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The Sound of Music, von Trapp and Croatia
By Nenad N. Bach and Darko Žubrinić | Published  03/25/2010 | Bilingual , Music , Culture And Arts | Unrated
von Trapp was born and educated in Croatia





 
Trappovi na filmu 'Moje pjesme, moji snovi'

Svake godine u svijetu se proizvede velik broj filmova. A ipak svatko od nas može na prste jedne ruke nabrojati one koji nam mijenjaju život i način na koji ga osjećamo. Jedan od takvih filmova je "Moje pjesme, moji snovi" (The Sound of Music) iz 1965.godine u kojem glume Julie Andrews i Christopher Plummer. Priča je to o obiteljskim vrijednostima i ljudskim idealima, o ljubavi između muškarca i žene, o roditeljskoj ljubavi i ljubavi prema domovini za koju se spremno podnosi žrtva. Film je snimljen prema autobiografiji Marie Auguste von Trapp, a priča je, vjerujem, svima poznata: umirovljeni pomorski časnik nestale k.u.k. monarhije, nakon smrti supruge živi sam s djecom na imanju blizu Salzburga. Kao guvernantu zapošljava mladu Mariju Kutscheru, novakinju iz obližnjeg benediktinskog samostana. Stega i spontanost, glazba, dječji nestašluci i fin kućni  odgoj, rađanje ljubavi između muškarca i žene te bijeg iz nacističke Austrije teme su filma.

Malo tko međutim zna da postoji i autobiografija Georga von Trappa i da je taj najodlikovaniji podmornički kapetan propale Monarhije rođen i školovan u Hrvatskoj, gdje je upoznao i svoju prvu suprugu i gdje mu je rođeno prvo troje djece. Priča o njihovu susretu i ljubavi ujedno je međutim i priča o dva važna monarhijska središta: mornaričke Pule i trgovačko-industrijske Rijeke.

 
The story of the von Trapp family

There are many films made around the world every year. And yet, every one of us can name but a few films that have changed our lives and the way we perceive it. One of these films is the 1965 The Sound of Music, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. It is a story of family values and ideals, of love between man and woman, of parents’ love and love towards one’s homeland, even when it entails sacrifice. The film is an adaptation of the autobiography of Maria Augusta von Trapp and I believe everyone is familiar with the story: after his wife’s death, a retired naval officer of the fallen imperial and royal monarchy lives with his children at an estate near Salzburg. He employs a governess, the young Maria Kutschera, a novice from the nearby Benedictine monastery. The film depicts discipline and spontaneity, music, children’s frolicking and good upbringing, the budding love between man and woman and their escape from Nazi Austria.

However, few people know of the autobiography of Georg von Trapp. This submarine captain of the former monarchy, holder of the most medals, was born and educated in Croatia, where he met his first wife and where the first three of his children were born. The story of their encounter and their love is also a story of two important cities of the monarchy: the maritime centre of Pula and the trade and industrial centre of Rijeka.



Georg von Trapp

 
Georg von Trapp rođen je 4. travnja 1880. u Zadru, a dio djetinjstva proveo je u Puli kamo mu je bio premješten otac August Ritter von Trapp. U to je doba Pula već bila glavna vojna pomorska luka Austro-Ugarske Monarhije. Mnoge vojarne, vojne bolnice, mornarička zvjezdarnica, zgrada Admiraliteta, nekoliko sjajno dizajniranih parkova, velebna crkva Gospe od mora, gradska knjižnica, kasino, vile za časnike, kazalište, lukobran i druga zdanja svjedoče i danas o važnosti nekadašnje glavne carske luke.

Muškarci u uniformama i žene u toaletama davale su duh i ritam gradskom životu. Stroga vojna hijerarhija, ali i hijerarhija plemićkih titula davale su ton tada još pomno uređenu svijetu. Čast muškarca i dostojanstvo žene u to su se vrijeme još branili mačem i bili su znakom uspješno vođenog i proživljenog života. Ako prošećete Pulom, uz tragove antičkog svijeta stalno ćete susretati velebne zgrade koje svjedoče i o sjaju glavne vojne luke nestale Monarhije. Tako npr. Mornarička crkva  (Garnisonkirche Madonna del Mare) nije bila pod ingerencijom pulskog i porečkog biskupa nego austrijskog Vojnog vikarijata, a kamen temeljac položio je sam car Franjo Josip I. i za nju osobno dao 5000 kruna. To se dogodilo 28. lipnja 1891.godine, uoči sv.Petra i Pavla, prigodom 25.obljetnice austrijske pobjede nad talijanskom vojskom kod Visa, a u spomen poginulim mornarima.

