowd ; and Margaret 
and Albert Maltz. Albert Maltz is one of the finest writers. 

Mr. Clardy. He was one of the original "Hollywood Ten," too. 2 

Mr. Bela. Oh, was he? A very fine writer and a very fine person. 
I have to tell you. I don't know what you think of me now, but I 
found that most of them were— I didn't like them, quite frankly. But 
as a human being this one was a human being. This man had a heart. 

Mr. Kunzig. I should like to ask, Mr. Chairman, that I get permis- 
sion at this point to insert in the record at the proper place and the 
proper time those people who are being mentioned now who have ap- 
peared before this committee and what course they took before the 

For example, Marc Lawrence came before the committee and testi- 
fied and admitted that he had been a member of the party. I think 
this would help to make a more perfect record if we put it in this 

Mr. Clardy. And you can also list appropriately the other identifi- 
cations, where there have been such, including the 2 that have been 
named so far that I recognize as being of the original "Hollywood 
Ten" under prosecution. 

Mr.. Kunzig. Then would you continue, please, Mr. Bela, and give 
us the names of those whom you knew to be members of the party with 
you ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. I knew of Sam Ornitz, 3 an oldtimer, who wrote 

1 Marc Lawrence appeared as a witness before the committee on April 24, 1951. at 
which time he gave details regarding his past Communist activities. 

2 Albert Maltz used the first amendment in refusing to answer questions regarding his 
Communist activities when he was a witness in 1947, and was subsequently cited for con- 
tempt of Congress. The citation was sustained in the courts and he had to serve his 
sentence and pay a flue. 

3 Samuel Ornitz appeared before the committee as a witness on October 29, 1947, at 
which time he refused to answer questions regarding his allesed Communist actiivties. 
Subsequently he was cited for contempt of Congress, which citation was sustained in the 
courts, and he had to pay a fine and serve his sentence 


an excellent book. I have forgotten it. A very good writer he was* 

And Mortimer Offner. 1 He came out quite late in my part} 7 member- 
ship — around 1041, or 1942, and I did not know him loo well, but 
I knew he was at the time I was with him in a group 

Mr. Kuxzig. Of Communists? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. I was with him . 

Mr Kuxzig. Was he a writer? 

Mr. Bela. He was a writer, I think. I think he was a writer. Yes, 

Mr. Kunzig. Continue. 

Mr. Bela. Gertrude Purcell, 2 a writer. 

Meta Reis. 3 She was first a secretary to a story editor at Paramount. 
Then she set up an agency of her own and I don't know what happened 
to her. 

George Willner, 4 who came, I think, in 1938 or 1939 from New York, 
where he has been with the New Masses and his purported idea was to 
raise funds for the New Masses and also to raise the membership of 
the New Masses — subscribers for the New Masses. Later on he became 
an agent — a very successful authors' agent, George Willner. 

Mr. Kunzig. And you knew him as a member of the Communist 
Party, as you testified? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. I sure did, because when I was one of the new 
members in the class I collected the money, and when I collected the 
money he came for the money, so I gave him the money. 

Mr. Kunzig. What money was this ? 

Mr. Bela. The moneys that were collected for dues and selling of 

Mr. Walter. Did he tell you what he was going to do with the 
money after he had taken it from you ? 

Mr Bela. He went to the party. For what I don't know. 

Mr. Walter. Where ? 

Mr Bela. I have no idea 

Air. Walter. Was it sent to New York ? 

Mr. Bela. I have no idea, sir. I have never known about that. I 
have never asked, and I never asked questions on that. 

Mr. Walter. All you know is that he was the official representative 
of the party to take the money that was collected by the various secre- 
taries of these fractions to be transmitted to the head of the Commu- 
nist Party of the United States ? 

Mr. Bela. That is what I know. 

Mr Kunzig. Is Willner still active, if it lies within your knowledge, 
as an agent? 

Mr. Bela. Sir, after I have left the party I have dropped all these 
contacts, and so when I came away in 1945 from Hollywood I have no 
way of checking whether or not who did what, and where, and I have 
not seen them at all. 

1 Mortimer Offner appeared before the committee on May 5, 1953, and relied upon the 
fifth amendment in refusing to answer questions regarding his alleged Communist activities. 

- Gertrude Purcell appeared before the committee on April 8, 1053. and testified about 
her pasl connections with the Communist Party. 

3 Meta Reis appeared before the committee' on April 13, 1051, and save details of her 
past Communist activities. Her name at that time was Meta Reis Rosenberg. 

* George Willner appeared before the committee as a witness on April 24, 1051, and 
relied upon the fifth amendment in refusing to answer questions regarding his alleged 
Communist activities. 


Mr. Ktjnzig. Before we leave this man Willner, do you have any 
knowledge of any kind whatsoever that you can give the committee 
about him ? 

Mr. Bela. May I ask in which way? In my personal knowledge 
about the person, or as a functionary of the party ? 

Mr. Walter. Where he is now. 

Mr. Bela. I have no idea. I don't know. 

Mr. Walter. You see, we have had, or we reached conclusions as a 
result of our testimony and the testimony adduced in California, as 
to what was happening to these dues. Some of the well, and may I 
say overpaid people in Hollywood were actually not only supporting 
the Daily Worker, but financing the drives in industry to recruit 
members. So that these Hollywood people were really the backbone 
of the movement in this country and we, or at least I, have often felt 
it would be very beneficial if we could find the modus operandi of how 
the money went to New York and then Westinghouse at Pittsburgh- 
and so on. That is why I am interested in knowing where this man 
is today. 

