Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It Will Be on the Quiz

This morning while the rest of the family slept, I went out and walked around some of the old city of Lubeck. On an early pass by the town hall, I saw a circle of about twenty high school students. I noticed how few boys were in the group, maybe three, but didn't otherwise think about what this might be. I went on my way.

Somewhat later, I was in the same area when three young women of about 16 stopped me and asked if I had few moments. I said (in English) Yes, with the qualification that I am an American and that the questions and answers would have to be in English. All clearly knew some English and one spoke it well, so this was not a problem. They wanted to ask me a few questions about Thomas Mann; they had notebooks and a list of questions. Fortunately, we had visited the Buddenbrooks House yesterday, and I was not entirely unprepared.

So: Where was Thomas Mann born? Lubeck. When? I thought 1878 (1875). What did his father do? His father was a merchant and senator. (Here there was a bit of confusion, and I came up with Kaufmann.) Was Thomas Mann pro- or anti-Nazi? He was opposed to the Nazi regime, and emigrated shortly after it came to power. (Again, a bit of confusion, and I said, "anti-Nazi".) Did he have any children? I thought five, and was able to name Klaus, Elisabeth, Golo, and Michael; I knew that I was missing the name of one daughter, but in fact missed two (Erika and Monika). When did he die? 1955. Where? Switzerland.

Later on I saw two more trios with notebooks, but I did not see anyone answering questions. I suppose that I should have asked what school they attended, and whether its web site will offer a statistical summary of what people knew. If we see them later on when out and about, I will ask.


  1. Hang on, you are supposed to be in DC. How long are you over? Are you going to be in our proximity?

  2. We leave Lubeck tomorrow for Copenhagen, and will fly out of Copenhagen Sunday morning, two to DC, one to LA. So we aren't really close to Brussels.