Pompa odora i činova, parade vojne moći, korza i koncerti, obvezan odlazak u crkvu i kavanu nedjeljom, odlučan korak mornara i nježno šuštanje čipkastih toaleta kao da se još slute tijekom šetnji gradom. U Puli je Georg von Trapp poslije živio s obitelji, ali priča ipak mora poštivati kronologiju Georgova života pa nam valja poći do Rijeke u kojoj  on pohađa srednju pomorsku školu i Pomorsku akademiju koje završava 1898. i dobiva titulu kadeta (istu akademiju završio je i njegov otac, kapetan u austrijskoj mornarici). Sastavni dio časničke izobrazbe tada su bili i bonton, ples i sviranje violine jer su časnici smjeli pohađati društvena okupljanja aristokracije i buržoazije i imali su pristup dvorskim plesovima.

U to vrijeme Rijeka je bila na vrhuncu trgovačke i industrijske moći (polovica tadašnje ukupne hrvatske industrije je u Rijeci). Samo središte Rijeke obilježeno je zgradama sa pet katova, visine tipične za Beč i Budimpeštu, a kojih nema toliko ni u Grazu, Klagenfurtu ili u Zagrebu. Brižnost i temeljitost, radišnost i strpljivost uz odvažnost lokalnih poduzetnika i danas se osjete u gradu. Rafinerija šećera otvorena je 1754. g. i već je tada zapošljavala 1000 ljudi. 1858. godine Rijeka ima 12 brodogradilišta, veliku tvornicu papira i najveću tvornicu duhana u cijeloj Monarhiji. Na prijelazu stoljeća riječka luka bila je, prema količini prometa, među deset najvećih europskih luka.

Za našu je priču međutim ključan podatak o osnutku Ljevaonice metala 1853. godine koja počinje raditi sljedeće godine. Iz Trsta u nju dolazi inženjer Robert Whitehead i donosi tehnologiju izrade parnih kotlova pa je novoosnovano poduzeće izradilo parne strojeve za oklopne fregate "Erzherzog Ferdinand Max" i "Kaiser Maximillian". Polovicom šezdesetih godina upoznaje umirovljenog oficira Ivana Luppisa koji je imao ideju o novom oružju - čamcu bez posade s eksplozivom.  U to se doba ljevaonica još zvala Riječko tehničko poduzeće. Započelo se s istraživanjima, pokusima, tehničkim i mehaničkim poslovima. Rezultat rada je prvi torpedo na svijetu, proizveden u Rijeci 1866. godine (tvrtka se tada preimenovala u "Torpedofabrik Whitehead und Co."). Rijeka je postala središte najmodernije svjetske industrije. Whitehead je bio vlasnik i četrdeset velikih stambenih zgrada u Rijeci. Iako je sam sebi  izgradio monumentalnu grobnicu u obliku piramide na Kozali sa sarkofagom na kojem je isklesan u prirodnoj veličini, ipak je 1905. godine pokopan u Engleskoj. Sin John ženi austrijsku groficu Agathe Breunner i  kupuje imanje blizu Zella am See. Najstariju kći udaje za sina kancelara Bismarcka, a mlađa Johnova kći, Agatha se na porinuću podmornice "U-6" u brodogradilištu 3. maj zaljubljuje u Georga von Trappa, poslije prvog zapovjednika te podmornice.

Krštenje i porinuće broda najsvečaniji je trenutak za grad u kojem postoji brodogradilište. Slučaj je htio da na samo Valentinovo ove godine budem prisutna na krštenju i porinuću tankera što ga je isto brodogradilište izgradilo za tvrtku Uljanik plovidbe. Brodogradilište je smješteno nedaleko od središta grada, a osnovano je 1892. godine. Ozračje svečanosti osjeti se već na cesti koja se spušta do škvera.

Svi su primjereno odjeveni, a dočekuju vas  zvuci limene glazbe. Tu su radnici u plavim kombinezonima sa članovima obitelji, a učiteljica je dovela razred školske mlađarije. Uz trup gotovog broda, spremnog za čin krštenja i primopredaje kao da je riječ o kakvoj mladoj koja stupa u brak, uzdižu se skele kojima ste bliže trupu broda. Skele su okićene zelenilom, njihovim stubama penju se uzvanici i odličnici,  nebo je ogromno i plavo i odjednom silno blizu, s mora nešto puše, ali ga gotovo i ne vidite od trupa grdosije uz koju osjećate strahopoštovanje i nemoć i pitate se kako je to ljudska ruka napravila. Tu su se prvi put vidjeli Agatha i Georg i, kažu svi,  zaljubili na prvi pogled. On je već tada bio prokušan u borbi, uspravna držanja, ponosita pogleda, napetih prsiju, s brčićima, a ona, kuma broda, bila je kći iz viših krugova, „dobra prilika“. Poneseni svečanim ugođajem susreli su se Agatha i Georg opet na domjenku nešto kasnije na terasi hotela  Continental, izgrađena 1880. godine, i otplesali svoj prvi ples.

