There will never be a day when stories of intolerance will be irrelevant. Decades later, into a new millennium, the stories of one the most gruesome moments of history are still shocking and full of lessons riddled in questions about the state of humanity. The Holocaust as recounted by Trudi Kanter is oddly enough full of life and not so oddly, hope. Some Girls, Some Hats, and Hitler by Trudi Kanter serves as an open love letter to her husband Walter and a life she refused to let go.
Beginning her story in Vienna, Austria, Kanter recalls the beauty of her life as a well-established hat designer. She beautifully recalls her life as designer: traveling to Paris and London to see the latest fashion, buying materials she needed, sketching at café’s, all the high fashion you can think of. The manner in which Kanter recalls her high fashion job is told with such life that one can’t help but to imagine the glamour in the late 1930’s and early 40’s.
Even though Kanter was a prominent designer, the power of high fashion could not shield her from the wrath of the Nazi invasion in Vienna. That is not to say that her influence did not save her or her family; Trudi managed to do so with pluck and style even among one of the most horrific times in history. As Kanter writes about her life during the war, she embeds beauty in her writing, in contrast to her powerful descriptions of her suffocating emotional state. The fact that Kanter keeps description of her life among high society makes her account so great because she is able to portray herself as more than just a victim. She is able to effectively paint a scene in which cities of glamour are torn apart and somehow still manage to pull through. Furthermore, Kanter’s infusion of fashion into her accounts of the Holocaust infused her with hope.
Being half Jewish herself, Kanter struggles with the constant fear that she will be taken away. The worry she feels is vastly overshadowed by her need to rescue and protect her husband, Walter, and her parents. Though it is a tale of worry and triumph, there is no doubt that Kanter’s memoir is an open love letter to Walter. The love and doubt she sings her husband are nothing short of sweet and full of passion. Their contrasting personalities helped keep them alive during their departure from Austria as it gave both of them perspective as to how to approach their situation.
What is unique about Kanter’s story is that it includes details about the war that are not usually talked about in mainstream media. In the memoir, she mentions how her husband was briefly placed in an internment camp while living in England, for fear of Nazi spies. While she does not directly comment on the politics of events like this, she manages to recount the opinions of her acquaintances. In short, Kanter’s story is moving and inspiring for many reasons. She infuses her writing with so much elegant imagery that one can’t help but feel the hope radiating from the pages of her story.
Some Girls, Some Hats, and Hitler was first published in 1984. Trudi Kanter was born in Austria and moved across Europe as she escaped the Nazis. She managed to do so, finally settling in England with her husband, Walter. She died in 1992.