Saturday, January 26, 2013


Maria Augusta Kutschera was born on a train which was carrying her mother from a village in the Tyrol to Vienna on January 26, 1905.  By the time the girl was seven years of age, she was an orphan.  She received a good education and became a teacher.  Her heart's desire, though was to become a nun, and to that end she entered an abbey in Salzburg to prepare for the life of her dreams.  

While teaching at the abbey, Maria was asked to take on a student who was the child of one Baron Georg von Trapp.  Through this endeavor, she eventually found herself caring for all this widower's seven children.  Captain von Trapp saw how much the children adored Maria, and thus he asked her to marry him.  The idea did not appeal to her, and she fled back to the abbey to get counsel from her Mother Abbess.  Mother told her it was God's will that she marry von Trapp.

She returned to him and agreed to the marriage, since she had a deep-seated belief that she should always follow the will of God.  Yet she said that on her wedding day, she was angry with both God and von Trapp. She wrote, "I really and truly was not in love. I liked him but didn't love him. However, I loved the children, so in a way I really married the children.  I learned to love him more than I have ever loved before or after."*

Under the Nazi regime, the von Trapps fled Vienna and went first to Italy, then to the United States.  Maria became a U.S. citizen.  Her three children by Georg were thus also citizens.  The five stepdaughters also applied for and received citizenship.  The two stepsons became citizens by virtue of their service during the war.

The Trapp Family Choir became a very popular singing group in Europe during the mid-thirties.  After moving to the United States, they changed the name to Trapp Family Singers and toured the world from their home base in Vermont.

Maria von Trapp  1905 - 1987  RIP

*Autobiography of Maria von Trapp, 1949


Shelly said...

Although I know the film took great license with the facts, I still enjoy watching it every year.

What an inspiring family they are, and she a truly amazing woman.

Sailorcurt said...

Their family home in Vermont is now a resort hotel. The site is a beautiful spot about half way up a mountain.

They have a museum on site with many pictures, among which are images of the Von Trapp family building their beautiful home by hand, themselves, up in the mountains. The most striking to me were the pictures of the female children, in dresses, covered in mud, digging the foundation with shovels.

They truly are an inspirational family, not just for what they went through in Europe, but for all they accomplished, both professionally and personally, after escaping the Nazi regime.

Lin said...

That's sort of sad that she didn't love him, isn't it? Imagine going through life married to someone you don't love...and yet, look at what they accomplished.

Crap. Now I'm gonna be singing "The Sound of Music" all day!

vanilla said...

Shelly, tinkering with facts or not, it is a great movie. Do you think Carrie Underwood can "carry off" a reprise of Julie Andrews' performance?

Sailorcurt, these people were an inspiration! I've not had the privilege of visiting the von Trapp place, but it is on my list, should I get to New England again.

Lin, to go through life with one you didn't love would be sad. But note that Maria said that she came to love him more than she had ever loved before or since.

Jacquelineand.... said...

The true story is always richer and more amazing than the movie version. (Although I am forced to confess that I still get tears in my eyes when watching the Edelweiss scene.)

Thank you for sharing this.

vanilla said...

Jacquelineand, Broadway and Hollywood put on an attractive show, but you are right. The true story is much more amazing. But then which of us doesn't picture Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews when we think of the von Trapps?

Sharkbytes said...

I always wished I could have seen the real life family. Such a great story.

vanilla said...

Shark, that would have been fun!