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Arms of the Richthofen family

Richthofen is the surname of a prominent German aristocratic family. The most famous member is the air ace Manfred von Richthofen (1892–1918), also known as the "Red Baron", but a number of other members of his family are also notable for various reasons.

Some members of the family have a royal ancestry as descendants of the older of two illegitimate sons of Leopold I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, by Sophie Eleonore Sölden.[1]

Walter von Richthofen[edit]

Baron Walter von Richthofen, an uncle of Manfred von Richthofen, emigrated from Silesia to the United States in 1877. He founded the Denver Chamber of Commerce, and was co-founder of Montclair, Denver at that time a village east of Denver but now incorporated into the city. His Richthofen Castle was one of the most sumptuous mansions in the American West. Begun in 1883 and completed in 1887, it was modeled on the original Richthofen Castle in Germany. Located immediately around the Castle are the Baron's mistress's house and his sanitarium/dairy.

WWI flying aces[edit]

Manfred von Richthofen was the most successful fighter pilot of World War I, with 80 official victories before he was killed in action.

His younger brother, Lothar von Richthofen (1894–1922), was also a flying ace, with 40 victories. He served alongside his brother in Jasta 11. Lothar died in an air crash in 1922.

The two aviators were fourth cousins of the German World War II Field Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (1895–1945), himself a World War I flying ace.

Frieda and Else[edit]

Frieda von Richthofen (1879–1956), who married the English novelist D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930) in July 1914, was a fifth cousin once removed. Though their last common ancestor was born in 1661, the Red Baron's fame nonetheless attached to Frieda's reputation in war time England.

Frieda's sister Else von Richthofen was one of the earliest female social scientists in Germany.


Herbert von Richthofen was an ambassador to Bulgaria between 1938 and 1941.[2]

The grand-nephew of Frieda and Else, Dr. Hermann von Richthofen, was German Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1989–1993, where his name made him a media favorite.


Other well-known family members include:


  1. ^ Marek, Miroslav. "Complete Genealogy of the House of Ascania". Genealogy.EU.[self-published source][better source needed]
  2. ^ Bulgaria During the Second World War by Marshall Lee Miller
  3. ^ Dziezynski, James (1 August 2012). Best Summit Hikes in Colorado: An Opinionated Guide to 50+ Ascents of Classic and Little-Known Peaks from 8,144 to 14,433 Feet. Wilderness Press. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-89997-713-3.