Review: Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler
Trudi Kanter was a milliner in Austria just before the outbreak of World War II. When the Nazis invaded Austria, she and her loved ones noticed some changes but weren’t unduly alarmed. On a business trip to Paris, she came to understand the severity of things and knew that she and her family must escape Austria while they could. Initially, her parents and future husband resisted but they came to realize she was right. Things were more difficult by then so leaving the country was no easy task. Kanter recounts their journey in Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler.
Kanter’s memoir was first published in 1984 in the UK but it never found its audience so it went out of print. It was recently rediscovered and his been republished to lots of praise. It adds an element mostly unheard of in World War II memoirs – the view of someone who was able to escape – and I liked it a lot, but I didn’t love it the way many people did.
I admired Trudi’s spunk and drive and feel that she must have been ahead of her time – she was the driving force in getting her loved ones to safety. I also appreciated her loyalty to the women who worked for her, but I felt like I didn’t really know her or her motivations. Since much of the book was written in present tense, I wanted passion and emotion, but didn’t feel like the book delivered either. I knew time was of the essence for Trudi’s family, but I never felt it as I read the book.
I’m guessing that the book was written after Trudi’s family was relocated and wonder if I would have enjoyed it if it had been written in the past tense. At times the story seemed a little disjointed to me, but I’m sure that’s a reflection of the time period. This book won’t be on my list of favorites for the year, but I did enjoy it. Since others have enjoyed it more than I did, I think those who enjoy reading about World War II should give Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler a try.