Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Thomas Mann and Nida

On my Baltic biking itinerary is an overnight stay in Nida, Lithuania—a small beach town on the Lithuanian half of the Curonian Spit. The Germans called it Nidden, and it was the summer retreat of Thomas Mann. His books were later banned by the Third Reich—in spite of being a recipient of the 1929 Nobel Award for Literature—and he left by 1933. Supposedly the Nazi government mailed him a charred copy of his novel, Buddenbrooks, and he quickly got the message. 

Wojsyl, 2005
In 1939, Herman Göring confiscated the house as a holiday place for injured Luftwaffe personnel. Nowadays, his restored cottage holds the Thomas Mann Cultural Centre and the community hosts an active writing colony. His grandson, Frido Mann, released My Nidden: On the Curonian Spit in 2012. Another book to read to help me appreciate the tortured history of this beautiful area. 

JonasS at Lithuanian Wikipedia
I studied Thomas Mann years ago when I majored in 20thcentury German Literature. It’s crazy how all these years later, I’m still reading his work. Thomas Mann loved the landscape on this Amber Coast…the sand dunes, the salty wind, the Baltic. 

In my WIP, my character—Katya—loves it, too. And I’m on pins and needles with anticipation to experience what I have until now only imagined.