A moving document on Erika Mann, and also a very personal view of the Mann family, published here for the first time.
The actress, singer and theatre critic Signe von Scanzoni was Erika Mann`s last partner. Following her death in September 1969, she wrote the »Report on Erika Mann«, a manuscript of almost 200 pages. This text, unpublished to date, reads like a lamentation of the dead, a lifetime`s confession and a final exchange of correspondence. It tells of a passionate relationship, subject to the pressures of secrecy and extreme controversy regarding politics and contemporary history.
Thanks to this sensitive, critical commentary, Erika Mann`s self-determined role as the guardian of the works of Thomas Mann and as the editor of the works of Klaus Mann appears in a new light.
In its careful but persistent, loving but distant analysis of an »unloved life«, the report is an unusual literary document: an account of a life spent imprisoned within the famous Mann family, and a report on the death of a loved one - given in a sensitive but detached way.
Signe von Scanzoni (1915-2002), a singer and theatre critic in the circles surrounding Gustaf Gründgens and Clemens Krauss, was a close friend of Erika Mann (1905-1969) from 1957 onwards.
Irmela von der Lühe, born in 1947, professor of Modern German Literature at the Free University of Berlin, publications include Erika Mann. Eine Biographie (Erika Mann. A Biography, 2009), Ethik und Ästhetik des Mitleids (The Ethics and Aesthetics of Sympathy, 2007, with Nina Gülcher).