Willy Haas in Bombay

Mukherjee, Debashree; Holt, Xan

This archival piece presents an excerpted translation from the memoirs of Willy Haas, Die Literarische Welt (1958). Haas was a Czech-German writer and scenarist who migrated to Bombay during the Nazi purge of European Jews.

Translated by Xan Holt, the excerpt offers a rare glimpse into the professional networks that sustained the eastward migration of Jewish exiles during Hitler’s fascist takeover of Europe. Haas fled from Prague to Bombay, with the help of his friend Walter Kaufmann, a music composer who was already well-entrenched in Bombay’s cultural scene. Holt’s translation offers up both technical and sensory detail about this other ‘passage to India’, one of desperate exile rather than colonial adventure. Along the way, we get a textured view of screenwriting techniques and logic during the early phase of Bombay’s talkie transition.

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Also Published In

BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies

More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Published Here
June 25, 2024