Erika Mann

Erika Mann

Erika Mann, the daughter of the novelist, Thomas Mann, was born in Munich on 9th November, 1905. Her mother, Katia Pringsheim Mann, was the daughter of a wealthy, Jewish industrialist family who owned coal mines and early railroads. (1)

Soon after Erika was born, her father wrote to his brother, Heinrich Mann about his new child: "Unexpectedly, the birth was frightfully difficult, and my poor Katia had to suffer so cruelly that the whole thing became an almost unendurable horror. I shall not forget this day for the rest of my days. I had a notion of life and one of death, but I did not yet know what birth is. Now I know that it is as profound a matter as the other two.... The little girl, who will be named Erika at her mother's wish, promises to be very pretty. For brief moments I think I see just a little Jewishness showing through, and every time that happens it greatly amuses me." (2)

It is claimed that the parents were disappointed that their first child was a girl. The next year a son, Klaus Mann, was born, therefore guaranteeing the Mann dynastic name. Erika and Klaus looked so much alike and were so emotionally close, they were known as "the twins". They both dressed similarly and celebrated their birthdays on the same date." They were followed by Gottfried (1909), Monika (1910), Elisabeth (1918) and Michael (1919). (3)

Although her mother came from a Jewish family, all the six children were baptised as Protestants. According to Mann's biographer, Anthony Heilbut, she was his favourite. The Mann were considered to be very unconventional: "Mann had tainted his new family with scandal. It would trail him for years; literary gossip recounted how Katia strolled hand-in-hand with her brother Klaus; while the Mann's oldest children, Erika and Klaus, with their penchant for shared wardrobes, appeared to some observers the 1920s answer to Siegmund and Sieglinde." (4)

Erika Mann attended a private school with her brother. In May 1921, she transferred to the Luisengymnasium in Munich. With a group of friends, Erika and Klaus, they founded an experimental theater troupe, the Laienbund Deutscher Mimiker. In 1924 she began her theatrical studies in Berlin and during this period she worked under Max Reinhardt and appeared in several productions. (5)

In 1924, Klaus Mann wrote Anja and Esther, a play about "a neurotic quartet of four boys and girls" who "were madly in love with each other". The following year he was approached by the actor Gustaf Gründgens, who wanted to direct the play with himself in one of the male roles, Klaus in the other; Erika Mann and Pamela Wedekind, the daughter of the playwright Frank Wedekind, would be the two young women. "Klaus planned to marry Pamela, with whom Erika fell in love, while Erika arranged to marry Gustaf, with whom Klaus began an affair." (6)

The play, which opened in Hamburg in October 1925, attracted vast amounts of publicity, partly because of its scandalous content and partly because it starred three children of two famous writers. A photograph appeared on the cover of Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung. It created a great deal of controversy as "Klaus's lipstick gave him the look of a transvestite". (7)

It has been argued that Thomas Mann was also bi-sexual and as a young man he had a sexual relationship with Ernst Bertram. One of his biographer's, Richard Winston, has claimed: "Never in his whole life was he to admit openly to that defect, except in the deep privacy of his diaries. Yet he nursed this secret as a source of pleasure, of interest, of creative power." (8)

The Mann family lived in luxury. Gottfried later wrote, "thanks to the Nobel Prize and the tremendous earnings of The Magic Mountain. They took trips, they ate and drank well, and two large cars stood in the garage: an open American car and a German limousine. When they went to the theatre, the chauffeur waited in the lobby with their fur coats at the end of the performance. This style of life, which they went to no trouble to conceal, made their growing number of political enemies hate them all the more". (9)

On 24th July, 1926, Erika married Gustaf Gründgens, but the marriage was not successful and they lived together for a short period. (10) In 1927, she and Klaus traveled around the world. (11) On her return to Germany she divorced Gründgens, who was sympathetic to the Nazi Party. She began a passionate affair with Pamela Wedekind, who at that time was engaged to her brother, Klaus Mann. Erika also had a relationship with the actress Therese Giehse, and appeared in the film about lesbianism Mädchen in Uniform (1931). It was a great success but because of its subject matter it was banned in the United States. (12)

Colm Tóibín has pointed out that during this period Erika and Klaus "wrote articles and books and made outrageous statements; they travelled, they had many lovers. Erika worked in the theatre and appeared in films, Klaus wrote more plays. In other words, they took full advantage of the freedoms offered by the Weimar Republic. For many in the Nazi Party, they were the epitome of all that was wrong with Germany. And their mother’s Jewish background didn’t endear them to the National Socialists either." (13)

Hermann Kurzke has suggested: "Professionally, her focus shifted from the stage to journalism. A journey to Africa in 1930 introduced experiences with drugs. Erika trained as an automobile mechanic and in 1931 participated in a rally, driving ten thousand kilometers in ten days." (14)

In January 1932, Erika Mann was asked to read a poem by Victor Hugo to a women’s pacifist group. However, a group of Sturmabteilung (SA) men were in the audience and they heckled her. One of them shouted out: "You are a criminal... Jewish traitress! International agitator!" She later wrote: "In the hall, everything became a mad scramble. The Stormtroopers attacked the audience with their chairs, shouting themselves into paroxysms of anger and fury." The Nazi newspaper, Völkischer Beobachter, reported that Mann was "a flatfooted peace hyena" with "no human physiognomy". Mann sued for damages and after examining several photographs of her the judge declared that her face was in fact legally human." (15)

Mann now became heavily involved in politics. "I realised that my experience had nothing to do with politics - it was more than politics. It touched at the very foundation of my - of our - of the existence of all." Mann joined together with a group of left-wing activists, including Therese Giehse, Walter Mehring, Magnus Henning, Wolfgang Koeppen and Lotte Goslar, to establish a cabaret in Munich called Die Pfeffermühle (The Peppermill). (16)

The production opened on 1st January, 1933. Erika Mann wrote most of the material, much of which was anti-Fascist. It ran for two months next door to the local Nazi headquarters, and, since it was so successful, was preparing to move to a larger theatre when the Reichstag went up in flames. Erika and Klaus were on a skiing holiday while the new theatre was being decorated and arrived back in Munich to be warned by the family chauffeur, that they were in danger. Later, Klaus wrote that the chauffeur "had been a Nazi spy throughout the four or five years he lived with us... But this time he had failed in his duty, out of sympathy, I suppose. For he knew what would happen to us if he informed his Nazi employers of our arrival in town." (17)

Adolf Hitler gained power in January 1933. Soon afterwards, a large number of writers were declared to be "degenerate authors". This included Heinrich Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Hans Eisler, Ernst Toller, Thomas Heine, Arnold Zweig, Ludwig Renn, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka and Hermann Hesse. On 10th May, the Nazi Party arranged the burning of thousands of "degenerate literary works" were burnt in German cities. (18)

However, Thomas Mann's work still remained popular in Germany and unlike his brother, Heinrich, had made no statements attacking the regime. His biographer, Hermann Kurzke, has argued that during the period before he took power, Mann developed friendships with some significant figures in the Nazi Party: "Does that make Thomas Mann a precursor of Fascism? He certainly made an effort to stay out of the way of the resurgent right-wing movement of the time. Very early on in the summer of 1921, he took note of the rising Nazi movement and dismissed it as ‘swastika nonsense’. As early as 1925 when Hitler was still imprisoned in Landsberg, he rejected the cultural barbarity of German Fascism with an extensive, decisive and clearly visible gesture." (19) However, others had pointed out, he had always been careful not to attack Hitler in print. (20)

Thomas Mann was on holiday in France when Hitler took power. Erika and Klaus were warned by the family chauffeur that the Mann family were in danger. (21) Later, Klaus wrote that the chauffeur "had been a Nazi spy throughout the four or five years he lived with us... For he knew what would happen to us if he informed his Nazi employers of our arrival in town." (22)

Erika made contact with her parents, and warned them not to return to Munich. Mann, who was on holiday at the time, was warned that he faced the possibility of being arrested if he returned to Germany. In September, 1933, Thomas, Katia, Gottfried, Monika, Elisabeth and Michael Mann settled in Küsnacht, near Zurich. Erika and Klaus decided to remain in Germany to continue the fight against fascism. (23)

In April 1933, Thomas Mann wrote in his diary, that he had finally accepted that "something deeply significant and revolutionary be taking place in Germany? The Jews: it is no calamity after all... that the domination of the legal system by the Jews has been ended. Secret, disquieting, persistent musings... I am beginning to suspect that in spite of everything this process is one of those that has two sides to them". (24)

During the period Erika worked as a journalist. She later wrote that "the life of every human being in Germany has been fundamentally changed since Adolf Hitler became Chancellor.... German democracy gave way to Nazi dictatorship, the upheaval was as drastic to the private life of the individual as it was to the State." Before Hitler came to power "the German citizen thought of himself as a father, or a Protestant, or a florist, or a citizen of the world, or a pacifist, or a Berliner. Now he is forced to recognise that above all he is a National Socialist." (25)

Erika Mann was especially interested in the impact of Nazi ideology on children. "All the power of the regime - all its cunning, its entire machine of propaganda and discipline - is directed to emphasize the program for German children. It is not surprising that the Nazi State considers it of primary importance that the young grow up according to Hitler's wishes, and the plans set in Mein Kampf... The Führer realizes that the education of German youth will have a tremendous influence on Germany's future - and on Europe's and the world's. He gives the problem the attention it deserves." (26)

Mann quotes as saying in Mein Kampf (1925): "Beginning with the primer, every theater, every movie, every advertisement must be subjected to the service of one great mission, until the prayer of fear that our patriots pray today: Lord, make us free, shall be changed in the mind of the smallest child into the cry: Lord, do Thou in future bless our arms... All education must have the sole object of stamping the conviction into the child that his own people and his own race are superior to all others." (27)

In her book, School for Barbarians, Mann argues that the Weimar Republic made a serious mistake to create a political neutral curriculum. "One subject, political propaganda, was missing from the curriculum. The German Republic refused to influence its citizens one way or the other, or to convince them of the advantages of democracy; it did not carry on any propaganda in its own favour. This proves to have been an error... Unused to self-rule, the German people submitted to a new State which made itself the master, and forced the people to be its servants." (28)

Mann reported that "in the winter of 1933, was that all teachers of non-Aryan or Jewish descent were relieved of their posts. An edict was issued on July 11, 1933, that included teachers with all other State officials, ordering them to subordinate their wishes, interests, and demands to the common cause, to devote themselves to the study of National Socialist ideology, and 'suggesting' that they familiarize themselves with Mein Kampf. Three days later, a 'suggestion' was sent to all those who still maintained contact with the Social Democratic Party, that they inform the Nazi Party of the severance of these connections. Committees were formed to see that it was carried out, and whoever hesitated was instantly dismissed. The purge was on. It was decided, in Prussia first (November, 1933), and later in all German schools, that public school teachers must belong to a Nazi fighting organization; they were to come to school in uniform, wherever possible, and live in camps; and, during the final examinations, they were to be tested in military sports." (29)

Erika Mann remained in constant danger. Her friends told her that one way she could protect herself was to marry a foreigner. In 1935, the poet W.H. Auden, who was an homosexual, offered to marry her. She agreed and visited England for the ceremony in Colwall. (30) When the German government heard what she had done, she was stripped of her German citizenship. According to Time Magazine, "at the risk of her life, she returned secretly to Germany to get some of her father's manuscripts." (31)

Thomas Mann remained silent on the Nazi crimes and continued to be published in Germany. In 1936, Mann's publisher, Gottfried Bermann Fischer, was denounced by exiles as a Jewish protégé of Joseph Goebbels . Mann responded by making a fervent public defence of Bermann. Erika was appalled wrote to her father: "You are stabbing in the back the entire émigré movement - I can put it no other way. Probably you will be very angry at me because of this letter. I am prepared for that, and I know what I’m doing. This friendly time is predestined to separate people – in how many cases has it happened already. Your relation to Dr Bermann and his publishing house is indestructible – you seem to be ready to sacrifice everything for it. In that case it is a sacrifice for you that I, slowly but surely, will be lost for you – then just never mind. For me it is sad, and terrible. I am your child." (32)

Erika Mann joined the anti-fascist American Artists' Congress (AAC), a group closely associated with the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA). Other members included Rockwell Kent, Stuart Davis, Boardman Robinson, William Gropper, Max Weber, George Biddle, William Zorach, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Philip Evergood, Nathaniel Dirk, Arnold Blanch, Victor Candell, Mervin Jules and Alexander Z. Kruse.

Erika eventually convinced her father to become active in America's anti-fascist movement. In December 1937, she attended a meeting of 400 members of the AAC at Carnegie Hall where she read out a statement from Thomas Mann: "One frequently hears it said that the artist should stick to his own craft, and that he merely cheapens himself when he descends into the political arena to participate in the struggles of the day. I consider this a weak objection, because of my conviction, or rather my clear realization, of the fact that the different spheres of humanity - whether artistic, cultural or political - are really inseparable. And that is why it makes me very happy to see that the art world of a country as large and as important to civilization as the United States... is taking its stand against those barbaric tendencies which today endanger all that we understand by civilization and culture and all that we love." (33)

While living in the United States she began an affair with a German doctor, Martin Gumpert, who was staying at her hotel. Gumpert wanted to maary her but she refused. (34) According to Sybille Bedford, she "went off women, she really became interested in men, she went off with people’s husbands even." Erika told Bedford: "I fancy almost all of them, porters, liftboys, and so on, white or black. Almost all are agreeable to me. I could sleep with all of them." (35)

In 1938, Erika and Klaus reported on the Spanish Civil War. On her return she published, School for Barbarians, a book on the Nazi education system; it sold forty thousand copies in the US in the first three months after publication. Time Magazine commented: "Miss Mann's book is about Germany's children. Other investigators have reported what has happened under the Nazis to Germany's once-great educational system but none has reported so scathingly as Erika Mann what has happened to Germany's youngsters." (36)

The FBI kept a close watch on Erika Mann as she was suspected of being a secret supporter of the Communist Party of the United States. The FBI snoopers speculated that Erika may have had a sexual relationship with her brother, Klaus. "Confidential informants" told agents that the two were having an affair, one file reports. Erika Mann was described in the files as having her hair cut "in a short mannish bob with a part on the right side" and to be close to a group of political actors who were "members of the Hebrew race". In 1940 Erika agreed to work with the FBI and gave information on members of the German exile community, who she suspected of pro-Nazi connections. (37) Erika once claimed that she was neither a Jew or a Communist". (38)

Soon after the outbreak of the Second World War, Klaus and Erika Mann published The Other Germany (1940). In the book they argued: "Germany's structure... is regional. The Germans do not care to, and do not actually, accept dictation from Berlin. There are, moreover, simply too many Germans in Europe for one state. An empire comprising all Germans would always constitute an implied threat and a source of unrest for the Continent... The land of Europe's middle, the mediator between North and South, East and West, has no mission to rule, but the more profound and noble mission to unite and reconcile."

