Von der Herrschaft zur Gefolgschaft
Die von Westernhagens im »Dritten Reich«
Leading companies are opening up their archives to historians to investigate their history during the Third Reich. The same cannot be said of aristocratic families. Their reputations must not be tarnished. The present study of ten biographies shows how the von Westernhagen family, of ancient noble descent but already largely impoverished by 1900, compensated its demise – the disintegration of the aristocratic order, loss of status and social decline after 1918 – by turning away from monarchic conservatism, becoming politically radical and regaining a stable identity and self-esteem as followers of Hitler and the organisations of the NS and the SS. The author herself had no access to the family archive. However, as a member of the clan she was able to scrutinize numerous other sources. She presents an impressive portrait of a family history that helps us understand how the nobility contributed to the transition from Kaiser to Führer.
Dr. Dörte von Westernhagen, geb. 1943, arbeitete als Juristin im Öffentlichen Dienst, ab 1980 als freie Journalistin für Rundfunk und Presse (u.a. für DIE ZEIT)..
Dr. Thomas F. Schneider ist Privatdozent für Neuere Deutsche Literatur an der Universität Osnabrück und Leiter des Erich Maria Remarque-Friedenszentrums.