The series “55 Voices for Democracy” is inspired by the 55 BBC radio addresses Thomas Mann delivered from his home in California to thousands of listeners in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and the occupied Netherlands and Czechoslovakia between October 1940 and November 1945. In his monthly addresses, Mann spoke out strongly against fascism, becoming the most significant German defender of democracy in exile. Building on that legacy, The series brings together internationally-esteemed intellectuals, scientists, and artists to present ideas for the renewal of democracy in our own troubled times. Participants include political scientists Francis Fukuyama and Jan Werner Müller, philosopher Seyla Benhabib, writers Orhan Pamuk and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, sociologist Ananya Roy, the German studies scholar Jan Philipp Reemtsma, historians Martha S. Jones and Timothy Snyder, and many more.

The series is presented by the Thomas Mann House in cooperation with Deutschlandfunk, the Los Angeles Review of Books and Süddeutsche Zeitung.


Jan Philipp Reemtsma

Jan Philipp Reemtsma is Professor for New German Literature at the University of Hamburg and an internationally renowned author of works such as Gewalt als Lebensform (2016), Vertrauen und Gewalt (2008, translated as Trust and Violence, 2012) or Gebt der Erinnerung Namen (2007, with Saul Friedländer).

The traveling exhibitions on the crimes of the Wehrmacht that he organized with the Hamburg Institute for Social Research, have had a lasting impact on the process of accounting for the past in Germany.



Ananya Roy

Ananya Roy is Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare and Geography and inaugural Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin. She holds The Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy.

Ananya’s research and scholarship has a determined focus on poverty and inequality and seeks to build power for marginalized communities. Professor Roy is the recipient of several awards including the Paul Davidoff Award, which recognizes scholarship that advances social justice, for her 2010 book, Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development.

Read the article on the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Timothy Snyder

Timothy Snyder is Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.

His recent books are Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (2015); On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017); and The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America (2018).

Snyder's work has appeared in forty languages and has received a number of prizes, including the Emerson Prize in the Humanities, the Literature Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Dutch Auschwitz Committee award, and the Hannah Arendt Prize in Political Thought.

Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama is the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He has previously taught at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and at the George Mason University School of Public Policy.
Fukuyama was a researcher at the RAND Corporation and served as the deputy director for the State Department’s policy planning staff. He is the author of books like „Identity. The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment“, „The End of History and the Last Man“, and „America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy“.

Read the article on the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Media partners for the series are Deutschlandfunk, Los Angeles Review of Books and Süddeutsche Zeitung.


Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.