Events | "Das Thomas Mann House - Politischer Denkort am Pazifik" (Book Presentation & Conversation)

Stuttgart | October 27, 2023

Time: 7:00 p.m. (CET)

Join us for a book presentation and conversation about the upcoming book Das Thomas Mann House- Politischer Denkort am Pazifik (Wallstein Verlag, 2023). Editors Benno Herz and Nikolai Blaumer, together with contributing authors, will take you on a journey to the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles. With sociologist & Thomas Mann Fellow Jutta Allmendinger, literary scholar Irmela von der Lühe, and journalist Heinrich Wefing. The event will be moderated by philosopher & political scientist Felix Heidenreich.

© Jean Molitor

Today a residence and political think tank on the Pacific Ocean, the Thomas Mann House offers not only exciting architecture but also a unique history: in the early 1940s, Thomas and Katia Mann had the residence built in Los Angeles and lived there in exile until 1952. From here, Thomas Mann campaigned for democracy and dealt intensively with topics such as migration and freedom. Following on from this debate, renowned authors from literature and academia have each devoted a room of the house in the volume Das Thomas Mann House - Politischer Denkort am Pazifik (Wallstein Verlag, 2023). The contributions report on the political life of the Manns and reflect on pressing questions of our time about migration, exile, or climate change, the devastating consequences of which are becoming apparent in California.

The book is edited by Nikolai Blaumer and Benno Herz, with photographs of the House by Jean Molitor. It will be published by Wallstein Verlag and released in September 2023. With contributions by Jutta Allmendinger on the Katia Mann House, Gustavo Arellano on the Californian "city of refuge" and its cultural diversity, Adrian Daub on Thomas Mann and his nightly readings, Veronika Fuechtner on the kitchen and the role of the house maids, Alice Hasters on the garage and Los Angeles without a driver's license, Claus Leggewie on the garden and the question: "How green is Los Angeles?", Frido Mann on the living room and his grandfather's grand piano, Andreas Platthaus on the driveway and the Mann family's path into exile, Alex Ross about "Doctor Faustus" and the soundscape of Los Angeles and many more contributions.

Attendance Information:

Register here.

Admission to this event is free and open to the public.

To the livestream here.


Literaturhaus Stuttgart,

Breitscheidstraße 4, 70174 Stuttgart

Learn more about the book here.



Jutta Allmendinger | Photo: David Ausserhofer

Jutta Allmendinger is a German sociologist. After scientific stations - among others - at Harvard University, the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Prof. Allmendinger became President of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center in April 2007. In 2013 she received the Federal Cross first class of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2014, she received a Honorary Doctorate of the University of Tampere. She was one of the first Thomas Mann Fellows in 2018. In 2021, Pope Francis appointed her as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.


Irmela von der Lühe was Professor of Modern German Literature at Freie Universität Berlin until her retirement. Together with Uwe Naumann, she publishes the works of Erika Mann, about whom she has also written a biography. In 2019, Irmel von der Lühe curated the first solo exhibition on Erika Mann at the Monacensia in Munich, under the title "Erika Mann. Cabaret Artist. War Reporter. Political Speaker."



Heinrich Wefing is a multi-award-winning journalist, architecture critic and book author. After many years at the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) as cultural correspondent in Berlin, and West Coast correspondent in San Francisco, he moved to DIE ZEIT in 2008. Since 2018, he has headed the politics department there. Wefing is one of the initiators of the Charter of Fundamental Digital Rights of the European Union, which was published at the end of November 2016.



Felix Heidenreich studied political science, philosophy, and medieval and modern history in Heidelberg, Paris, and Berlin. He works as a research coordinator at the International Center for Cultural and Technological Research (IZKT) at the University of Stuttgart and teaches in the Department of Political Science. His research interests include topics such as sustainability and democracy, political emotions, theories of justice, political metaphorology, and cultural politics. In 2022, he published his latest monograph Democracy as Imposition - For a Different Citizenship.


Benno Herz worked in the online communication division at the Städel Museum Frankfurt, Germany, before joining the Thomas Mann House team as Project and Communications Manager in 2019. Prior to this, he studied Theater, Film and Media Studies at the Goethe University Frankfurt and completed his M.A. with a focus on new social media aesthetics and interface theory. Since 2009, he has been creatively engaged in several music and film projects as a writer and instrumentalist. He is co-editor and co-author of the publication Thomas Mann's Los Angeles: Stories from Exile 1940-1952 (Angel City Press, 2022). As of May 2022, Benno Herz is serving as Program Director at the Thomas Mann House.

Nikolai Blaumer was the Program Director at the Thomas Mann House Los Angeles from its initial opening in 2018 until May 2022. Blaumer earned a doctorate in philosophy from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) and taught at LMU, Bauhaus University Weimar and at UCLA, Los Angeles. Since 2014, he has been working for the Goethe-Institut’s Department of Culture. He is co-editor of the book Teilen und Tauschen (S. Fischer Verlag, 2017), and Thomas Mann's Los Angeles: Stories from Exile 1940-1952 (Angel City Press, 2022).



An event of the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung, in cooperation with Universität Stuttgart, Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. and Deutsch-Amerikanisches Zentrum/James-F.-Byrnes-Institut e. V.


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