With the rise of Nazism in the early 1930s, a great number of German and Austrian writers and intellectuals left their countries especially after the Nazi book burning campaign.
A lot of them settled in Sanary-sur- Mer, at one point between 1933 and 1944, a then small French village in the South of France, 30 miles from Marseille. Among them the proportion of Jewish intellectuals was high.
On arriving, many exiles stayed at the Hôtel de la Tour before finding a place to rent. The Café de Lyon is one of the restaurants patronized by foreign exiles in the 1930s.