Concept

The monu­ment to the Mann fam­ily con­sists of an assembly of street signs named after mem­bers of the Mann fam­ily as well as street­lamps from those streets. The signs and lamps come from Munich, where Mann spent a major­ity of his life, but also from oth­er cit­ies and places related to the Mann fam­ily world­wide.

The inter­na­tion­al­ity of the fam­ily is reflec­ted in the signs and lights – begin­ning in Munich and radi­at­ing out to oth­er cit­ies in Europe, the USA, and South Amer­ica – as well as the family’s world­wide lit­er­ary pres­ence and sig­ni­fic­ance. This is also evid­ent from the dif­fer­ent street names (Via, Rue, Rua). The arrange­ment is based on the topo­graph­ic­al pos­i­tion of the indi­vidu­al cit­ies in rela­tion to one anoth­er and forms an ima­gin­ary map. The monu­ment addresses the com­mit­ment to a spe­cif­ic place but also aspects of emig­ra­tion, mobil­ity and fre­quent change of place as well as transna­tion­al cos­mo­pol­it­an­ism, for which the fam­ily can be regarded as a fore­run­ner and example.

The point of depar­ture is Munich, the cen­ter of the family’s life for many years, where there are sev­er­al streets and squares named after mem­bers of the fam­ily: Thomas Mann but also Erika, Klaus, Elisa­beth and Golo. Some of these streets are loc­ated in less-fre­quen­ted neigh­bor­hoods, new hous­ing estates or on the peri­phery and thus have little pres­ence in the col­lect­ive memory. These street signs, togeth­er with the street­lamps to which they are attached, are brought to the cen­ter of the city and assembled as a group at the Sal­vat­or­platz (Sal­vat­or Square), where they are more vis­ible and come into con­tact with one anoth­er in a kind of “fam­ily reunion.” At the same time, they refer back to their ori­gin­al loc­a­tions so that the monu­ment as a whole emphas­izes its con­nec­tion to urb­an struc­tures.

Names

A new sign will be cre­ated for Katia Mann, for whom no street has yet been named. This will make “Mrs. Thomas Mann” more vis­ible in rela­tion to the city in which she was born and whose fam­ily – the  Jew­ish Pring­sheim fam­ily – like the Manns, lost their prop­erty and had to emig­rate. Giv­ing her a street name in the monu­ment anti­cip­ates what would oth­er­wise be a lengthy pro­cess. This mix­ture of real­ity and fic­tion ref­er­ences lit­er­ary pro­ced­ures prac­ticed by Thomas and Klaus Mann.

Lights

Circa fif­teen street signs and street­lights are planned. In addi­tion to those from Munich, oth­ers will demon­strate the span between Europe and North and South Amer­ica and will estab­lish con­nec­tions. One street sign comes from Par­is. Anoth­er from the city of Lübeck, the birth­place of Thomas Mann as well as the set­ting for Bud­den­brooks. A street­lamp and sign from Klaus-Mann-Platz in Frank­furt (the loc­a­tion of a monu­ment to per­se­cuted homo­sexu­als) serves as a ref­er­ence to an aspect of the iden­tity of sev­er­al fam­ily mem­bers. Rome is present as the res­id­ence of Thomas (and Hein­rich) Mann at a young age. The South Amer­ic­an link (Thomas Mann’s moth­er Julia came from Brazil) is rep­res­en­ted by a street­lamp and sign from São Paulo. One lamp will come from Nida, Lithuania, the pre­ferred sum­mer retreat of the Mann fam­ily. A lamp from San­ary-Sur-Mer on the Côte d’Azur, the first place the fam­ily emig­rated to in the 1930s, rep­res­ents the fam­ily as a whole. Two street­lamps come from the United States: one from New York, near the former Hotel Bed­ford, where mem­bers of the Mann fam­ily stayed. Anoth­er from San Remo Drive in Los Angeles refers to the villa Thomas Mann built there in 1942, in which he lived until his return to Europe. A street­lamp from Kilch­berg near Zurich estab­lishes a link to the res­id­ence of Thomas and Katia as well as Erika (for whom a street in Zurich is named) and finally Golo.

Research trips to the respect­ive loc­a­tions are part of the pro­ject, as is a book pub­lic­a­tion that doc­u­ments, con­veys and sup­ple­ments the back­ground and devel­op­ment of the monu­ment, includ­ing the cur­rent situ­ations of the street signs and street­lights on site.