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Finding Aid of the Joseph Roos papers 0313
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical Note
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Scope and Content
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation

  • Title: Joseph Roos papers
    Collection number: 0313
    Contributing Institution: USC Libraries Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 13.0 Linear feet 13 boxes, 1 map case folder
    Date (inclusive): 1921-1999
    Language of Materials: Most of the materials found in the Joseph Roos Papers are in English; however, some of Roos's correspondence and research was conducted in German.
    Abstract: This collection contains papers documenting the activities of Joseph Roos (1905-1999) from his retirement from the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation Council in 1969 until his death in 1999. These papers include correspondence, research files, memoranda and publications. Some documentation of Roos's earlier activities investigating the activities of the German Bund in Los Angeles in the 1930s is also present.
    creator: Roos, Joseph, 1908-1999

    Biographical Note

    Joseph Roos (1908-1999) was a pioneering community relations adviser and activist who helped to infiltrate the prewar Nazi movement in Los Angeles. Roos was born in Vienna, Austria, and came to the United States in 1928. He became a Chicago newspaperman during the height of the Depression and in 1933 worked with George C. Marshall to launch the first government investigation of Nazi activities in America.
    Roos came to California in 1934 to work in book publishing and wound up working as a publicist for Universal Pictures. He later became a story editor at United Artists and RKO Studios. In 1938, Roos began working with the Jewish Community Committee, which became the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation Council. The pro-Nazi German American Bund, a national organization, arose in Los Angeles in the 1930s around the same time Adolf Hitler gained power. Roos took a leading role in investigations that would expose white supremacy groups and help to arouse the local Jewish community to the seriousness of the Third Reich's threat. Under the leadership of the Hitler-appointed American Fuhrer, Fritz Kuhn, the Bund tried to organize boycotts of Jewish-run businesses, especially those in the movie industry. Ultimately, the Bund hoped to purge the United States of Jews, minorities, Communists, and anyone who did not share its notion of Aryan supremacy.
    Roos went on to serve as executive director of the Committee from 1945 to 1969, when he retired. In his work with the Committee, Roos gained a national reputation as a pioneer in the fields of race and community relations. In 1969 he started his own firm, Community Relations Consultants, and in 1984, Roos helped form USC's Office of Civic and Community Relations, the university's community outreach arm. He continued to advise USC on community relations matters until 1993. Roos was honored in 1979 by USC's School of Journalism with its Distinguished Achievement in Journalism Award. In 1997 at USC's second annual Jewish Community Luncheon, President Steven B. Sample awarded Roos a Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the Southern California Jewish community. Roos was also a founder and board member of the Pacific Coast Council in Inter-Cultural Relations and of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations.

    Related Archival Materials

    The Urban Archives Center at California State University, Northridge, has material from Joseph Roos in its Jewish Federation-Council of Greater Los Angeles Community Relations Committee collection.

    Scope and Content

    This collection primarily documents the career and activities of Joseph Roos from his retirement from the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation Council in 1969 until his death in 1999, although Roos's earlier activities are also documented. Papers present in this collection include correspondence, manuscripts of radio scripts, articles and books, research files, and publications. These papers document the business activities of Roos's firm, Community Relations Consultants, his work with the University of Southern California, and Roos's research on Nazis and other white supremacist groups in Southern California. Also included in this collection are transcripts of Roos's oral histories and a copy of the 1938 report Summary Report on Activities of Nazi Groups and Their Allies in Southern California. Please see the Scope and Content notes of individual series for more information.

    Conditions Governing Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The collection contains published materials; researchers are reminded of the copyright restrictions imposed by publishers on reusing their articles and parts of books. It is the responsibility of researchers to acquire permission from publishers when reusing such materials. The copyright to unpublished materials belongs to the heirs of the writers. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.


    The Joseph Roos Papers were donated to USC by Leonard Roos in 2002 as an agent of the Joseph and Alvina Roos Trust.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], Joseph Roos papers, Collection no. 0313, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Ferenz, F.K.
    German American Bund. -- Archives
    Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles . -- Archives
    Pitt, Leonard -- Correspondence
    Roos, Joseph, 1908-1999 -- Archives
    University of Southern California. -- Archives
    Exiles--Austria--20th century--Archival resources
    Exiles--United States--20th century--Archival resources
    Jews--California--Los Angeles--20th century--Archival resources
    Los Angeles (Calif.)--History--Archival resources
    National socialism--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
    Nazis--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
    Oral histories (document genres)
    Printed ephemera
    Public relations consultants--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
    White supremacy movements--United States----20th century--Archival resources