"On the evening of September 12, 1931, there occurred an event of interest to Vienna: the first night of a play by the German playwright Fritz von Unruh at the Volkstheater. The piece was named “Phäa” and it addressed in an ironic form the fate of a bit movie actress who wanted to become a star. The actress in the main role has to climb into a lion’s cage, and a key moment in the piece lies in the instructions that the film director gives to the camera crew: “If the lion, God forbid, should eat the young lady, don’t stop filming!” The play was a satire on the inhumanity of the film industry.
Coincidentally the play brought a small, unknown actress from Düsseldorf to Vienna soil for the first time. Her name was Louise [sic] Rainer and the premiere in Vienna was for her the opening of a fairy tale film career in Hollywood. The role that she played in Unruh’s piece had many parallels to her own fate.
The director of the play, Fritz Peter Buch was acquainted with my parents and after the premiere we had a small celebration at the home of my parents on Laroche Gasse – Fritz von Unruh, Fritz Peter Buch, Louise Rainer, and Hans Schweikart, who played the lead male role. The celebration of the success of the premiere lasted into the early morning hours."
"A few days ago a young Austrian lawyer here, Dr. Scheu, who on the side also reports for the Daily Herald in London and for the Federated Press at home, was detained by the police and his house searched. He is a young fellow about thirty, whose father is a prominent lawyer here with close connections with the United State. The young man is quite a Socialist, as is he family. As soon as he was arrested the Vice President of the Anglo-American Press Association here called me up and wanted me to do something. I told him that I could not until we knew what he was detained for, and then it was much a question whether I could even make the most informal enquiry, as he was an Austrian and his newspaper connection was principally with the Daily Herald, and that his American connection with the Federated Press was attenuated that I felt there was really nothing we could do…. He was in fact released on the afternoon of the same day.
George Messersmith, Dec. 2, 1946
"I took the opportunity of Scheu's call on me to talk to him, and I find that he is a Socialist of such an exaggerated type that he is more interested in there being a socialist government in Austria than in the maintenance of Austria….I found the young man one of these liberals who are so prejudiced they cannot even consider anyone else's point of view. I pointed out to him that anyone who held such strong view as he did had to consider very seriously as to whether he was not coloring his news with his prejudices, even when he was serving socialist papers. I gathered the impression that he considered himself more of an advocate than a reporter."