Paul Thomas Mann, 1875 - 1955

portrait of Thomas Mann
Portrait by Carl Van Vechten (20 April 1937)
Thomas Mann signature

Born: 6 June 1875, Lübeck, Germany
Died: 12 August 1955, Zürich, Switzerland

Mann's father, a senator and grain merchant, died in 1891 and mother and son moved to Munich, although Mann returned to Lübeck for gymnasium. Preparing for a career in journalism he studied at the Ludwig Maximillians University and the Technical University of Munich. He published his first story in 1898 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1929. He was a strong supporter of Kaiser Wilhelm during the first world war but drifted to more liberal positions over time. He was an outspoken opponent of the National Socialists from 1930. He and his wife were on vacation in Switzerland when Hitler came to power, they didn't return home. The Nazis did not burn Mann's books, possibly out of respect for his Nobel, but revoked his citizenship in 1936. He was able to get a Czech passport and used it to emigrate in 1939 to the US where he taught at Princeton until 1942, then moved to Pacific Palisades, California. Mann recorded a series of anti-Nazi radio programs in the US, the tapes were broadcast by the BBC to reach German listeners. His was one of the main voices of the Exilliteratur, the German writers opposing Nazism from exile. He was naturalized a US citizen in 1944, he returned to Switzerland in 1952 for the rest of his life. Mann was bisexual, although it's not certain he consummated any of the homosexual feelings that were hinted at in his work and revealed when his diaries were unsealed after his death. He died of atherosclerosis.

Biography from Wikipedia and Nobel Foundation

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