Germany has purchased the Pacific Palisades residence once owned by Thomas Mann, averting demolition of the home where the Nobel Prize-winning novelist lived for a decade after fleeing Adolf Hitler, it was reported Monday.
The home, built in 1941 and designed by modernist architect J.R. Davidson, had been listed this summer for just under $15 million. Sitting on a flat lot measuring almost one acre, it had been labeled as a “tear-down,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
But the prospect of bulldozing the secluded five-bedroom home generated protest. An online petition called on the German government to have the home, describing it as a monument to German exiles in California and resistance to the Nazi regime, according to the newspaper.
The mansion ultimately was purchased for $13.25 million, according to the listing page. German officials said it will be renovated and eventually used as an artist residency.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeie said the residence symbolized “a home for many Germans who worked toward a better future for their country, paved the way for an open society and laid the foundations for common transatlantic values,” according to a statement posted by the German consulate in Los Angeles.
Mann fled Germany in 1933 and lived in Switzerland before immigrating to the U.S. After some time in New Jersey, he moved to Southern California in the early 1940s. While living at the home, Mann wrote “Doctor Faustus” and “The Holy Sinner,” according to the Times.
Mann’s stay in Los Angeles lasted about a decade, and he and his wife returned to Europe in 1952, distressed by the ascendance of McCarthyism. He died in Switzerland three years later.
—City News Service