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Germany Buys Writer Thomas Mann's Former L.A. Home For $13 Million

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(Photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker)
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When legendary German writer Thomas Mann's former home in the Pacific Palisades came up for sale in August, German intellectuals and literary scholars—fearing the home's demolition—called on their federal government to purchase and preserve it. At the time, the idea seemed like a bit of a $15 million pipe dream, albeit not an impossibility: in the early 1990s, the artistically-minded German government spent $2 million to acquire Villa Aurora, the palatial former home of fellow literati exile Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife Marta. Feuchtwanger's former residence, also in the Pacific Palisades, now serves as "a kind of artists’ colony/German cultural center," according to The New York Times.

Well, just as the future of federal funding for the arts remains utterly uncertain in an ever more conservative and increasingly authoritarian America, it seems our German friends are really stepping up their game. Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany's largest daily newspaper, reported Friday that the country's government has saved the Weimar palace at 1550 San Remo Drive from possible demolition, dropping a cool $13.25 million to purchase the home where Mann lived in exile from 1942 to 1952.

The office of Joyce Rey, the realtor representing the five-bedroom, five-bath home, confirmed to LAist that the German government had indeed purchased the home. The sale closed this week, according to Eliza Scofield, Rey's assistant. "We're definitely happy that the property is being preserved," she said.

According to the New York Times, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's foreign minister, "said in a statement Friday that the house would be developed into a cultural center for debate over major trans-Atlantic issues, including migration, exile and integration. The house would also offer residency fellowships for artists and intellectuals."