My brother had a fight with my father and decided to leave for Berlin, where he had an introduction to a motion picture producer. On his way to see this man, my brother made a wrong turn and ended up in the office of Will Meisel, a music publisher, who took to him and hired him immediately. He worked for Meisel for approximately six to nine months. Having been warned about Hitler, my brother decided he would be better off working in Paris. He was put in charge of a French music publishing company which represented a British company called Campbell Connelly. About a month into the job, my brother called and asked me if I would like to work for the publishing company. I accepted the offer with pleasure, and left Vienna for Paris in 1932.
After three months working for them, I went into the music publishing business for myself. I rented three chairs, a carpet, and a space in the Rue Granche Baggeliere and I was in business. I found a promising way to make a lot of money quickly: in France, the movie theaters paid the Performing Rights Society (SACEM) for music according to the number of seats in the theater. What few people knew was that the screenwriters also were entitled to be paid, and had never claimed their share of the money. I got in touch with the most important screenwriters, including Louis Verneuil, Marcel Achard, and Natanson. They all signed contracts with me. They summarized the dialogue they'd written and submitted it to the Performing Rights Society. As publisher, I received one-third and the writers received two-thirds. My brother joined me as soon as the company was fully established and we earned a great deal of money in a short time. In 1934, we made so much that we put some in gold in the Westminster Bank in London.
We asked my father for investment advice, and we decided to buy an 80-apartment residential building in Vienna. We didn't buy it outright, but had a mortgage on it.
In 1936, Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland. We sold our music publishing company and paid off the mortgage in Vienna. It so happened that my brother was friendly with the leading music publisher in France, Mr. Salabert. He made my brother his representative to the U.S., with a repertoire that was widely used by motion picture and radio companies (it included Tchaikovsky).
1936 was a difficult year for me. I remained in France on my own with no job and very little income. My parents couldn't send me any money from the building in Vienna. At that time, it was impossible to get money out of Austria and many other European countries, including Italy. 1937 was much better. Through my brother's connections, I had become a member of the Performing Rights Society. I made deals with representatives of Paramount Pictures that earned me a large sum of money-in Italy. I was able to find a man to retrieve the funds, an Italian who had connections in Rome. Of course, I had to give him a twenty-five percent commission but the money was so important. I moved into a very good hotel, and then went to my tailor, Mr. Cifonelli. I ordered seven suits, bought seven pairs of shoes, and got 36 silk shirts at Lanvin. I even bought myself a car so I could leave Paris from time to time.
That same year I got a call from Mr. Salabert asking me for a meeting: he wanted me to be his right-hand man. I was to contact the motion picture companies and supply them with music. We furnished the orchestra and arrangements, and retained the music publishing rights. My brother, who returned from the U.S., negotiated a much more advantageous contract with Mr. Salabert. My brother then suggested that I register with the American consulate, so I could perhaps emigrate some day and join him, and I did.