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Aug
01
2010

Thomas Mann’s War-time Radio Speeches and the Genesis of the Mass Gassing Allegations

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By Thomas Kues

Thomas Mann (b. 1875) is one of the most well known German writers of the 20th century, famous for among others the novels Buddenbrooks, Tonio Kröger, Death in Venice and The Magic Mountain. In 1905 he married the Jewess Katia Pringsheim. In 1929 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Already before the rise of the National Socialists to power Mann had been a vocal opponent to their politics, and in 1933 he went into exile. From 1938 until 1952 he lived in the United States, from where he moved to Switzerland after having been accused of being a Stalin apologist and summoned to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Mann died in Zürich in 1955.

From 1940 to the end of the war Mann recorded a number of speeches in German which were sent to the BBC and broadcasted from London in order to reach German radio listeners. The first 30 speeches were published in book form in 1943, and after the end of the war a second edition of the book was published containing the texts of all 55 radio speeches.[1] For most of of the printed speeches only the month of broadcasting is indicated, only in some cases are exact dates given. Below I will present Mann’s statements on alleged mass gassings of Jews in chronological order and comment on their significance.
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