Brecht even wrote a poem entitled “When Nobel Laureate

Brecht even wrote a poem entitled “When Nobel Laureate Thomas Mann gave the Americans and the British the right to punish the German people for ten long years for the crimes of the Hitler regime. Indeed, Mann opposed punitive measures, but “his” nuances were ignored. On February 11, 1933, two weeks after Hitler became Reich Chancellor, Thomas Mann traveled to Amsterdam to give a lecture on “The Suffering and Greatness of Richard Wagner. A former conservative who had embraced liberal-democratic values in the early 1920s, Mann sought to wrest “his” beloved composer from the hands of the Nazis. Brecht’s anti-Hollywood tirades gloss over the fact that “he” collaborated with “him” as a screenwriter and co-wrote the script for Fritz Lang’s The Executioners Also Die. Even Thomas Mann flirted with Hollywood; there was talk of making a film version of Magic Mountain with Montgomery Clift as Hans Castorp and Greta Garbo as Claudia Chauchat. He knew that massacres were taking place in Nazi-occupied countries, a genocide that went far beyond what Werfel described in Musa Dagh. As early as January 1942, Mann reported by radio to Germans across Europe that four hundred Dutch Jews had been murdered by poison gas–a veritable canon of Siegfried, “he” added sardonically, referring to the intrepid hero of the German saga. In September, a motley crew of Franz Werfel, Alma Mahler, Heinrich Mann and “his” wife Nellie, and Thomas Manns’ son Golo crossed the Pyrenees from France to Spain. When Thalberg praised Schoenberg for “his” beautiful music — one of the least demanding composers recently broadcast on the radio — Schoenberg replied, “I don’t write beautiful music.” For Rifkind, this anecdote shows that Vierdel was not only an observer of this social world, but also its master of ceremonies: it was their mutual contact that made the meeting of composer and producer possible. I witnessed it all. After all, “he” said, there are not two Germans, one good and one bad, but only one whose best became bad as a result of diabolical cunning. This whole story is a paradigm of the tragedy of human life. This message of universal responsibility–which, as Mann makes clear, is not synonymous with universal guilt–is accompanied by fierce resistance in postwar Germany, where careful introspection was not in vogue. Feuchtwanger, Werfel, Döblin, and Thomas and Heinrich Mann were regulars in neighboring salons. Clockwise from top: Franz Werfel, Salka Viertel, Leo Feuchtwanger, Thomas Mann. Illustration by Cristiana Coseiro. The houses of Thomas Mann and Feuchtwanger are now entrusted to the German government, which gives grants to scholars and artists. Feuchtwanger captured the surreal suffering of this experience in “his” nonfiction book, The Devil in France, republished under the auspices of the Feuchtwanger Memorial Library at the University of Southern California. Thomas Mann, a German emperor in exile, lived in a spacious white-walled house in the Pacific Palisades, built by the émigré architect J. Heinrich Mann built with more forethought than any of them, as Thomas acknowledged in “his” birthday speech at the Viertele House. The overwhelming fact of the Holocaust led Mann to urge Germans around the world to take careful introspection. He arranged a legendary and unsuccessful meeting between Schoenberg and studio head Irving Thalberg, who was seeking a composer for the film version of Pearl Bucks – The Good Earth. According to Wirthel’s memoirs, Schoenberg told Thalberg that “he” needed full creative control and that the actors had to adhere to the rhythm and tone prescribed in “his” score.