I received so much positive feedback about this memoir
that I am posting a new updated review.
Here's Monica's review....
SOME GIRLS, SOME HATS AND HITLER by Trudy Kanter
Being a hat lover and collector, I was first attracted to this book by the title. The book was first published in 1984 and went out of print until it was rediscovered by a British editor in 2011. The author died in Britain in 1980.
Some describe this book as a love story and it is indeed dedicated to "Walter, my love, in memory." However, the book is the personal story of Trudi Kanter, a milliner in Pre- WW 2 Vienna.
What makes the book poignant is that even though it reads like a novel, it is a true story, her story. The writing is simple but engaging. It is a very easy book to read and you cannot help but be drawn into it. The prose is simple but her short sentences deliver vivid descriptions and you can almost see the characters and settings. There are wonderful descriptions of the Vienna of Pre-WW 2.
Though the story takes place during the Holocaust, it does not focus on the horrors of the Holocaust as many books of this era do, but rather on Trudi's story.
It does portray the atmosphere of the time emphacizing the Holocaust as the background. It is her personal story. Many Jews who survived the Holocaust, did so because they had the courage to dare and were enterprising. So it was with Trudi Kanter. She used her charms and ingenuity to escape the Holocaust and at the same time to save her beloved Walter and her parents.
The story starts in Vienna where we see Trudi Kanter, a beautiful woman, who is a well known Milliner. She comes from a privileged background. She is successful and caters to the women of Vienna who despite the war, still attended to their wardrobe. She travels to Paris to view the new collections and designs her own hats. Her father is a successful silversmith and her mother a beauty.
When "Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler" by Trudi Kanter starts, she is married but falls in love with a successful businessman, Walter Elrich, who she later marries.
What comes through the whole book is this love affair and the steps she will take to save him. It also shows a woman with raw emotions, feelings, jealousies which we can relate to. It also shows Trudi's devotion to her family.
As Vienna is being invaded by the Nazis and the Gestapo, Trudi manages to escape with Walter to Prague and then to England where she finds work and later becomes very successful as a milliner
Her descriptions of England during the blitz are very vivid and there are some poignant sentences that are repeated, such as "I remember a tiny pink and white gingham dress trimmed with white rickrack" (echoes of the red coat in Schindler's list).
This is the story of one of the lucky ones.
For a previous review enter the title in the Search Box at the top of the blog.