One reviewer claimed: "The Manns are weak on analysis of the tremendous economic problem that will arise if the totalitarian state is defeated. But their book is a strong and pertinent reminder of the cultural resilience and political talent Germany displayed under the Weimar Republic (whose constitution was as liberal a one as Europe had ever seen). If Europe after World War II is to be federal, as they hope, the Manns provide a logical line on the neglected question as to what sort of Germany should take part in the federation." (39)

Erika Mann returned to Germany a few weeks after the end of the Second World War. She later wrote: "The Germans, as you know, are hopeless. In their hearts, self-deception and dishonesty, arrogance and docility, shrewdness and stupidity are repulsively mingled and combined. " Sybille Bedford said of her: "Erika could hate, and she hated the Germans. You see, Erika was a fairly violent character. At one point during the war, she propagated that every German should be castrated.... Erika was very unforgiving." (40)

Erika Mann was the only woman to cover the Nuremberg War Trials. This included an interview with Julius Streicher. (41) In 1946 Erika went to live with her father after he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was being operated on in Chicago. For the next nine years she was Mann’s secretary and chief confidante. Elisabeth Mann remembered: "She returned home, because she had exhausted her career, and so devoted herself to the work of her father... Erika was a very powerful personality, a very dominant, domineering personality, and I must say that this role that she played in the latter part of her life as manager of my father was not always very easy to take for my mother, because she had been used to doing all of that." (42)

Erika returned with her parents to the US and sought citizenship only to find that she was once more under investigation by the FBI. (43) So were her friends such as Hans Eisler and Bertolt Brecht were ordered to appear before the Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Eisler and Brecht both decided to leave the country. Mann described the behaviour of members of the HUAC such as John Rankin and J. Parnell Thomas as "fascistic". In his diary he wrote: "What oath would Congressman Rankin or Thomas take if forced to swear that they hated fascism as much as Communism?" (44)

Brecht told the HUAC: "As a guest of the United States, I refrained from political activities concerning this country even in a literary form. By the way, I am not a screen writer, Hollywood used only one story of mine for a picture showing the Nazi savageries in Prague. I am not aware of any influence which I could have exercised in the movie industry whether political or artistic. Being called before the Un-American Activities Committee, however, I feel free for the first time to say a few words about American matters: looking back at my experiences as a playwright and a poet in the Europe of the last two decades, I wish to say that the great American people would lose much and risk much if they allowed anybody to restrict free competition of ideas in cultural fields, or to interfere with art which must be free in order to be art. We are living in a dangerous world. Our state of civilization is such that mankind already is capable of becoming enormously wealthy but, as a whole, is still poverty-ridden. Great wars have been suffered, greater ones are imminent, we are told. One of them might well wipe out mankind, as a whole. We might be the last generation of the specimen man on this earth. The ideas about how to make use of the new capabilities of production have not been developed much since the days when the horse had to do what man could not do. Do you not think that, in such a predicament, every new idea should be examined carefully and freely? Art can present clear and even make nobler such ideas." (45)

The first ten men accused of being communists: Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Albert Maltz, Adrian Scott, Samuel Ornitz, Dalton Trumbo, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, John Howard Lawson and Ring Lardner Jr, refused to answer any questions about their political and union activities. Known as the Hollywood Ten, they claimed that the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution gave them the right to do this. The HUAC and the courts during appeals disagreed and all were found guilty of contempt of Congress and each was sentenced to between six and twelve months in prison.

On hearing the news, Thomas Mann issued a statement comparing the activities of the HUAC with those of Nazi Germany: "As an American citizen of German birth and one who has been through it all, I deem it not only my right but my solemn duty to state: We - the America of the Un-American Activities Committee; the America of the so-called loyalty checks... are well on our way towards the fascist police state and - hence - well on our way towards war." (46)

Klaus Mann made several attempts to kill himself. (47) While in Los Angeles in 1948 he attempted suicide by slitting his wrists, taking pills and turning on the gas. Thomas Mann wrote to a friend: "My two sisters committed suicide, and Klaus has much of the elder sister in him. The impulse is present in him, and all the circumstances favour it – the one exception being that he has a parental home on which he can always rely." (48)

At the beginning of January 1949, Klaus Mann wrote in his diary: "I do not wish to survive this year." (49) In April, in Cannes, he received a letter from a West German publisher to say that his novel, Mephisto, could not be published in the country because of the objections of Gustaf Gründgens (the book is a thinly-disguised portrait of Gründgens, who abandoned his conscience to ingratiate himself with the Nazi Party). (50)

Klaus wrote to Erika about his problems with his publisher and his financial difficulties. "I have been luck with my family. One cannot be entirely lonely if one belongs to something and is part of it." (51) Klaus Mann died in of an overdose of sleeping pills on 21st May 1949. (52)

Erika and Thomas Mann were in Stockholm when they heard the news. Thomas wrote: "My inward sympathy with the mother’s heart and with Erika. He should not have done this to them... The hurtful, ugly, cruel inconsideration and irresponsibility." (53) Thomas wrote to Hermann Hesse: "This interrupted life lies heavily on my mind and grieves me. My relationship to him was difficult and not free of guilt. My life put his in a shadow right from the beginning." (54)

Thomas Mann decided not to attend his son’s funeral or interrupt his lecture tour. Later, Elisabeth Mann would say of Erika: "When Klaus died, she was totally, totally heartbroken - I mean that was unbearable for her, that loss. That hit her harder than anything else in her life." (55)

Erika Mann, Thomas Mann and his brother Heinrich Mann, continued to be active in left-wing politics. Heinrich, who was planning to move to East Germany, died on 14th March, 1950. Erika and Thomas were both supporters of the American Peace Crusade. Established by Paul Robeson, William Du Bois and Linus Pauling, it called for a cease-fire in Korea, negotiations with the Soviet Union, and the admission of China to the United Nations. Thomas and Erika were attacked in the press and the New York Times stated that they should avoid anything "which involves... the name of Paul Robeson as you would the Bubonic Plague." (56)

The newspaper refused to publish Mann's letter of complaint. Mann told Alfred A. Knopf that Agnes Meyer had been responsible for stopping its publication: "She (Agnes Meyer) threatened me with the loss of my citizenship; accused me of being a traitor to my country; predicted that I would plunge both myself and all those near me into disaster and perdition; and wound up by offering to save my soul." (57)

By 1950, there was a move to deport Erika Mann because they suspected she was a secret member of the Communist Party of the United States. On hearing the news the whole family decided to move to Kilchberg, Switzerland. Thomas Mann died three years later at the age of 80.

Erika Mann spent the next few years editing a three-volume edition of her father’s letters, fighting the case for Klaus Mann’s book, Mephisto, in the West German courts, and battling with her first husband after all these years. When two German newspapers insinuated that she had had an incestuous relationship with Klaus, she sued and won. (58)

Erika Mann, suffering from a brian tumour, died in Zürich, aged 63, on 27th August, 1969. (59)

Unexpectedly, the birth was frightfully difficult, and my poor Katia had to suffer so cruelly that the whole thing became an almost unendurable horror. Now I know that it is as profound a matter as the other two. Immediately afterwards, all was idyll and peace (the counterpart to the peace after the death throes), and seeing the child at the breast of its mother, who herself is still like a lovely child, was a sight that transfigured and sanctified the atrocious agonies of the birth (which had gone on for almost forty hours). For brief moments I think I see just a little Jewishness showing through, and every time that happens it greatly amuses me.

All the power of the regime - all its cunning, its entire machine of propaganda and discipline - is directed to emphasize the program for German children. It is not surprising that the Nazi State considers it of primary importance that the young grow up according to Hitler's wishes, and the plans set in Mein Kampf...

The Führer realizes that the education of German youth will have a tremendous influence on Germany's future - and on Europe's and the world's. He gives the problem the attention it deserves...

This matter of educating successors is a real fear. Hitler has maneuvered to make himself the absolute ruler of the lives of all Germans, and has taken over the lives of all of the German children, who not only are taken care of so that they live according to the will of the Führer, but also are made to have no guide but the Führer. And this is in the general air, that one breathes with such difficulty.

Every child says "Heil Hitler!" from 50 to 150 times a day, immeasurably more often than the old neutral greetings. The formula is required by law; if you meet a friend on the way to school, you say it; study periods are opened and closed with "Heil Hitler!"; "Heil Hitler!" says the postman, the street-car conductor, the girl who sells you notebooks at the stationery store; and if your parents' first words when you come home to lunch are not "Heil Hitler!" they have been guilty of a punishable offense, and can be denounced. "Heil Hitler!" they shout, in the Jungvolk and Hitler Youth. "Heil Hitler!" cry the girls in the League of German Girls. Your evening prayers must close with "Heil Hitler!" if you take your devotions seriously.

Officially - when you say hello to your superiors in school or in a group - the words are accompanied by the act of throwing the right arm high; but an unofficial greeting among equals requires only a comparatively lax lifting of the forearm, with the fingers closed and pointing forward. This Hitler greeting, this "German" greeting, repeated countless times from morning to bedtime, stamps the whole day.

The first thing that happened, in the winter of 1933, was that all teachers of "non-Aryan" or Jewish descent were relieved of their posts. An edict was issued on July 11, 1933, that included teachers with all other State officials, ordering them to subordinate their wishes, interests, and demands to the common cause, to devote themselves to the study of National Socialist ideology, and "suggesting" that they familiarize themselves with Mein Kampf. Three days later, a "suggestion" was sent to all those who still maintained contact with the Social Democratic Party, that they inform the Nazi Party of the severance of these connections. The purge was on.

It was decided, in Prussia first (November, 1933), and later in all German schools, that public school teachers must belong to a Nazi fighting organization; they were to come to school in uniform, wherever possible, and live in camps; and, during the final examinations, they were to be tested in military sports.

This was all deadly serious, and the teachers knew it. Hitler had cried in Weimar, "If there are still people in Germany today who say, we will not join your community, we will remain as we are, then I reply, You will pass on, but after you will come a generation that knows nothing else!" The teachers, haunted by this verdict, are helping to educate this generation.

In a famous photograph from 1931, Auden, Spender and Isherwood face the camera, though Spender's eyes are looking off at an angle. Auden looks like an overgrown schoolboy, Spender like a cricket captain, Isherwood like a pocket film star or glamorous jockey. Spender is the central figure, but only as a requirement of photographic composition, thanks to his height. His arms are behind his friends, though it's not clear if he actually has his hands round their shoulders, as he does when the grouping was repeated in front of another camera on Fire Island in 1947. Spender's eyes are closed on the later occasion (he's in mid-smile and the day is sunny), while Auden and Isherwood grin warmly at each other.

All three writers tried to be true to literature without ignoring politics, and also to balance the claims of desire, commitment and public image. In 1935 Isherwood rejected the idea of marrying Erika Mann, to give her citizenship and safety, because he hated the idea of seeming to want a respectable facade. Auden stepped in without hesitation, as if marriage held no sacredness for him, yet he committed himself completely to his partner Chester Kallman in what seemed to his friends an arbitrary martyrdom (the relationship was open, but only at Chester's end). As a young man Spender was relatively frank about his interest in his own sex, but encouraged the idea that this was some sort of phase after he married Natasha Litvin in 1941, by whom he had children, Matthew and Lizzie.

For four years after Hitler came to power, Nobel Prizewinner Thomas Mann, greatest of exiled German writers, evaded questioners who pressed him for his opinion of fascism in Germany. When he visited the U. S. in 1934 and 1935 - the first time to be honored on his 59th birthday, the second to receive an honorary degree from Harvard - he maintained a controlled silence about politics that was exceptional among literary exiles, extraordinary in view of the anti-Nazi activities of his brother Heinrich, his son Klaus and daughter Erika. Sometimes he said he kept silent to protect his German readers. Sometimes, when reporters got him to the point of discussing Hitler or his own status as an exile, he was checked by shrewd, matter-of-fact, English-speaking Frau Mann, who hovered near, adroitly answered for him. In voluntary exile in Zurich since Hitler came to power, officially deprived of German citizenship last December, his property confiscated and books burned, Dr. Mann nevertheless held his tongue, waited until the right moment to strike back.

Last fortnight in Manhattan Dr. Mann's right moment came. Starting his 12-day visit to the U. by striking back with a stinging denunciation of Nazi censorship, he carried on his attack with lectures, mass meetings, an impressive barrage of speeches and statements. Dr. Mann's most telling blast was in his pamphlet, An Exchange of Letters, which critics recognized as belonging with such classic literary rebukes as Zola's J'Accuse. Like most such spontaneous expressions of intellectual integrity, An Exchange of Letters was called into being by a relatively small occasion. Last December Dr. Mann received a curt note from the Frederick-William University, of Bonn, stating that since "Herr Thomas Mann, writer," had lost his citizenship, the University was obliged to withdraw its honorary degree. Author Mann's reply to this last straw was first published in the Nation, was reprinted by his U. publisher to coincide with his arrival in the U. Even Nazis might be impressed by the dignity with which author Mann states his position. "I have spent four years in an exile which it would be euphemistic to call voluntary since if I had remained in Germany or gone back there I should probably not be alive today." His work has won appreciation outside of Germany, nevertheless he still considers himself a German writer, primarily for German readers: "From the beginning of my intellectual life I had felt myself in happiest accord with the temper of my nation and at home in its intellectual traditions.

I am better suited to represent those traditions than to become a martyr for them; far more fitted to add a little to the gaiety of the world than to foster conflict and hatred in it. Something very wrong must have happened to make my life take so false and unnatural a turn." With what might seem presumption in a lesser man but in Mann's case carries prophetic weight, he calls the Nazi leaders to account: "I, forsooth, am supposed to have dishonored the Reich, Germany, in acknowledging that I am against them! They have the incredible effrontery to confuse themselves with Germany! When, after all, perhaps the moment is not far off when it will be of supreme importance to the German people not to be confused with them. To what a pass, in less than four years, have they brought Germany! Ruined, sucked dry body and soul by armaments with which they threaten the whole world, holding up the whole world and hindering it in its real task of peace, loved by nobody, regarded with fear and cold aversion by all, it stands on the brink of economic disaster.... The mature and cultural states - by which I mean those which understand the fundamental fact that war is no longer permissible - treat this endangered and endangering country, or rather the impossible leaders into whose hands it has fallen, as doctors treat a sick man - with the utmost tact and caution, with inexhaustible if not very flattering patience." Nazis will gnash their teeth over this prophecy: "No other people on earth is today so utterly incapable of war, so little in condition to endure one. That Germany would have no allies, not a single one in the world, is the first consideration but the smallest. Germany would be forsaken - terrible of course even in her isolation - but the really frightful thing would be the fact that she had forsaken herself. Intellectually reduced and humbled, morally gutted, inwardly torn apart by her deep mistrust of her leaders and the mischief they have done her in these years, profoundly uneasy herself, ignorant of the future, of course, but full of forebodings of evil, she would go into war not in the condition of 1914 but, even physically, of 1917 or 1918...a war, that is, which after the first inevitable defeat would turn into a civil war.

"I have not spoken out of arrogant presumption, but out of a concern and a distress from which your usurpers did not release me when they decreed that I was no longer a German - a mental and spiritual distress from which for four years not an hour of my life has been free.... God help our darkened and desecrated country and teach it to make its peace with the world and with itself!"

In Manhattan's Carnegie Hall one night last week an angular young woman in black with an enormous white shawl collar gripped a microphone, spoke with warm, smiling emphasis to an assemblage of some 400 U. artists and six times as many followers of the arts. Of all speakers of the evening, Erika Mann had the simplest and to many listeners the most significant words to justify the second American Artists' Congress. They were a message from her father, Thomas Mann: "One frequently hears it said that the artist should stick to his own craft, and that he merely cheapens himself when he descends into the political arena to participate in the struggles of the day. is taking its stand against those barbaric tendencies which today endanger all that we understand by civilization and culture and all that we love."

