Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler - Trudi Kanter

It's not often I urge my blog readers to find a book and read it, in fact I just review books that I like in the hope that someone else will read the book because of what I said.  The same applies here, but with a little poke.  Do find it, do read it.

You can read this like a novel, as it certainly reads like one, but the preface will tell you that this is a true story, of a Viennese hat maker, her husband, and their desparate bid to leave Austria  when the N.azis moved in, because they were Jewish.  Trudi (Gertrude) was already married, though separated, when she met Walter.  He was older than her, good looking, smartly dressed, and it is probable that he loved her and her red hair on sight.  She was smartly dressed, wore her own hats, and loved fashion, loved dressing up to go out with matching accessories.  All in all, perhaps, a flighty peice as my grandmother might have described her.  But her love for Walter drove her to get them both out of Vienna, and then she worked to get her parents out too.   They did get out, eventually, and they got a room at the top of a house at 84 Victoria Road Kilburn in London.   Imagine my surprise then - I lived at number 45 for 24 years - one block nearer to the High Road than Trudi, and on the other side of the road.  So her description of the Kilburn High Road, its traders, and the Woolworths there rang true with me.  Walter had a part to play in Britain's war effort too, but I will leave you to find out what that was when you read it. They changed their surname to Ellis (easier on the English tongue) and were two of the first aliens to be naturalised.  First published in the early 1980's, it was out of print before long, and the small publishing house went out of business.  Somehow, someone found it and published it again, and I am so glad I found it.