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Dorothea Olivet was born on Valentine's Day 14 February 1936. She was the eldest of 5 children: her younger sisters: Madeleine and Wilhelma, her brothers Wolf Heinrich and Theo. Her brother Wolf Heinrich died tragically at age 8. Her father was a Supreme Court judge. Her brother Theo was president of the Supreme Court. An uncle was Prime Minister of Hanover.
Dorothea Olivet grew up in a Europe at war. Even though very young at the time, she remembered the trauma of the Allied Bombing Raids, starting on 28th March 1942, raining death and destruction upon Lübeck, her home in northern Germany. The bombers came in 3 waves causing most of the destruction on Palm Sunday 29 March. The Wellington and Sterling bombers dropped over 400 tons of bombs including 25,000 incendiary devices. A number of 1.8 tonne blockbusters dropped in the first wave opened the brick and copper roofs of the buildings and the following incendiaries set them afire. This was the first firestorm bombing of any city.