Dorit Whiteman was born in Vienna, Austria to a Jewish family. Her father was a physician. Her mother had a doctorate in chemistry, was an accomplished pianist, and proprietor of a renowned girls' boarding school.
Although they came close to not surviving the Holocaust, they were fortunate that persistent effort and luck enabled them to escape to England from the Nazis in 1938 with nothing more than an overnight suitcase for each member of the family.
While Dorit's parents lived in London, her mother sustained the family by working as a maid. Meanwhile young Dorit first attended a boarding school in Kent on a scholarship. Once WWII started, because of fear of the Germans bombing southern England, she, together with thousands of English children was evacuated to the countryside. There she lived in a bricklayer's primitive house until her family finally received a visa for the United States. In 1941 her family crossed the Atlantic under serious threat of German U-boats and warships.
Dorit attended high school in New York, received an academic scholarship and earned a BA from the University of Georgia and obtained a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at New York University. While at NYU, she met a clinical psychology student who was to become her husband.
Dr. Dorit Whiteman and her husband, Professor Emeritus from Columbia University and currently a research consultant, Dr. Martin Whiteman, live in New York. They have two daughters and two grandchildren. When she is not working as a psychologist, writing books, and giving presentations about the Holocaust, she and her husband enjoy tennis, swimming, and traveling.