Alte Landstrasse 39, 8802 Kilchberg, Switzerland
Friedhof Kilchberg Kilchberg, Bezirk Horgen, Zürich, Switzerland
Golo Mann, born Angelus Gottfried Thomas Mann (March 27, 1909 – April 7, 1994), was a popular German historian and essayist. Having completed a doctorate in philosophy under Karl Jaspers at Heidelberg, in 1933 he fled Hitler's Germany. He followed his father, the writer Thomas Mann and other members of his family in emigrating to France, Switzerland and the United States. From the late 1950s he re-established himself in Switzerland and West Germany as a literary historian.
Mann was perhaps best known for his master work German History in the 19th and 20th Century. A survey of German political history, it emphasised the nihilistic and aberrant nature of the Hitler regime. In his later years, Mann took issue with historians who sought to contextualise the crimes of the regime by comparing them with those of Stalinism in Soviet Union and with wartime Allied bombing. At the same time he was sharply critical of those, broadly on the left, who carried a unique German guilt for the Holocaust not only back into the pre-Nazi past but forward in a manner that seemed to question the legitimacy of the postwar Federal Republic.
In March 1990, Mann had a heart attack after a public lecture. In the same year it became evident that he suffered from prostate cancer. Because of his ill health he moved to Leverkusen in 1992, where he was nursed by his daughter-in-law Ingrid Beck-Mann. A few days prior to his death, he acknowledged his homosexuality in a TV interview: "I did not fall in love often. I often kept it to myself, maybe that was a mistake. It also was forbidden, even in America, and one had to be a little careful". According to Tilman Lahme's biography, although Golo Mann did not act out his homosexuality as openly as his brother Klaus Mann he had had love relationships since his student days.
On 7 April 1994, Mann died in Leverkusen aged 85. His urn was buried in Kilchberg, but—in fulfillment of his last will—outside the family grave.
Golo Mann's literary estate is archived in the Swiss Literary Archives in Bern. In 2009 the German Postal system honoured the 100th anniversary of Golo Mann's birth with a new stamp, which displayed his portrait with the caption Literarischer Historiker (literary historian).
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