Fully as much as any worker or professional man, the average U. artist is now interested in politics and deadly serious about it. As a free man he hates the tyrant and despises his addiction to war. As a worker whom his fellowmen have rarely over-burdened with material rewards, he appreciates his $23.86 from WPA, can live pretty well on it and wants to keep it. On the very practical subject of subsistence, the Artists' Congress, to which such noted professionals as William Zorach, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Rockwell Kent, Stuart Davis, Max Weber, George Biddle, were delegates, was eloquent indeed. This practicality distinguished the Artists' Congress from the American Writers' Congress of last summer.

Lean, ascetic Painter Biddle, in a suit so wrinkled it looked shrunk, warned the audience that the intelligent supervision of the WPA art project which he helped to found would be as precarious as the project itself while it remained an emergency measure. Discussion followed on what has become a great desideratum of politically conscious artists who want better standing than work relief affords - the Federal Arts Bill, a proposal for an arrangement more permanent and dignified than WPA, introduced in Congress last session by Representative John Coffee of Washington. Thickset, heavy-voiced Painter Philip Evergood, president of the Artists' Union which, with the Cartoonists' Guild, the Commercial Artists and Designers Union, had unanimously voted to join the C.I.O., was all for it. Said he:

"The collector has had his eyes opened to a wealth of new talent. The museums also have responded... many purchases have been made of the work of young and hitherto unknown artists. The commercial gallery has benefited greatly by this newly developed public interest in art, and last but not least ordinary people are beginning to adorn their homes with original works of art instead of the old atrocities... But the WPA artist who has served the public faithfully on this great Government art program has done so under the constant threat of dismissal... The nation is desperately in need of legislation which will assure the permanency of this culture - legislation which will make American culture a permanent impulse in the nerve centre of its government."

Big event of the evening was to have been a message from Pablo Picasso by transatlantic telephone, amplified for the Carnegie Hall audience. But Picasso was ill in Switzerland, sent instead a cable proudly assuring them, "as director of the Prado Museum,* that the Democratic Government of the Spanish Republic has taken all the necessary measures to protect the artistic treasures of Spain during this cruel and unjust war."

If stirring anti-War sentiments were lacking in the Congress' open meeting, the exhibition of paintings by 138 Congress artists held concurrently on Fifth Avenue more than made up for it. Dedicated "to the peoples of Spain and China," this show was devoted almost exclusively to excoriations in paint of the contemporary conquerors and their technique. Most were better as expressions of hot feeling than as paintings. A few, by Max Weber, Nathanial Dirk, Arnold Blanch, Victor Candell, William Cropper, Mervin Jules, were excellent as both. None equaled a set of etchings by Picasso called Dreams and Lies of Franco, caricaturing El Caudillo as an inhuman, hairy nightmare. Favorite painting of a group of Amalgamated Clothing Workers who showed up at the opening was Two Generations, by Alexander Z. Kruse: the Kaiser as a kangaroo carrying a baby kangaroo earmarked with swastikas.

Tall, black-haired Erika Mann, 32, is the oldest and most intrepid of Novelist Thomas Mann's six children. She has traveled round the world, once won an automobile driving contest, driving 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) a day. In her teens she decided not to follow the family trade of writing, instead became an actress under Max Reinhardt. When the Nazis came into power, although no Jewess, she was divorced from her Nazi husband (Gustaf Gründgens, now head of the Berlin State Theatre), and produced a satirical political revue, Peppermill, in Munich, her birthplace. For this piece of audacity she had to flee Germany and her citizenship was revoked by Adolf Hitler. She met and married Britain's Poet W.H. Auden, like her a zealous anti-fascist. At the risk of her life, she returned secretly to Germany to get some of her father's manuscripts. Last year she arrived in Manhattan, applied for U.S. citizenship. Today she is engaged in the same trade as her father. Her angriest book, School for Barbarians, with a preface by her father, was published last week. Miss Mann's book is about Germany's children. Other investigators have reported what has happened under the Nazis to Germany's once-great educational system but none has reported so scathingly as Erika Mann what has happened to Germany's youngsters. Her sensational but thoroughly documented description:

* Every child says "Heil Hitler!" from 50 to 150 times a day, is taught to venerate: Horst Wessel, a pimp; Poet Dietrich Eckart, a drug addict; Leo Schlageter, a railroad wrecker. (Minister of Education Bernhard Rust has frequently been confined in a sanatorium during violent attacks of insanity.)

* Arithmetic pupils in Nazi schools calculate problems in bombing; art pupils draw pictures of air raids. History pupils are told that Austria's late Chancellor Dollfuss was murdered not by Nazis but in a Marxist uprising.

* The few Jewish children remaining in Nazi schools are used as object lessons. A teacher calls a little Jewish girl to the front of a class, asks other pupils: "What do you see in this face?" They answer obediently: "A gigantic nose, Negroid lips, inferior frizzy hair." The teacher adds: "You see, besides, a cowardly and disloyal facial expression."

* Obscenity, with which Nazis smear Jews and priests, is part of the curriculum. "The Stunner, which writes almost exclusively about sexual outrages, bedroom gossip and scandal, is read in the schools to children between 6 and 14." Copies hang on classroom walls. Result: "Pupils have become possessed by pathological sexual aberrations." Nazi children are taught that motherhood is a duty, even of unmarried women, and "the number of illegitimate pregnancies and births among the members of the State Youth is tremendous." There is even a standard form for applications by youthful fathers to be declared of age so they can marry their mistresses.

* For military training, children begin long marches at the age of 10. and 15-year-olds are expected to march 13∧ miles a day with an eleven-pound load. Result: an abnormal increase in the prevalence of fiat feet, a trait Nazis attribute to non-Aryans. Of youths conscripted in 1936. some 38% were found unfit for military service for this reason.

* René, a refugee to the U.S., tells about an incident in Nazi youths' night rifle practice. One night Rene and his friends. August and Gert, had to hold flashlights for a youth leader to shoot at. August was hit in the knee. The leader swore. "Then it was Gert's turn. He was good and afraid.... The leader was a little afraid, too, I guess. He shot to the left, and that was where Gert's forehead was." The leader was transferred to another group. Gert's father sent to a concentration camp for complaining.

When her book was published last week, emotional Erika Mann was in Prague, ready to fight with the Czechs against Adolf Hitler.

R.B. Hood was the special agent in charge of the FBI division in LA throughout much of the 40s and 50s... He had the job of coordinating everything that could be found out about some of the most celebrated foreign exiles ever to make their way to the United States.

In the 40s, his job was to spy on Bertolt Brecht, Erich Maria Remarque, Thomas Mann, his brother Heinrich, and dozens of other celebrated refugees from Hitler's Germany, many of whom had come to Hollywood in search of work. Everything that Hood and his fellow G-men found out about them would eventually find its way to FBI chief J Edgar Hoover in Washington....

During the 30s, dozens of German artists, writers and musicians - many, but not all Jewish - fled the Third Reich and eventually found their way to the US. Though they were exiles from fascism, they remained objects of official suspicion, especially if they had left wing politics or associations. When the second world war ended and the cold war began, the official suspicions grew stronger not weaker. The FBI called these exiles "Communazis" because they believed that though they were refugees from one form of tyranny, they might also be in league with a second form.

Hood and his team of agents were interested in everything that the German writers were up to. They tapped their phones. They opened their mail. They kept watch on them. And they interviewed the writers themselves, their circles and their casual acquaintances - mostly without the Germans having the faintest idea of how closely they were being monitored.

When one of the writers met a Russian, or someone who might have contacts with the Russians, Hood kept a note of it. It was Hood who checked the cars outside Lion Feuchtwanger's villa by the ocean. It was Hood who got to know when Heinrich Mann's wife Nelly was stopped for drunken driving in Beverly Hills. It was Hood's men who broke in to Leonhard Frank's house on a fishing expedition for evidence of communist sympathies. And it was Hood's men who searched the luggage of Brecht's mistress, Ruth Berlau.

Why the FBI kept track of the German exiles is easy to explain. "The communist movement", raged Hoover, "stands for the destruction of our American form of government". More surprising was the thoroughness of the surveillance - a thoroughness which in other circumstances might be described as Germanic...

Writers such as Heinrich Mann, who wrote almost nothing in his late years in the US, would be assiduously documented with the same thoroughness as Feuchtwanger, who continued to write and publish his novels from California, and whose bids for American citizenship Hoover blocked with repeated and ill-concealed glee.

By far the biggest fish in Hood's net, however, was Thomas Mann. The author of Buddenbrooks, Death in Venice and The Magic Mountain was, by a considerable distance, the most famous and eminent German writer of his era, as well as the most celebrated of all the exiles who settled in the US. As the winner of the Nobel prize for literature and a major public figure, Mann was a hugely influential voice. Any attempts by him to become involved in organisations of which Hoover was suspicious - or attempts by such groups to recruit him - were carefully tracked and recorded by the FBI, as well as by other American security organisations and by the state department.

The portion of Mann's career in the US which most alarmed the watchers was an attempt to form a German exile organisation in America, with Mann as its leader and figurehead. In 1943, the office of strategic services (the forerunner of the CIA) tried to frustrate such a move. "Thomas Mann is extremely important and useful for any group which might be needed later," the OSS recorded, and managed to convey their views to the novelist, who duly backed away from the plan. Mann was in a category of his own. He seems to have been too major a figure to be placed under routine surveillance of the kind to which both his brother Heinrich and his son Klaus - as well as Feuchtwanger and Brecht - were subjected.

Klaus Mann, the author of Mephisto, was a particularly frequent FBI target. Even his postman was recruited as an informant. Klaus attracted attention partly because of his left wing politics, but also because of his homosexuality. The files unearthed by Stephan refer to Mann as "a well-known sexual pervert" with "communistic sympathies".

The bureau's files contain some very detailed surveillance. When Klaus Mann stayed in the Bedford Hotel in New York, an informant identified only as "T3" reported that a soldier "with fair complexion and dirty blond hair" stayed overnight with him regularly. "Informant advised that the only suitable sleeping place in Mann's room is a single bed", the files report. "Informant further advised that quite a number of 'longhairs' go in and out to see Mann."

The FBI snoopers speculated that Mann may have had a sexual relationship with his sister Erika, one- time wife of WH Auden. Erika Mann was described in the files as having her hair cut "in a short mannish bob with a part on the right side" and to be close to a group of political actors who were "members of the Hebrew race".

In the end, though, Erika Mann turned the tables on her watchers. She became an informant as early as 1940, and for much of the next 15 years cooperated willingly with dozens of inquiries about members of the German exile community, some of whom she too suspected of pro-Nazi connections.

In 1935 Auden gave himself in matrimony, to Erika, Thomas Mann’s daughter, to provide her with British nationality when the Nazis were about to revoke her German citizenship. In the following year he persuaded John Hampson to marry a friend of Erika, the actress Therese Giehse, who was also under threat for her anti-Nazi activities... Auden arranged a wedding party at the pub near the school where he was teaching, attended by his colleagues and pupils. After the war, she and Auden were seldom in touch, but they never divorced and she left him a small legacy in her will.

Thomas and Katia Mann had six children. It was clear from early on that Katia most loved the second child, Klaus, who was born in 1906, and that Thomas loved Erika, the eldest, born in 1905, and also Elisabeth, born in 1918. The other three – the barely tolerated ones – were Golo, born in 1909, Monika, born in 1910, and Michael, born in 1919. Erika remembered a time during the shortages of the First World War when food had to be divided but there was one fig left over. "What did my father do? He gave this fig just to me alone . the other three children stared in horror, and my father said sententiously with emphasis: “One should get the children used to injustice early."

Some things ran in the family. Homosexuality, for instance. Thomas himself was gay most of the time, as his diaries make clear. So were three of his children: Erika (also just most of the time; she made an exception for Bruno Walter, among others), Klaus and Golo. Suicide was a family theme too. Both of Thomas Mann’s sisters committed suicide, as did his sons Klaus and Michael, as did the second wife of his brother Heinrich. Also, gerontophilia. Bruno Walter was almost as old as Erika’s father; and in 1939 Elisabeth married the literary critic Giuseppe Antonio Borgese, who was 36 years her senior.

And then there is the small matter of incest. Much interest in this was fuelled by incidents in Thomas Mann’s own work. In her useful and sympathetic book about the Mann family, In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain, Andrea Weiss writes: ‘Just how much Katia and Klaus Pringsheim loved each other was the subject of public gossip and private distress, especially when Thomas Mann, married to Katia for only a few months, used his wife’s relationship with her brother as the basis for one of his novellas.’ The novella, Blood of the Walsungs, dealt with the incestuous relationship between a twin brother and sister; Katia’s father attempted to have the story suppressed.

Such rumours also existed about Erika and Klaus, much encouraged by Klaus’s play on the subject, The Siblings, and made their way into Gestapo reports when the siblings went into exile and FBI reports about them once they arrived in America. (In the mid-1920s Klaus helped to keep things in the family by having an affair with Erika’s first husband, Gustaf Gründgens.) In his novel The Volcano, Klaus allowed the character based on his sister to marry the character based on his father. In Thomas Mann’s The Holy Sinner, the hero, Pope Gregorius, marries his mother – who is also his father’s sister.

Adolf Hitler's Early Life (Answer Commentary)

Adolf Hitler and the First World War (Answer Commentary)

Adolf Hitler and the German Workers' Party (Answer Commentary)

Sturmabteilung (SA) (Answer Commentary)

Adolf Hitler and the Beer Hall Putsch (Answer Commentary)

Adolf Hitler the Orator (Answer Commentary)

An Assessment of the Nazi-Soviet Pact (Answer Commentary)

British Newspapers and Adolf Hitler (Answer Commentary)

Lord Rothermere, Daily Mail and Adolf Hitler (Answer Commentary)

Adolf Hitler v John Heartfield (Answer Commentary)

The Hitler Youth (Answer Commentary)

German League of Girls (Answer Commentary)

Night of the Long Knives (Answer Commentary)

The Political Development of Sophie Scholl (Answer Commentary)

The White Rose Anti-Nazi Group (Answer Commentary)

Kristallnacht (Answer Commentary)

Heinrich Himmler and the SS (Answer Commentary)

Trade Unions in Nazi Germany (Answer Commentary)

Hitler's Volkswagen (The People's Car) (Answer Commentary)

Women in Nazi Germany (Answer Commentary)

The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich (Answer Commentary)

The Last Days of Adolf Hitler (Answer Commentary)

(1) Richard Winston, Thomas Mann: The Making of an Artist (1982) page 179

(2) Thomas Mann, letter to Heinrich Mann (November, 1905)

(3) Frederic Spotts, Cursed Legacy: The Tragic Life of Klaus Mann (2016) page 6

(4) Anthony Heilbut, Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature (1995) page 196

(5) Frederic Spotts, Cursed Legacy: The Tragic Life of Klaus Mann (2016) page 18

(6) Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books (6th November, 2006)

(7) Anthony Heilbut, Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature (1995) page 437

(8) Richard Winston, Thomas Mann: The Making of an Artist (1982) pages 273-274

(9) Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books (6th November, 2006)

(10) Hermann Kurzke, Thomas Mann (2002) page 274

(11) Time Magazine (10th October, 1938)

(12) Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, Women Film Directors: An International Bio-Critical Dictionary (1995) page 322

(13) Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books (6th November, 2006)

(14) Hermann Kurzke, Thomas Mann (2002) page 274

(15) Andrea Weiss, In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story (2008) page 80

(16) Time Magazine (10th October, 1938)

(17) Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books (6th November, 2006)

