Luiz Heinrich Mann, the elder brother of Thomas Mann, was born on March 27, 1871 in Lübeck. He spent his childhood in well protected and financially secure familial surroundings. His father was a senator for economics and finance in Lübeck. After graduating from the Gymnasium, Heinrich Mann began an apprenticeship as a bookseller in Dresden, and in 1891/1892 Mann did his voluntary service at the S. Fischer publishing house in Berlin. During this time, he also studied at the Friedrich Wilhelm University and began to write seriously.
In 1894 Mann published his first work under the title "In a Family" ("In einer Familie"). Already as a young man, he suffered from a lung disease, hemoptysis, and spent time in sanatoria and at health resorts. In 1893, the Mann family relocated to Munich permanently. In 1903, his most productive year, Mann wrote the trilogy "The Goddesses or the Three Novels of the Duchess of Assy" ("Die Göttinnen oder die drei Romane der Herzogin von Assy") and "The Hunt for Love" ("Die Jagd nach Liebe").
Traveling often from Munich, Heinrich Mann spent a year in Italy with his brother Thomas. In 1905, he wrote the novel "Small Town Tyrant" ("Professor Unrat oder das Ende eines Tyrannen"). Mann was devastated in 1910 when his sister, Clara Mann, took her own life.
Two years later, Mann married the actress Maria Kanová from Prague. They moved together back to Munich. In the same year, Heinrich Mann began his next novel "The Loyal Subject" ("Der Untertan").
When the novel's advance publication appeared in the paper "Zeit im Bild," it immediately fell victim to the censor and was suppressed with the outbreak of World War I. The novel first appeared in Russian in 1915, then in 1916 and later as a private edition in German. This important work was first widely published in Germany after the end of the war in 1918. When his brother Thomas Mann, in "Thoughts in War" ("Gedanken im Kriege"), expressed support for the war, Heinrich Mann cut off all contact with him.
The following years were marked by the death of his mother (1923), the suicide of his sister Julia (1927), and the separation from his wife Maria (1928). From 1928, Heinrich Mann lived in Berlin and became more and more politically active, identifying with the Communists.
Together with Käthe Kollwitz, Albert Einstein, and other celebrities, Mann signed the appeal to the Communist Party of Germany and the Social Democratic Party of Germany against the National Socialists.
In 1931, Heinrich Mann became the president of the poetry department of the Prussian Academy of the Arts; the department was closed two years later on account of Mann's political activities.
Even before the burning of the Reichstag in Berlin in 1933, Heinrich Mann fled to France. In French exile, he wrote the novels "Young Henry of Navarre" ("Die Jugend des Königs Henri Quatre") and "Henri Quatre: King of France" ("Die Vollendung des Königs Henri Quatre"). Mann went to the United States in 1940 and, during the emigration, became chairman of the Preparatory Commission of the German Popular Front and was named honorary president of the exiled Social Democratic Party of Germany.
In 1949, Heinrich Mann was appointed to the presidency of the German Academy of the Arts in East Berlin, but he died on March 12, 1950 in Santa Monica, California, shortly before returning to Germany.