Najbolje slastice u gradu, otmjeni konobari, muškarci s prslucima iz čijih džepova vire zlatni satovi, majke i tete što pomno prate kretnje svojih nježnih mladica i potencijalnih povoljnih prilika, glazba koja lagano svira na terasi okrenutoj Rječini i moru, to je okvir njihovih kasnijih susreta i njegova udvaranja. Dobro uređen građanski svijet čvrstih pravila zabavu je završio laganom šetnjom Korzom da bi zatim nestao u intimi salona s vitrinama kakve i danas čuva Pomorski muzej u Guvernerovoj palači.

U to vrijeme, dakle 1908. godine Georg se nakon završetka školovanja vratio s prekoocanskih putovanja na oklopnom krstašu "Kaiserin und Königin Maria Theresia". Sudjelovao je u gušenju Bokserskog ustanka u  kineskim vodama, iskazao je hrabrost, snalažljivost i požrtvovnost pa je odlikovan i promaknut u čin poručnika bojnog broda. Od 1910. do 1913. Georg plovi na podmornici, testira njena bojna svojstva i rad torpeda.

Na početku 1911. godine, 10. siječnja, vjenčaju se on i Agatha, a iste godine rođen je u Puli, vjerujem u imperijalnom zdanju današnje bolnice Negri, i njihov prvi sin Rupert von Trapp. Obitelj živi u Puli. Georg se sav posvetio izgradnji imperijalne podmorničke flote i potrebnim testiranjima i usavršavanjima. 1912. godine obitelj useljava u velebnu vilu Casa Trapp, izgrađenu za njih. Nju je, uz još desetak okolnih vila, projektirao austrijski arhitekt Ferdinand Geyer. Vila Trapp nalazi se na Verudi, ondašnjoj pulskoj rezidencijalnoj četvrti za visoke časnike.


 
Georg von Trapp was born in Zadar on April 4th 1880, and spent part of his childhood in Pula, where his father, August Ritter von Trapp was transferred. At the time, Pula was already the main navy port of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy. The significance of the former main royal port is reflected to this day in the numerous army barracks, military hospitals, the navy observatory, the Admiralty Headquarters, several fantastically designed parks, the majestic Church of Our Lady of the Sea, the town library, casino, officers' villas, the theatre, the breakwater and other edifices.

The spirit and the rhythm of the city's life were fashioned by men in uniforms and women in gowns. It was a meticulously organized world, shaped by a strict military and aristocratic hierarchy. A man’s honour and a woman’s dignity were defended by sword and were considered the mark of a successful and appropriately lived life. Strolling around Pula, you will come across traces of the Roman world but you will also be surrounded by magnificent buildings, witnesses to the splendour of the main navy port of the former Monarchy. For example, the Navy Church (Garnisonkirche Madonna del Mare) was not under the authority of the bishop of Pula and Poreč, but was part of the Austrian Military Vicariate. The cornerstone was laid by emperor Franz Joseph I, who also donated 5000 kronas to the church. This took place on 28 June, 1891, on the eve of the feast of St. Peter and Paul and on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Austrian victory over Italy near the island of Vis and as homage to the sailors who lost their lives in the battle.

As you walk through the town, it feels as if you can still catch a glimpse of the flashing uniforms and medals, military parades, the corso and music, church and coffee on Sundays, the sailors' vigorous steps and the soft ruffle of lace and gowns. Georg von Trapp lived in Pula with his family, but let us not skip parts of the story. Let us first go to Rijeka, where he attended maritime high school and the Maritime Academy, graduating in 1898 and acquiring the title of cadet (his father, an Austrian Navy captain, had graduated from the same academy). Officers were also taught good manners, dancing and how to play the violin since they were allowed to attend aristocratic and bourgeois social events as well as court dances.

