Some girls, some hats and Hitler : a true love story rediscovered

From Jackie Cantwell
Author:  Trudi Kanter
Some girls, some hats and Hitler : a true love story rediscovered
This is the almost impossible-to-believe memoir of a woman who barely escaped Vienna, Austria after the Nazis took over. Trudi Kanter was an only child and successful milliner with her own shop. Her idyllic life was filled with café dining, dating eligible men, and trips to the Paris fashion shows. She paints prewar Vienna very vividly with sparkling descriptions such as: “Vienna was preparing for spring. Green shutters on white villas were painted greener. Black railings had their pointed gilt tops regilded. At the coffeehouses, newly white-painted chairs and tables were hopefully put outside. Waiters in white linen jackets carried white napkins over their arms. They welcomed the sun and invited customers to be the first ones to sit outside. The city looked crisp and polished, full of goodwill and expectation, full of romance. Even strangers greeted each other with a big smile and a bright, ‘Good morning’. ” Luckily, due to her connections, she knows earlier than most that the Nazi threat is near. The suspense is absolutely excruciating as she awaits the visas for herself, her husband Walter and her parents. You can see that she was either very lucky, or very good at reading people. On the train ride from Austria to Czechoslovakia: “A man in a navy blue suit enters our compartment, looks at us, and closes the door. ‘Passkontrolle!’ the German says. He holds out his hand to Walter. ‘Pass?’ Walter gives it to him. He scrutinizes each page and hands it back to him. He repeats this procedure with everyone in the compartment, leaving me to the last. I feel faint. He takes my passport, looks at each page, looks at me, checks each page again. Our lives depend on the whim of a single Nazi”.