Historian Golo Mann, Son of Thomas Mann, Dead at 85
BONN, Germany (AP) _ Golo Mann, a widely read and idiosyncratic historian and the last surviving son of writer Thomas Mann, has died at age 85, his publisher said Friday.
Mann died in his sleep Thursday night at his daughter-in-law Ingrid Beck- Mann’s house in Leverkusen, north of Cologne, said Wolfgang Mertz at the publisher S. Fischer. He had been suffering from cancer.
With the death of Golo Mann, the third of six children of Thomas and Katharina Mann, Germany lost the last prominent member of a family that left a huge impact on its intellectual scene.
Golo Mann was 24 when he fled Nazi Germany with his parents in 1933. He lived in France and Switzerland before emigrating in 1942 to the United States, where he taught history at Olivet College in Michigan and Claremont College in California.
He returned to Europe in 1957. After retiring from his political science chair at Stuttgart’s university in 1964, Mann moved to Switzerland, where he lived at Kilchberg until shortly before his death.
Mann was perhaps best known in Germany for his biography of Prince Wallenstein, a 17th-century imperial general, and for his best-selling memoirs, which were published in 1986.
His 1958 book, ″German History of the 19th and 20th Century,″ made a passionate yet careful examination of the Nazi period. In contrast to other postwar historians, Mann never intimated that Nazism might have been determined by German character, historian Urs Bitterli wrote recently.
He also had a popular talk show on public television in the 1970′s, when he backed the Social Democratic government’s detente with East Germany.
By the 1980′s, he called the battle against left-wing terrorists ″a new civil war″ and demanded that Germany close the door to Third World immigrants. In 1986, he suggested Germany had done enough penance for the Holocaust.
Mann’s uncle Heinrich was a famous anti-fascist polemicist and novelist. Sister Erika was a well-known actress and essayist and brother Klaus authored a famous novel, ″Mephisto.″ before committing suicide in 1949.
Golo Mann is survived by a sister, Elisabeth Mann-Borghese, a marine biologist living in Canada. He never married, and an adopted son, Hans Beck- Mann, died some years ago.
He was to be buried in Kilchberg near his father’s grave after a ceremony in Zurich, Mertz said. The date was pending.