Rijeka was at the peak of its commercial and industrial glory at the time (half of all the industries in Croatia were located in Rijeka at that point). Rijeka's city centre boasted five-storey buildings, such as in Vienna or Budapest, more numerous than in Graz, Klagenfurt or Zagreb. The local entrepreneurs’ meticulousness, diligence, hard work and patience can still be felt in the city today. The sugar refinery was opened in 1754 and employed 1000 people. In 1858, Rijeka had 12 shipyards, a large paper factory and the biggest tobacco factory in the Monarchy. At the turn of the century, the turnover at the Rijeka port was among the top ten of the largest European ports.

But the crucial piece of information for our story is the foundation of the Metal Foundry in 1853, and the beginning of its operations the following year. Engineer Robert Whitehead arrived from Trieste, bringing with him the technology for the construction of steam engines, resulting in a new company that produced engines for armoured frigates Erzherzog Ferdinand Max and Kaiser Maximillian. In the 1860s, he met retired officer Ivan Luppis, who had an idea for a brand new weapon - an unmanned vessel that could carry explosives. Back then, the foundry was called the Rijeka Technical Company. Research, tests, technical and mechanical preparations were launched. The result was the world's first torpedo and it was constructed in Rijeka in 1866 (the company subsequently changed its name to Torpedofabrik Whitehead und Co.). Rijeka became the centre of the world’s cutting edge industry. Whitehead also owned forty big apartment buildings in Rijeka. Although he had a monumental pyramid-shaped tomb made for himself at Kozala, with a real-size statue of himself on the sarcophagus, he was nevertheless buried in England in 1905. His son John married Austrian countess Agatha Breunner and purchased an estate near Zell am See. His eldest daughter was married to the son of Chancellor Bismarck, and his younger daughter, Agatha, fell in love with Georg von Trapp at the launching of the submarine U-6, of which he later became the first commander.

The christening and the launching of a ship is the greatest feast for a shipbuilding city. It just so happened that on Valentine’s Day this year I attended the christening and the launching of a tanker constructed by that same shipyard for the Uljanik Plovidbe company. The shipyard, founded in 1892, is located near the city centre. The festive atmosphere could be felt on the road that led me down to the docks.

Everyone was wearing their best clothes and they were greeted by the sounds of a brass band. There were workers in blue overalls with their families and some schoolchildren with their teacher. By the ship itself, ready to be christened and handed over like a bride about to enter marriage, scaffolding enabled you to come closer to the hull. The scaffolding was decorated with wreaths to receive visitors and honoured guests. The sky was vast and blue and seemed incredibly close. There was a breeze coming from the sea which you could hardly even catch a glimpse at behind the enormous hull that inspired awe, and made you feel small and left wondering how a human being could ever produce such a thing. It was an atmosphere like this one in which Agatha and Georg fell in love at first sight, as the story goes. He had already been through battles, held himself upright, a man with fierce eyes and a broad chest, and she was the ship’s maid of honour, the daughter of a man of good standing, a good catch. In the midst of this festive swirl, Agatha and Georg met again at the reception on the terrace of the Continental Hotel, built in 1880, to dance their first dance together.


The best delicacies in town, elegant waiters, men wearing waistcoats with golden watches dangling from their pockets, mothers and aunts keeping a firm eye on their blooming damsels and potential future wives, music swaying across the terrace overlooking the Rječina River and the sea – this was the setting for their subsequent meetings and his courtship. The well-organized city entourage of strict rules wrapped up its party with a light stroll along the Korzo, only to disappear into the sanctuaries of their salons, among china cabinets that can be found today at the Maritime Museum in the Governor’s Palace.

At that time, in 1908, upon completing his studies, Georg returned from his cross-ocean voyages on the armoured cruiser Kaiserin und Königin Maria Theresia. He took part in the suppression of the Boxer Uprising in the Chinese waters where he demonstrated bravery, wit and dedication, the qualities which earned him a medal and a promotion to Ship-of-the-Line Lieutenant. Between 1910 and 1913, Georg was posted on a submarine, testing its various qualities in battle, as well as the operation of the torpedo.

In early 1911, on 10 January, he married Agatha, and his first son, Rupert von Trapp, was born that same year at the imperial premises of what is today the Negri Hospital, I believe. The family lived in Pula, where Georg was fervently working on the creation of the imperial submarine fleet, complete with many tests and added improvements. In 1912, the family moved into the magnificent villa Casa Trapp, which had been commissioned for them. Along with a dozen surrounding villas, it was designed by the Austrian architect Ferdinand Geyer. Villa Trapp is situated at Veruda, the then residential quarters of Pula, inhabited by high military officers.




