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Sound of Music – The true story

Discover the story of the real Trapp family

It is no secret that filmmakers often use poetic license and as a result fact sometimes becomes fiction. It therefore goes without saying that the real story behind "The Sound of Music" was tweaked for dramatic purposes and details were at times exaggerated. However, the parallels between reality and fiction are clear to see. In SalzburgerLand, not only can you visit the film locations but you can also walk in the footsteps of the "real" Trapp family.

The Trapp family and the First World War

The Trapp family lived during a time of great suffering, change and upheaval. Two atrocious wars were to change the world and have a huge impact on the family. Shortly before the First World War, Georg Freiherr von Trapp, a captain in the Austro-Hungarian Navy, married Agathe Whitehead. During the war years, the Habsburg monarchy collapsed and the submarine commander was forced to find a new job. The family, who had been blessed with seven children between the years of 1911 and 1922, had to move several times. Shortly after they settled in the town of Klosterneuburg, Agathe fell ill with cholera and died.

The Trapp family moves to Salzburg

In 1925, Georg von Trapp moved with his children (Rupert, Agathe, Maria-Franziska, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna and Martina), to a district known today as Aigen in Salzburg. He employed a novice called Maria from Nonnberg Convent to act as a governess for his children. Within a very short space of time, the children developed a strong bond with Maria and she became much more than just a teacher to them. In 1927, Georg and Maria married and had three children (Rosmarie, Eleonore and Johannes).

A choir is established

Maria sang often with the children when she was their governess. When the bank the family used went bankrupt and they lost all their savings, they formed a choir together and were discovered during a singing competition at The Salzburg Festival. It wasn’t long before they went on to make a name for themselves touring throughout Europe and the USA as the “Salzburger Kammerchor Trapp”.

© TVB Werfen

© TVB Werfen

Escape to America

The Nazi era and the Second World War started to become a real threat to the family, and Georg von Trapp was opposed to Adolf Hitler’s morals and ideals. Soon after giving a concert in America, the family decided not to return to Austria. They settled in Vermont and conducted successful tours in the USA for many years.

In 1947, Baron von Trapp died. Music continued to play an important role in the lives of Maria and the children.

The Trapp Villa in Salzburg

The Trapp Villa can still be visited today. Today the family’s former residence is a hotel and can be found in the district of Aigen in Salzburg. Guided tours take place every day at noon. The emphasis of this tour is on the real history of the Trapp family, and guests are offered whole new perspectives on the story of “The Sound of Music”.

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