The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission has recommended granting historic preservation status to the Villa Aurora, a 22-room mansion that was a meeting place for German intellectuals in exile during World War II.
The three-member panel voted unanimously to grant the status, which would save the house from demolition for at least six months. The City Council must vote on the matter, which was proposed last month by City Councilman Marvin Braude, who represents Pacific Palisades.
A group of West German intellectuals and politicians in December called on USC to preserve the house and its renowned 36,000-volume library. USC inherited the house last October from Marta Feuchtwanger, wife of German novelist Lion Feuchtwanger. The university intended to sell the house, which requires about $600,000 in foundation repairs, and move the library to the university's downtown campus.
The West Germans are trying to raise $15 million asked by USC to keep the house and library intact and use the building as a research center for German exile literature written during the Nazi era.