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Dorette Schlidt: Remembering Dr. Werhner von Braun’s secretary

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 8:15 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - She was a petite firecracker who had a big impact on the US Space Program through her efforts in Peenemunde, Germany during World War II.

Dorette Schlidt was Dr. Werhner von Braun’s secretary there and worked closely with him in the development of the V2 Rocket.

A bombing and fire almost destroyed critical and “secret” paperwork during a British air raid, but Dorette told WAFF she ran into that burning building and threw that paperwork out of a second-story window before the building collapsed.

Dr. von Braun brought that paperwork with him to America when he started the space program.

That paperwork was later used to design the Redstone Rocket, the Mercury Redstone Launch Vehicle and eventually, the Saturn V which took man to the Moon.

Believe it or not, she was also there in person for the Apollo 11 launch, proudly sitting next to former President and Lady Bird Johnson.

Dorette later went on to marry a member of von Braun’s team and moved to Huntsville in 1950. It was Huntsville where she died May 10 in her beloved home atop Monte Sano Mountain. She just celebrated her 100th birthday.

Her funeral is set for Friday at Monte Sano Methodist Church.

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