 
Danas je vila na adresi Pina Budicina 11, a u prizemlju je smješten dječji vrtić "More". Vila je velika i prostrana, takve ćete naći recimo u Beču u četvrti Döbling. Mješavina je gradske vile i lovačke kurije, a tornjići, vijugave stepenice i zaobljeni prozorski okviri omiljeni su graditeljski element toga doba. Ima dva kata i danas zapušten vrt koji su, vjerujem, resili ukrasni grmovi ruža ili hortenzija.

Puteljci oko kuće nekoć su bili njegovani, a drveće  pomno obrezano. Ako dvaput zaokružite oko kuće, vjerujem da ćete čuti smijeh Ruperta i male Agathe koja se rodila ubrzo nakon sina prvijenca. Pretpostavljam da je posluga, koja je kao i svugdje živjela u potkrovlju, na terasu uvečer donosila rashlađena pića. Presvučeni za večeru, dame i gospoda opušteno bi čavrljali i razmijenjivali najnovije vijesti i duhovitosti. Pinijama bi se povremeno oteo težak uzdah, a more bi se samo zahihotalo.

U prizemlju su bile gospodarske prostorije poput kuhinje i smočnica, a na prvom katu (piano nobile) odvijao se društveni život obitelji u salonima za kavu, za muziciranje, pisanje pisama i čitanje, objedovanje i primanje gostiju. Na drugom katu bile su spavaonice obitelji. Obitelj von Trapp živjela je uobičajenim životom klase kojoj je pripadala. Formalnost i krući način ophođenja još nisu bili ustuknuli pred idejama slobode koja često ne poznaje i ne prihvaća nikakva pravila. Čvrsti ritam dana omeđen dužnostima, obrocima i satovima primanja davao je životu mir i preglednost.

Danas je zgrada podijeljena na više stanova. Glavni ulaz je zapušten. Ako naiđete na otključana vrata, uđite i  ugledat ćete prekrasno veliko drveno stubište lijepih rukohvata. Pod je od hrastovih dasaka.

Sve skupa podsjeća na nešto umanjeno stubište austrijskog imanja iz filma na kojem djeca izvode poznatu pjesmu za laku noć. Strop je visok i bijel, visina stepenica ugodna i lako ćete se popeti do prvog velikog odmorišta veličine prosječne dnevne sobe modernih stanova, a koji je zapravo uvod u dva niza salona koji su nam na žalost ostali nedostupni.

Tu su živjeli Agatha i Rupert von Trapp kad je počeo rat. Kad se rodila mala Maria Francesca  28. rujna 1914. godine, Agatha je mužu poslala telegram s unaprijed dogovorenom šifrom SMS Maria stigla. SMS tad je bila kratica za Seiner Majestät Schiff.

Georg tek 1915. godine u travnju stupa u aktivnu službu. Preuzima zapovjedništvo podmornice "U-5" usidrene u Boki kotorskoj i čuva Otrantska vrata. Samo pet dana nakon preuzimanja zapovjedništva, u noći sa 26. na 27. travnja, potapa s dva izravna hitca francusku krstaricu "Leon Gambeta" i vrlo brzo stječe strahopoštovanje i kod neprijatelja i kod suboraca. U svibnju 1918. biva promaknut u čin kapetana korvete i imenovan zapovjednikom Boke kotorske.

Biti častan vojnik i časno se boriti bio je credo Georga von Trappa. Omiljen među mornarima jednako kao poslije među članovima obitelji više je služio, manje naređivao, a zaslugama se uopće nije dičio. Jasno je osjećao da postoji granica između pravih i pogrešnih odabira, između Dobra i Zla. Bio je čovjek od riječi i čovjek integriteta. Osjeti se to na svakoj stranici knjige koju je napisao 1935. godine na njemačkom jeziku "Bis zum letzten Flaggenschuss".  Knjigu je zbog ljubavi prema djedu kojeg nikad nije upoznala prevela njegova unuka Elisabeth, kći njegove najmlađe kćeri Eleonore "Lorli" pa je danas lako dostupna (To the Last Salute, Memoires of an Austrian U-boat Commander). To je prava knjiga ratnog kapetana posvećena mornarici, moru, različitim brodovima i podmornicama, manjim i većim torpednim čamcima, razmišljanjima o vojnoj strategiji i taktici, važnosti ljudstva i njihovoj odanosti, o odlukama, neprijatelju i vojničkoj časti. Ali u njoj je i puno predivnih opisa podneblja i ljudi što ih je susreo duž cijelog Jadrana.