(18) Peter Hoffmann, The History of German Resistance (1977) page 15

(19) Hermann Kurzke, Thomas Mann (2002) page 264

(20) Colm Tóibín, New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families (2013) page 196

(21) Andrea Weiss, In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story (2008) page 88

(22) Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books (6th November, 2006)

(23) Anthony Heilbut, Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature (1995) page 530

(24) Thomas Mann, diary entry (April, 1933)

(25) Erika Mann, School for Barbarians (1938) page 19

(26) Erika Mann, School for Barbarians (1938) page 20

(27) Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1925) page 108

(28) Erika Mann, School for Barbarians (1938) pages 45-46

(29) Erika Mann, School for Barbarians (1938) page 52

(30) Adam Mars-Jones, The Observer (29 July 2012)

(31) Time Magazine (10th October, 1938)

(32) Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books (6th November, 2006)

(33) Time Magazine (27th December, 1937)

(34) Hermann Kurzke, Thomas Mann (2002) page 396

(35) Andrea Weiss, In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story (2008) page 184

(36) Time Magazine (10th October, 1938)

(37) Martin Kettle, The Guardian (22nd September, 2000)

(38) Andrea Weiss, In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story (2008) page 92

(39) Time Magazine (26th February, 1940)

(40) Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books (6th November, 2006)

(41) Anthony Heilbut, Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature (1995) page 575

(42) Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books (6th November, 2006)

(43) Andrea Weiss, In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story (2008) page 251

(44) Thomas Mann, diary entry (5th October, 1947)

(45) Bertolt Brecht, statement to the Un-American Activities Committee (30th October, 1947)

(46) Thomas Mann, statement (31st October, 1947)

(47) Anthony Heilbut, Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature (1995) page 453

(48) Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books (6th November, 2006)

(49) Klaus Mann, diary entry (1st January, 1949)

(50) Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books (6th November, 2006)

(51) Klaus Mann, letter to Erika Mann (20th May, 1949)

(52) Andrea Weiss, In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story (2008) page 239

(53) Thomas Mann, diary entry (May, 1949)

(54) Thomas Mann, letter to Hermann Hesse (6th July, 1949)

(55) Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books (6th November, 2006)

(56) New York Times (2nd February, 1951)

(57) Anthony Heilbut, Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature (1995) page 584

(58) Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books (6th November, 2006)

(59) Andrea Weiss, In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story (2008) page 260

The Messy Genius of W. H. Auden

Thanks to the popular 1994 movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, thousands of people who had probably never read a word from poet W. H. Auden have been exposed to his work. In one scene, a character eulogizes his companion by reciting Auden’s “Funeral Blues” for the other mourners.

The poem is also known as “Stop all the clocks,” a reference to its rousing first stanza:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Each of the four stanzas reads like an eloquent study in grief, including the last four lines, which leave a lump in the throat:

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood

For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Auden’s poem resonates with readers because it addresses a basic emotional predicament—that after someone dies, the world keeps spinning without them. It’s an alternately affirming and cruel reality, a puzzle that the poem’s narrator, like many who have lost a loved one, seems to feel is not quite right. If a precious life has ceased, the anguished voice at the heart of “Funeral Blues” argues, then everything else should end, too.

Auden, the celebrated British-born bard who died in 1973 at 66, explored the interplay between death and the larger pattern of existence in other poems. In his widely anthologized “Musée des Beaux Arts,” Auden contemplated how people could endure crisis while their fellow humans went about their business:

About suffering they were never wrong,

The Old Masters: how well they understood

Its human position how it takes place

While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking

dully along

In the final stanza, the narrator views a masterpiece painting inspired by the legend of Icarus, who perished when the sun melted his wings of wax and feathers. He ponders the picture as a window into the absurdity of life’s prosaic routines, even in the midst of tragedy:

In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away

Quite leisurely from the disaster the ploughman may

Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,

But for him it was not an important failure the sun shone

As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green

Water and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen

Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,

Had somewhere to get and sailed calmly on.

The universe seems more consonant, however, with the death of a great figure in “In Memory of W. B. Yeats,” which also ranks among Auden’s signature works. Written to mark the passing of a writer who had deeply influenced Auden, the poem suggests that Yeats’s earthly end chills the world as well:

He disappeared in the dead of winter:

The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,

And snow disfigured the public statues

The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.

What instruments we have agree

The day of his death was a dark cold day.

The rest of Auden’s poem is just as lovely as its first stanza, although “In Memory of W. B. Yeats” takes some creative license. “Actually, the weather was pretty good in France when Yeats died there,” writer Robert Alden Rubin has pointed out. Maybe the weather was bleak from Auden’s window as he wrote in honor of Yeats, or perhaps the point, as Auden sees it, is that the sky should have been dark as a great poet passed away. The ominous cold of “In Memory of W. B. Yeats” parallels a profound historical coincidence that Auden addresses later in the poem. Yeats died in 1939, the same year as the start of World War II. Auden hints that in the face of oncoming tyranny, a poet like Yeats can affirm the basic dignity of the individual soul:

With the farming of a verse

Make a vineyard of the curse,

Sing of human unsuccess

In a rapture of distress

In the deserts of the heart

Let the healing fountain start,

In the prison of his days

Teach the free man how to praise.

Although Auden’s poetry often registers the apparent indifference of the cosmos to the trials of mortality, his poems also affirm the power of art to transcend the grave. “Musée des Beaux Arts,” for example, contains a subtle paradox. Its narrator is inspired to muse on the fleeting fortunes of Icarus after viewing an old painting. The durability of the picture itself suggests, however, that its creator—who might not be the sixteenth-century artist Pieter Bruegel, according to recent research—has cheated death by making a masterpiece that speaks across centuries.

Similarly, “In Memory of W. B. Yeats,” while ostensibly closing the coffin lid on a great writer, affirms Yeats’s continuing presence in the life of the culture: “You were silly like us your gift survived it all: / The parish of rich women, physical decay, / Yourself. . . .”

That theme naturally invites the question of Auden’s own staying power. Some 45 years after his death, does his legacy endure? When his heart gave out on September 29, 1973, in Austria, it wasn’t entirely clear that Auden’s fame would survive him. “The day after W. H. Auden’s unexpected and untimely death, I was incensed to see a suggestion in the New York Times to the effect that the poet’s work might not outlive him,” the American poet L. E. Sissman lamented at the time. In making the case for Auden’s continuing relevance, Sissman argued that, among other things, he was “a virtuoso poet, capable of besieging and capturing the most difficult of traditional forms, from the sestina and the villanelle to the canzone capable in almost the same breath of mimicking the tempo and language of an American blues or folk song capable of a Popean delicacy of means or a Swiftian volley of scorn capable of Anglo-Saxon sparseness and Tennysonian orotundity.”

He was able to inhabit the idioms of many places in large measure because he was, at heart, a citizen of the world. Born and raised in England, he traveled widely, including visits to Iceland, Germany, and China. He spent some of his most productive years in America, after he moved there in 1939, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1946. “From 1948 to 1972,” notes Edward Mendelson, an Auden scholar and the poet’s literary executor, “he spent his winters in America and his summers in Europe, first in Ischia, then, from 1958, in a house he owned in Kitchstetten, Austria.”

His childhood nurtured his curiosity. Wystan Hugh Auden was born on February 21, 1907, in York, “the third son of highly educated upper-middle-class parents,” Mendelson writes. “His father, who was expert in archaeology and languages, was a physician who became a professor of public health. His mother trained as a missionary nurse after taking an honors degree in French. One of Auden’s older brothers became an accomplished geologist and, later, an official in the World Health Organization.”

“He had hazel eyes, and hair and eyebrows so fair that they looked bleached,” says biographer Humphrey Carpenter. “His skin, too, was very pale, almost white. His face was marked by one small peculiarity, a brown mole on the right cheek. He had big chubby hands, and soon developed flat feet. He was physically clumsy, and took to biting his nails.”

As a boy, Auden considered becoming a mining engineer. When he was thirteen and away at boarding school, however, a classmate asked him if he wrote poems. Mystery novelist Alexander McCall Smith, a huge Auden fan, sees that exchange between Auden and his friend as truly historic. “This may reasonably be seen,” Smith tells readers, “as one of the great, crucial moments in the arts, akin, perhaps, to the moment when it was suggested to Shakespeare—as it might well have been—that he might care to write a play about a prince of Denmark.”

Auden began pursuing poetry, an interest that stayed with him as he entered Oxford, where he connected with fellow poet A. L. Rowse. “From the very first I had no doubt of his genius,” Rowse recalled. “He would come to All Souls [College], his pockets stuffed with manuscripts of his poems to read to me and—though not of the idiom I was used to, not even [T. S.] Eliot—I could recognize a new and individual voice.”

Stephen Spender, another poet Auden met at Oxford, printed a collection of Auden’s poems on a small hand press in 1928. Later that year, Auden traveled to Germany, taking advantage of his father’s offer to support him while he lived abroad. His time in Berlin during the dying days of the Weimar Republic gave him his first major introduction to left-wing politics.

Photo portrait of Auden in 1972 by Yousuf Karsh / courtesy Estate of Yousuf Karsh /

His poetry, though praised, wasn’t enough to support him, so for the next few years, Auden taught and wrote for magazines, too. Like many writers and artists of the left, he traveled to Spain during the country’s civil war, broadcasting on behalf of the republic and penning a poem, “Spain,” that became a touchstone of the cause.

The poem, which Auden later regretted, was criticized for glorifying bloodshed with its reference to the “conscious acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder.” Others read the lines “History to the defeated / May say Alas but cannot help or pardon” as a suggestion that whoever wins a war is always the most deserving of victory. As Auden himself put it many years later in a critique of the poem, the wording seemed to “equate goodness with success.”

“Auden was never comfortable in his role as poetic prophet to the British Left, and he was often most divided when he sounded most committed,” writes Mendelson. “As early as 1936 he sensed that if he were ever to escape the temptations to fame and to the power to shape opinion that led him to accept his role, he would need to leave England.”

That’s perhaps the most charitable explanation for Auden’s move to America in 1939. Others couldn’t help noticing that his departure coincided with the start of Britain’s ordeal in World War II. Novelist Evelyn Waugh would later claim that Auden had left “at the first squeak of an air-raid warning.”

His absence from England even came up in the British Parliament, although the government took no action against him. “In Britain,” says Carpenter, “some of those left-wing intellectuals who had supported and admired Auden during the 1930s were beginning to be shocked by his decision to remain in America.”

Auden, Carpenter concludes, “does not seem to have faced the question whether he had a moral duty to help, however trivially, in the fight against Hitler.”

“In Auden’s case,” Smith writes of Auden’s move to America, “it was probably not cowardice: Those who knew him are firm in their rejection of that charge.”

In many other aspects of his life, Auden displayed firm moral conviction. He grew disillusioned with politics as a remedy for the human condition, returning to the Anglican faith of his childhood as a personal compass. Mendelson has extensively documented many acts of kindness that Auden quietly performed as an expression of his Christian faith. When an elderly woman in his Episcopal congregation in New York City was experiencing night terrors, Auden “took a blanket and slept in the hallway outside her apartment until she felt safe again,” Mendelson tells readers. After World War II, Auden paid for school and college costs for two war orphans. At literary gatherings after he became famous, Auden sought out, says Mendelson, “the least important person in the room.”

His grandest act of generosity might have been marrying Erika Mann, the daughter of novelist Thomas Mann, to provide her with British nationality and save her from the Nazis. The nuptials were nothing more than a formality, since Auden was gay and counted as his real marriage his long relationship with the American poet Chester Kallman.

Auden’s spirituality didn’t incline him to piety. He smoked and drank heavily and used amphetamines to fuel his literary output. During his New York years, Auden became friends with Oliver Sacks, the neurologist who would later become a celebrated author himself. “He was a very heavy drinker,” Sacks recalled of Auden, “although he was at pains to say that he was not an alcoholic but a drunk. I once asked him what the difference was, and he said, ‘An alcoholic has a personality change after a drink or two, but a drunk can drink as much as he wants. I’m a drunk.’”

He was notoriously untidy, so much so that he “reduced any room he was in to a shambles,” Rowse writes. When composer Igor Stravinsky’s wife, Vera, visited Auden and Kallman for dinner, she found a bowl of brown gunk in the bathroom and flushed it down the toilet. She later learned it was the evening’s dessert—some chocolate pudding that had been placed on top of the commode to cool.

When Smith attended one of Auden’s readings, the poet rose to the stage with his fly undone. “The fact that he was a sartorial disaster,” Smith recalled, “wearing a stained and ash-spattered suit and battered carpet slippers, in no sense detracted from the impact of his words.”

Although Auden seemed dissolute in many ways, he was obsessively punctual and kept to a strict work schedule. “Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition,” he observed.

“Auden rose shortly after 6:00 a.m., made himself coffee, and settled down to work quickly, perhaps after taking a first pass at the crossword,” Mason Currey tells readers of Daily Rituals, his survey of the professional habits of great writers and artists. “His mind was sharpest from 7:00 until 11:30 a.m., and he rarely failed to take advantage of these hours. . . . Auden usually resumed his work after lunch and continued to work into the late afternoon.”

Auden’s personal contradictions make him a difficult man to fathom. His poems, like the poet himself, can defy easy understanding, too.

“Funeral Blues,” for example, seems a simple and straightforward composition, but it has a complicated history. The poem originally appeared in The Ascent of F6, a play Auden wrote with Christopher Isherwood. In the play, the poem’s lines of memoriam are voiced ironically, advancing a point about how tragedy can be manipulated for political gain. Since then, however, “Funeral Blues,” which was conceived to underscore some of humanity’s most cynical impulses, has been popularly embraced as an earnest expression of heartfelt loss.

Auden knew that poems could speak to audiences in ways not originally envisioned by a writer. “We often derive much profit,” he wrote, “from reading a book in a different way from that which its author intended but only (once childhood is over) if we know that we are doing so.”

Maybe, on some level, Auden was resigned to the idea that readers, not writers, ultimately determine the future of a poem once it’s published. As he wrote in his poem about Yeats, “The words of a dead man / Are modified in the guts of the living.”

So perhaps Auden wouldn’t be surprised that “September 1, 1939,” a poem he essentially disowned, is one of his best remembered. Penned to mark the outbreak of World War II, the poem had a renewed profile after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Auden came to dislike “September 1, 1939,” especially its much-quoted assertion, “We must love one another or die.” The line later seemed nonsensical to him, since people must ultimately die regardless of their actions.

Even so, in the wake of 9/11, readers found consolation in stanzas like this:

Defenceless under the night

Our world in stupor lies

Yet, dotted everywhere,

Ironic points of light

Flash out wherever the Just

Exchange their messages:

May I, composed like them

Of Eros and dust,

Beleaguered by the same

Negation and despair,

Show an affirming flame.

The promise of the poem, that a single voice can relieve the anguish of a broken world, is one reason that readers still turn to W. H. Auden. His own voice, darkly complicated but ultimately affirming, points us to the possibilities of the individual mind struggling to sort things out.

“He can be with us in every part of our lives, showing us how rich life can be, and how precious,” Smith writes of Auden. “For that, I am more grateful to him than I can ever say.”

Danny Heitman is the editor of Phi Kappa Phi’s Forum magazine and a columnist for The Advocate newspaper in Louisiana. He writes frequently about arts and culture for national publications, including the Wall Street Journal and the Christian Science Monitor.

