WHY THE LETTERS OF
DOROTHY VON MOLTKE
ARE OF INTEREST
1. Because of
the kind of person she was: highly intelligent and well-informed,
with a warm heart and sincere love for her family and friends
and all those around her.
2. Because the details of her life with Count von Moltke
on the Kreisau estate, with trips to other towns and
cities in Germany, and to South Africa and Southern Europe,
are colorful and interesting.
3. Because these letters, written in English, have never
before been published in English. And they portray a
bygone era in Germany at the beginning of the twentieth
century in beautiful prose, with vivid imagery and touching
detail, as well as subtle nuances of feeling and humor.
4. Because she came from an exceptional family (her father
was Chief Justice of the Union of South Africa and an early
advocate of the rights of Blacks) and married into an
historic German family, of which several members, including
her son, played important roles in German history.
5. Because the von Moltkes are not only an historic family,
famous for their great accomplishments in the world,
but also exceptionally intelligent, affectionate, and caring
people, and distinct individuals, as one can see from reading
6. Families are in crisis today. The story of this family
could be inspiring and instructive to other families in
our own time, in how to love each other better, Dorothy
being a prime example of a well-balanced woman-a loving
mother who was also politically and socially aware.
7. Because these letters tell a story, full of drama and
love interest. One is constantly looking forward to the
next "chapter" to see how events unfold-Dorothy's
relationship to her husband and her husband's family, and
to her eldest son, Helmuth James, in particular; the tension
between her love for her new German family and her love
for her parents in South Africa; the coming of World
War I; and the rise of Nazism in Hitler's Germany. In
many ways this collection reads like a thriller.
8. Dorothy's letters reveal that the seeds of their son's
resistance to German militarism in the 1930s were clearly
sown by the unconventional, liberal views of his parents,
who stood against many archaic, undemocratic beliefs of
the Germans around them, especially in the Herrenhaus (the
German House of Lords), where Count Helmuth von Moltke served
for many years. According to Dorothy's letters, the Count's
unconventional views--which were shared by his wife, the
daughter of a liberal Chief Justice of South Africa--were
often ridiculed by the noblemen around him, who considered
him a pariah.
9. The von Moltke estate at Kreisau was a haven of peace,
love, and sanity in the mad world of Hitler's Germany. The
exemplary courage and serenity of this family--particularly
of the parents, Dorothy and Helmuth von Moltke--amidst very
threatening and disturbing political conditions, inspired
the people around them and could be inspiring to readers
10. The von Moltke story is ongoing. Helmuth James's widow,
the late Freya von Moltke, and their eldest son, Helmuth
Caspar, have been actively engaged in using their family's
prestige, examples, and history to enhance world peace through
The Kreisau Center for European Understanding at the former
von Moltke estate in Kreisau/Krzyzowa, Poland. Five thousand
young Europeans gather there every summer to be trained
in international understanding and ways of bringing more
peace to the world.