"A kad kreću na more, ti ljudi uvijek pjevaju svoje prastare  pučke pjesme. Balade su to s bezbroj stihova u kojima odjekuju bojni pokliči, ali se čuju i nježni ljubavni glasovi. Neobične su to melodije, a tonovi koji odjekuju kao da nama sjevernjacima pričaju priče o tajnoj ljubavi, tuzi i čežnji ponosne nacije porobljene stoljećima. Pa iako ne razumijem riječi, razumijem tužnu stoljetnu čežnju što iz njih izvire. Njihovo pjevanje dirnulo mi je dušu na čudan način već prvi put kad sam ih čuo. A koncert stotine cvrčaka kao da im je pratnja.Miris zemlje što ga donosi noćni povjetarac kao da čovjeka omami, tako je težak i sladak".

A malo dalje posebno je opisao Crnogorce:
"Kad Crnogorci silaze na tržnicu u Kotor, muškarac jaše na magarcu, a žena hoda uza nj i nosi sav teret. Jedan od časnika pošao je do čovjeka i upitao ga: "A ti? Zar ti ništa ne radiš? Zar puštaš ženi da sve sama radi?" "Ništa? Pa spavam sa ženom!"

Ali stvari nisu tako loše kako izgledaju. Muškarci su dobri mornari i ribari i obrađuju zemlju koju se ne bi usudio taknuti niti jedan seljak iz ravnice. San im je poći u Ameriku gdje su im već braća i stričevi, vratiti se s nešto dolara i otvoriti restoran".

Na kraju prvog svjetskog rata Monarhija je propala. Pula više nije bila glavna carska ratna luka, napuštaju je mnoge obitelji. Kad se Georg vratio obitelji, Agatha je rekla djeci: „Morate biti dobri i dragi prema tatici, izgubio je i rat i mornaricu".

Ostalo troje djece rođeno je u Austriji, na imanju Agathine majke blizu Zella am See. Georgu je tu preusko pa obitelj 1921. seli u Klosterneuburg, gdje se rađa još i Martina. Djecu tad zahvaća šarlah od kojeg 3. rujna 1922. godine umire Agatha.

Georg odlazi s obitelji u blizinu Salzburga u predgrađe Aigen i sav se posvećuje djeci. Spadao je u muškarce koji vole biti očevi i u tome nalaze duboko zadovoljstvo. Obitelj počinje zajedno muzicirati, a to se intenzivira dolaskom mlade novakinje Marije Kutschera. Par se vjenčao 26. studenog 1927. Svjetska financijska kriza odnijela im je velik dio imovine pohranjene u Austrijskoj banci, pa se dijelom uzdržavaju zajedničkim nastupima.

Georg von Trapp odbio je tri puta stupiti u nacističku mornaricu kao i pjevati s obitelji na Führerovu rođendanu u obližnjem Berchtesgadenu. Cijela obitelj pješice bježi u Italiju, a ne u Švicarsku, kako je u filmu prikazano. Poslije odlaze u Ameriku gdje nastupaju kao The Trapp Family. Od zarađena novca kupuju imanje u državi Vermont, u mjestu Stowe. Ondje 30. svibnja 1947. godine umire kapetan korvete, najodlikovaniji podmornički časnik prvog svjetskog rata, od raka pluća kao i mnogi njegovi suborci jer u to su vrijeme podmornice isparavale mnoge otrovne plinove. Na samrtnom krevetu bio je okružen obitelji koja mu je pjevala. Pokopan je na obiteljskom imanju u Vermontu.

 
The address today is Pina Budicina 11, and the ground floor houses the More kindergarten. The villa is large and spacious, not unlike villas in the Döbling area of Vienna. It is a combination of city villa and hunting lodge, with turettes, winding staircases and rounded window frames as the favourite architectural elements of the age. The villa has two floors and the now neglected garden which, I believe, must have once been blooming with roses or hortensias.

The paths around the house used to be well-kept and the treetops carefully shaped. Should you walk around the house twice, I believe you will hear the laugh of Rupert and little Agatha, born soon after the son. I should think that the servants, living in the attic as was customary at the time, would bring cool drinks out to the terrace in the evenings. Dressed in their dinner clothes, ladies and gentlemen would indulge in small talk and exchange the latest news and pleasantries. Every now and then, the pines would give out a heavy sigh, whereas the sea would just quietly giggle.

The ground floor consisted of utility quarters, such as the kitchen and larders, whereas the first floor (the piano nobile) was reserved for socializing in salons for coffee, for music, letter-writing and reading, dining and receiving guests. The family members’ bedrooms were on the second floor. The von Trapp family lived a typical life for their social class. Formality and rather stiff manners had still not given way to ideas of freedom, often neglecting and refusing all regulations. The strict daily rhythm, set by duties, meals and hours, assured a peaceful and well-organized life.

