A version of SOME GIRLS, SOME HATS AND HITLER by Trudi Kanter had been self-published in 1984 and was re-discovered by a British editor in 2011. This will be the first time it is available to a wide audience. It’s a memoir of Trudi’s life growing up as a fashionable hat designer in Vienna. She falls for a man named Walter Ehrlich, who sweeps her off her feet. Life is lovely until Hitler rolls into Austria, and this Jewish couple is desperate to leave the country any way they can. They learn of visas being given to those who want to leave, but time is running out quickly as the tanks march into town.
My friend Edie grew up in Austria on the other side of the city and has shared with me stories similar to this. Indignities such as being ordered by the Nazis to wash the streets that have oil-painted writing on them are heart-wrenching. While we think of ghettos and concentration camps, there were so many other indignities forced onto those who were wearing yellow stars. Trudi and Walter make it to London where they encounter a new set of hardships as they are living in a war-torn city as immigrants.
Just when one thinks we have read everything about World War II, a slim book like this brings another view of the story. This is a great book for book group discussions, too!