Funding information

The National Endowment for the Humanities has funded numerous projects related to W. H. Auden, including a $50,400 grant to scholar Bonnie Costello to study Auden’s poetry (resulting in the 2017 book from Princeton University Press The Plural of Us: Poetry and Community in Auden and Others). Additionally, Swarthmore College received a grant of $5,281 to help preserve the library’s special collections, which include its W. H. Auden Collection.

Republication statement

This article is available for unedited republication, free of charge, using the following credit: “Originally published as "The Messy Genius of W. H. Auden" in the Summer 2018 issue of Humanities magazine, a publication of the National Endowment for the Humanities.” Please notify us at @email if you are republishing it or have any questions.


“An Introduction to ‘Stop all the clocks,’” by Seamus Perry, in the British Library’s “Discovering Literature” series The Cambridge Companion to W. H. Auden, edited by Stan Smith, Cambridge University Press, 2005 W. H. Auden: Selected Poems, selected and edited by Edward Mendelson, Vintage International, 2007 Edward Mendelson, “The Secret Auden,” New York Review of Books, March 20, 2014 A. L. Rowse, The Poet Auden: A Personal Memoir, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987 W. H. Auden, The Dyer’s Hand and Other Essays, Random House, 1962 Alexander McCall Smith, What W. H. Auden Can Do for You, Princeton University Press, 2013 Humphrey Carpenter, W. H. Auden: A Biography, Houghton Mifflin, 1981 Oliver Sacks, On the Move: A Life, Alfred A. Knopf, 2015 L. E. Sissman, Innocent Bystander: The Scene from the ’70’s, Vanguard Press, 1975 Richard Davenport-Hines, Auden, Pantheon Books, 1995 Poetry Out Loud: A Burst of Verses, edited by Robert Alden Rubin, Algonquin, 1993 Mason Curry, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.


In one image, the group goes for a naked horse canter, wearing nothing but their helmets and boots.

And in another photo, a jockey is seen getting her horse ready for racing, minus any trousers, of course.

The project saw the group gather for six photoshoots, posing for around 1,000 images in total

Cheeky! The jockeys strip completely naked for the pictures, except for riding helmets and boots

You can leave your hat on: The jockeys also ride their horses while completely naked

The calendar's cover image sees the group laughing together while crammed in a tub, clearly enjoying the light-hearted shoot.

One cheeky picture shows the girls tap each other's behinds with their riding crops as they pose in nothing but their jerseys.

The photoshoot took place at Fern Farm in Adlestrop, Gloucestershire, and includes pictures of National Ladies Point-to-Point Champion, Gina Ellis.

The saucy photoshoot took place at Fern Farm in Aldestop, Gloucestershire

The group are all point-to-point riders, jockeys who race over fences with hunting horses

The calendar will raise money for the Injured Jockeys Fund, which gives medical and financial support to injured jockeys and their families.

Leanda said: 'It's a charity which is close to all of our hearts, and while we hope that we won't ever need it, one day we might.

'We've had great fun and the girls have been awesome, we hope the calendar will be a best seller and we would like to match the amount that the boys raised last year.'

Female jockeys have big. bags! Part of the shoot was also held at Stratford Racecourse in Stratford-upon-Avon

The calendar costs £10 and can be ordered from any of the shoot's participants

The girls also posed amidst the greenery of Stratford Racecourse in the raunchy snaps.

The calendar, which costs £10, will be on sale at the 50th National Point-to-Point Dinner & Awards at the Belfry on November 11. Copies can also be ordered from Leanda and all of the participants.

The images appeared to be paying homage to Lady Godiva, who rode naked on a horse through London covered only by her flowing hair

It's fun, honest! The group clearly enjoyed the light-hearted shoot and could be seen laughing as they posed for the snaps

The Hotel Polski Affair

By 1941, the Jews that were imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto were searching for a way out of the horrible situation that they were in. There were many theories going around as to the best way to escape, but many of them led the Jews to the Hotel Polski. It was believed that by gaining entrance at this hotel, that you could pay to have paperwork produced that would guarantee you passage into neutral parts of the world such as South America.

One of the most popular theories is that the Allied forces had been in negotiations with the Germans and both groups had come to some sort of trade arrangement. Essentially, they would trade the Jews in the ghetto for captured German POW&rsquos. The Jews could obtain the needed paperwork at the hotel and then they would be organized for transfer. Of course people then began making arrangements to secure their documentation, but unfortunately not all was as it seemed.

As it turns out, this whole &ldquotrade agreement&rdquo was one of the great conspiracies of the war. It is now widely believed to be a plot by the Nazi&rsquos to lure out Jews who had gone into hiding. There are some accounts that say this whole plot started out as a legitimate agreement with noble intentions, but was hijacked by the Nazis and used to capture Jews instead. What makes this worse is that there are also accusations against Franceska, suggesting that she betrayed her own people in order to receive paperwork that would free her.

Forged Passports for Escape from Poland (

There is also another theory surrounding this event, and it all revolved around the almighty dollar. There are some who say that the operation being run out of the hotel was at least kind of legitimate, but was really set up to get money from the richer Jewish population. The Nazis were allegedly allowing the Jews with the money to buy their &ldquofreedom&rdquo for an extremely high price. One of those who was rumored to be able to afford this was Franceska, and she became a connection between the Nazis and the richer Jewish population in order to get them to freedom too.

Whatever the truth actually is about the roots of the Hotel Polski Affair, there is one thing that is clear: People were given a false sense of hope that they could procure their freedom in some way by going this route. Some are believed to have made it to out of Poland and to South America. Most did not find that restoration of freedom that they were seeking, but instead were led to a horrible fate, no matter how much money they had or status they held. Franceska Mann was not exempt from this either, as she too joined 1700 of her fellow Jews on a passenger train that would lead them to their deaths.

Gate at Auschwitz- Work Makes You Free (Wikimedia Commons)

Today in Literary History – November 9, 1905 – Erika Mann is born

Erika Mann, the eldest daughter of Nobel Prize winning German author Thomas Mann, was born on November 9, 1905. Her brother Klaus, whose life was closely bound with hers, was born one year and 9 days later, November 18, 1906.

Erika and Klaus, who were both openly gay and in Erika’s case quite gender fluid, were extraordinarily close and collaborated together on books and plays. They thought of themselves as twins.

Their mother came from a wealthy Jewish industrialist family, although her parents had converted before her birth. This still caused problems for the Mann family, who eventually moved to America to escape Hitler’s rise.

Andrea Weiss wrote a really wonderful dual biography of Erika and Klaus Mann, 2008’s In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain, which details their bohemian existence and often tragic lives.

In the Weimar years Erika was a stage and film actress and Klaus a playwright and novelist. The siblings also travelled extensively together and wrote a series of books about their adventures. They collaborated on an anti-Fascist cabaret in Berlin that fell afoul of the Nazis.

Erika entered into a marriage of convenience with the British poet W.H. Auden in 1935 so she could secure British citizenship. Auden was also gay and they never lived together but remained married until her death in 1969.

Klaus moved about in Europe after his German citizenship was revoked by the Nazis and eventually moved to the United States and worked as a film and theatre critic.

During World War II Erika became a combat journalist for the BBC and after the war she covered the Nuremberg Trials. She and Klaus also covered the Spanish Civil War and wrote a book about it.

Both siblings had difficult times with their famous father whom they described as condescending and aloof.

When Erika was born Thomas Mann wrote to his brother Heinrich: “It is a girl a disappointment for me, as …I had greatly desired a son and will not stop to hold such a desire …I feel a son is much more full of poetry.”

When Klaus was 14 years old Mann, who was conflicted by his own bisexuality, began to write about him in his diary in erotic terms: “Am enraptured with Eissi (Klaus’s nickname) …terribly handsome in his swimming trunks. Find it quite natural that I should fall in love with my son… It seems I am once and for all done with women?… Eissi was lying tanned and shirtless on his bed, reading I was disconcerted.”

And later, “came upon Eissi totally nude…deeply struck by his radiant adolescent body overwhelming.”

Klaus, who battled drug addictions, died of an overdose in 1949 at the age of forty-two. It is unclear if it was a suicide or not. Erika died of a brain tumor at sixty-three.

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Mann History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Mann was first used by the ancient Strathclyde-Briton people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. The first Mann family lived in Aberdeen.

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Early Origins of the Mann family

The surname Mann was first found in Aberdeenshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Obar Dheathain), where the first records was of John Man who was admitted burgess of Aberdeen in 1399. Christina Man in Aberdeen was described in 1411 as "communis receptor meretricium et furium". Nicolaus Man was juror on inquest for ascertaining the former tenure of the lands of Kilrawakys et Geddes in 1431. [1]

In England, "the Manns have found a home in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire for at least six centuries, Man being the early form of the name. There was a family of Mann in Norwich at the beginning of last century, and the name is still in the city." [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Bartholomew le Man, Somerset and Michael le Man, Oxfordshire while the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Patricius de Man Johannes de Man Cecilia Manne and Johannes de Manne as all holding lands there at that time. [3]

"Mann was an old and numerous Widecombe [Devon] name in the 16th and 17th centuries, and it still has its principal home in the county in that neighbourhood." [2]

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Early History of the Mann family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mann research. Another 124 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1472, 1533, 1597, 1606, 1625, 1641, 1790, 1586, 1720, 1512, 1569, 1512, 1523, 1529, 1533, 1537, 1538, 1540, 1547, 1700, 1761, 1700, 1721, 1742 and 1761 are included under the topic Early Mann History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Mann Spelling Variations

Surnames that evolved in Scotland in the Middle Ages often appear under many spelling variations. These are due to the practice of spelling according to sound in the era before dictionaries had standardized the English language. Mann has appeared as Mann, Mangus, Man and others.

Early Notables of the Mann family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was John Man (1512-1569), Dean of Gloucester, born in 1512 at Laycock, Wiltshire, according to Wood, though the records of Winchester College name Winterbourne Stoke, in that county, as his birthplace. He was admitted into Winchester College in 1523, and was elected to New College, Oxford, where he became a probationer fellow, 28 Oct. 1529, being made perpetual fellow two years afterwards. He graduated B.A. 20 July 1533, and M.A. 13 Feb. 1537-1538. On 9 April 1540 he was appointed the southern proctor of the university. Being suspected of heresy, he was expelled from.
Another 105 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Mann Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Mann family to Ireland

Some of the Mann family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Mann migration +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Mann Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Nicholas Mann, who arrived in Virginia in 1618 [4]
  • Jasper Mann, who landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 [4]
  • Thomas Mann, who landed in Virginia in 1621 [4]
  • Percival] Mann, who landed in Virginia in 1622 [4]
  • Percivall Mann, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Mann Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jon Mann, who landed in Virginia in 1703 [4]
  • Lewis Mann, who arrived in Virginia in 1703 [4]
  • Heinrich Mann, who landed in New York in 1709 [4]
  • Henrich Mann, who arrived in New York, NY in 1710 [4]
  • William Mann, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [4]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Mann Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Eberh Fried Mann, who arrived in America in 1807 [4]
  • John Mann, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808 [4]
  • James Mann, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [4]
  • Abraham, Adam, Alexander, Andrew, Charles, Christian, and Cornelius Mann, all, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 19th century
  • Johannes Mann with his wife Margareta and their two children
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Mann migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Mann Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Private. Edward J. Mann U.E., (Man) (b. 1766) from Stillwater, New York, USA who settled in New Carlisle and Paspébiac, Gaspé, Quebec c. 1784 he enlisted in 1780 serving in the Kings Royal Regiment of New York, married to Ann Shipman having 8 children, he died in 1798 [5]
  • Col. Isaac Mann Sr., U.E., (Man) (b. 1723) born in New York, USA from Stillwater, New York, USA who settled in New Carlisle and Paspébiac, Gaspé, Quebec c. 1784 he served in the Kings Loyal Americans Regiment (Jessup's Rangers), married to Annatje (Ann) Jeffries having 7 children he died in 1803 [5]
  • Mr. Isaac Mann Jr., U.E., (Man) (b. 1748) born in Stillwater, New York, USA from Stillwater, New York, USA who settled in New Carlisle and Paspébiac, Gaspé, Quebec c. 1784 he enlisted in 1777 servings in Kings Loyal American Regiment (Jessup's Rangers), Burgoyne's Loyalists and Kings Royal Regiment of New York, married to Mary Eyre Robertson having 1 son [5]
  • Ensign. John Mann U.E., (Man) (b. 1752) born in Stillwater, New York, USA from Stillwater, New York, USA who settled in New Carlisle and Paspébiac, Gaspé, Quebec c. 1784 he enlisted in 1771 serving in Jessup's Rangers and the Kings Royal Regiment of New York, married to Elizabeth Pemberton having 5 children, he died in 1805 [5]
  • Capt. Samuel Mann U.E., (Man) who settled in Canada c. 1784 [5]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Mann Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Mann, aged 30, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • John Mann, aged 18, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Elijah Mann, who arrived in Canada in 1829
  • Mrs. Mary Mann, aged 35 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Free Trader" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [6]
  • Mr. William Mann, aged 30 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Rankin" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in July 1847 [6]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Mann migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Mann Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Mann, British convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[7]
  • William Mann, a shipwright, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. Charles Mann, British convict who was convicted in Thetford, Norfolk, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 29th September 1831, settling in New South Wales, Australia[8]
  • Mr. Thomas Mann, British convict who was convicted in Sussex, England for life, transported aboard the "Asia" on 29th September 1831, settling in New South Wales, Australia[8]
  • Mr. John Mann, Scottish convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 14 years, transported aboard the "Camden" on 21st September 1832, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[9]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Mann migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

  • Miss Mary Mann, (b. 1844), aged 34, Cornish cook departing on 8th August 1878 aboard the ship "Edwin Fox" going to Marlborough, New Zealand arriving in port in November 1878 [10]
Mann Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Mann, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Arab
  • Jonathan Mann, aged 32, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arab" in 1841
  • Eliza Mann, aged 32, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arab" in 1841
  • John Mann, aged 13, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1849
  • Edward Mann, aged 50, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "New Era" in 1855
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Mann (post 1700) +

  • Dick Mann (1934-2021), American professional motorcycle racer, two-time winner of the A.M.A. Grand National Championship, inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1993, and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998
  • Carl Mann (1942-2020), American rockabilly singer and pianist from Huntingdon, Tennessee
  • Murray Gell- Mann (1929-2020), American physicist who received the 1969 Nobel Prize in physics for his work on the theory of elementary particles
  • Mr. William Mackendrick Mann C.B.E., British recipient of Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 17th June 2017, for services to Sport, Recreation, the Arts and charity
  • Anthony Longford "Tony" Mann (1945-2019), Australian cricketer who played in four Tests from 1977 to 1978
  • John Fraser Mann (1962-2019), Canadian rock musician, songwriter and actor, best known as the frontman of the folk rock band Spirit of the West
  • Carol Mann (1941-2018), American professional LPGA golfer, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame
  • Robert Nathaniel Mann (1920-2018), American violinist, composer, conductor, founding member of the Juilliard String Quartet
  • Woodrow Wilson Mann (1916-2002), American Democratic Party politician, Insurance broker Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas, 1956-57
  • William Hodges Mann (1843-1927), American Democratic Party politician, Served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War Lawyer Nottoway County Judge, 1870-92 Member of Virginia State Senate 28th District, 1904-09 Governor of Virginia, 1910-14
  • . (Another 164 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Historic Events for the Mann family +

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Miss Dorothy Maude Mann (1930-1979), New Zealander passenger, from Te Atatu, Auckland, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus she died in the crash [11]
  • Martin Mann (1921-1941), German Matrosengefreiter who served aboard the German Battleship Bismarck during World War II when it was sunk heading to France he died in the sinking [12]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. A. E.  Mann, English Junior Wireless Operator aboard the SS Curaca from Gloucester, England, United Kingdom who died in the explosion [13]
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Keith Arthur Mann (1922-1941), Australian Ordinary Seaman from Caulfield, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [14]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Arthur J Mann (b. 1921), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Manor Park, Essex, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [15]
HMS Prince of Wales
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Charles C. Mann, American Lieutenant working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [17]
  • Mr. William Edward Mann, American Gunner's Mate Third Class from Washington, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [17]

Related Stories +

The Mann Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Per ardua stabilis
Motto Translation: Firm in adversity.

