Events | Thomas Mann's Los Angeles: Stories From Exile 1940-1952: Claudia Gordon and Benno Herz in Conversation. Moderated by Thomas Aujero Small.

Culver City, Village Well Books & Coffee | October 16, 2022 | 3:00 PM (PDT)

Director of the Villa Aurora Claudia Gordon and Benno Herz, Program Director of the Thomas Mann House, will engage in a conversation about the exile community around the Manns and Feuchtwangers in Los Angeles in the 1940s and 1950s and about the relevance of the two families' former exile homes today. Moderated by Thomas Aujero Small, President of Culver City Forward and Thomas Mann House Advisory Board Member.

Thomas Mann’s Los Angeles: Stories from Exile 1940–1952 explores Mann’s relationships to the city and the network he found there: writers including Bertolt Brecht, Christopher Isherwood, Aldous Huxley, and a young Susan Sontag; Hollywood luminaries like Jack Warner, Carl Laemmle, Max Reinhardt, and Ernst Lubitsch; and musicians such as Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg. In addition to the cultural and political life of the city, Thomas Mann’s Los Angeles explores how the formidable Mann adapted to life as an Angeleno, enjoying the city’s many beaches, dining out at the Brown Derby, visiting the Hollywood Bowl, and taking walks through the neighborhood with his poodle, Niko. Short essays on each topic, written by forty-three experts on the subject, provide fascinating insight into Mann’s life in exile.

The conversation will highlight Claudia Gordon's chapter on Lion Feuchtwanger and his relationship with Thomas Mann and other fellow exiles. Together with co-editor and co-athor Benno Herz and moderated by Thomas Aujero Small, they will discuss the role that the Thomas Mann House and the Villa Aurora as the former exile homes of the Mann and Feuchtwanger families continue to play and what the stories of the 1940s exile community might reveal to us today.


Claudia Suhr Gordon studied Egyptology, Sociology and Coptic Studies at the University of Göttingen, Germany where she earned her Ph.D. with a dissertation on Ancient Egyptian first-person narratives. She has worked as an archaeologist in Luxor, Egypt and currently serves as Director of Villa Aurora, an artist residency in the former exile home of writer Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife Marta. In 2016, Villa Aurora was entrusted with the administration of the Thomas Mann House, where Claudia also serves as Head of Administration.



Benno Herz is Program Director at the Thomas Mann House, Los Angeles. He studied Theater, Film and Media Studies at the Goethe University Frankfurt and completed his M.A. with a focus on new social media aesthetics and interface theory. He is co-editor and co-author of the publication Thomas Mann's Los Angeles: Stories from Exile 1940-1952 (Angel City Press, 2022). Herz taught a digital humanities class on European exile at University of California, Los Angeles.



Thomas Aujero Small is the CEO of Culver City Forward, a non-profit public-private partnership that brings business, government, and the community together to inspire and pursue innovative urban solutions to the most crucial issues in our region. He was the 2018 Mayor of Culver City and served on the City Council from 2016 to 2020. Culver City Forward Motion, part of his 2018 State of the City presentation, sets forth a vision for the future of Culver City. A long-time writer and consultant in architecture and urban planning, he serves on the Mobility Committee of the Urban Land Institute Los Angeles and chairs the LA METRO Sustainability Council. Thomas Aujero Small is on the advisory board of the Thomas Mann House.


Village Well Books & Coffee

9900 Culver Blvd. #1B
Culver City CA
USA, 90232

Admission to the event is free and open to the public.


The Event is organized by Village Well Books & Coffee

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