Hanns Eisler: Life

Bullet Life of a Revolutionary in Music
Bullet Eisler in the McCarthy Era
Bullet Testimony before first HUAC hearing
Bullet Testimony before second HUAC hearing
Bullet Statement on leaving the USA
Bullet Link to Eisler FBI file
Bullet Link to Brecht FBI file

At the airport before boarding a TWA plane to London with his wife, Lou, on March 27, 1948, Eisler read this statement to reporters. The Immigration and Naturalization Service issued a notice to border posts to prevent the composer's return. Eisler quickly became a political and artistic "unperson" in the U.S.

I leave this country not without bitterness and infuriation. I could well understand it when in 1933 the Hitler bandits put a price on my head and drove me out. They were the evil of the period; I was proud of being driven out. But I feel heartbroken over being driven out of this beautiful country in this ridiculous way.

What am I accused of?

Of participating in the fight of the American people for the honest and lost causes?

Unfortunately not.

I am not accused of having fought against reaction and fascism in this country. I have not fought against those who want to involve the world in a new war.

I have not fought against the shamelessness and corruption and commercialism of a certain press and magazines which create a paper curtain separating the American people from political and economic realities.

I have not fought for the rights of veterans to get decent housing.

I have not fought against the impudence of profiteers who make the living of simple men unbearable. I have not fought for the classic tradition of this great country of upholding decency and freedom for the common man.

I have not fought against the shamelessness of the Taft-Hartley Bill.

I have not fought against the monopoly imposed on art: music, films, literature, radio.

I have not fought against corrupt political machines.

I have not fought against the racial discrimination oppressing my colored brothers.

I have not fought against anti-Semitism.

No, I am not accused of being a fighter.

My trouble started when I was subpoenaed a witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. I listened to the talk and the questions of these men and I saw their faces. As an old antifascist it became plain to me that these men represent fascism in its most direct form. That they represent the ignorance and barbarism which could lead to a new war. I was against them. There is a limit to the patience of an artist.

I saw these evil men trying to take over the affairs of this great country at a time really complicated and indeed dangerous for all of us. And I had to stand up against these men, regardless of consequences.

A composer knows that music is written by human beings for human beings and that music is a continuation of life, not something separated from it. And I had to defend music.

Now I am forced to leave. But I take with me the image of the real American people whom I love.

Written in English.

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A composer knows that music is written by human beings for human beings and that music is a continuation of life, not something separated from it. And I had to defend music.