Today, the villa is divided into several apartments. The main entrance is derelict. If you happen to come across the door unlocked, do come in. You will find yourselves in front of the beautiful large wooden staircase with pretty handrails. There are oak floor boards.

The setting resembles a smaller replica of the staircase from the Austrian estate in the film, on which the children performed the good-night song. The ceiling is high and white, while the stairs are just right and will take you comfortably to the first big landing, the size of an average living room in modern apartments. This is in fact the entrance to two salon suites which, unfortunately, we were not able to visit.

This is where Agatha and Rupert von Trapp lived when the war broke out. When little Maria Francesca was born on 28 September, 1914, Agatha sent her husband a telegram containing a pre-set code: SMS Maria arrived. SMS meant Seiner Majestät Schiff.

Georg did not enter active military service until April 1915. He took over the command of submarine U-5, harboured in Boka Kotorska and intended to guard the Strait of Otranto. Only five days after assuming command, in the night between 26 and 27 April, he delivered two direct hits on the French cruiser Leon Gambeta, inspiring awe from the enemy and his own soldiers alike. In May 1918, he was promoted to Corvette Captain and appointed Commander of Boka Kotorska.

Georg von Trapp's credo was to be an honourable soldier and to fight honourably. He was well-loved by his men and family members, he preferred to serve rather than give orders, and he would never boast about his accomplishments. He had a natural feel for the line between good and bad choices, between Good and Evil. He was a man of his word and a man of integrity. This transpires from every page of the book he wrote in 1935, in German, titled Bis zum letzten Flaggenschuss. Out of love for the grandfather she had never met, his granddaughter Elisabeth, daughter of his youngest Eleonora – Lorli, translated the book, making it available to a wider audience (To the Last Salute, Memoirs of an Austrian U-boat Commander). This is a true story of a war captain, dedicated to the navy, the sea, different ships and submarines, big and small torpedo boats, musings over military strategy and tactics, the importance of manpower and their loyalty, about decisions, the enemy and military honour. But it also contains many beautiful descriptions of the places and people he met along the entire Adriatic coast.

"When going off to sea, these people always sing their ancient folk songs. These ballads consist of endless lines echoing with calls to charge, but also with soft voices of love. These are unusual melodies whose tones tell us northerners the tales of secret love, the sorrow and longing of a proud nation held captive for centuries. Even if I cannot understand the words, I do understand the centuries-long yearning spilling from the words. Their song touched my soul in a strange way the very first time I heard it. The song is accompanied by a concerto of thousands of cicadas. The scent of the earth brought by the night breeze seemed to entrance me, heady and sweet."

He also proceeds to describe Montenegrins: When Montenegrins come down to the Kotor market, the man rides a donkey and the woman walks by him, carrying all the bags. One of my officers approached a man to ask him: "What about you? Do you not do anything? Are you going to let your wife do all the work?" "Do nothing? I sleep with my wife!"

But things are not as bad as they may seem. Their men are good sailors and fishermen and they farm the land that no peasant from the plains would even dare touch. They dream of going to America to join their brothers and uncles, then return with a few dollars and open a restaurant.

By the end of the First World War, the Monarchy was no more. Pula was no longer the main royal war port and many families left the city. When Georg rejoined his family, Agatha instructed the children to behave themselves and be nice to daddy because he had lost both the war and his navy.

The remaining three children were born in Austria, at Agatha’s grandmother’s estate near Zell am See. The estate was too confining for Georg so in 1921 he moved his family to Klosterneuburg, where Martina was born. The children fell ill with scarlet fever, which claimed Agatha on 3 September, 1922.

Georg took his family to the Salzburg suburbs of Aigen and dedicated himself completely to the children. He liked to be a father and found profound pleasure in his fatherly role. The family started to play music together, these activities intensified with the arrival of the young novice Maria Kutschera. The couple married on 26 November, 1927. The world financial crisis cost them a large part of their assets that was entrusted to an Austrian bank so they earned part of their income through performing together.

Georg von Trapp refused to join the Nazi navy three times, and he refused to sing with his family at the Führer’s birthday party in nearby Berchtesgaden. The entire family fled on foot to Italy, not to Switzerland as was depicted in the film. Later on they went to America where they continued performing as The Trapp Family. They earned enough money to buy land in Stowe, Vermont. It is there that, on 30 May, 1947, death found Corvette Captain, the World War I submarine officer that achieved the most medals. He died of lung cancer, like many of his colleagues, because in those days submarines emitted various toxic gases. His family sang to him on his deathbed. He was buried at the family estate in Vermont.