The Nazi Party: Women of the Third Reich

The following are short biographies of some forty women who either gave full support to Hitler, were sympathetic to the Nazi party, or were strongly anti-Nazi and played an active part in the anti-Hitler resistance movements. Many paid the supreme penalty for their actions.

Nazi Supporters

EVA BRAUN (1912-1945)

At twenty-five minutes past two on the morning of February 7, 1912, Eva Anna Paula Braun was born in Munich. Later in life she was to become the mystery woman of Hitler's Third Reich. Wife of Hitler for one day and his mistress for twelve years, she first met Hitler in 1929 while she was assistant to the beer-loving Heinrich Hoffmann, the Third Reich's official photographer who had his shop at No.50 Schellingstrasse. He had already joined the Nazi party with party card number 427. Eva Braun committed suicide with Hitler on April 30, 1945 in his underground bunker in the Reich Chancellery gardens in Berlin. It was her third attempt, the first having been in November 1932 when she was found, with a bullet in her neck. On May 28, 1935, Eva, who often complained of Hitler's neglect, decided to take thirty-five sleeping pills just to 'make certain'. Late that night she was found unconscious by her sister Ilse who called a doctor just in time to save her life. It is interesting to note that Eva never became a Nazi Party member. Outside of Hitler's close circle of cronies she was completely unknown to the general public until after the war. Eva's mother, Franziska Braun, lived to the ripe old age of 96 and died in Ruhpolding, Bavaria in January,1976. Her father, Fritz Braun, died on January 22, 1964.


Youngest of the three daughters of Fritz and Franziska Braun, her real name was Margarethe and was born three years after Eva. They lived in an apartment on the second floor of No. 93 Hohenzollernstrasse (the house still stands). An adventurous and carefree girl, Eva nicknamed her 'Mogerl' because she was often sulking. She spent considerable time with her sister at the Berghof, which Eva loved to call the Grand Hotel. She married Hans Georg Otto Hermann Fegelein (37), a lieutenant general in the Waffen SS, on June 3, 1944 in the Salzburg town hall. The reception was held at the Berghof and later at Hitler's mountain retreat on the Kehlstein (The Eagles Nest), the only real party ever held there. During the last days of the Third Reich, Fegelein tried to escape from Berlin but was discovered and arrested. Next day, Hitler ordered him shot. An effort was made by Eva Braun to save him but to no avail. Gretl survived the war and gave birth to a daughter, Eva, on May 5, 1945. The name Fegelein was never mentioned again in the Braun household.


Born Winifred Williams in 1894 to an English father and German mother. In 1915 she married Siegfried Wagner, twenty-five years her senior, and son of composer Richard Wagner. She became entranced with Hitler and his Nazi movement in the early 20s. When Siegfried died in 1930, she became a close friend and staunch supporter of Adolf Hitler whom she first met in 1923. It was rumored that a marriage between Adolf and Winifred was in the offing, but nothing came of it. Such an event would have solicited great support from the German people. The Führer himself entertained such thoughts believing that a union of the names Hitler and Wagner would ensure the adulation of the masses for time immemorial. In fact he once proposed marriage to her but on becoming Chancellor in January, 1933, he felt there was no need now for him to marry. He felt himself already 'married' to his adopted country, Deutschland. A frequent visitor to her home, the 'Villa Wahnfried', where her three children knew him by the nickname 'Wolf', Hitler was often seen with her at various performances during the Bayreuth Festival, the last time in the late summer of 1940 when they attended a performance of 'Götterdämmerung'. Winifred Wagner died in Uberlingen on March 5, 1980, unrepentant of her relationship with Hitler.


Born in 1896 in Hartfeld, Austria, younger sister of the German Führer and the fifth and last child of Alios and Klara Hitler. At one time she worked as a secretary for a group of doctors in a military hospital but kept her identity a secret. When she would see a small chapel when traveling in the mountains, she would go in and say a silent prayer for her brother. Each year Hitler would send her a ticket to the impressive Nuremberg Rally. In March, 1941, Hitler was staying at the Imperial Hotel in Vienna and it was here that Paula met him for the last time. It was always her opinion that it was a pity her brother had not become the architect he always wanted to be. Paula was seven years younger than her brother, but he never mentioned her in his writings because of his embarrassment at her weak mental state. Until the last weeks of the war, Paula Hitler lived in Vienna where she worked in an arts and craft shop and when the war ended was interviewed by U.S. Intelligence officers in May, 1945. Reluctant to talk she said tearfully, "Please remember, he was my brother." She lived under the name of Frau Wolf (Hitler's nickname) a name he asked her to adopt after the Anschluss with Austria in 1938. After the war, she lived unmarried in a two bedroom flat near Berchtesgaden, her main interest being the Catholic Church. She died on June 1, 1960, without ever being invited to the Berghof. Her grave is in the Bergfriedhof in Berchtesgaden.

HANNA REITSCH (1912-1979)

Born in Hirschberg, Silesia, (now Jelenia Góra, Poland) she became Germany's leading woman stunt pilot and later chief test pilot for the Luftwaffe. She worshipped Hitler and the Nazi ideology and became the only woman to win the Iron Cross (first and second class). Hanna Reitsch spent three days in the Bunker just before Hitler's suicide on April 28, then flew out with the newly appointed Chief of the Luftwaffe, General Robert Ritter von Greim, who's orders were to mount a bombing attack on the Russian forces who were now approaching the Chancellery and the Führerbunker. Hanna Reitsch survived the war and died on August 24, 1979 in Frankfurt, from a heart attack. Von Greim was arrested and while awaiting trial committed suicide in a Salzburg hospital on the 24th of May, 1945.


Born Leni Helene Bertha Amalie Riefenstahl on August 22, 1902. Ballet dancer, actress, film director and producer, she was born in Berlin and founded her own film company in 1931 to produce 'The Blue Light'. She was appointed by Hitler to produce films for the Nazi Party such as 'The Triumph of the Will' and her masterpiece 'Olympia', the famous documentary of the 1936 Olympic Games held in Berlin. She has always insisted that she was never a member of the Nazi party but neither was she an opponent of Hitler. Before the war her films received all the international awards but after the war Lenii was castigated because of it and spent almost four years in Allied prisons. Boycotted and despised, she has never been able to make another feature film. Editing the film she says, 'nearly ruined my health'. In 1952 she was cleared of war-crimes charges by a German court. In 1962 she travelled to Africa and spent eight months living with the Nuba tribe. At the age of 70 she undertook an underwater scuba diving course and for the next 18 years filmed hundreds of undersea documentaries. At age 90, Leni Reifenstahl became a member of Greenpeace. She regrets ever having made 'Triumph of the Will'.


Born Gertraud Humps in Munich. For two years and four months she was the youngest of Hitler's three secretaries. In late 1942, she applied for a secretarial job in the German Chancellery in Berlin. Soon she was short listed for a position as personal secretary to Hitler. At the age of 22 she worked at Hitler's H/Q at Rastenburg in East Prussia. In June 1943, she married Hans Junge, Aide-de -Camp to the Führer, who was killed a year later when a Spitfire strafed his company on the Normandy front. On Jan.15,1945, Hitler and his staff moved into the underground bunker in the grounds of the Berlin Chancellery. Frau Junge survived the last chaotic days in Berlin typing Hitler's last Will and Testament. She was arrested by the Russians and then the Americans and interrogated for hours. Back home in Munich, she worked as a secretary and journalist for various publishing companies. Alone, unmarried and childless,Traudl Junge died of cancer on February 10, 2002, in a hospital in her native city.


Conscripted into the Luftwaffe in 1939 and owing to her secretarial skills became personal secretary to Reich Marshal Göring for a period of five weeks during the closing stages of the war. She knew at that time that Göring's art treasures were stolen but was afraid to talk to anybody about it. While at Berchtesgaden she was issued with a pistol and a cyanide pill with instructions to shoot as many Russians as possible before taking the poison pill. (It was believed that the Red Army would reach Berchtesgaden before the Americans). Placed under house arrest by the Gestapo when they came to arrest Göring, she was then arrested again when the Americans arrived. All her belongings were taken from her and placed in a heap, doused with petrol and set alight. She was then interned in a POW camp for the next ten days from which, with the help of an American guard, she escaped and started out on the long walk of around 1,000 kms to her home on the shores of the Baltic Sea, a journey which took her seven weeks. Some years after the war, Lucie Wolf emigrated to Australia and became an Australian citizen.


In May, 1943, an electrocardiogram revealed no improvement in Hitler's heart condition. A stomach ailment also troubled him and he discussed this at a meeting with Romania's Marshal Antonescu who recommended to him a well known dietitian from Vienna, Frau Marlene von Exner. She took up her duties to cook exclusively for the Führer with an inducement of a 2,000 Reichsmark cash payment and a tax free salary of 800 marks a month. While serving at Hitler's headquarters she became engaged to an SS adjutant and it was through this that Hitler learned that her great grandmother was Jewish. Hitler had no option but to sack her immediately 'I cannot make one rule for myself and another for the rest' he explained.


Daughter of diplomat Dr.Wilhelm Solf, ex Ambassador to Japan. In 1940, she married Count Hubert Ballestrem, an officer in the German military. At her mother's house a group of anti-Nazi intellectuals met regularly to discuss ways to help Jews and political enemies of the regime. Many Jews were found hiding places by the Countess and her mother, Frau Solf. Documents and forged passports were obtained to help them emigrate to safety. At a birthday party given by their friend, Elizabeth von Thadden, a new member was introduced to the circle. It later turned out that the new member, Dr.Reckzeh, was a Gestapo agent and all members of the Solf Circle had to flee for their lives. The Countess and her mother went to Bavaria but the Gestapo soon caught up with them. Incarcerated in the Ravensbruck concentration camp the Countess only saw her husband once when he came on leave from the Russian front. In December, 1944, they were sent to the Moabit Remand Prison to await their trial before the People's Court. On February 3, 1945, Berlin was subjected to one of the heaviest air raids of the war. Next morning the word got around that the notorious Judge Freisler was killed in his own court-room by a falling beam during the raid. The trial was postponed to April 27 but a few days before, all prisoners were discharged as Judges and SS guards fled the city as the Soviet Army approached. Frau Solf went to England after the war and her daughter was reunited with her husband and lived in Berlin. All told, seventy-six friends and acquaintances of the Countess and her mother were killed during the last few months of the war. Countess Ballestrem-Solf died while in her mid forties through trauma caused by her husband's imprisonment by the Soviet authorities.


Resident of Hamburg, married Captain Julius Wohlauf on June 29, 1942. Captain Wohlauf was the commanding officer of First Company, Police Battalion 101, at that time conducting mass executions of Jews in eastern Poland. After the first major killing action in the town of Józefów, Frau Wohlauf joined her husband for a delayed honeymoon. During the next few weeks, Vera Wohlauf, now pregnant, witnessed several killing operations at her husband's side. Accompanied by Frau Lucia Brandt, wife of Lieutenant Paul Brandt, also of Police Battalion 101, they were witnesses to the day-long massacre and deportation of the Jews in Miedzyrec on August 25. Other wives of officers were party to all this as were a group of Red Cross nurses. After the killings, the wives and their husbands sat outdoors at their billets, drinking, singing and laughing and discussing the day's activities. This was how Frau Vera Wohlauf spent her honeymoon.


Born in Manchester, England, and at age 26 married William Joyce, the leader of the British National Socialist League and became the League's assistant secretary. In August, 1939, she accompanied her husband to Germany and made her first broadcast from Berlin on November 10, 1940 under the name 'Lady Haw Haw' (Her husband was already well known as Lord Haw Haw) In 1942 she appeared under her real name with weekly talks about women's economic problems. Both were arrested on May 28, 1945 and taken to London for trial on charges of treason. William Joyce was found guilty and hanged in 1946. Margaret Joyce was spared a trial on the basis that she was a German citizen (her husband having become a naturalized German citizen in 1940). She was deported to Germany and interned as a security suspect for a short while. After her release she returned to London where she died in 1972.

CLARA ZETKIN (1857-1944)

Born Clara Eissner in Weiderau, Saxony in 1857. A strong campaigner for women's suffrage she married the marxist Ossip Zetkin. Clara became a member of the Reichstag from 1920 to 1933, she was leader of the political movement against the Nazi Party. An early member of the German Communist Party she visited Moscow in 1920. In 1932, after a slashing attack on Hitler and the National Socialists in the Reichstag, she was denounced as a Fascist menace. She died on the 20th of June, 1933, at age seventy-six, a few months after Hitler became Chancellor. Her ashes were laid to rest in the wall of the Kremlin.

IRMA GRESE (1921-1945)

Irma Ilse Ida Grese, twenty-one year old concentration camp guard, after initial training at Ravensbrück, served at Auschwitz and later at Belsen where she was arrested by the British. Condemned to death at the Belsen Trial, held at No.30 Lindenstrasse, Lüneberg, she was hanged at Hameln Goal on Friday the 13th of December, 1945, by the British executioner, Albert Perrepoint. As she stood composed on the gallows, she spoke one last word as the white hood was pulled down over her head, 'Schnell' (Quick) she whispered. Once when home on a short leave from Auschwitz, she was beaten and turned out of the house by her father for proudly wearing her SS uniform. A cruel sadist, she was said to have had love affairs with Dr.Josef Mengele and the Belsen camp commandant, Josef Kramer.

ILSE KOCH (1906-1967)

Called the "Bitch of Buchenwald' she was married to SS-Standartenführer Karl Koch, the camp commandant of Sachsenhausen and later of Buchenwald. Sentenced to life imprisonment the sentence was reduced to four years. On her release she was re-arrested in 1949 and tried by a German court, this time again sentenced to life. On September 1, 1967, when she was sixty one years old, she committed suicide by hanging herself in her cell in Aichach Prison in Bavaria. Her son, Uwe, born in prison in 1947, received her last letter, in it she wrote "I cannot do otherwise. Death is the only deliverance".


A German national, at one time married to a Russian and formally a teacher in Russia. In 1944, she was appointed to the post of matron at a newly established children's home in Velpke, a village near Helmstedt, Germany. She had no previous experience whatever in running a children's clinic. Assisted by four Polish and Russian girls, the health of the infants soon deteriorated to the extent that within months more than eighty children died through gross negligence. The infants had been forcibly removed from their Polish mothers (who were working on farms as slave labour) at four months old. At a British Military Court, held at Brunswick in March/April, 1946, Frau Valentina Bilien was found guilty of a war crime and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.


