Press release

In early 1945, Clotilde von Havel, a German aristocrat married to a Wehrmacht commander, is forced to abandon her castle in the face of the onslaught of Soviet troops, condemned to poverty, exile and estrangement from her children. Poverty turns Clotilde into a survivor, determined to fight for her life, shed light on the past and take advantage of her strokes of luck. The novel follows her adventures from devastated post-war Berlin to glamorous New York and the changing London of the 1950s.

With the help of her nephew Ralf, a former SS officer, in the sixties the countess settled in the Marbella of the golden age and became involved in the daily life of those who, outside of Franco’s Spain, found in the Costa del Sol a refuge: artists, aristocrats, homosexuals… and camouflaged Nazis.

«Your husband belonged to Hitler’s army, your brother-in-law was a defender of the National Socialist ideology, and your nephew was an SS soldier. So, no matter how much you want to prove otherwise, you will always have to live with the idea that society, before knowing you, will judge you as a Nazi countess. You should not suffer for it, but you should demonstrate with facts that you are not. (Lady Violeta Stone to her niece Clotilde)

Viruca Yebra has poured into the novel the true essence of those years, in which being bohemian and transgressive was not at odds with being good at being.


The Last Nazi Countess spans three decades of European history and covers stages on three continents. Viruca Yebra has chosen a very flexible third-person narrating voice: omniscient at some moments and focused on Clotilde and other characters at others. In this way, the author combines a splendid historical fresco with a passionate and profound portrait of her characters, their motivations and her feelings. The book is divided into three parts with a total of thirty-four chapters.

Viruca Yebra has done a magnificent job of documentation that at no time imposes itself on the action or the characters. He seduces the reader by showing the daily life of what was later called the jet set—aristocrats, millionaire businessmen, international artists, and high-net-worth socialites—from the last days of World War II to the end of the 1970s. Food, drink, clothing, personal relationships, restaurants and night clubs… and the most notable events are subtly integrated into the narrative.

The novel is dotted with abundant cameos by characters of the time, who star in their own real stories; There are politicians, artists, aristocrats… This mixture of reality and fiction gives the narrative an authenticity that turns the reader into a kind of voyeur who spies on the domestic life of all of them.

The novel connects two iconic themes of very different nature: the fate of the Nazi leaders who, after the defeat, went into a “golden” underground in different destinations in South America and Europe, and the creation of Marbella, one of the places with most concentration of glamor per square meter in the world in the sixties and seventies.


Clotilde von Havel, Countess of Orange, married Prince Maximilian von Havel at the age of eighteen. They had three children: Amalia, Frank and Victoria, born in the middle of the war.

During their fifteen years of marriage—at the beginning of the novel—Clotilde had gone through moments of discouragement and weariness when she felt that her husband left her alone on too many occasions to serve on missions far from home. She overcame this thanks to the unconditional love she felt for him, although already at war, she felt an uncontrolled rage against Max, since, despite her insistence that he leave his military career, he never harbored the slightest desire to do so.

We meet the countess in early 1945, when she was thirty-three years old. She was a woman with greenish-blue eyes, very white skin and a profiled face; She had an enveloping and captivating appeal that incited desire and at the same time protection. There was
widowed a few months earlier, since Max was shot for his opposition to Hitler.

Forced to flee the family mansion in the face of the advancing Russians, Clotilde sought refuge with her children Franz and Victoria in the castle of her brother-in-law Gustav, with whom she barely had any contact. Amalia, the eldest, was in Berlin with her grandparents. Gustav von Havel snatched the children from her arms and refused to give her shelter, breaking up the family.

Exhausted, ill and desperate, Clotilde knocked on the door of the castle of some old friends of her family, the Ulm barons. The new baron, Stefan, took her in and eventually asked her to marry him. Moved by pragmatism and friendship, she accepted the proposal even though she was not in love with a man who, as she soon discovered, had no particular passion for sex. Stefan Ulm wanted an heir to his brewing empire in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. And he got one. In 1948
Albert, his firstborn and Clotilde’s fourth son, was born.

Settled in London, 1949 marked the beginning of a long struggle for the Countess to rebuild her life and recover her children.


Germany 1945.
Clotilde von Havel had long only been able to sleep due to exhaustion. The war was getting closer and her world was falling apart. With Max at the front, she had to face the events alone. Furthermore, Orange Castle had been occupied by a French detachment that had just been joined by a North American force. An American officer informed him that her husband had been shot by the Nazis a few months earlier, in July 1944.

Thanks to the good treatment given to the French soldiers, she was given a safe conduct permit so that she could flee, with her service personnel, to territory controlled by the United States. The castle was in an area that had been occupied by the Soviet Union, and the Russians, in their advance towards Berlin, had no mercy on German civilians. Fortunately, Clotilde and Frau Jutta had been preparing their escape for months, although they had to leave behind almost all their belongings and family memories.

The countess’s goal was to reach Bavaria, south of Munich, where they would request refuge in the castle of Prince Gustav von Havel, Max’s older brother. The simple thought of being taken in by her brother-in-law gave her a stomach ache.

In that escape they could consider themselves privileged. The lives of those who had not been able or willing to flee were condemned to oppression, contempt and, in many cases, deportation to Siberia. More than fifteen million ethnic Germans suffered from starvation, frostbite, and death during their expulsion from East German territories.

The small expedition became slow and exhausting. The nights were the worst time of the day. Attacks by outlaws, whether freed or camouflaged Nazi soldiers, were common. Along the way they helped a sick woman and her daughter, a baby named Sidonia. The woman did not survive and the little girl adopted Jutta as her new mother. Clotilde also met a family who lived in circumstances very similar to hers. It was headed by a kind and firm woman, Countess Maria Anna Schönburg.

When they finally arrived at Gustav von Havel’s castle, Clotilde was very ill. Things were not as she expected. Gustav gave shelter to his nephews, Frank and Victoria, and left Clotilde abandoned to her fate.

The Countess thus began a struggle not only to survive, but also to reestablish her status and try to recover her children.


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