August Ritter von Trapp, and his mother, Hedwig Wepler, lie next to each other at the Pula Maritime Cemetery

 
Njegov otac August Ritter von Trapp i njegova majka Hedwig Wepler leže jedno uz drugo na Mornaričkom groblju u Puli (K.u.K. Marinefriedhof Pola). Groblje se nalazi u dijelu grada zvanom Stoja. Pođite onamo. Groblje je lijepo uređeno, čempresi smiruju, a srce će vam ganuti mnogobrojni natpisi. Georgov otac umro je već 1884. od tifusa pa je majka od skromne mirovine sama odgojila Georga, njegova starijeg brata i sestru. Na njen grob položila sam ružu koju sam tog dana dobila u Rijeci na Valentinovo kad sam se penjala stubama da svjedočim porinuću. Ta je žena odgojila sina koji je bio častan čovjek, a to je veliko djelo.

Na blagoj uzvisini groblje smiruje tišinom koja je transcendirala ritam svakodnevice i užurbane hitnje koji kao da ne vode računa o konačnom smiraju. Na povratku u grad proći ćete  pokraj bijele i neumoljive zgrade Mornaričke crkve Gospe od mora koja kao da želi natkriliti more. Tu je nekoć stajao car Franjo Josip I., tu sam naručila misu za pokojne iz obitelji von Trapp.

Napisala Anika Rešetar, Zagreb
Objavljeno u jesenjem izdanju časopisa CROATIA, 2009, u izdanju Croatia Airlines

Fotografije iz filma "Moje pjesme, moji snovi"

 
His father, August Ritter von Trapp, and his mother, Hedwig Wepler, lie next to each other at the Pula Maritime Cemetery (K.u.K. Marinefriedhof Pola). The cemetery is located in the Stoja district. Do visit it. It is well-kept, the cypress trees have a soothing effect and your heart will be touched by numerous tombstone inscriptions. Georg's father died as early as 1884 of typhoid fever, so the mother raised Georg and his brother and sister by herself on her meagre income. I had been given a rose at the launching ceremony that day and I left it on her grave. This woman raised a son who grew up to become an honourable man, and that is no small thing. 

Situated on a small hill, the cemetery offers calm and quiet that transcends the rhythms of everyday life and the rush that takes no account of the final rest. Returning to the city, you will pass by the white stern building of the Navy Church of Our Lady of the Sea, looking as if it is trying to span the sea. This is where emperor Franz Joseph I once stood, and this is where I commissioned a mass to be held for the von Trapp family members who are no longer with us.

Written by Anika Rešetar, Zagreb
Published in the automn edition of CROATIA, 2009, issuede by Croatia Airlines

Photos from the film "The Sound of Music"








Many thanks to Anika Rešetar who kindly sent us the article, and to CROATIA, inflight magazine of Croatia Airlines, for permission to publish it for the readers of the CROWN.

Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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Comments
  • Comment #1 (Posted by Violi)

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful article highlighting the unknown and interesting information about Georg von Trapp. This made me all the more excited to do the Sound of Music tour in a trip with friends in June. It also reminded me of our stay in the beautiful city of Pula last year.
     
  • Comment #2 (Posted by Guy Takamatsu)

    QUESTION? Since Mr. Von Trapp (SOUND OF MUSIC fame) was born and raised in Croatia, did he speak Croatian? Or did he only speak German? My guess is German was the "universal" language of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and other languages were for speaking at home or among friends. Was German the langauge of government and business at the time?
     
  • Comment #3 (Posted by Linda Hojevac-Reible)

    Thank you so much for presenting this lovely, or handsome, piece! i am hoping that i can learn to make more sense of the world's ever-altering boundaries as well as its countries' re-namings. i am 2nd (U.S. American) generation offspring of Croatian immigrant grandparents, and know very little about their Old Country lives. So, finally, i have just finished reading a 10-cent, garage sale, paperback copy (one from my Mother's former stalagmite book stacks on our home stairway) of the 1972 Maria the true story of the beloved heroine of The Sound of Music. It's 25 years since Baroness (II?) von Trapp rested w/ her Mothers, as the Old Testament refers to fathers. In a way, Baron Georg von Trapp becomes an historic and kind figure of a grandfather for many of us newly-orphaned in our old ages. To all involved in this project, hvala (Croatian dictionary for 'thanks') for entertaining and for educating us!
     
  • Comment #4 (Posted by Bill)

    Most interesting. I appreciate the Croatian context. I do wish more people knew about this. I thought Gerog had been conscripted to the Austrian Navy.
     
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