‘That’s how we say it in Huntsville:' Wernher von Braun’s last name is popularly mispronounced

To the American eye, the pronunciation looks like Braun. However, in German, that name is pronounced brown.

Posted: Jul 18, 2019 8:00 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2019 10:16 PM

It’s a space-age-old question.

How do you pronounce the last name of Wernher von Braun, the leader of the German scientists who developed the Saturn V rocket that took men to the moon?

Is it Braun or brown? Apparently, a lot of folks, even in the Rocket City, don’t know.

WAAY 31 went to his namesake, the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, and asked folks how they pronounce it.

"People say brown, but I say Braun," one woman said.

To the American eye, the pronunciation looks like Braun. However, in German, that name is pronounced brown.

Though it’s tough to find video of Wernher von Braun saying his own name on camera, we've talked with his daughter, Margrit, several times and she confirmed the pronunciation is brown.

Still, it's a tough sell, even in the city where he made such an impact.

"That’s how we say it in Huntsville," another woman told us when asked why she pronounces it as Braun.

"That’s the way we’ve always said it," someone else said.

Still don’t believe us? Google "How to pronounce von Braun."

Check out our Apollo 11 50th anniversary stories here. To watch our Apollo 11 specials, click here and here.

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