The Thomas Mann House Presents TOGETHER WE ADVANCE

The Thomas Mann House Presents TOGETHER WE ADVANCEThe Thomas Mann House presents "Together We Advance," a program about Mann's American religion on Friday, August 10 at 7:30 pm at the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, 2936 West 8th Street (near Vermont Avenue). Mann said, "The First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles is particularly close to my heart and mind." This is the first event of the newly inaugurated Thomas Mann House.

When author and Nobel Laureate Thomas Mann lived in the United States, he maintained a close relationship with the Unitarian Church and entertained a "warm sympathy" for Unitarians' beliefs, for the way they put these beliefs into action. Thomas Mann wrote for the parish newsletter of the First Unitarian Church and spoke in the pulpit as a guest.

"Thomas Mann's life as a writer in American exile was closely linked to the Unitarian Church", says Dr. Nikolai Blaumer, Program Director of Thomas Mann House. "The Unitarian Service Committee helped his son Golo and his brother Heinrich to flee from Europe. Unitarians married his daughter and baptized his children."

Mann's turn towards the Unitarian Church represents the coming together of the political, philosophical and religious traditions of his German heritage with those prevalent in America. It is thought that perhaps Thomas Mann never got quite as close to a religious denomination as he did here.

Now, as then, the First Unitarian Church continues to be one of the most progressive churches in Los Angeles. Its members advocate for immigrants' rights, offer social programs to the immigrant community of Koreatown and support organizations pursuing racial and social justice, such as Black Lives Matter and Urban Partners Los Angeles.

The presentation will be made by Thomas Mann Fellow, Professor Dr. Dr. h. c. Heinrich Detering, Professor of Modern German Literature and Comparative Literature at the University of Göttingen. Detering is a German literary scholar, translator and poet as well. He runs the Thomas Mann Research Center in Göttingen and is the editor of the "Große kommentierte Frankfurter Ausgabe" of the works, letters and diaries of Thomas Mann. Since 2011 Detering is president of the German Academy for Language and Literature. www.heinrichdetering.de

Other panelists include Deynsie Claro (Urban Partners Los Angeles); Oscar Cintigo (El Comite Unitario Universalista Latinoamericano Monseñor Oscar A Romero); Dr. Dr. Detlef Schwartz (Lutheran Pastor, Friend of the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles); and Trinity Tran (Revolution LA). The moderator is Nikolai Blaumer, Program Director of Thomas Mann House.

While admission is free, guests are requested to RSVP to rsvp@vatmh.org by August 8. Limited parking is available in adjacent underground parking lot next to church entrance. Lecture and discussion are in English with Spanish simulcast. For more information, please visit www.vatmh.org

About Thomas Mann House -- On June 18, Thomas Mann House, a residence for scholars, was inaugurated in Los Angeles. The house fosters intellectual and cultural exchange between Germany and the United States. It offers the opportunity to leading thinkers who are living or have lived in Germany to explore issues of contemporary importance, to generate fresh thought, and to deepen American -- German relations.

The Mann family's home has been called by some the "intellectual German White House in America" and was, between 1942-52 the home of some of the most luminary German expatriates including Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Lion Feuchtwanger, Max Reinhardt, Fritz Lang, Arnold Schönberg, Hanns Eisler, and Bertolt Brecht, all of whom met there with frequency for talks and discussions.

The Thomas Mann House mission statement affirms, "Our interdisciplinary program is committed to the spirit of Thomas Mann, who addressed the most pressing cultural and political questions of his time in his literary works, lectures, and essays. Our aim is to foster a dialogue with a broad cross section of the United States population through multifaceted programming and debate."

"Throughout the world it has become precarious to take democracy for granted", Thomas Mann observed after the rise of National Socialism and the end of the Weimar Republic. Eighty-five years after Mann's escape, the realization that democracy is vulnerable has become a shared experience on both sides of the Atlantic. The cohesion of democratic polities is endangered both in Europe and the United States. Segregation threatens to supersede exchange; confrontation supplants compromise. It is becoming increasingly clear that the struggle for democracy has once again become one of the most important issues of our time.

Steven D. Lavine, Founding Director of Thomas Mann House and President Emeritus of California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), said, "The rescue of the Thomas Mann House by the German Foreign Office is a signal event in the life of Los Angeles. The establishment as a residence for scholars and other thinkers from Germany interested in active exchange with their American counterparts brings us back to the era when so many brilliant emigres and exiles from Germany found safe haven in the United States. The influence of these emigres on American culture was profound and continues to be felt, especially in Los Angeles, where so many settled. At this moment of popular resistance to the idea of welcoming immigrants, the Thomas Mann House provides a salutary reminder of the extent to which immigrants bring fresh energies and ideas that have the potential to enrich the cultures and countries that welcome them."

During his time in America, Thomas Mann tackled the temptations of authoritarianism as well as the topics of democratic renewal, of freedom, migration and exile. He did so in his literary oeuvre, as well as in his lectures and essays. The Thomas Mann House (TMH) aims to carry this tradition forward and take up - in the spirit of Thomas Mann - the cultural and societal questions of our time.

Through different media formats, TMH will introduce individuals from Germany and Europe to U.S. audiences and encourage open dialogue. The Thomas Mann House is part of the cultural, scientific, and political network in Southern California. However, the program is geared to reaching many more people, especially partners in the heartland of the United States. Activities will include in lecture tours, workshops and roundtable discussions, with a special focus on radio and the digital media.

About Thomas Mann -- Thomas Mann, one of Germany's greatest modern novelists, was also a short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist and Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. His most well-known works include "Buddenbrooks" (1901), "Death in Venice" (1912), "The Magic Mountain" (1924) and "Doktor Faustus" (1947). Politically, Mann spoke out against National Socialism and the Nazi Party, while still living in Germany.

He was a great proponent of Democracy and pleaded for the strengthening of democracy through the extension of its principles from the political to the social and economic spheres. Many of his pro-Democracy writings were broadcast throughout the United States during the War. The Nazi Government revoked his citizenship in 1936.

In 2016, the home went on the market and was purchased by the German Foreign Office with the intention of turning the home into a residence for scholars. In a statement to the New York Times, Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, "In a conflict-laden world, which is no longer sure of its own order, we need more than ever places in which cultural and social exchanges take place free from external pressure."

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