Mr. Bela. I would like very much to tell you how, but I never have 
risen too high in the hierarchy of the Communist Party. Otherwise 
I would give you the benefit of my knowledge. 

Mr. Clardy. Do you know his last connection? Can you give us 
his last connection, if you now recall it? 

Mr. Bela. He was an agent in connection with an agency on the 
Sunset Boulevard Strip. I forgot the name of the agency. It was 
at that time a rather well-known agency in which he helped to build 
up. He was a quite good agent. 

Mr. Clardy. And that was as of what date, approximately ? 

Mr. Bela. 1943^4. I still knew about it, of course, in 1945. I 
was in Hollywood and you can't help knowing. He was there as an 
agent. He was not any more a functionary who would go around 
and collect money. It was way beyond him. He has grown by then 
and he has grown very important, and then it came out what kind of 
a man he was. 

Mr. Kunzig. We are checking the records, Mr. Chairman. Willner 
testified before this committee on April 24, 1951. A preliminary 
study of the records shows that he took the fifth amendment and 
refused to answer the basic questions as to alleged Communist 

Mr. Clardy. Was that hearing held in California? 

Mr. Appell. I think in Washington, D. C. 

Mr. Clardy. In view of the testimony we now have, I agree with 
Congressman Walter that it is something that ought to be pursued 
and followed up, because I agree with him that the moneys that were 
f unnele'd from out there have gone all over the country and we might 
discover some startling facts if we pursued that lead right now. 

Mr. Appell. In 1951 Willner was living in Miami Beach, Fla., and 
was still employed as a writers' agent. 

Mr. Walter. As a writers' agent ? 

Mr. Appell. Yes. 

Mr. Clardy. I think I will make another recommendation: That 
the staff run this fellow's present whereabouts down, and perhaps 
after I have left this Washington scene you will have something. 
You can find out where he is and what he is doing. 


Mr. Kunzig. I think the record should also show along the line Mr. 
Walter just mentioned, Mr. Robert Rossen testified before this com- 
mittee in the past year 1 and mentioned vast sums he had contributed 
to the Communist Party. 

Did you know, Mr. Bela, one Robert Rossen as a member of the 
Communist Party ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes ; I did. 

Mr. Kttnzig. You knew him personally ? 

Mr. Bela. I knew him personally. Yes. I knew him also as a party 
member. Yes ; I did. Bob Rossen. He was a writer and then became 
a director-producer. Yes ; I have known him. 

Mr. Kunzig. Before we continue going into the various names of 
those you knew to be members of the party, what did you do as a party 
member ? What were your functions for the party ? 

Mr. Bela. My functions were at that time, first at the very be- 
ginning, were to attend meetings and discuss certain aspects of daily 
politics. There were some strikes in the film industry. What you 
could do and how you could support it. What were the ways and 
means of carrying out certain plans of the Screen Writers' Guild. 
How to organize it and how to run it and how to get a contract with 
the producers — a Screen Writers' Guild contract, which was one of 
the great issues. And also the various ways to see whether you can in 
your own handwriting put some of your ideas of the party ideology 
into your writing. 

That took a lot of time in teaching you why and how to do that sort 
of thing. They were trying to show you that no writing is good 
writing unless it has political meaning. In their own way, naturally, 
for their own purposes. 

Mr. Clardy. Propaganda, in other words ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. That's right. But it must not be propaganda. 
It must seem the right way of writing so that you hide the propaganda 
behind some truth. Besides, it is very easy, I say, to point out that 
something is wrong. There is always something wrong. It is in- 
evitable. But their idea was always to point out what was wrong and 
not to show what was right. 

Mr. Clardy. And to place the blame upon modern society and the 
modern system ? 

Mr. Bela. Indeed so. Yes, sir. And Mr. Owens asked me a ques- 
tion and I want to bring this out, namely, in my case when I talked 
about the Christian ethics and basics of Christian ethics. They never 
challenged that. In my case they never challenged that part of my 
individualistic approach to communism. They were always trying to 
show me what they were doing is right. That is the tiling. This is 
really Christianity. Fine. And they used me also as a contact with 
the Roman Catholic hierarchy for certain purposes. 

Mr. Kunzig. Are you a member of the Roman Catholic faith ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. So they used me for that purpose. And I was 
very willing and very happy to do so. As a matter of fact, I was 
working on a novel at that time. I have not finished the novel, but 
I was working at that time, and there was a clash between paganism 
and Christianity. I remember on one analysis of that they said, 

1 May 7, 1053. 


"You know, your book may be able to bring about the great recon- 
ciliation between the church and the Communist Party." And I felt 
like the apostle of this reconciliation. Really I felt I must do some- 
thing just in that direction. 

You asked me what I was doing. That was until the war broke out. 
But I must say, I had my first head-on collision with them when 
that famous or infamous Hitler-Stalin pact came. 

They argued with me, and I must confess I was very willing to be 
convinced. I could not see first how that could be. This contradicted 
to me everything they taught before. 

Mr. Kunzig. You referred to November 1938. The pact you re- 
ferred to took place in August 1939. 

Mr. Bela, That's right. 

Mr. Kunzig. But you still stayed in the party ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, I did. They convinced me. I was still full of 
willingness to be convinced. But I had already this first collision 
with them. 

Mr. Kunzig. What was their argument with which they convinced 

Mr. Bela. Well- 

Mr. Kunzig. Briefly. 

