Life and work
Born in Lübeck as the oldest child of Thomas Johann Heinrich Mann and Júlia da Silva Bruhns, he was the elder brother of Thomas Mann. His father came from a patrician grain merchant family and was a Senator of the Hanseatic city. After the death of his father, his mother moved the family to Munich, where Heinrich began his career as a freier Schriftsteller or free novelist.
Together with Albert Einstein and other celebrities, Mann was a signatory to a letter to the Urgent Call for Unity condemning the murder of Croatian scholar Dr Milan Šufflay on 18 February 1931.
Mann became persona non grata in Nazi Germany and left even before the Reichstag fire in 1933. He went to France where he lived in Paris and Nice. During the German occupation he made his way to Marseille in Vichy France and there was aided by Varian Fry in 1940 to escape to Spain. He then went to Portugal and sailed to America.
The Nazis burnt Heinrich Mann's books as "contrary to the German spirit" during the infamous book burnings of May 10th 1933, which was instigated by the then Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.