“I am a German lawyer of Jewish extraction. Owing to the recent evolution in Germany I have lost my position and all chances of a future career… I had the intention and the possibility of becoming a professor, and I had already begun to write a book on the own stock of companies. Besides lecturing I had intended to go to the bar, and probably would have achieved both aims during the following winter. I am 26 years old.”  
F.A. Mann, Letter to Stephan Duggan, 1 August 1933.

A Biography of F.A. Mann

The biographical part of the project aims to find a fresh perspective on how biographies are made and which epistemological value they can claim. Instead of a hagiography or a deterministic account that follows the course of history, the project has identified a number of key narratives that describe the life and work of F.A. Mann.  These can – and sometimes do –  conflict with one another. In their overall picture, they seek more accurately to describe the subject: a human being.


Mann was born in Frankenthal in the Palatinate in 1907, into a family of bankers and lawyers. 

Berlin before

While also studying in Geneva and Munich, the integral part of Mann’s studies and the beginning of his academic carrier were at the Friedrich-Wilhems Universität in Berlin up until 1933.

Exile in London

On the day of their wedding –  under a portait of Hitler in October 1933 – Francis and Eleonore Mann took the night train to Paris and arived in London the next day.

Berlin after

In 1946 Mann was sent as a British Officer with the Interallied Control Commission to work on the Denazification of German law alongside Soviet, French and American lawyers.

Home in London

London remained Mann’s permanent home. He considered himself first and foremost a British subject and made his imprint on the law from there.

“The Invisible College of International Lawyers”

As argued in Oscar Schachter’s 1977 paper of that title, international law is drawn by a group of individuals – a group of which Mann was very much a member.

“[…] we shall give up the naïve belief that any definite set of historical records can ever be interpreted in one way only.”

Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies (Routledge 1946)

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