Mr. Bela. This is only a tactical move ; they had not changed their 
strategy. They needed time to arm. Also that your western allies 
sent a mission there — not a mission first of all that was on the highest 
level, to discuss the great daily issue of that day. What was the 
name of it? They called it the — oh, heavens — it was such a slogan, 
everybody knows that slogan. Heavens, that is terrible. I can't re- 
member that. "Collective security." That was it. Collective secu- 
rity. They raised this collective-security issue, and they invited the 
French and the English. And the British did send over a mission, 
but instead of sending the highest level people and in the fastest pos- 
sible way, thej 7 sent them on a very slow ship on the Baltic, and they 
said, "We want to play safe." 

And that thing of preparing for a war against Hitler in the long 

Naturally, you see, again now I have the hindsight, but at that 
time I remember that I was rather willing to be convinced, even 
though I fought it at first. 

Mr. Kunzig. Mr. Bela, you were in the party from 1938 to 1913, 
as you have testified? 

Mr. Bel\. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Kunzig. Were meetings ever held in your house ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. 

Mr.. Kunzig. Communist Party meetings? 

Mr. Bela. Right. Indeed. 

Mr. Kunzig. How frequently did they take place ? 

Mr. Bela. It sometimes was in rotation and sometimes there was one 
every week. 

Mr. Kunzig. Where were you living at this time when Communist 
Party meetings were held at your house? 

Mr. Bela. 715 North Linden Drive, Beverly Hills. 

Mr. Clardy. Before we get too far away from the subject he was 
expounding on a moment ago, I want to get back to it just briefly. 


As I understand what you were telling us, they were selling you on 
the Hitler-Stalin Pact by telling you that the Russians were really 
deceiving the Germans and merely entering into the pact for the 
purpose of gaining time, so that at the appropriate moment they 
could launch their thunderbolts and destroy Hitler. Is that not the 
substance of what you were trying to say ? 

(Representative Scherer returned to the hearing room at this point.) 

Mr. Bela. That is it exactly. 

Mr. Clardy. Haven't you noticed they have continued that same line 
until today? They are still doing the same thing and talking the 
same line and talking the same sort of methods, and yet doing it, 
as I see it, to deceive us and prepare us for the guillotine ? 

Mr. Bela. Sir, I am like a dog who has been hit by a stone. I avoid 
all political subjects. I can tell you when politics come around I go 
on the other side of the road, because I don't want to be hit by a stone 

Mr. Clardy. When you mention an animal there, you get into poli- 
tics unknowingly, I am afraid. 

Mr. Kunzig. The meetings you were saying were held at your house 
were held where ? Where were you living at that time ? 

Mr. Bela. 715 North Linden Drive, Beverly Hills. 

Mr. Kunzig. Was it known to your neighbors probably that you 
were holding Communist Party meetings in your home ? 

Mr. Bela. You have to ask the neighbors and not me. 

Mr. Kunzig. Were these clandestine meetings, or did you publicize 
to everyone you were holding Communist Party meetings in your 

Mr. Bela. Well, I certainly did not go around and tell everybody, 
all of my neighbors, "Look, I have a Communist Party meeting to- 
night. Don't come to see me and don't drop over to say hello." I 
certainly did not do that. 

Mr. Clardy. Did you draw the shades or did you do things 

Mr. Bela. I drew the shades anyhow, sir. But to be quite sure, 
there was a feeling of clandestineness about it. No question about it. 
Then to go back, you asked me the question what else were my 
activities ? 

Mr. Kunzig. Yes. 

Mr. Bela. They changed after the war broke out at December 7. 
December 7 was a turning point, and I want to say this, and I must 
warn everybody about this — they are the cleverest and the best 
organizers you ever want to know. 

Mr. Kunzig. Who is that ? 

Mr. Bela. The Communist Party members. 

Mr. Kunzig. Continue. 

Mr. Bela. Believe me, their knowledge and their ways of organ- 
izing and setting things up and getting things working and keeping- 
things going I have had to admire. 

Mr. Walter. How are men trained in that type of work so that 
they become, just as you have described them, experts ? 

Mr. Bela. Sir, you are trained in your own little unit how to con- 
duct the business, how to set up your agenda ; and when your agenda 
is set up, they drive you at it. They surround you like the famous 
white elephant with two tame elephants until you are really taught 
how to. 


I don't know if I made myself clear by that. 

Mr. Walter. What about the man in the Communist-dominated 
union who has himself elected and he is a Communist and actually 
directs the activities of a union ? How does he get the training before 
he gets into that place ? 

Mr. Bela. Well, I would not know that. I know only how it 
occurred in the Screen Readers' Guild and then in the Screen Writers' 

Mr. Walter. Tell us how it occurred there. 

Mr. Bela. In the Screen Readers' Guild probably the clinical case 
is the most illuminating because it was organized then out of nothing. 
It was done by three people who met eating dinner, and they said, 
"Gee, we ought to have something to get our wages straightened out, 
and hours, and everything, and how to go about it." And we sat down 
and discussed this. 

Mr. Kunzig. Who was "we" ? 

Mr. Bela. This was Lee Sabinson, Emerich Kannick— there will 
never be any doubt about him. He was never a member of the party. 

Mr. Kunzig. Never a member of the party ? 

Mr. Bela. No. He never got in there. He was, however, a very 
astute member of the Readers' Guild. So there were a lot of people 
in both guilds who were very good guild members, but not necessarily 
Communist Party members. 

Mr. Kunzig. What took place at this time? 

Mr. Bela. The readers — we just discussed it and said what to do 
about it. Let's get together with the rest of the gang. And we got 
together with the rest of the gang, and one would know how to do it 
and one would give the leadership, and I was, for some reason or other, 
the most — I had a pretty impressive background, so that they could use 
me as a front, and they did use me as a front. Before I knew it I 
was the one who went out and did things for them. That is where 
I knew. This is where you come back to that question, because they 
told me, "Look, you do it in the party this way." 

