Nebraska Authors

Viola Herms Drath

AKA: Mrs. Francis Drath

Born 1926-02-08 Duesseldorf (Germany)

Died 2011-08-12
Washington, D.C. (USA)

Murdered by her second husband, Albrecht Muth, at age 91

German born Drath was a published and performed playwright and an English interpreter for American forces in Germany right after World War II. She met and married U.S. Army Lt. Col. Francis Drath, then serving as deputy military governor of Bavaria. The couple returned to Colonel Drath's native Nebraska in the late 1940s, where Viola pursued a master's degree in philosophy and German literature and contributed articles to Prairie Schooner. Viola edited a German language Omaha immigrant newspaper and was a commentator for KUON-TV (NETV predecessor) and wrote for other publications, including German ones. In the late 1960s the Draths moved to Washington, D.C., where Viola continued to work as a journalist, promoted good German-American relations, and held various minor diplomatic offices, consular in nature, mostly for the Republic of Cyprus. Her official and unofficial roles reflected success as a Washington insider. In time, she became a well-known socialite and Washington insider gossip columnist. She was a foreign policy adviser for the 1988 Bush campaign.

After the death of her first husband in 1986, Viola married Albrecht Gero Muth, a German national then serving an unpaid Washington internship. Muth was 44 years Viola's junior and variously promoted himself as a German count and an Iraqi general. Muth abused and eventually murdered his wife in 2011.


Places Lived

Duesseldorf, Germany
Leipzig, Germany
Lincoln, NE
Washington, D.C.

Author Of

  • Fiction
  • Journalism
  • Nonfiction
  • Play/Screenplay


Biography; Politics; German Culture; Fiction;


Leipzig Art Academy, Leipzig, Germany
Master of Arts, 1952, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE


Foreign Policy Advisor

Places Worked

Die Welt-Post
Washington Dossier
American University


Nebraska Journalism Hall of Fame, 2006
William J. Flynn Initiative for Peace Award from the National Committee on American Foreign Policy for promoting German reunification, 2005
Recipient of the Iraqi Minister of Defense Commendation Medal
Honorary Member, Berlin Air Lift Veterans Association
Ranking among the 700 Great Nebraskans
Honorable Mention for Writing by the Association of American University Women
Honorary Citizen of Dallas, Texas


White House Commission on Remembrance
Executive Committee of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, member


Farewell Isobel. 1946. (three-act play)
No Reliance Upon a Woman. 1948. (three-act play)
Reporter in Deutschland. 1959. (with John Winkleman)
Typically German? 1961. (German title: Typisch Deutsch?)
Die Kamplizierten Deutschen. 1967.
Wir Wunderkinder. 1969. (filmscript)
What do the Germans Want? 1970.
Commitment and Provocation. 1973.
Kultur und Alltag. 1973.
Willy Brandt: Prisoner of His Past. 1975.
Noch Dazu. 1980.

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Viola Herms Drath

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)