A sensitive writer from early on: the E.M. Forster of German literature in the early decades of the 20th Century. He was thoroughly German in every respect but his mother was Brazilian and his father had a mix of Jewish ancestry. Mann claimed a distant relation to Goethe. He was never afraid to stand up to the horror of the Third Reich at the height of his world fame, after winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, and before being forced into exiled to the United States.
Susan Sontag wrote a famous essay of her rare interview with the writer while she was a high school student in the 1950s in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles California, where he moved just before the onslaught of WWII. Her description of a burning cigarette still stands out in my mind when I think of this essay.