So that is the way we went to the Authors' League to ask them to 
support us in case we don't get what we want. 

Mr. Walter. You haven't answered my question yet. Where did 
you get your training to lead in this movement? 

Mr. Bela. This is when I got my training, sir. They were pushing 
me and they were telling me ; they used me as their front. 

Mr. Walter. Who is "they"? 

Mr. Bela. These people whose names I gave as Communists in the 
Screen Readers' Guild. They took me around. As I had the greatest 
past behind me of all the readers there, so I meant something, and 
when I went up to the Authors' League with them they were surround- 
ing me and I did the speaking. But they told me, "You say this; 
you say that ; you do this ; you ask this," and I did. 

Mr. Clardy. Were such people as Rossen or Maltz or the others 
you have named telling you these things and instructing you, so to 
speak ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. These were the people and several others. Mar- 
garet — I can't recall the correct name of that woman who was a very 
important person there. She was the one also who had lectures on 
all sorts of subjects. 

Mr. Walter. What was her last name ? 


Mr. Bela. I can't recall that name, sir. I am sorry. 

Mr. Clardy. Perhaps after the session it may occur to you. 

Mr. Bela. I am sure. 

Mr. Clardy. You can give it to us a little later. 

Mr. Bela. Yes. But, as I say, they used you always the way they 
wanted to use you. They would not iet you do things your own way. 
Finally, you saw that this brought results. 

"Oh, that is the way you go.'' I learned this in the Screen Readers' 
Guild, and when I learned how to organize something when 1 was 
in the new members' class being indoctrinated in the Communist 
principles and theory, I began to know more about why I was doing 
what I was doing mechanically, and then also actually conducting 
meetings and actually taking over. 

For instance, if there is a meeting of 10 people and there is a Com- 
munist there, sooner or later before you know it he will take over. 
How he does it ? It is because of suggestions and his summing up and 
way of going at his point, which will be of a greater routine which 
he receives in the party meetings. 

If you go against a man who swims every day and you swim once 
a month, lie sure will beat you, no matter how good you originally 
were. That is what they have. They have practice and they practice 
it and they practice it. I was sent out. I didn't dare to open my 
mouth because of my accent and my fear to speak in English in com- 
pany. I would rather sit silent and I would not say anything. • 

They forced me to lead meetings ; they forced me to make speeches ; 
they forced me to go out to make very important decision speeches 
in the Screen Writers' Guild later on; and that way, sir, you asked 
me how did I learn to speak now in public. How did I learn now to 
open my mouth and dare to speak ? If you had seen me before I was 
a member of the party 

Mr. Clardy. They gave you a blueprint, more or less, but gave it to 
you piecemeal until you knew the whole plan and strategy. Is that 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Clardy. And they were pretty meticulous in going down to 
the details as to covering the points to be raised at a meeting, for 
example, and how they were to be raised and when they were to be 

Mr. Bela. And alternatives. 

Mr. Clardy. And who was to second the motion, and who was to 
do this, and who was to do that. It was planned right down to the 
ground; was it not? 

Mr. Bela. Right down to a "t." Everything was done ahead. 
This is the party work you did at party meetings — at your own frac- 
tion meetings. Then after that, after the war broke out, these people 
with their superb organizational abilities, went all out for the war 
effort; and they did splendidly. 

I want to say that I was directing and organizing shows — Red 
Cross shows — bundles for Britain; Russian relief; French whatever 
it was. 

All these meetings, public meetings in large auditoriums, were or- 
ganized by the Communists. They organized it. I know, because I 
took charge of the Hungarian ones. And then I had a man who 


worked with me when I came back in 1942 from New York. I came 
here about that historical novel which is still not finished. 

Mr. Olardy. Off the record. 

(Discussion off the record.) 

Mr. Clardy. On the record. 

Mr. Bela. And this man I met, his name was Al Torok, in Hun- 
garian, which means Turkish, or alias Al Newald. 

Mr. Kunzig. And who was Al Newald ? 

Mr. Bela. I met him there at that time. He was hanging around. 
His wife was working as secretary to Ingrid Bergman. This man 
was the best organizer I have met. 

Mr. Kunzig. This man you are referring to you knew as a Com- 
munist Party organizer? 

Mr. Bela. Well, sir, I knew that he was — I have never known that 
he was actually a card-carrying party member, but he talked in a 
way that I knew he must have been a Communist. But if you put 
a Bible down and tell me to swear on it, I will not swear on it, because 
I have not knowledge of it actually. 

But you see, from the way he talked and his contact with what was 
known as downtown — we had no contact with downtown. We were, 
let us say, the aristocrats of this thing. We were not supposed to 
meet them. As a matter of fact, we were kept really away from any 
mixing with anybody. We were kept in such separate little groups. 

Mr. Kunzig. I think the record should show, Mr. Chairman, very 
clearly that this Al Newald was not identified by this witness as some- 
one whom he knew to be a member of the Communist Party. I think 
that is in accordance with our traditional method of handling this 
type of case. 

Mr. Scherer. I think he has made it clear as to what he did know 
and what he didn't know. 

Mr. Bela. Thank you. 

Mr. Kunzig. Now, Mr. Bela, let us go back to the meetings you 
said you held in your own home. I will ask you, were you at any 
time ever chairman of any Communist Party group or cell of your 

Mr. Bela. Yes, I was. 

Mr. Kunzig. What group or cell was that ? 

Mr. Bela. A small group in which there was mostly women — a 
few men. Mostly wives, and things like that. Very interesting and 
very good people. And then I was demoted because I had again some 

Mr. Kunzig. You were demoted because you had some fights ? 

