Erika Mann

From Academic Kids

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Erika Julia Hedwig Mann (November 9, 1905August 27, 1969) was the eldest daughter of novelist Thomas Mann and Katia Pringsheim Mann.

She was born in Munich and had a privileged childhood. The Mann home was a gathering-place for intellectuals and artists. She was hired for her first theater engagement before finishing her Abitur at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. In 1924, she began serious theater studies in Berlin and played in Berlin and Bremen. In 1925, she played in the premier of her brother Klaus' play Anja und Esther.

On July 24, 1926, she married German actor Gustaf Gründgens, but they divorced in 1929.

In 1927, she and Klaus undertook a trip around the world, which they documented in their book Rundherum; Das Abenteuer einer Weltreise. The following year, she began to be active in journalism and in politics.

She played a role in the classic lesbian film Mädchen in Uniform (1931, Leontine Sagan). In 1932, her acting career came to an end, and in the same year, she published the first of many children's books.

In 1933, she, Klaus, and Therese Giehse founded a cabaret in Munich called Die Pfeffermühle, for which Erika wrote most of the material, much of which was anti-Fascist.

Erika was the last member of the Mann family to leave Germany after the Nazi regime was elected. She saved many of Thomas Mann's papers from their Munich home when she escaped to Zurich. In 1936, Die Pfeffermühle opened again in Zurich and became a rallying point for the exiles.

She undertook a marriage of convenience to the English poet W. H. Auden, in order to obtain British citizenship. The marriage was never consummated, but they occasionally met on friendly terms in later years, and never bothered to get a divorce.

In 1937, she crossed over to New York, where Die Pfeffermühle (as The Peppermill) opened its doors again.

In 1938, she and Klaus reported on the Spanish Civil War, and the following year, they published Escape to Life, a book about famous German exiles. During the war, she was active as a journalist in England.

In 1952, she moved back to Switzerland with her parents. She had begun to help her father with his writing and had become one of his closest confidantes. She became responsible for his works after his death and worked on them intensely.

She died in Zurich.

Biographical films

Escape to Life: The Erika & Klaus Mann Story (2001)de:Erika Mann eo:Erika MANN it:Erika Mann pl:Erika Mann pt:Erika Mann


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