Even though I am classified as an enemy alien and as an unskilled worker, I have nonetheless found a job. Although the job is rather odd. For I have become history’s corpse cleaner. Since [sic] one week I belong to the cleaning crew of the Hollywood Custom Palace. The word “custom” has nothing to do here with customs; it refers instead to costumes. The twelve-story colossus, the “palace” where I spend my working days, is a museum of the entire costume past of humanity, an arsenal which rents out everything to the great film companies that our predecessors and our contemporaries, including their slaves, pets and riding animals, ever wore on their bodies and still wear today. From Eve’s fig leaf gadget (in both a see-through and a non-see-through version) to the riding boots of the German attack forces which–oh, such breathtaking optimism–hang next to the footgear of other eras, as if they already are brother and sister to the Greek sandals and the imperial riding boots, past history in other words. If I am instructed to polish these boots, then as an unskilled member of the cleaning crew I can hardly refuse. We flee from the original and then run the risk, a few years later an on the opposite side of the world, to have to clean the duplicates for pay!
- Günther Anders' diary, March 1941