Mr. Bela. Fights with party people. 

Mr. Kunzig. Briefly, how did you happen to become chairman of 
this Communist Party group ? 

Mr. Bela. It seemed there was a great growth of party membership 
in those days. 

Mr. Kunzig. This was when ? 

Mr. Bela. After the war really. 

Mr. Kunzig. After the war started ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. After December 7, 1941. The membership 
doubled or tripled, for all I know. But there were some groups. So 
I was made the chairman of one of these groups, and this was a group 


mostly of housewives and people who were in somewhat the same 
sort of a situation I was ; not terribly important to the party, or some- 
thins; like that. 

Mr. Kunzig. How often did you meet with this group which you 
were head of? 

Mr. Bela. I suppose once a week, or once every 2 weeks. I really 
don't remember exactly. 

Mr. Kunzig. At this point would you continue giving us the names 
of those people and the identification to the best of your ability of 
those whom you knew to be members of the Communist Party, either 
in this group or any other group with which you were affiliated ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. 

Armaud D'Usseau. 1 

Jimmy or James Gow. He died, unfortunately. 

Ben Barzman. 

Mr. Kunzig. Would you give us some identification on these people, 

Mr. Bela. A writer. He was a writer. 

Mr. Kunzig. Continue. 

Mr. Bela. Herbert Biberman. 2 I think he was an artist — a painter. 
Or was it Ed Biberman? One was a director. I'm not sure. I'm 
sorry. I apologize. 

Mr. Kunzig. You knew both of them as members of the party? 

Mr. Bela. I don't know which is the director and which is the 
painter now. Ed and Sonia Biberman. 

Mr. Kunzig. Did you know both of them as members of the party ! 

Mr. Bela. Yes; 1 did. 

Sonora and Dorothy Babb. Sonora was a writer. I don't know 
about Dorothy. 

Joe Bromberg's house we went to. They lived very nearby us, and 
he was an actor. He died too. He is dead. 

Richard Collins, 3 a writer for MGM at that time. 

Lester Cole, 4 also a writer. He is a writer. He was a very impor- 
tant member — one of the most important members of the Screen 
Writers' Guild. 

(Whereupon Representative Walter left the hearing room at this 

Mr. Bela. Carl and Rose Dreher. The last I knew about them they 
left in 1942 and their last address 

Mr. Kunzig. Left what or where ? 

Mr. Bela. Hollywood. 

Mr. Kunzig. I see. Could you give us any further identification 
about their address? 

Mi-. Bela. Hines Falls, N. Y. He was a writer. 

1 Arnaud D'Usseau appeared as a witness before the committee on May 5, 1053, and relied 
upon the fifth amendment to avoid answering questions as to his alleged Communist 

2 Herbert Biberman appeared as a witness before the committee on October 29, 1047, and 
relied upon the first amendment to avoid answering questions as to his alleged Communist 
activities. He was subsequently cited for contempt of Congress. This citation was upheld 
in the courts and lie had to pay his tine and serve a sentence. 

■Richard Collins appeared as a witness before the committee on April 12, 1951, and 
gave detailed information as to his past activities and membership in the Comunist Party. 

♦Lester Cole appeared as a witness before the committee on October .".(). 1917, and relied 
upon the first amendment to avoid answering questions as to his alleged Communist activi- 
ties. He was subsequently cited for contempt of Congress. This citation was upheld in 
the courts, and he had to pay a fine and serve a sentence. 


Mr. Kunzig. You mean tliey went to Hines Falls, N. Y. 8 

Mr. Bela. Yes. 

Mr. Kunzig. Do you know how to spell Hines ? 

Mr. Bela. H-i-n-e-s Falls. 

Mr. Kunzig. Who else ? 

Mr. Bela. Guy Endore, a writer. 

Mr. Kunzig. He was a writer, you say? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. 

Ed and Stella Eliscu. 

Mr. Kunzig. Any identification further on those? 

Mr. Bela. A writer and his wife. 

Virginia Farmer. 1 I think she was also a writer or an actress. 1 
really don't know what she was. 

Kobert Rossen we talked about before. 

Maurice Rapf . 

Fred Rinaldo, a writer. 

Elliott Sullivan. He was an actor. 

Martha Salomon, a poetess. 

Waldo Salt, 2 a writer. 

Herta Uerkvitz. 3 She was a reader. 

Michael and Dorothy Uris. 

Mr. Kunzig. Who were they ? 

Mr. Bela. Michael was a writer. Michael Uris. Dorothy was an 

Mr. Kunzig. Continue, please. 

Mr. Bela. A man by the name of Solomon. I'm sorry. I don't 
know his first name, but he was a big fellow. He was a writer. 

Mr. Kunzig. He was a writer, you say ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. A big fellow. 

Budd Schulberg. 4 

Mr. Kunzig. Is that the Budd Schulberg connected presently with 
the movie On the Waterfront ? 

Mr. Bela. That is Budd. 

Mr. Kunzig. And you knew him to be a member of the Communist 
Party at the time you were ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. At that time I knew he was a member of the 
party. That is one whom I met once since 1950, in his mother's 
house, and Budd told me a lot of things have changed. _ He said, "A 
lot of things have changed with me, too." And I told him I am not a 
party member any more. And he said, "So am I," and we ought 
to get together. And I haven't seen him since. That was in 1951. 

Mr. Kunzig. Does that conclude the names of those whom you 
knew? • 

Mr. Bela. That I have. 

