Members of the International Thomas Mann Association meet in Lithuania

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2019-06-25

The legacy of one of the most famous writers of the 20th century and Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann is preserved and disseminated not only in Nida where this master of the written word built a summer house during the inter-war period, but also internationally: for this purpose, a meeting of the representatives of the cultural institutions which are members of Thomas Mann Houses International will be held from 26 to 28 June. The organisations based in four countries aim to foster the legacy of the different periods of the writer’s life.

The association of five cultural institutions of the U.S., Lithuania, Switzerland and Germany, the emergence and activities of which are linked to different stages in Thomas Mann’s life, was established two years ago on the eve of Christmas, in Lübeck, the writer’s hometown. The programme of the upcoming meeting in Nida will include the discussions on joint initiatives and the exploration of this unique corner of Lithuania and Thomas Mann Museum based in this location.

According to the event organizer, Dr. Lina Motuzienė, Director of Thomas Mann Cultural Centre, one of the most relevant topics is the digitisation of the artefacts accumulated by the cultural institutions shedding light on the writer’s personality and life. Other important activities include research and organisation of exhibitions and other events. By joining forces, the institutions aim to bring to the forefront the topics relating to politics, democracy, migration or exile relevant to Thomas Mann and his followers.

“The geographical reach and activities of our network is a perfect example of how in today’s world, distance is no longer an obstacle for efficient partnership. We strongly believe in this principle and we want to make the most of the opportunities offered by both real-life interactions and technologies,” Dr. Motuzienė said.

The association members boast a variety of expertise and archives. According to Dr. Motuzienė, an important advantage of Thomas Mann Museum and Cultural Centre is its authentic summerhouse which is still in perfect shape and the extensive experience acquired through organising the culture festival named after the writer which spans three decades and which will take place from 13 to 20 July this year. “By cooperating with international partners, we acquire opportunities to widen our horizons and to offer new knowledge to our museum visitors and tourists,” Dr. Motuzienė added.

Thomas Mann is an acclaimed classic writer of the first half of the 20th century who has gained prominence for his active public stance which, to a large extent, shaped the twists and turns and the geography of his life. Born in Lübeck, a merchant city in northern Germany, Thomas Mann moved to Munich where he started a family. Together with his wife and children he spent several summers in Nida, a town that greatly fascinated them. After the National Socialists seized power, the writer moved to the United States and spent the last days of his life in Switzerland.

Thomas Mann Houses International brings together Buddenbrook House in Lübeck,Monacensia Hildebrandt House in Munich, Thomas Mann Cultural Centre in Nida, Thomas Mann Archives in Zurich, and Vila Aurora and Thomas Mann House in the U.S. and Berlin.

Ninety years ago, in 1929, Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks, the saga of one family of Lübeckinspired by personal biographical details, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature as “the first great novel of the 20th century”.