Refugees of Casablanca

Peter Lorre Conrad Veidt
Peter Lorre (Ugarte): born László Löwenstein, in what is now Slovakia; became a film star in 1920s Berlin; being a Jew, moved to America in 1933 after Nazis took power. Conrad Veidt (Strasser) – started acting in films 1916, married a Jew and moved to America in 1933 after Nazis took power.
Paul Henreid Curt Bois
Paul Henreid (Laszlo) – left Austria for England in 1935 after Dollfuss/Schuschnigg regime came to power; left England for USA to avoid detention as enemy alien in England (though Conrad Veidt spoke out for him). Curt Bois (Pickpocket) – Jewish, left Germany in 1934 after Nazis took power.
Madeleine LeBeau Marcel Dalio
Madeleine LeBeau and Marcel Dalio (Yvonne and Emil the croupier) – married in 1940 and fled Paris after the German invasion; Dalio was Jewish. He filed for divorce during the filming of Casablanca. She is the only surviving member of the cast.
S.Z. Sakall Helmut Dantine
S.Z. Sakall (Carl the head waiter) – born a Hungarian Jew, became a Berlin film star in the 1920s, returned to Hungary in 1933 after Nazis took power, moved to America in 1940 after Hungary joined the Axis. All three of his sisters and his niece, as well as his wife's brother and sister, died in concentration camps. Helmut Dantine (Jan the Bulgarian roulette player) – Austrian anti-Nazi activist who was imprisoned in a concentration camp after the Anschluss in 1938; his parents got him released and sent to America, but they themselves died in concentration camps.
Leonid Kinskey Gregory Gaye
Leonid Kinskey (Sascha) and Gregory Gaye (banker) – both born in St Petersburg, and fled the Russian revolution.

This all may help explain why this scene is quite so powerful:

(Incidentally, there is no truth whatsoever in the story that Ronald Reagan might have played the lead role.)

One thought on “Refugees of Casablanca

  1. Sorry, I actually meant to say, “if he had been elected in ’76.” IMO that would have precluded Reagan winning in ’80 – after twelve years Republican incumbency, it would be the Democrats’ turn finally. Plus the Republicans would have owned the economic disaster of the late seventies (which I think was largely baked in ahead of time). Jeff Greenfield has his counterfactual take on this in his book Then Everything Changed.

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