Away from Nida settlement, on the “Hill of Mother-in-law”, there is the Thomas Mann’s two-storey summer house which does not stand out from the surroundings.
The summerhouse was built in 1930. On July 16 of the same year Thomas Mann together with his family moved into that cottage. The writer spent three summers (1930 – 1932) in that summerhouse.
While residing there, he was writing “Joseph’s Stories” and his speech entitled “Spiritual Setting of the Writer Nowadays”, which he had to give in Haga. One can view so-called “Italian Scenery” appearing from the dune called “Hill of Mother-in-law”.
Thomas Mann described it in the following way: “Scenery of the sea, which makes you imagine you are at the coast of Mediterranean Sea, - the sand enhances this impression. Dinner in the north, mixture of Tony Kreger, so familiar and lovely since the old times”.
Thomas Mann had visited Nida for the first time in 1929. In his memoir later he wrote: “We had spent several days in Nida’s fishermen’s village and were so much thrilled by indescribable originality and beauty of that nature, by fantastic world of wandering dunes, and by elks living in the pinewoods, that we decided to purchase a permanent residence”.
In 1929 – 1930, a house that is a reproduction of a fisherman’s house was constructed on the Hill of Mother-in-Law in Nida according to the project of the architect H. Reissmann.
On July 16, 1930, Thomas Mann with his family arrived to his new summerhouse. The writer had spent three summers in Nida with his fanily (1930 -1932). Here he followed his routine schedule. He continued writing “Joseph and His Brothers”, the essay “My summerhouse”, articles, letters for offices, publishing, translators, friends.
In 1933, Thomas Mann was forced to emigrate with the family from Germany and never returned to Nida.
The residents of Neringa are proud that a Nobel prize winner Thomas Mann had visited and was writing in Nida. When he was writing here his novel “Joseph and His Brothers”, Thomas Mann was fifty-five years old at that time. He was arriving to Nida as a writer-humanist, who had stable positions in literature and culture life and was already fast enough to speak out for democracy and warn his fellow-countrymen and people of other regions about the threat of fascism becoming effective in Europe.
Summerhouse on the Hill of Mother-in-Law
Having accidently visited Nida in 1929, T. Mann and his wife sensed that this visit was not the last one. Having a sincere talk with H.Blode about his wish to spend summers here, shortly after that, he received an information about possibility originating to reconstruct a summerhouse in Nida. The next summer they already arrived for spending summer in his summerhouse on the Hill of Mother-in-Law. Settling in Nida for the summertime, the writer hoped that this will be the restplace beside his favourite Baltic Sea, where he will be able to create. He was right. An atmosphere predominating in Nida suited the process of creation perfectly. The writer had spent many hours on the second floor of the house, creating and looking through the window at the Curonian Lagoon.