Female guard in various camps, and one-time supervisor of the Ravensbrück concentration camp and later served in the extermination camp of Maidanek in Poland. In 1949, she served three years in prison in Austria for infanticide. After her release she was granted an amnesty from further prosecution in that country. In 1959 she married an American engineer named Russell Ryan and settled in New York. Granted US citizenship in 1963, this was revoked in 1973 when a warrant for her arrest was issued in Dusseldorf. At her trial in Germany she was sentenced to life imprisonment, the first US citizen to be extradited for war crimes.

UNITY MITFORD (1914-1948)

'Bobo' to her friends, and one of seven children of the second Baron Redesdale (David Ogilvy Freeman-Mitford). She was introduced to Hitler in 1935 while studying art in Munich. This 21-year-old British aristocrat became his frequent companion and supporter and together with Eva Braun, often stayed at Winifred Wagner's house during the Bayreuth Festival. When Britain declared war on Germany, Unity's dreams were shattered and she tried to commit suicide by shooting herself in the head. Found severely wounded in the Englisher Garten, she was hospitalized on Hitler's orders and for months lay in a state of coma. Hitler visited her twice in room 202 in the Nussbaumstrasse Clinic but she showed no sign of recognition. On April 16,1940, she was sent back to England in a special railway carriage via Switzerland. Back in England she was subsequently operated on but nothing more was heard of Unity Valkyrie Mitford till the end of the war. She died on May 19, 1948, never having fully recovered from the wound. She is buried in the graveyard of St.Mary's Church in the village of Swinbrook. Unity's sister, Diana, married Brian Guiness of the Irish brewing family. When later they divorced, Diana studied fascism and joined the British Union of Fascists. There she met and married its leader, Sir Oswold Mosley.


An American citizen born in Portland, Maine, she studied music in Germany in the 1920s and taught English at the Berlitz Language School. During World War II, she broadcast Nazi propaganda from a Berlin radio station. Aimed at American GIs, she was soon nicknamed 'Axis Sally' by the Allied troops. Arrested after the war by the US Counter-Intelligence Corps, she was sentenced to twelve years in prison in the Federal Reformatory for Women in Alderson, West Virginia where she converted to Catholicism. Paroled in 1961, she started teaching German, French and Music in a Roman Catholic school in Columbus, Ohio. In 1973 she completed her bachelor's degree in speech at the age of seventy-two. Five years later she died of colon cancer.

MAGDA GOEBBELS (1901-1945)

First Lady of the Third Reich and wife of Propaganda Minister and Gauleiter of Berlin, Joseph Goebbels. In 1930 she divorced her first husband, millionaire Gunter Quandt, from whom she was granted the custody of their son, Harald, four thousand marks monthly allowance and fifty-thousand marks to purchase a house. She eventually leased a seven room luxury top floor apartment at No 2 Adolf Hitler Platz (now Theodore Heuss Platz) in Charlottenburg, West Berlin. She became secretary to Goebbels whom she married on December 12, 1931. In the Bunker with Hitler during the last days of the war, she poisoned her six children, Helga, Hilda, Helmut, Holde, Hedda and Heide. She and her husband then committed suicide in the garden of the Reich Chancellery. A great admirer of Hitler, she decided to name all her children with a name beginning with H. Earlier, Magda had confided to her trusted friend, her sister-in-law, Ello Quandt, "In the days to come Joseph will be regarded as one of the greatest criminals Germany has ever produced. The children will hear that daily, people would torment them, despise and humiliate them. We will take them with us, they are too good, too lovely for the world which lies ahead". Madga's stepfather, Richard Friedlaender, who her mother, Auguste Behrend, had divorced when she was young, was Jewish. He was arrested and imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration camp where he died a year later, in 1939.

EMMY GÖRING (1893-1973)

Born in Hamburg as Emmy Sonneman she became a well known actress at the National Theatre in Weimar. She divorced her first husband, actor Karl Köstlin, and became Hermann Göring's second wife on April 10, 1935. Adolf Hitler acted as best man. In 1937 she gave birth to a daughter and named her Edda, believed to be after Mussolini's daughter, Countess Ciano, who had spent some time at their home Karinhall. In 1948, a German denazification court convicted her of being a Nazi and sentenced her to one year in jail. When she was released, thirty percent of her property was confiscated and she was banned from the stage for five years. She was unable to revive her acting career so she moved to Munich with her daughter Edda and lived in a small apartment until she died on June 8, 1973. Edda, believing that her father was wrongly judged by the Allies, became active in the Neo-Nazi movement and attends many of their reunions.


Born in the industrial town of Hamm in 1922 she joined the BDM at age sixteen and soon became one of its principle organizers in the town of Monschau. She trained at Hülchrath Castle for her part in 'Operation Carnival', the assassination of the American appointed Burgermeister of Aachen, the first German city to fall to the Allies. Dropped by parachute near the outskirts, the five man and one woman team made their way into the city guided by Hirsch who knew the area well. At No 251, Eupener Strasse, lived Franz Oppenhoff, a forty-one year old lawyer, his wife Irmgard and their three children. Oppenhoff had recently been appointed chief Burgomeister by the Americans and by accepting this appointment he had signed his own death warrant. Regarded as a traitor by the Nazi resistance movement, the so-called Werewolves, he was a prime candidate for assassination. Guided by Hirsch to the house, the actual murder was carried out by the leader of the team, SS Lt. Wenzel and their radio operator, Sepp Leitgeb, who fired the fatal shot as Oppenhoff stood on the steps of his residence. Ilse Hirsch took no part in the actual assassination but acted only as guide and lookout. Making their escape from the city, Hirsch caught her foot on a trip-wire attached to a buried mine which severely injured her knee and killed her companion, Sepp Leitgeb. Spending a long time in hospital she eventually returned to her home in Euskirchen. After the war, the survivors of the assassination team, with the exception of SS Lt. Wenzel, were tracked down and arrested. At the Aachen 'Werewolf Trial' in October, 1949, all were found guilty and sentenced to from one to four years in prison. Ilse and one other team member were set free. In 1972, Ilse Hirsch was happily married, the mother of two teenage boys and living only a score of miles from the scene of the most momentous event in her life.

KITTY SCHMIDT (1882-1945)

Owner of Berlin's top brothel the 'Pension Schmidt' located at No.11, Giesebrecht Strasse. It was later renamed 'Salon Kitty' when taken over by the S.D.(Secret Service). It became the very epitome of relaxation for high ranking officers and visiting diplomats. Fitted out with hidden microphones, this sophisticated surveillance system became the main source of Gestapo intelligence. Twenty women were specially trained for work in Salon Kitty. During a bombing raid in 1944, the 'Salon Kitty' was badly damaged and was moved down to the ground floor. Kitty Schmidt died in Berlin in 1954 at the age of seventy two. Next door, at No.12, was the apartment of Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Chief of the SD. (In 1988, the former 'Salon Kitty' was in use as a Guitar Studio!).


Wife of Martin Bormann, head of Party Chancellery. A fanatical adherent to Nazi ideology, she bore her husband ten children, the first being named Adolf, after his god-father. Of her husbands mistress, Manja Behrens, she wrote 'See to it that one year she has a child and next year I have a child, so that you will always have a wife who is serviceable'. After the war, the search for Gerda Borman ended when she was located in the village of Wolkenstein, twenty kilometres north east of Bolzano. With her were fourteen children, nine of her own and five who were kidnapped by her husband in order that his wife could travel posing as the director of a children's home. In her final days Gerda converted to the Catholic faith and when found was ill from cancer and was operated on in Bolzano Civil Hospital. She died in March 1946. The five kidnapped children were returned to their parents and her own children placed in Roman Catholic homes. Her husband, Martin Borman, committed suicide during his attempt to escape the bunker and his remains were discovered in 1972. His family refused to have anything to do with the bones so they lay in a cardboard box in the cellar of the District Prosecutor in Frankfurt for years. In 1999 the remains (still unclaimed) were cremated and scattered in the Baltic Sea outside German territorial limits. The cremation and burial cost the German Government $4,700.


Wife of the Nazi Reichskommissar for Holland, Dr. Arthur Seyss-Inquart. She fled Holland on the 3rd.September, 1944, a day before her husband made it an offence for anyone to leave. She was last seen leaving The Hague with five suitcases, bound for Salzburg in Austria.


A shorthand typist with the Reich Egg Marketing Board, she married Hitler's Minister of War, Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg. The Fuhrer and Goering were witnesses at the wedding on January 12, 1938. When the police reported that Erna had worked as a prostitute and had posed for pornographic pictures, Hitler flew into a rage and sacked von Blomberg on the spot. The disgraced Field Marshal and his wife retired to the Bavarian village of Weissee where they lived out the war and where the Field Marshal now lies buried in the local cemetery.


Daughter of a West Prussian landowner, blonde and blue eyed, Marga, as she was called, worked as a nurse in the first World War, then went to live in Berlin. There she met and married Heinrich Himmler on July 3, 1928 and set up a chicken farm at Waldtrudering, near Munich. Eight years older then Himmler, their marriage ran into financial problems and they started to live apart. They had one child, a daughter named Gudrun.


Attractive daughter of a Cologne businessman, she became secretary to Himmler and later his mistress when he lost all affection for Marga, his wife. In 1942, Hedwig gave birth to her first child, her second was born in 1944, another daughter. Himmler, not wishing the scandal of a divorce, borrowed 80,000 marks from the Party Chancellery and built a house for Hedwig at Schonau, near Berchtesgaden. They called it 'Haus Schneewinkellehen'. There she became friends with Bormann's wife Greda, who lived nearby.


A ravishing blonde and much admired by Hitler. Wife of the drunkard Robert Ley, head of the Arbeitsfront, with whom she was very unhappy. An actress and ballerina by profession, she once took refuge from her husband in the Obersalzberg. After writing a letter to Hitler, which left him very depressed, she attempted suicide in 1943 by jumping out of a window. On October 24, 1945, her husband committed suicide in his cell while awaiting trial at Nuremberg. His suicide note stated that he could "no longer bear the shame". The villa of Robert and Inge Ley still stands on the Mehringdamm in Berlin's suburb of Templehof.


Czech film actress, born Ludmila Babkova in Prague in 1910 and mistress to Goebbels during the late thirties. The affair ended in 1938 when his wife Magda demanded a divorce and Hitler ordered that he give up the actress. A reconciliation between Goebbels and Magda took place when Lida returned to Czechoslovakia under 'advice' from the Gestapo. In later years Lida lived in Salzburg, Austria, under the name Lida Lundwall. She died in Salzburg at the age of 86 on October 27, 2000, from Parkinson's disease.


A film actress and one of Hitler's earlier infatuations. The relationship did not last long. After spending an evening in the Chancellery where, as Renata confided to her director Adolf Zeissler, Hitler threw himself on the floor and begged her to kick him and inflict pain. Shortly after this experience, Renata Mueller was found unconscious on the pavement in front of her hotel, forty feet below the window of her room. Renate's sister, Gabriel, maintains that she did not commit suicide but that she died from complications following an operation to her leg at the Augsburger Strasse Clinic.


Wife of wealthy piano manufacturer Carl Bechstein. Hitler was often invited to their Berlin home where she lavished maternal affection on him. The Bechstein's donated large sums of money to the Party and to help Hitler's career by introducing him to influential people. It was Helene who introduced him to Berchtesgaden where they had a villa. It was always her expectation that Hitler would marry her daughter, Lotte.


Born in 1911, the youngest of four daughters of the co-founder of the Social Democratic Party in Berchtesgaden. She met Hitler while exercising her sister's dog in the Kurpark in 1926. She later visited him in his Munich apartment and the friendship developed. But in 1927, when she heard that Hitler was courting another girl, his niece Geli Raubal, blind jealousy drove her to attempt suicide. The attempt failed. In 1930, she married an innkeeper in Innsbruck and divorced him some years later. Her second marriage was to SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Georg Kubisch. In 1938 she met Hitler again, and when Kubisch was killed at Dunkirk during the French campaign, he sent her one hundred red roses. There was no further contact between them. After the war, Maria Reiter Kubisch lived for a while with Hitler's sister Paula, and found work as a maid in a hotel. In 1977 she was living in Munich.


Daughter of the US Ambassador in Berlin (1933-1937) Professor William E. Dodd. She was very much attracted to Hitler and was invited to have tea with him at the Kaiserhof Hotel on a number of occasions. She once declared that she was in love with him and wanted to organize a tour of the US for him. This did not meet with the approval of Goering, who spread the rumour that Martha was a Soviet agent. (she had visited Moscow and Leningrad July,1934) Hitler refused to see her again and banned her from all future diplomatic receptions. Soon after, reports circulated that Martha Eccles Dodd had attempted suicide by slashing her wrists. No details of this has survived, it is possible that the affair has been hushed up 'diplomatically'. In 1938 she married American millionaire investment broker, Alfred Kaufman Stern and became active in left wing politics working closely with Vassili Zubilin, second secretary of the Soviet Embassy in Washington. Attracting the attention of the McCarthy House un-American Activities Committee, the Sterns fled to Cuba and then to Prague, Czechoslovakia. Alfred Stern died in Prague in 1986 and Martha Dodd Stern died in August 1990 at the age of 82.


Born in Aelsheim in 1902, married three times she bore eleven children. She became Leader of the Nazi Women's Group, responsible for directing all women's organizations during the Nazi era including the Frauenwerk (a federal organization of women), Women's League of the Red Cross and the Women's Labour Front. When she visited the United Kingdom in 1939, she was billed as the 'Perfect Nazi Woman'. Arrested in 1948 by the French, she served eighteen months in prison for working under an assumed name. In 1950 the German Government banned her from public office. Her book 'Women in the Third Reich' was published in 1978.


Born in Berlin in 1913, she became one of Hitler's secretaries from 1933 to 1945. She was married to General Eckard Christian, Chief of Staff to the Luftwaffe whom she divorced in 1946. Gerda was previously married to Erich Kempka, Hitler's private chauffeur. (Her maiden name was Daranowsky) After the war she settled in Düsseldorf but has remained noncommittal about her time in the court of the German Führer.

Anti-Nazi Activists


Journalist with the Offenbacher Zeitung in Frankfurt. Because of her Jewish faith she was dismissed from her job in the mid 1930s. Taking up social work she became director of the Centre of German Jewish Children at the Frankfurt Jewish Congregation office. In this capacity she helped thousands of Jewish children to escape to England and other European countries during the Kindertransport period of 1938-39. Martha accompanied many of these transports to England. Back in Frankfurt she helped operate a soup kitchen and eight old peoples homes which cared for 570 elderly Jews. On June 10/11, 1942, a total of 1,042 Jews of Frankfurt and 450 from Wiesbaden were assembled in the Frankfurt Grossmarkthalle prior to boarding trains for deportation to the east. Martha Wertheimer was assigned by the Gestapo to take charge of this transport. A few weeks later, a postcard sent to a friend already in the Lodz ghetto, was the last the Jewish community ever heard of this courageous woman or of the victims on the train.

SOPHIE SCHOLL (1921-1943)

Martyr of the anti-Nazi movement at Munich University where she studied biology and philosophy. Arrested with her brother Hans, a medical student, both were sentenced to death by the People's Court, and on February 22, 1943, twenty-two year old Sophie and her brother Hans were beheaded by the guillotine. They were instrumental in organizing the resistance group known as the 'White Rose'. In one of their illegally printed pamphlets, she wrote 'Every word that comes from Hitler's mouth is a lie'. The graves of Hans and Sophie Scholl can be seen in the Perlach Forest Cemetery, outside Munich.

