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Mann Holds Nazi Regime “unfortunate Interlude”

April 21, 1937
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Expressing the conviction that the Nazi regime in Germany is “no more than an unfortunate interlude,” Thomas Mann tonight held out the task “to help the living spirit of German culture through a period of night and winter” through the American Guild for German Cultural Freedom.

The noted novelist spoke at a dinner under the auspices of the recently-formed guild at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, which marked the be

ginning of its first public effort to raise a budget to carry out its purposes. On the program with Dr. Mann were Governor Wilbur L. Cross of Connecticut, chairman; Herbert Bayard Swope, toastmaster; Dorothy Thompson, Carl van Doren and Samuel L. M. Barlow.

Declaring that events in Germany had emphasized the need for freedom of spirit, the self-exiled German author asserted that this “rediscovered truth” was felt within Germany itself “and we have grounds to believe that the positive advantage accruing from the National Socialist episode to the German people will be this re-discovery of freedom, the recognition of its immeasurable worth for the human soul and human life.”

Dr. Mann cited an incident which he said is indicative of the “longing for freedom which is spreading among the German people today.” He referred to the applause with which Berlin audiences are greeting a passage in Schiller’s “Don Carlos,” in which the central character, Marquis Posa, closes a speech to the Spanish tyrant with the cry, “Give us freedom of thought.”

“These almost despairing demonstrations,” he declared “are by no means lacking in danger, for they are definitely political.”

Speaking of the purposes of the guild, he said:

“The privation from which the free German spirit is suffering today, since it lacks that official support which the national genius of other peoples enjoy, is to be made up for as far as possible in that each individual German who is compelled to work today in a land foreign to him can feel himself represented by the academy vis-a-vis of the world, and so be backed by a sort of court, recognized by the world, so that he need not feel himself to be an entirely isolated being, floating on air.”

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