Klaus Mann

Klaus Mann headshot
Klaus Heinrich Thomas Mann (1906-1949) was a prolific writer, author of seven novels, six plays, four biographies, three autobiographies, many stories, reviews articles and essays. He was an openly gay man, who wrote the first gay novel and first gay autobiography in Germany. He was also an early and vociferous opponent of Nazism, both in Germany and as a political exile in Europe and the United States. The second of six children of Katia Pringsheim and novelist Thomas Mann and the nephew of Heinrich Mann, Klaus began writing as a child and, at 18, began reviewing theater in Berlin. His most famous book Mephisto, the barely disguised story of Erika’s erstwhile husband, theater actor and political opportunist Gustaf Gründgens, was written in 1936 but banned and relatively unknown in Germany until 1981. Mann wrote Kind dieser Zeit, an autobiography of his first 18 years, in Germany in November of 1932. He fled to Paris in March of 1933 and lived there and in Amsterdam before emigrating to the United States in the late 1930s. He wrote the second installment of his autobiography, The Turning Point — in English — between August 1941 and 1942 while a stateless refugee, waiting to become a US citizen in 1943. During World War II, he served with the US Army in Italy; afterward, he worked as a journalist for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, writing over 90 articles about Germans in postwar-Germany. In May of 1949, he died of a drug overdose in the south of France.

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