Dörte von Westernhagen

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Dörte von Westernhagen (born 5 August 1943)[1] is a German writer who wrote a book about her father, Heinz von Westernhagen, an SS functionary and Waffen-SS commander of the Nazi era.

Westernhagen was born in Perleberg, now in Prignitz, in 1943.[1] She is descended from a Prussian Junker family and daughter of Heinz von Westernhagen. She studied in Berlin,[1] and earned a doctorate of law.[2] She worked in the administration of Baden-Württemberg, until she decided to write her own story. Her book "Kinder der Täter" (The Perpetrators' Children) made quite a round in Germany when it was published in 1987.[3] The book was immediately recognized as one of the first attempts to get the Nazi children out of their parents' shadow.[4]

Westernhagen starts her narrative with her own childhood. Then her father takes over. Her father was a colonel in the Leibstandarte.[2] He was shot through his head in Hungary in her first year.[3] The book is about his daughter's sorrow. In the small-typed appendix she returns to her own childhood memories and those of other German NS-children. The importance of Westernhagen's work lies in the fact that she was the first European NS-child to discuss her father both as a personally brave man and a war criminal.


  1. ^ a b c von Westernhagen, Dörte. "Dr. Dörte von Westernhagen". Prignitzlexikon. Culture Management Berlin. Archived from the original on 2009-06-28. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  2. ^ a b Wyden, Peter (2001). The Hitler virus: the insidious legacy of Adolf Hitler. Arcade Publishing. pp. 269–270. ISBN 978-1-55970-532-5.
  3. ^ a b Ullrich, Volker (12 August 1988). "Mit den Untaten der Eltern leben (Living with their parents' misdeeds)". Die Zeit (in German). Retrieved 28 October 2009.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Danieli, Yael (1998). International handbook of multigenerational legacies of trauma. Springer. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-306-45738-8.

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