Mr. Kunzig. You recall I asked you to be particularly careful to 
name only those you knew personally to be members of the party, 

1 Virginia Farmer appeared as a witness before the committee on September 21, 1951, 
and relied upon the fifth amendment to avoid answering questions as to her alleged 
Communist activities. 

2 Waldo Salt appeared as a witness before the committee on April 13, 1951, and relied 
upon the fifth amendment to avoid answering questions as to his alleged Communist 

3 Herta Uerkvitz appeared before the committee on September 20, 1951, and relied upon 
the fifth amendment to avoid answering questions regarding her alleged Communist 

* Budd Schulberg appeared as a witness before the committee on May 23, 1951, and: 
testified as to his past activities and membership in the Communist Party. 


and I presume you left out those names of those whom you were not 
sure of? 

Mr. Bela. That is correct. 

Mr. Kunzig. The names of those you named are those whom you 
personally knew to be members of the Communist Party with you? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. At that time. 

Mr. Kunzig. At that time. 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Kunzig. Let me ask you, when did you leave California? 

Mr. Bela. I left May 1945. 

Mr. Kunzig. When did you leave the Communist Party? 

Mr. Bela. Around November 1943. 

Mr. Kunzig. Would you tell us why you left, and how you came 
to leave the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Bela. I was really very unhappy with the organization and 
within the organization. I was unhappy with my personal contacts 
with the people of the organization. I could not find that for which 
I went and joined the Communist Party; the principles that I thought 
they represented I could not accept, because I did not see that they 
did represent the principles. 

I had personal disagreements with them on ethical methods and 
on principles — more on issues. I just could not go along with them 
on their organization, their rigidity, their total lack of inflexibility 
toward members. You were not allowed to speak your mind. 

This is one thing I will not allow anyone to do. I will speak up 
my mind under any and all circumstances. I don't like anybody to 
tell me to shut up. I won't shut up. And they certainly did teli me 
to shut up on many occasions. 

When I objected to something that they decided they had a decision, 
and I wanted to have my objections. I was not allowed to make anv 

Mr. Kunzig. But would it not be correct to say, though, Mr. Bela, 
that for a number of years, namely, until very recently, you did shut 
up about this experience in your life ? 

Mr. Bela. Well, with them — with them you mean in the party? 
Within the party? * 

Mr. Kunzig. And with the public, too. You didn't tell the public 
these experiences really until today. 

Mr. Bela. Well, sir, I really did want to tell about it. The first 
thing was, I wanted to get away from them, and I got away from 
them. I said, I have finished with them. I don't want to have any- 
thing to do with these people any more. So I went to New York and 
went after my own business at last. 

Then I went away for 2 years to England to have my plays done, 
and I came back with the conviction that I have been so long out of 
this thing and I have nothing to do with them, why should I bother 
talking? I don't want to talk about it and I don't want to hear about 
it at all. 

Mr. Kunzig. Am I correct that you appeared before the Tenney 
committee in California, and testified about 1944? 

Mr. Bela. I was still there, you see. 

Mr. Kunzig. Is that correct ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. 


Mr. Kunzig. You did testify ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes; I did. 

Mr. Kunzig. At that time when asked whether you were a member 
of the Communist Party am I correct that you said no ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. That is correct. I was not a member of the party. 

Mr. Kunzig. At that time ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Kunzig. In 1944 ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Kunzig. Were you asked, if you can recall, whether you were 
ever a member of the Communist Party, and what was your answer, if 
you were so asked ? 

Mr. Bela. Whether at that time 

Mr. Kunzig. Whether you were asked at that time if you had ever 
been a member of the party ? 

Mr. Bela. I don't remember exactly what I would have answered. 
I really don't know. 

Mr. Kunzig. Were you asked that ? 

Br. Bela. I don't remember, but it is in the record. They have 
taken it, I am sure, in shorthand. 

Mr. Kunzig. You would remember, I am sure, without looking at 
the record now, whether you told them at that time your full experi- 
ences as you are telling them today. 

Mr. Bela. No ; I did not. 

Mr. Kunzig. You did not ? 

Mr. Bela. No. 

Mr. Kunzig. Did you name all of the names of people whom you 
knew to be members of the Communist Party? 

Mr. Bela. I don't think they asked me that, I don't remember. 

Mr. Kunzig. But you would remember today whether you named 
those people ? 

Mr. Bela. No. 

Mr. Kunzig. You did not. Is that correct ? 

Mr. Bela. No, I don't. May I say it was very strange right at that 
time that a large number of the Communist Party members were 
down there at this hearing, and I would sit here at this end of the 
benches and they would be far away for me, as if I were pestilential. 
Even at that time. It was really remarkable. 

Mr. Scherer. Did you invoke the fifth amendment at any time 
before the California committee ? 

Mr. Bela. I did not, and I would not do it under any circumstances. 
I would not do it, sir. My principle is this : If I stand for something, 
I say so. If I were a Communist I would say it. And I say it with 
this : This is a very grave issue today, that a lot of people resent that 
somebody was saying it or not saying it. I come with this very 
thoroughly considered idea, I think : That the early Christians faced 
death. The Jews during the inquisitions faced death and torture. Yet 
they stuck to their religion. They would say so aloud : "I am one." 
That is why these two principles survived. That is why they have an 
ethical, and a strong ethical background. 

This is the way I feel about people who hide behind the fifth amend- 

Mr. Clardt. They are more or less instructed, are they not, to lie 
and deceive and cheat, and one of the ways of doing it is to refuse to 


tell the truth about their party membership, when tackled by a com- 
mittee or someone else on the subject. 

Mr. Bela. I don't know that, sir, because I don't know what the 
Communist Party's opinion might be today. 

