Werner Doehner Bio, Wiki
Werner Gustav Doehner was born on March 14th, 1929 and died aged 90 on November 8th, 2019. He was the last living survivor of the 1937 Zeppelin airship Hindenburg disaster.
Werner Doehner Background
Doehner was born in Darmstadt, Germany, and spent his childhood in Mexico City, Mexico, where his father was general manager of Beick, Felix, and Company Pharmaceuticals.
Werner Doehner Wife (Ellin), Children
Doehner married his wife Ellin in 1967 in Essen, Germany, who moved with him to Mexico City. Until his death, the two were married for 52 years. “They met while skiing in the Alps,” Bernie Doehner said. “They were just in the right space at the right time, as the saying goes.”
In 1984, Doehner, his wife, and son Bernard emigrated to the United States so he could work as an electrical engineer. Doehner was described as a hard-working man and a devoted family man who worked as an electrical engineer in Mexico, Ecuador, and the United States. He retired from New England Electric System in Westborough, Massachusetts, in 1999.
After retirement, Doehner and his wife lived in Colorado till 2018, when they moved to Laconia, New Hampshire.
Werner Doehner Last survivor of the Hindenburg disaster
Werner Doehner was 8 years old and traveling with his parents, brother and sister when the immense German zeppelin that had spent three days crossing the Atlantic erupted in flames as it approached the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey.
The disaster, which occurred just before 7:30 p.m. on May 6th, 1937, was caught in newsreel coverage, radio broadcasts and photographs. Thirty-six people, including Doehner’s father and sister, were killed.
He eventually became historically significant when he was acknowledged as being the last living survivor of the original surviving 62 passengers and crew who jumped from the dirigible’s flames at NAS Lakehurst, Lakehurst Borough, New Jersey.
“The Hindenburg was a huge flying billboard for German aeronautical supremacy,” said Rick Zitarosa, a historian and vice president of Navy Lakehurst Historical Society, who confirmed Doehner was the last survivor from the airship crash. “It was a great flying machine bearing 50-foot swastikas on its tail.”
The Hindenburg was already delayed by bad weather, arriving hours later than planned. That same night, the airship was scheduled to return to Europe with 72 passengers in time for the coronation of King George VI of England, Zitarosa said.
The airship was minutes from landing when a hydrogen gas leak was met with static electricity, igniting the Hindenburg, which was about 175 feet in the air. Within 34 seconds, it crashed in a blaze, killing 13 passengers, 22 crew members and one man on the ground, he added.
When the Hindenburg caught fire, Doehner’s mother dropped him and his brother from the cabin window before jumping out herself.
All three suffered burns and were hospitalized for several months before returning to Mexico, as per news coverage at the time. His father died at the scene and his sister died later at a hospital.
Werner Doehner Cause of Death
Werner Doehne died on November 8th, 2019 in Laconia, New Hampshire. He was 90.
The cause was complications of pneumonia, his son, Bernie Doehner, said. “My dad was secretive about the disaster and didn’t like to talk about it,” Bernie Doehner said on Saturday. “He was a really private person.”