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Heinrich Mann
Heinrich Mann, 1906
BornLuiz (Ludwig) Heinrich Mann
(1871-03-27)March 27, 1871
DiedMarch 11, 1950(1950-03-11) (aged 78)
Notable workDer Untertan, Professor Unrat

Luiz (Ludwig) Heinrich Mann (German: [ˈhaɪnʁɪç ˈman] (About this soundlisten); 27 March 1871 – 11 March 1950) was a German novelist who wrote works with social themes. From 1930 until 1933 he was president of the fine poetry division of the Prussian Academy of Arts. His numerous criticisms of the growth of fascism forced him to flee Germany after the Nazis came to power during 1933.

Early life

Born in Lübeck, as the oldest child of Senator Thomas Johann Heinrich Mann, grain merchant and finance minister of the Free City of Lübeck, a state of the German Empire, and Júlia da Silva Bruhns. He was the elder brother of novelist Thomas Mann.[1] The Mann family was an affluent family of grain merchants of the Hanseatic city of Lübeck. After the death of his father, his mother relocated the family to Munich, where Heinrich began his career as a freier Schriftsteller (free novelist).


Mann's essay on Émile Zola and the novel Der Untertan (first published 1905) earned him much respect during the Weimar Republic, since they satirized Imperial German society. Later, in 1930, his book Professor Unrat was freely adapted into the movie Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel). Carl Zuckmayer wrote the script, and Josef von Sternberg was the director. Mann wanted his paramour, the actress Trude Hesterberg, to play the main female part as the "actress" Lola Lola (named Rosa Fröhlich in the novel), but Marlene Dietrich was given the part, her first sound role.

Together with Albert Einstein and other celebrities during 1932, Mann was a signatory to the "Urgent Call for Unity", asking the voters to reject the Nazis. Einstein and Mann had previously co-authored a letter during 1931 condemning the murder of Croatian scholar Milan Šufflay.

Mann became persona non grata in Nazi Germany and left even before the Reichstag fire of 1933. He went to France where he lived in Paris and Nice. During the German occupation, he made his way to Marseille, where he was aided by Varian Fry during 1940 to escape to Spain. With him were his wife Nelly Kröger, his nephew Golo Mann, Alma Mahler-Werfel and Franz Werfel. After arriving in Portugal, the group stayed in Monte Estoril, at the Grande Hotel D’Itália, between 18 September and 4 October 1940.[2] On 4 October 1940, they boarded the S.S. Nea Hellas, headed for New York City.

The Nazis burnt Heinrich Mann's books as "contrary to the German spirit" during the infamous book burning of May 10, 1933, which was instigated by the then Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

Later life

Mann's grave in Berlin
Mann's grave in Berlin

During the 1930s and later in American exile, Mann's literary popularity waned. Nevertheless, he wrote Die Jugend des Königs Henri Quatre and Die Vollendung des Königs Henri Quatre as part of the Exilliteratur. The two novels described the life and importance of Henry IV of France and were acclaimed by his brother Thomas Mann, who spoke of the "great splendour and dynamic art" of the work. The plot, based on Europe's early modern history from a French perspective, anticipated the end of French–German enmity.

His second wife, Nelly Mann [de] (1898–1944), committed suicide in Los Angeles.

Heinrich Mann died on March 11, 1950, sixteen days before his 79th birthday, in Santa Monica, California, lonely and without much money, just months before he was to relocate to East Berlin to become president of the German Academy of Arts. His ashes were later taken to East Germany and were interred at the Dorotheenstadt Cemetery in a grave of honor.

Popular culture

Mann was portrayed by Alec Guinness in the 1992 television adaptation of Christopher Hampton's play Tales from Hollywood.

In Die Manns – Ein Jahrhundertroman (2001) he was played by Jürgen Hentsch.

Film adaptations

See also


  1. ^ Liukkonen, Petri. "Heinrich Mann". Books and Writers ( Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on September 4, 2013.
  2. ^ Exiles Memorial Center.

Further reading