Kurt Weill left Germany shortly after the National Socialists came to power. Weill's work was condemned by the Nazis who tried to cancel the February 1933 opening of "Der Silbersee," a collaboration between the playwright Georg Kaiser and Kurt Weill. Although the play received praise from theater critics, the Nazi papers lambasted the production and exerted pressure to close the play early. Following the torching of the German Reichstag, Weill's musical career came to an abrupt end in Germany.
Realizing the full impact of the National Socialists on his hopes as a composer, Kurt Weill and his wife, Lotte Lenya, left Berlin for Paris in March 1933. In France, Weill was welcomed as a respected composer of great reknown. His two years in France were productive and busy, concluding with his impressive collaboration with the writer Franz Werfel on "Der Weg der Verheißung" ("The Eternal Road").
With plans for "The Eternal Road" to premiere in New York, Weill and Lenya crossed the Atlantic, arriving in Manhattan in September 1935. However, financial difficulties delayed the production until January 1937. Unlike Weill's arrival in Paris two years earlier, he came to the United States virtually unknown. The American productions of his music (including the "Threepenny Opera") were misunderstood and poorly staged.
Although Weill and Lenya settled in New York, Weill travelled several times to Southern California to work with the film studios. The following is a listing of his visits to Los Angeles: January - July 1937; March - May 1938 (to compose the music for Fritz Lang's "You and Me"); summer 1939 (where Weill worked with Maxwell Anderson in Malibu on "Ulysses Africanus" which was never completed); in Oct. 1942 Weill visited with Brecht; June 1943 (during the filming of "Lady in the Dark" and "Knickerbocker Holiday"); Nov. 1943-May 1944 (composed the musical film "Where Do We Go from Here? directed by Gregory Ratoff), worked with Ira Gerschwin for 20th Century Fox's "anti-Nazi production", and composed music for Jean Renoir's anti-Nazi documentary film "Salute to France"; April-June 45 (for the filming of "One Touch of Venus"
Kurt Weill turned fifty on March 2, 1950, suffered a heart attack on March 17, and died on April 3, 1950 in the hospital. He was buried in the Mount Repose Cemetary in Haverstraw, New York.
Weill and Lenya become American citizens in August 1943.
(The 1943 photograph shows Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin writing "The Battle of Warsaw" for the memorial pageant "We Will Never Die." The photograph is courtesy the Examiner of Los Angeles. )