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Marion Dönhoff

The Countess, her Friends and the Other Germany - A biography

by Hofmann, Gunter

In January 1945, a young woman on her flight from the advancing Red Army, rides on horseback from East Prussia to the West. Without Hitler’s war, Marion Dönhoff would most likely have spent her life as lady of the manor at Friedrichstein Castle; instead, she became ‘the Countess’ and a key figure in the young Federal Republic. Gunter Hofmann follows the tracks of the great German journalist, who gave the ZEIT newspaper its attitude, made the most powerful men in the world her friends and yet always preserved an aura of reserve.

Marion Dönhoff’s life story is the story of an exceptional woman. Yet telling it means, at the same time, telling the story of how the Federal Republic of Germany became what it is. Few can compare to Marion Dönhoff in how she represented, shaped and lived the values on which the German democracy was founded after the experience of dictatorship. The legacy of Prussia and the legacy of the Resistance come together in this wrestling for a better Germany, as much as the pursuit of freedom and the conviction that Germany’s future lay on the side of the transatlantic West. At the same time, the ‘countess’ was a genius of friendship with unwavering loyalty. This, also, is the story of this spell-binding biography.


‘Next to freedom, friendship was always the most important thing to me.’

Marion Gräfin Dönhoff

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