Mr. Clardy. I am talking about what it was when you were in it. 
At that time, "anything went," to use the common language of the 
street. Anything that would promote the interests of the Communist 
Party, including lying, would go; isn't that correct? 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. I would say that is their only purpose. Noth- 
ing else. 

Mr. Clardy. Of course, I agree with you, if you believe heart and 
soul in an idea, or a movement, or a philosophy, you ought not to be 
ashamed to confess it. If you are unwilling to confess it then there 
must be at least some belief in your mind there is something rotten 
in Denmark or you would probably admit it. 

Proceed, Mr. Counsel. 

Mr. Kunzig. Mr. Bela, a few quick questions here and I would like 
to get brief, to the point answers on them. 

Did you know Alexander Trachtenberg when you were out there? 

Mr. Bela. I went to a lecture he gave on a subject that interested me 
at that time. The subject was the publishing or republishing of a 
hard-covered book in a paper cover. The problem interested me be- 
cause way back in Hungary they had paper covers on certain books 
that would not sell as well as they could ; and they did sell exceedingly 
well with paper covers; and they were of a large format — the legal- 
size format. Out there in the old country they were legal-sized paper 
covered books. 

Then I went to this lecture to ask Trachtenberg what happened to 
a book by the Dean of Canterbury. I am sorry, I can't remember his 
name. The Dean of Canterbury. Everybody knows him. 

Mr. Clardy. Commonly called the Red Dean. 1 

Mr. Bela. Yes, sir. He had a book that would not sell in paper 
cover. The publishers of the Communist Party, the International 
Publishing Co. I think is their name, brought out this book in a paper 
cover, and not the pocket size, but a large, legal size, and it sold like 
hotcakes. I understood that and I wanted to find out how many 
copies actually at what cost. 

This was my opportunity to talk to the man who was at that time 
to my knowledge the publisher or head of publishing of that publish- 
ing firm, and I met him outside. I went to him and introduced myself 
and asked him if he would kindly give me a few words as to how the 
heck did you do it; because they sold well over a million copies of that 
piece. This is my one and only contact. 

Mr. Kunzig. Did you have any further knowledge about Trachten- 
berg and what he was doing in California, or anything like that? 

Mr. Bela. No idea. 

Mr. Kunzig. You were connected, I believe, with the emergency 
committee on KFI, the radio station out there. Plow did that come 
about, and what were you doing in this defense of KFI? 

Mr. Bela. That was my only activity of any activities whatever, 
which had some political connotation after I left the party. That 
came about in the Screen Writers' Guild. A totally mixed so-called 

1 Hewlett Johnson. 


committee was elected because all liberal broadcasters and commenta- 
tors were fired from this one broadcasting or other broadcasting 
station. Now I can't recall, but if you tell it to me I will remember it. 
And volunteers were asked on the committee. I think that is the way 
it came about. That is the only one committee of that sort I have 
been on. 

Mr. Kunzig. And was KFI under attack? 

Mr. Bela. I don't even remember what happened after this. I 
think the whole thing petered out. I don't remember what happened. 
But I remember these broadcasting stations fired liberal leftwing — 
liberal commentators, and there was an injustice, obviously an injus- 
tice — I just could not help saying that this was an injustice and those 
people should not be fired, and every opinion ought to be heard as long 
as it is a free country. Let's have it. 

Mr. Clardy. May I comment on that ? It is agreeable that opinions 
should be heard, but they should be properly tagged so that a man 
should not be parading as one thing and spouting the Communist 
Party line under the protection of some other idea. 

For example, you used the word "liberal." Of course, that is the 
most misused word, I think, in the lexicon today. It embraces pretty 
near anybody according to the individual's definition. You would 
not surely contend a Communist has a right merely to call himself a 
liberal and spout Communist ideas without letting the public know 
that he is a Communist and is spouting Communist ideas; would vou? 

Mr. Bela. Well 

Mr. Clardy. Wouldn't you go along with me on that ? 

Mr. Bela. I surely would. 

Mr. Clardy. If, however, the Communist attempts to put the ideas 
out and really promote them as the ideas of some intelligent liberal 
citizen trying to help the community, he is engaged in the very thing 
that the Communists are promoting and encouraging and doing all 
the time, isn't he? 

Mr. Bela. Sir, this is such a difficult problem. 

Mr. Clardy. It sure is. But it is a problem we have got to solve 
some way, or the American public will be deceived into communism 
without knowing what happened to them, as I see it. That is the job. 

Mr. Kunzig. Just 1 or 2 more questions here. 

I want to get your opinion on the rumor that since the expose of 
Communist activity in the motion-picture industry, the residue of the 
Communist leftwing, and so forth, have secreted themselves in the 
legitimate stage in New York. Do you have any information on that? 

Mr. Bela. Well, now, it is a question of guessing. From what I can 
see there has not been a very definite influx of those people, except a 
few whom I happen to know. As Mr. Owens had talked about a man 
called Waldo Salt. 

Mr. Kunzig. You mentioned Waldo Salt a few minutes ago. 

Mr. Bela. Yes. Waldo Salt is one example I can give. When we 
talked about it to Mr. Owens I told him Robinson. His name is Earl 
Robinson. I did not know about Earl being an active member of the 
Communist Party. So what I talked to him about and I told him was 
not Ed Robinson. Earl Robinson wrote the music to this musical 
comedy, but Waldo Salt wrote the book. 

Mr. Kunzig. What musical comedy is that ? 

Mr. Bela. It is called The Sand Hog. 


Mr. Kunzig. Is that currently running today ? 

Mr. Bela. Off Broadway. 

