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Joseph Roos papers

Identifier: 0313

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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.


  • Creation: 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.

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 The copyright to unpublished materials belongs to the heirs of the writers.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.

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.


13 Linear Feet (13 boxes, 1 map case folder)


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.


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

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.

Finding Aid of the Joseph Roos papers
Rebecca Hirsch
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
The processing of this collection and the creation of this finding aid was funded by the generous support of the National Historic Publications and Records Commission.

Repository Details

Part of the USC Libraries Special Collections Repository

Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles California 90089-0189 United States