Rue Thomas Mann, Paris – in Munich

Rue Thomas Mann, Par­is, 2018, Photo: Eva-Maria Troelenberg

As the first com­pon­ent of the memori­al to the Mann fam­ily, „Rue Thomas Mann“ in the char­ac­ter­ist­ic Parisi­an design was installed on Sal­vat­or­platz in Munich in April 2024, on the façade of the Sal­vat­or garage.

It refers to the street in Par­is that has com­mem­or­ated the „Ècrivain alle­mand“ since 1995, as the sign also says. It is loc­ated in the 13th arron­disse­ment, in the mod­ern „Gare“ dis­trict, which was redesigned at the same time as the street was named, in the neigh­bour­hood of the Bib­lio­thèque François-Mit­ter­rand (Nation­al Lib­rary of France, BnF), which makes the choice of the writer as the name­sake all the more plausible.

The sign sym­bol­ises the lit­er­ary and polit­ic­al Franco-Ger­man rela­tion­ship and the role Thomas Mann played in it. He held the Gon­court broth­ers, among oth­ers, in high esteem and drew decis­ive inspir­a­tion from their works for his fam­ily nov­el „Bud­den­brooks“. And he was the first Ger­man writer to make a pub­lic appear­ance in Par­is after the First World War to give a speech entitled „The intel­lec­tu­al tend­en­cies of con­tem­por­ary Ger­many“. In the role of an unof­fi­cial cul­tur­al ambas­sad­or of the Wei­mar Repub­lic, Mann pro­moted Franco-Ger­man friend­ship and inter­na­tion­al under­stand­ing – see also his report on the trip and his stay, „Par­iser Rechenschaft“[Parisian Account]. The nam­ing is also a reflec­tion of the later polit­ic­al rela­tions between the two coun­tries, which intens­i­fied in the 1990s.

The install­a­tion on Sal­vat­or­platz was pre­ceded by a lengthy pro­cess of research and con­tact, includ­ing via the Goethe-Insti­tut Par­is. In the end, the city of Par­is approved the repro­duc­tion of the sign, which was car­ried out by the com­pany LACROIX Signalisation/Signaclic, which also works for the city of Paris.

As street signs in Par­is are pre­dom­in­antly attached to build­ing facades, it was neces­sary to find a suit­able loc­a­tion in Munich. The façade of the Sal­vat­or­gar­age was an obvi­ous choice, for which the con­sent of the Office for the Pre­ser­va­tion of His­tor­ic­al Monu­ments was obtained, as well as the ten­ants and own­ers, Bav­aria Parkgar­a­gen GmbH and Bay­erische Hausbau.

The install­a­tion itself was car­ried out by Flori­an Froese-Peek in col­lab­or­a­tion with Albert Coers.