The Dangerous Otto Katz
The Many Lives of A Soviet SpyBook - 2010
This biography of the spy who became the inspiration for Casablanca's Victor Laszlo describes his involvement in the Spanish Civil War, Stalin's secret meetings, Trotsky's murder and the lives of Hollywood celebrities as he sought fame, fortune and glory .
The FBI's file on the Soviet spy Otto Katz (1893-1952) called him "an extremely dangerous man." This label doesn't even begin to tell the story.
Katz, a daring and treacherous Soviet spy, seemed perpetually to beat the center of crucial historical moments. A deft writer and littérateur, he talked Arthur Koestler out of a life-threatening but ultimately useless mission in the Spanish Civil War, and persuaded Hollywood's gentry to donate to the Hollywood Anti Nazi League, a cover organization that fed money into Soviet coffers. He traveled to Weimar Berlin, Moscow, Mexico City, Prague, New York, and London, and may even have married the film star Marlene Dietrich. His best-known alter ego, a debonair character known as Rudolf Brea, was the inspiration for numerous film heroes, including Casablanca's Victor Laszlo.
In the hands of the hugely talented Jonathan Miles, this story is more than a biography; we also see this tumultuous period through Katz's unflinching eyes. His activities take us from the Spanish Civil War to Stalin's secret meetings, from Trotsky's murder to the hidden lives of major Western celebrities. He takes us to the precipice of war and, more than a few times, over it. Through Katz's quests for fame, fortune, glory, and power, Miles uncovers the shadowy side of a critical period in world history.
The FBI's file on the sovilet agent Otto kotz (1895-1952) called him "an extremely dangerous man." The British Secret service wondered if he was the "director of all Communist policy" in the West. These Labels don't even begin to tell the story.
For the first half of the twentieth century, Katz's fingerprints can be found on one world changing event after another. But who was Otto Katz? In a captivating detective story, Jonathan Miles goes in search of this debonair, double-dealing man with an unquestionable taste for the finer things in life.
To Mariene Dietrich, Kotz was an early lover, and he claimed to have discovered her as an actress. To others, Katz was a Moscowtrained anti-Fascist, who, in the early 1930s, was among the first to alert the world to the nazi threat. An important player in the Soviet Infiltration of England during the period when the infamous Cambridge spies were being recruited, Katz went on to Hollywood, where he was a playboy socialite. He became the political mentor to director Fritz Lang and a star among stars. Katz charmed the movers and shakers of the movie capital into contributing generously to the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League---a Stalinist front organization that he created.
During the Spanish Civil war, Katz did Stalin's dirty work. Later, some informers spoke of his role in the assassination of trotsky. But Otto Katz Inevitably became the target of the dark master he served and was put on trial in the Soviet bioc as a double agent.
In the hands of the hugely talented Jonathan Miles, this story is more than a biography---we experience this tumultuous period through Katz's devious manipulations. Using recently released FBI, MIS, and Czech files, miles uncovers the shadowy side of a critical period in world history.
Profiles Otto Katz' involvement in the Spanish Civil War, Stalin's secret meetings, Trotsky's murder, and the lives of Hollywood celebrities as he sought fame, fortune, and glory.