Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler: A WWII Memoir Rediscovered
By Anne Malina
Originally published in 1984, Trudi Kanter’s memoir about her experiences as a hat designer during WWII made very little impact. However, her book was re-released in October of 2012 and is finally receiving the recognition it deserves.
Unlike most WWII memoirs, Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler has an upbeat quality conveyed through Kanter’s buoyant prose. As a Jewish woman from Vienna, Kanter is optimistic despite her numerous hardships and she is truly resilient in the face of ceaseless danger. In this account, we learn how she relentlessly fought to get herself and her husband out of Austria and into safety in England. But she did not stop there. She also took pains to get her aging parents to safety, proving her love and loyalty through her courageous actions.
Additionally, Kanter’s true love story is woven into this memoir. We watch her love grow and develop during times of fear and apprehension. Despite the chaos in her life, her love for her dear Walter only grows stronger and serves as impetus for her to fight all the harder.
This memoir took me completely by surprise with its charming wit and unexpected accessibility. Kanter is a thoroughly modern woman, unafraid to fight for her rights and for the rights of those she loves. She was a divorcee and a small business owner during a time when that was virtually unheard of. She fought with all she had to achieve not only safety, but economic success. Her unfailingly optimistic voice takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through war-ravaged Europe as seen by an unswervingly resilient young woman of Jewish descent.
In short, it is a touching, inspiring, and unexpected memoir that is well worth the read.
About the writer:
Anne Malina is a freshman at DePaul, double majoring in English & French, from Berwyn, IL.