Friday, October 19, 2012

by Trudi Kanter

In 1938 Trudi Kanter was a hat designer in Vienna. She had a well-established business and women who had money and wanted to look their best flocked to her store. Her designs were a must-have. She learned the technique from a Paris showroom.
Trudi met her second husband on the street during lunchtime. Walter Ehrlich was a charming, suave businessman. She fell in love with him instantly. Theirs was a whirlwind romance. He may have been romantic but he didn't have much common sense. As the Nazis drew ever closer, he wanted more time to consider leaving. It's a very good thing that he had Trudi. It was because of her that she got the both of them out of Austria. Trudi was very resourceful and persistent. She knew that she could get a job in any country as a milliner. They got out and went to Prague. Their stay was short-lived and soon enough, they were off to London.  
Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler was originally published in 1984. The book was uncovered in a secondhand shop in Britain by an editor only just recently and what a good thing that was.
Trudi Kanter was a remarkable woman who showed strength, tenacity, perseverance, and courage during a time of terror. She was extremely lucky to have a career and be working during World War II while most people had to leave their jobs or they were taken away from them. It is what saved her.
Towards the end of her life, Trudi took creative writing classes and it shows. Her prose is spare but gets right to the point. It's definitely a different kind of memoir than what is usually written of survivors of Nazism. I found it to be revealing, honest, and touching.