Mr. Kunzig. Off Broadway? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. 

Mr. Kunzig. And Waldo Salt was a fifth amendment witness before 
this committee, and you identified him as someone whom you knew to 
be a member of the Communist Party ? 

Mr. Bela. Yes. Indeed so. 

Mr. Kunzig. If it lies within your knowledge, did Earl Robinson 
write the music for Paul Robeson's picture, Native Land ? 

Air. Bela. 1 didn't know there was such a picture, sir. 

Mr. Kunzig. One further point off the record. 

(Discussion off the record.) 

Mr. Kunzig. On the record. 

Mr. Bela, do you have anything further that you wish to add in 
your testimony before the committee this morning? 

Mr. Bela. I want to tell this to this committee. 

Mr. Scherer. You can sit down. 

Mr. Bela. I feel if I am allowed I would like to stand. That the 
House of Representatives represents the country, and the committee of 
the House of Representatives is also, therefore, a representation of this 
country. So I want to thank you for hearing me. I want to humbly 
apologize for the grave error which I have committed, and beg of 
you to forgive me. 

Thank you. 

Mr. Clardy. Not at all, sir. 

Do you have any more questions ? 

Mr. Scherer. I have no questions. 

Mr. Clardy. Witness, the committee, as you have rightly indicated 
is, of course, representing the Congress of the United States, and the 
Congress in turn is trying its best, despite some Communist criticism 
to the contrary, to represent the people of the Nation and to promote 
the industry of our kind of government and our kind of freedom. 
The committee wants to thank you for your cooperation and to let you 
know we appreciate the helpful things that you have told us on the 
record here today. 

Thank you, and the committee will stand adjourned, until 10 o'clock 
tomorrow morning, in this same room. 

(Whereupon, at 12 : 25 p. m. the hearing was adjourned until 10 a. m. 
the following day, Wednesday, December 15, 1954.) 




Aldrich, Richard 7243 

Anderson, Judith 7243 

Babb, Dorothy 7264 

Babb, Sonora 7264 

Barzman, Ben 7264 

Bela, Nicholas 1 7241-7270 (testimony) 

Bergman, Ingrid . 7263 

Berkeley, Martin 7247, 7249 

Biberman, Edward 7264 

Biberman, Herbert 7264 

Biberman, Sonia (Mrs. Edward Biberman) 7264 

Brandon, Tom 7245, 7246 

Brody, Steve 7245 

Bromberg, Joseph 7264 

Brown, Kay 7243 

Burns, Jessie 7253 

Chotzinoff, Samuel 7243 

Cole, Lester 7264 

Collier, John 7243 

Collins, Richard 7264 

Doran, D. A 7243 

Dreher, Carl 7264 

Dreher, Rose 7264 

D'Usseau, Arnaud 7264 

Eliscu, Ed 7265 

Eliscu, Stella 7265 

Endore, Guy 7265 

Ettinger, Eve 7247 

Evans, Edith 7243 

Farmer, Virginia 7265 

Gow, James 7264 

Grunn, Homer 7243 

Hawkins, William W., Jr 7243 

Herndon, Richard 7243 

Hollos, Joseph 7244 

Huebsch, Ed 7249 

Hull, Henry 7243 

Jarrico, Paul : 7253 

Johnson, Hewlett 7268 

Kahn, Gordon 7253, 7254 

Kannick, Emerich 7261 

Korda, Alexander 7243 

Kraike, Michael 7252, 7253 

Lawrence, Marc 7255 

Lawson, John Howard 7248, 7250, 7254 

Lees, Robert 7254 

Lengel, William C 7243 

Lennart, Isobel 7254 

Lessner, George 7243 

Maltz, Albert 7255 

Maltz, Margaret (Mrs. Albert Maltz) 7255 

Marin, Ned 7243 

Mayorga, Margaret 7243 




Miller, Gilbert 7243 

Mills, Sybill 7249 

Newald, Al 7263 

North, Carrington 7243 

Offner, Mortimer 7256 

Ornitz. Samuel 7255 

Pasternak, Joe 7243 

Piatt, Dave 7245 

Pureell, Gertrude 7256 

Rapf, Maurice 7265 

Reis, Meta 7256 

Rinaldo, Fred 7265 

Robeson, Paul 7270 

Robinson, Earl 7269, 7270 

Robinson, Ed 7269 

Rocket, Al 7243 

Rosenberg, Meta Reis 7256 

Rossen, Robert 7258, 7261, 7265 

Sabinson, Lee 7249, 7261 

Salomon, Martha 7265 

Salt, Waldo 7265, 7269, 7270 

Schulberg, Budd 7265 

Selwyn, Archie 7243 

Shor, Sol 7247 

Solomon 72<>5 

Strousse, Irving 7243 

Stuart, John 7249 

Sullivan, Elliott 7265 

Torok, Al 7263 

Townsend, Leo 7247 

Trachtenberg, Alexander 7268 

Uerkvitz, Herta 7265 

Uris, Dorothy 7265 

Uris, Michael 7265 

Ward, Frank— 7245 

Webster, Margaret 7243 

Willner, George 7256, 7257 

Young, Howard 7243 


Authors' League 7261 

Brandon Films, Inc 7245, 7246, 7248, 7254 

Film and Photo League 7245, 7246 

International Publishing Co 7268 

New School for Social Research 7246 

Screen Readers' Guild 7248, 7261, 7262 

Screen Writers' Guild 7249, 7250, 7258, 7261, 7262, 7264, 7268 


Masses and Mainstream 7249 

New Masses 7249, 7256 


3 iifiill,, 

* 9999 05445 4572