Du darfst nicht zulassen, dass sie mir meine Kinder wegnehmen!

English Translation

You can’t let them take my kids away from me.

I would expect “von mir” here, rather than just the dative alone, “Weg von mir” is "away from me, and “weg” is attached to the verb, so that nails down “away,” but “from” feels missing.

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I find the Germans often use dative case where we in English would rely on extra words like “from”.

Sie haben es mir gestohlen = They stole it from me

And sometimes they’ll use dative case where you might not expect to see it at all:

Du hast mir das Leben gerettet = you saved my life

Ich habe mir den Arm gebrochen = I broke my arm

That being said, alternatives are usually available:

Du hast mein Leben gerettet = you saved my life

Ich habe meinen Arm gebrochen = I broke my arm

And, I suspect, “sie haben meine Kinder von mir weggenommen” might also work, if you don’t like the dative variant.


Good explanation of the dative!

“… von mir wegnehmen” does not sound good. “wegnehmen” already includes the “von”.

In this particular sentence you can even ommit the “weg”.
“Du darfst nicht zulassen, dass sie mir meine Kinder nehmen.”
has the same meaning.
But that does not work always:
“Der Krieg hat mir meine Kinder genommen.”
(The war took my children).
means they are dead, and you cannot say “wegnehmen” .



German has multiple translations for the word “me” (mich, mir; see Akkusativ and Dativ):

  • You love me. → Du liebst mich.
  • You stole it from me. → Du hast es mir gestohlen.


  • Who do you love? “Wen liebst du? Mich.”


  • From whom did you steal it? “Wem hast du es gestohlen? Mir.”

Because English doesn’t make that distinction, and uses one and the same word me in both cases, you need auxiliary words like “from” to achieve what German does without such auxiliary words.

Because you use mir which in and of itself already answers the question “from whom”, you don’t need from in this case.


“weg” already implies a direction (from A to B; from mir to someone else), additionally using “von” would be redundant and unnatural.

You could alternatively say “…, dass sie meine Kinder von mir nehmen” (notice there’s no weg), which would be correct but very unnatural.

The natural way to say it is the given sentence: “…, dass sie mir meine Kinder wegnehmen.”