Sanary-sur-Mer | German writers in exile, 1930s

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 Jean Puy, Market in Sanary-Sur-Mer, 1925

”We lived in paradise, against our will.”

Ludwig Marcuse, Mein Zwanzigstes Jahrhundert, 1960


Gen Paul, Sanary, 1939

“If one lives in exile, the café becomes at once the family home, the nation, church and parliament, a desert and a place of pilgrimage, cradle of illusions and their cemetery… In exile, the café is the one place where life goes on.”

Hermann Kesten

With the declaration of war in 1939, the French government treated these exiles as enemy aliens and interned some of them in camps like the concentration Camp des Milles near Aix-en-Provence, and eventually some were sent to Auschwitz.

Gen Paul, A beach scene in south of France, Sanary sur Mer, 1935

Moise Kisling and his sons on the beach

With the rise of Nazism in the early 1930s, a great number of German writers and intellectuals left Germany and settled in Sanary-sur-Mer. The playwright Bertolt Brecht, Egon Erwin Kisch, Thomas Mann, Ludwig Marcuse, Joseph Roth, Franz Werfel and his wife Alma Mahler widow of Gustav Mahler at Le Moulin Gris, Lion Feuchtwanger at Villa Lazare then at Villa Valmer, and Arnold Zweig. Patronised by Jean Cocteau and his coterie, Sanary had already drawn Aldous Huxley, who wrote Brave New World at Villa Huley, and his wife, Maria; they attracted other English visitors, such as D. H. Lawrence and his wife, Frieda; Julian Huxley and his wife, Juliette; and others. The German expatriates clustered around Thomas Mann and his large family, his brother Heinrich and his wife (the model for Blue Angel), the writers Stefan Zweig and Arnold Zweig, the art critic Julius Meier-Graefe, and the artist René Schickele. Sybille von Schoenebeck (later, as Sybille Bedford, the author of A Legacy) lived here with her mother. Artists such as Moise Kisling and Picasso were also in residence and Kiki de Montparnasse muse to Man Ray and many other artists also lived here.

Moise Kisling, Sanary, 1937
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Rudolf Levy, Sanary-sur-Mer, 1924
Thomas Mann in Sanary sur Mer 1933
Thomas Mann in Sanary-sur-Mer, 1933
Moïse Kisling, Le Port de Sanary, 1923

In the Huxley’s garden: Aldous Huxley, Sybille Bedford, Gerald Heard, Eddy Sackville-West, Eva Herrmann1930’s

Sanary sur Mer

Sanary-sur-Mer, German writers in exile, 1930s

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