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Erika mann

Julia Hedwig Erika Mann, born on 9 November 1905 in Munich , died on 27 August 1969 in Zurich , eldest daughter of the German novelist Thomas Mann and Katia Mann , is a woman of letters , actress and singer German .

Youth

Erika has a privileged childhood. A year later, Klaus was born. In the early 1950s, Erika looked back on their relationship:

“We were raised as twins. Klaus was exactly one year and nine days younger than me. We became very close and we have remained so throughout our youth and our adult life… this one having ended for Klaus at the age of only forty-three years. "

The Mann House is a meeting place for intellectuals and artists. Erika obtains her first theatrical engagement (before obtaining her abitur ) in Max Reinhardt's troupe at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin .

Erika Mann

Erika Mann, daughter of Thomas Mann


Erika Mann, daughter of German author Thomas Mann, speaking on the phone during her father's book tour for "The Coming Victory of Democracy", Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1939. (Photo by William Vandivert / The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

Erika Mann

Comedy and writing

In 1924 , Erika studied drama seriously in Berlin and performed in Berlin and Bremen . In 1925 , she played with her brother Klaus the play he wrote, Anja und Esther.

On July 24 , 1926 , she married the German comedian Gustaf Gründgens  ; they divorced in 1929 . At the time, she had a passion for actress Pamela Wedekind , who was engaged to her brother Klaus. It is his first homosexual passion. In 1927 , Erika and Klaus embarked on a journey through the world, following which they wrote a four-handed book Across the Wide World (Rundherum. Das Abenteuer einer Weltreise). The following year, she began an active journalistic and political career, while pursuing her career as an actress. With Klaus, she writes a travel diary on the Riviera . In 1931, she won a 10,000 kilometer car race across southern Europe. During the race, she writes reports.

She played in the lesbian film Young Girls in Uniform (1931) by Leontine Sagan but left the production before its end. In 1932 , she published the first of her many children's books. The same year, victim of Nazi attacks, she had to interrupt her acting career in Germany. Subsequently, she will experience several Sapphic loves , with Therese Giehse , then Betty Cox and Annemarie Schwarzenbach , while she serves as a war correspondent during World War II . As was later written, her relationships are sexually passionate and intellectually stimulating.

In 1933 , Erika, Klaus, Therese Giehse and composer Markus Henning founded a satirical-literary cabaret in Munich called Le Moulin à poivre , for which Erika wrote most of the texts, often with Klaus, many of which were anti-Nazi; Erika is the mistress of ceremonies.

Erika has a privileged childhood. A year later, Klaus was born. In the early 1950s, Erika looked back on their relationship:

“We were raised as twins. Klaus was exactly one year and nine days younger than me. We became very close and we have remained so throughout our youth and our adult life… this one having ended for Klaus at the age of only forty-three years. "

The Mann House is a meeting place for intellectuals and artists. Erika obtains her first theatrical engagement (before obtaining her abitur ) in Max Reinhardt's troupe at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin .

Departure from Germany

Erika is the last of the Mann family to leave Germany after the Nazis came to power. She retrieves many papers from Thomas Mann in their house in Munich and fled to Zurich , where she reunites with her parents (whom she prevents from returning to Munich). The Pepper Mill reopens its doors in Zurich and becomes a rallying point for exiles and the most famous anti-Nazi cabaret in exile.

In 1935 , she entered into a marriage of convenience with the English poet WH Auden , in order to obtain British citizenship. Erika and Auden never lived together, but remained friends and officially married until Erika's death.

In 1937 , she went to New York , where Die Pfeffermühle (which became The Peppermill) reopened. Erika, her brother Klaus , Therese Giehse and Annemarie Schwarzenbach find themselves among a large group of artists in exile, with people like Kurt Weill , Ernst Toller or Sonja Sekula .

In 1938 , she followed the Spanish Civil War with Klaus as war correspondents. The following year, they published Escape to Life, a book about famous German exiles.

During World War II , she was a correspondent for American, Canadian and British newspapers, worked for the BBC in London and for the United States Army in several countries. She works for the Office of War Information in New York and goes as a war reporter to places of conflict. In 1945 , correspondent in Europe, Erika was the only woman to cover the preparations and the holding of the Nuremberg trials .

“You know, the case of the Germans is hopeless. Illusion and falsehood, arrogance and obedience, cunning and stupidity are oddly mingled in their hearts, ”she wrote to Klaus.

Post-war

After the war, Klaus and Erika are the subject of an FBI investigation into their political views and rumors of homosexuality. In 1949 , increasingly depressed and full of disillusionment with Germany, at the turn of the post-war period, Klaus Mann committed suicide. This event affects Erika:

“I don't know how to live yet, I just know I have no other choice. We were a whole - so much so that in reality it is impossible to imagine myself without him. "

In 1952 , after having been the object of serious defamations during the McCarthyism years, she returned to Switzerland with her parents. She becomes an essential collaborator for her father, before taking charge of his work after his death.

Erika et Klaus Mann
Erika and Klaus Mann
Erika, Klaus Man et Annemarie Scharzenbach (1932 - Venise)
Erika, Klaus Man and annemarie Scharzenbach (1932 - Venice)
Erika Mann et Annemarie Scharzenbach
Erika Mann and annemarie Scharzenbach (1932 - Venice)
Tombe Erika Mann
Kilchberg near Zurich, cemetery

La Côte d'Azur by Klaus and Erika Mann Le Grand Tour des Littératures

In the footsteps of traveling writers, who put their journeys around the world into words. In 1931, the young Klaus and Erika Mann set off together for the Côte d'Azur to write an unconventional travel guide. The son and daughter of Nobel Prize for Literature Thomas Mann, themselves already famous, are having a blast ...

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