Last sur­vivor of the Hin­den­burg dis­as­ter dies

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - OBITUARIES - By Kathy McCor­mack

CON­CORD, N.H. — The last re­main­ing sur­vivor of the Hin­den­burg dis­as­ter, Werner Gus­tav Doehner, has died at age 90.

His son said a church ser­vice was held Fri­day for Doehner, who died on Nov. 8 at a hospi­tal in La­co­nia, New Hamp­shire.

Doehner was the only per­son left of the 62 pas­sen­gers and crew who sur­vived the May 6, 1937, fire that killed his fa­ther, sis­ter and 34 oth­ers. He was just 8 years old at the time.

“He did not talk about it,” his son Bernie Doehner, said. “It was def­i­nitely a re­pressed me­mory. He lost his sis­ter, he lost his dad.”

Bernie Doehner said his fa­ther took him to visit the naval sta­tion years later, but not the Hin­den­burg me­mo­rial, it­self.

As the 80th an­niver­sary ap­proached in 2017, Werner Doehner told The As­so­ci­ated Press he and his par­ents, older brother and sis­ter were re­turn­ing from a va­ca­tion in

Ger­many on the 804-foot-long zep­pelin to Lake­hurst Naval Air Sta­tion in New Jersey. His fa­ther headed to his cabin af­ter us­ing his movie cam­era to shoot some scenes of the sta­tion from the air­ship's din­ing room. That was the last time Doehner saw him.

As the Hin­den­burg ar­rived, flames be­gan to flicker on top of the ship. Hy­dro­gen, ex­posed to air, fu­eled an in­ferno.

“Sud­denly, the air was on fire,” Doehner re­called.

Doehner said his mother threw him and his brother out of the ship be­fore she left, too.

They suf­fered burns. He would re­main in the hospi­tal for three months be­fore go­ing to a hospi­tal in New York City in Au­gust for skin grafts.

Doehner was born in Darm­stadt, Ger­many, and grew up in Mex­ico City. In 1984, he moved to the United States to work for Gen­eral Elec­tric as an elec­tri­cal engi­neer, ac­cord­ing to his obit­u­ary. He also worked in Ecuador and Mex­ico.


Werner Gus­tav Doehner was 8 years old when he boarded the zep­pelin in Ger­many with his par­ents and sib­lings.

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