HILDE MONTE (MEISEL) (1914-1945)

Poet and writer for the Berlin paper 'Der Funke', representing the Socialist International. Living In England when Hitler became Chancellor, she joined the campaign of resistance against the Nazis. To carry on the struggle against Hitler she decided to return to her homeland and in 1944 had reached Switzerland via Lisbon. In Vienna, she established a secret intelligence chain with a group of anti-Nazi's. In attempting to cross the border into Germany she stumbled into an SS patrol. A shot was fired that shattered both her legs. As the SS rushed to arrest her, Hilde Monte (Meisel) bit hard into her suicide pill. She died instantly.

ERIKA MANN (1905-1969)

Writer and daughter of Thomas Mann the novelist. Born in Munich, she fled Germany in 1933 in a car given to her by the Ford Motor Company after she won a 6,000 mile race through Europe. In 1935 she married the English poet W.H.Auden. This marriage of convenience was arranged to give her British nationality. She returned to Europe and continued to attack the Nazi regime in her writings. Her 1938 book 'School for Barbarians' described to the world the true nature of Nazism. This was followed by a series of lectures in America titled 'The Other Germany'. In 1950 she returned to Switzerland where she died in Kilchberg, near Zurich, on August 27, 1969 after surgery for a brain tumour.

ELIZABETH von THADDEN (1890-1944)

Teacher and activist in the anti-Hitler movement. Born in Mohrungen, East Prussia now Morag, Poland, she taught in a Protestant boarding school at Wieblingen Castle near Heidelberg which she founded in 1927. Forced to resign in 1941 by new state regulations, she started working for the Red Cross. She was reported to the Gestapo for things she said during a discussion on the regime at her home on September 10,1943. She was arrested, charged with defeatism and attempted treason and sentenced to death by the Peoples Court. On September 8, 1944, she was executed. Her half brother, Adolf von Thadden, survived the war and became a member of the Bundestag and later chairman of the National Democratic Party (NPD).

LILO GLOEDEN (1903-1944)

Elizabeth Charlotte Lilo Gloeden was a Berlin housewife, who, with her mother and husband, helped shelter those who were persecuted by the Nazis, by sheltering them for weeks at a time in their flat. Among those sheltered was Dr. Carl Goerdeler, resistance leader and Lord Mayor of Leipzig. Lilo Gloeden, her mother and husband, were all arrested by the Gestapo, and Lilo and her mother subjected to torture under interrogation. On November 30, 1944, all three were beheaded at two minute intervals by guillotine in Plötzensee Prison, Berlin.

LILO HERMANN (1909-1938)

German student who became involved in anti-Nazi activities. She was arrested and sentenced to death for high treason, becoming the first woman to be executed in Hitler's Third Reich.


Born in Berlin, daughter of surgeon Professor Albert Solomon. In 1933, being Jewish, he was deprived of his right to practice medicine. Charlotte was admitted to the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts in 1935 (some Jewish students were admitted whose fathers had fought in World War 1) After Kristallnacht, father and daughter were given permission to leave Germany. They settled in Villefranche in the South of France. After Italy signed the surrender, German troops marched into Villefranche and on 21 September, 1943, the Gestapo arrested Charlotte and her husband, Alexander Nagler. Deported by train to Auschwitz both were gassed on arrival. Professor Solomon survived the war and in 1971 presented to the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam a total of 1,300 paintings done by Charlotte in the three years before her arrest.

ODETTE SANSOM (1912-1995)

Born Odette Marie Celine in Amiens, France, in 1912. She married Roy Sansom, an Englishman, to whom she had three daughters and made her home in England in 1932. When war broke out she joined the First Aid Yeomanry (F.A.N.Y) and was later recruited into the French Section of the SOE. (Special Operations Executive) Given the code name 'Lise' she was sent to France and joined up with a resistance circle headed by British agent Peter Churchill. Arrested by the Gestapo on April 16, 1943, Odette, posing as Peter Churchill's wife, was taken to Fresnes Prison near Paris. Tortured and badly treated during fourteen interrogations, she refused to give away her friends. She was then sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp north of Berlin on July 18, 1944 to be executed, but the camp commandant, Fritz Sühren, believing her to be a relation of Winston Churchill, used her as a hostage to reach the Allied lines to give himself up. On August 20, 1946, Odette Sansom was awarded the George Cross by the King and the Legion d'Honneur from France. When her first husband died she married Peter Churchill and in 1956 when that marriage was dissolved she later married wine importer Geoffrey Hallowes who had also served in the SOE in France. In 1994, the year before she died, she paid an emotional visit to the concentration camp at Ravensbruck (now a memorial site) her first visit since since she left the camp in 1945.


One of the most outstanding female German secret agents of the war. Born 1914 in Kiev to Jewish parents, and after the Bolshevik Revolution the family settled in Copenhagen. She trained as a dancer and took up night club work in Paris.We next hear of Vera in Hamburg, as the mistress of Major Hilmar Dierks, the naval intelligence expert of the Hamburg Abwehr (the counter-intelligence department of the German High Command). Recruited by Dierks into the Abwehr she soon made a name for herself as Germany&rsquos top female spy. In September, 1940, she and two other agents were landed on the north-east coast of Scotland (Operation Lena). Under her code-name Vera Erikson, she soon caught the attention of the Scottish police and she and her two companions were arrested at Portgordon as they tried to buy a train ticket to London. Her two companions, Karl Druegge and Werner Walti, were both hanged as spies in Wandsworth Prison but Vera was never brought to trial, she simply disappeared.

ANNE FRANK (1929-1945)

German-Jewish girl who hid from the Gestapo in a loft in Amsterdam for two years. Born in Frankfurt on June 12, 1929, daughter of businessman Otto Frank. The Frank family, Otto, his wife, daughters Margot and Anne, left Frankfurt for Amsterdam in 1933. When the German army invaded Holland in May, 1940, they went into hiding until August 4, 1944 when their hiding place was betrayed by a friend. Anne and her family were arrested and imprisoned in Westerbork. On September 3, 1944, they embarked on a three day journey, along with 1,019 other Jews, to Auschwitz in Poland. On arrival, 549 of the deportees were immediately gassed. Some weeks later, Anne and her sister Margot were sent back to Germany to the Belsen concentration camp where Margot died of typus at the beginning of March 1945. Anne died a few days later. Anne's mother died in Auschwitz on January 6, 1945. Anne's diary was found a year later by her father, Otto Frank, who survived the war and when published, caused a sensation. Translated into thirty two languages it became a successful stage play and film. Today, the secret hiding place in the house at 263 Prinsengracht by the Prinsengracht Canal, is visited by thousands each year.

EDITH STEIN (1891-1942)

Born in Breslau, daughter of a Jewish timber merchant. She rejected Judaism and became a Catholic nun in 1922 and in 1932 she was appointed lecturer at the German Institute of Scientific Pedagogy, a post from which she was dismissed because of her Jewish parents. She then entered the Carmelite Convent in Cologne as Sister Teresa Benedicta. In the elections of 1933 she refused to vote and was prohibited from voting in the elections of 1938. Transferred to a convent in Holland, she was arrested by the Gestapo when Germany invaded that country. With many other Jews she was sent to Auschwitz where on August 9, 1942, she was put to death in the recently built gas chambers. Edith Stein was later proclaimed a saint by Pope John Paul 11, an act which infuriated many Jews who think that she is not an appropriate representative of Jewish victims.


Wife of Czech-born German industrialist, Oskar Schindler, who, together with her husband, saved over 1,200 Jewish workers from the Holocaust. Born in a German speaking village in what is now the Czech Republic, she married Oskar in 1928 and in 1942 moved to Kraków in Poland. There they established a factory producing domestic kitchen utensils and employing Jews who they planned to save. In 1949 they moved to Argentina where she was abandoned by her husband who returned to Germany with his mistress in 1957 and died there in 1974. Emilie returned to Germany in July, 2001, with the intention of settling down in a retirement home in Bavaria but suffered a stroke and died in a hospital near Berlin. She was 94 years old. In 1993, Emilie Schlinder was awarded the honour of 'Righteous Gentile' by the Yad Vashen Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.


Daughter of a Prussian aristocrat, she was employed in the German Foreign Office as assistant Chief of the Diplomatic Courier Section. An anti-Nazi, she secretly arranged for special passes to enable diplomat Fritz Kolbe (the main Allied source of intelligence) to make frequent trips to Switzerland to pass on information to Allen Dulles, head of American O.S.S.


Trained in England as a secret agent, she travelled to Switzerland disguised as a Red Cross nurse to serve as a courier for her husband Jupp Kappius, a German national who worked for the American O.S.S. Anne travelled twice from Switzerland deep into the heart of the Reich to bring back valuable intelligence collected by her husband. They returned to Germany after the war to settle.


Born in Frankfurt-on-Main, a member of the Socialist Young Workers movement. In 1933 she helped many Jews and others to flee the Reich. In 1935, she aided those engaged in resistance work, from her home in Alsace. After the capitulation of France in 1940, she was arrested by the Vichy Government and handed over to the Gestapo. Brought before the People's Court in Berlin in 1943, she was sentenced to death, and on June 9, 1944, executed in Plötzensee Prison. In her last letter she wrote 'Be cheerful and brave, a better future lies before you'.


A bookseller, she worked for the Schutze-Boysen-Harnack resistance group (The Red Orchestra) Arrested on October 10, 1942 for passing messages to French slave workers in factories. On February 3, 1943, she was sentenced to death by the People's Court and hanged in Plötzensee Prison, Berlin, on August 5.


Daughter of physician Dr. Ludwig Mayer of Offenbach. In 1930, she became Germany's woman fencing champion. Soon after Hitler came to power, his Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, portrayed Helena Mayer, now a national heroine, as the perfect specimen of German womanhood. Tall, blonde and blue eyed, she was described as the apotheosis of German racial purity. The campaign was abruptly abandoned when it was discovered that Helene had a Jewish father and grandparents. She went to the USA to study international law but was invited to take part in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin where she won a silver medal. After the Olympics she settled in the US and became an American citizen winning the US Women's National Fencing Championship eight times. In 1952 she returned to Germany and married an engineer from Stuttgart. She died after a long illness on October 15, 1953.


Born in Berlin in 1905, this German novelist had her books banned by the Nazi's when she criticized them for their defamation of German womanhood. In 1933 her books were confiscated and burned and newspapers were forbidden to publish her short stories. Forced to emigrate to Holland so she could continue her writing, she again went back to Germany in secret when the Nazi's invaded the Netherlands. In Cologne she went underground and began writing again making no secret of her opposition to the Nazi's. After the war nothing was heard of her till 1976 when she was discovered living in poverty in an attic room in Bonn. She had spent six years in a Bonn hospital and four and a half months in the state hospital for alcoholism. In 1972 her books were republished and she died of a lung tumor on May 5, 1982.


Born in Milwaukee, USA, on September 16, 1902, daughter of merchant William Cooke Fish. In 1926, she married the German Rockefeller scholar Arvid Harnack whom she met while studying literature at Wisconsin University. She insisted on keeping her maiden name. In 1929, she and her husband moved to Germany where she taught American literature history at the University of Berlin. In Berlin, she became friends with Martha Dodd and through this friendship, she and her husband were often invited to receptions at the American Embassy where she met many influential Germans.

When the war started, Arvid and Mildred supported the resistance movement against the Nazi regime through their friendship with Harro Schulze-Boysen and the spy ring the Nazis dubbed &ldquoThe Red Orchestra.&rdquo On September 7, 1942, she and her husband were arrested while on a short vacation in Priel, a seaside town near Königsberg and taken to Gestapo headquarters at No. 8, Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse.

At their trial on December 15-19, 1942, Mildred was sentenced to six years in prison for &ldquohelping to prepare high treason and espionage.&rdquo Arvid and eight others were given the death sentence and on December 22 Arvid and three others were hanged from meat hooks suspended from a T-bar across the ceiling of the execution chamber at Plötzensee Prison. The others were beheaded by the guillotine.

On December 21, Hitler reversed the sentence on Mildred and at her second trial on January13/16, 1943, she was given the ultimate penalty, death. At 6.57 pm on February 16, 1943, Mildred Elizabeth Harnack nee Fish was beheaded by guillotine in Plötzensee, the only American woman to be executed for treason in World War II. Her last words were reported to be &ldquoAnd I loved Germany so much.&rdquo

In January 1970, the Russians posthumously awarded Arvid Harnack the Order of the Red Banner, and Mildred, the Order of the Fatherland War, First Class, the highest civilian award. Sadly, in the U.S. the Harnacks were forgotten.


Born Maria Magdalena Dietrich in the Schoneberg district of Berlin on December 27, 1901. Started a career in minor films, her big break came in October,1929 when she screen tested for the part of Lola in 'The Blue Angel'. The film premiered at the Gloria Palast in Berlin on April 1, 1930. When Hitler came to power she was asked to broadcast Nazi propaganda. She refused and fled to the USA where on January 4, 1941, she became a naturalized American citizen. During WWII she spent much of her time entertaining US troops around the world and selling war bonds as well as doing anti-Nazi propaganda broadcasts aimed at German soldiers. In 1960 she returned to Germany for a series of concerts, one at which she was pelted with rotted tomatoes and called a traitor. She vowed never to return. In her later years she moved to Paris and became a recluse. She died on May 6, 1992, aged 90. Her last wish was to be buried beside her mother in Friedhof 111 at Friedenau, Berlin. She married Rudolpf 'Rudy' Seber in 1924, a marriage which lasted until her husband's death in 1979 and with whom she had a daughter, Maria Riva.

GERTRUD SEELE (1917-1945)

Nurse and social worker she was born in Berlin and served for a time in the Nazi Labour Corps. Arrested in 1944 for helping Jews to escape Nazi persecution, and for 'defeatist statements designed to undermine the moral of the people'. She was tried before the People's Court in Potsdam and executed in Plötzensee Prison, Berlin, on January 12, 1945.


A Dutch national who, when hearing of the German threat to refuse permission for the refugee Children's Transports to cross the border into Holland, went to Vienna and confronted Adolf Eichmann, head of the Central Bureau for Jewish Emigration. She persuaded him to issue a collective exit visa for 600 Austrian Jewish children. The children eventually arrived in England. In all, Gertrud Wijsmuller organized a total of forty-nine transports to Britain. Another transport she organized, her 50th, was from the port of Danzig on August 24, 1939. On September 1 Germany invaded Poland and occupied Danzig. Back in Holland, Gertrud continued to help in the transfer of Jewish children to England until May 10, 1940, when Germany invaded the Netherlands. After Kristallnacht, over 9,000 German, Austrian and Czech Jewish children were brought to Britain by these Kindertransports. The first transport arrived in Harwich on December 1, 1938.

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After Brown, Mann practiced law before winning a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, serving from 1827 to 1833. He then won election to the state Senate in 1835 and was named its president the following year. During these years, Mann aimed his sights at infrastructure improvements via the construction of railroads and canals and established an asylum for the insane at Worcester.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts education system, with a history going back to 1647, was sputtering.ਊ vigorous reform movement arose, and in 1837 the state created its board of education, one of the first in the country, with Mann assuming stewardship as its secretary.

With funds for the board’s activities at a minimum, the position required more moral leadership than anything else, and Horace Mann proved himself up to the role. He started a biweekly journal, Common School Journal, in 1838 for teachers and lectured on education to all who would listen. Additionally, he visited Europe to learn more about established educational principles and came away particularly impressed with the Prussian school system.

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