Georg Johannes von Trapp

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Georg von Trapp
Georg Johannes von Trapp.jpg
Born (1880-04-04)4 April 1880
Zara, Kingdom of Dalmatia, Austria-Hungary (present-day Zadar, Croatia)
Died 30 May 1947(1947-05-30) (aged 67)
Stowe, Vermont, U.S
Nationality Austrian
Spouse(s) Agatha Whitehead (1891–1922) (m. 1911–22) (7 children)
Maria Augusta Kutschera (1905–1987) (m. 1927–47) (3 children)
Children Rupert von Trapp (1911–1992)
Agathe von Trapp (1913–2010)
Maria Franziska von Trapp (1914–2014)
Werner von Trapp (1915–2007)
Hedwig von Trapp (1917–1972)
Johanna von Trapp (1919–1994)
Martina von Trapp (1921–1951)
Rosmarie von Trapp (b. 1928 or 1929)
Eleonore von Trapp (b. 1931)
Johannes von Trapp (b. 1939)
Lieutenant Von Trapp and Agathe Whitehead circa 1910
Agatha′s father, Sir James Beethom Whitehead, painted in 1907 by John Henry Frederick Bacon.
On duty aboard SMU-5

Corvette Captain Georg Johannes, Ritter[1] von Trapp (4 April 1880 – 30 May 1947), known as Baron von Trapp, was an Austro-Hungarian Navy officer.[2][3] His naval exploits during World War I earned him numerous decorations, including the prestigious Military Order of Maria Theresa. The story of his family served as the inspiration for the musical The Sound of Music.[3]

Birth and naval career[edit]

Georg Johannes von Trapp
Born (1880-04-04)4 April 1880
Zara, Kingdom of Dalmatia, Austria-Hungary (present-day Zadar, Croatia)
Died 30 May 1947(1947-05-30) (aged 67)
Stowe, Vermont, U.S.
Allegiance Austria-Hungary Austro-Hungarian Empire (to 1918)
Service/branch  Austro-Hungarian Navy
Years of service 1898–1918
Rank Corvette Captain (Lieutenant-Commander)
Commands held SM U-6 (July 1910 – July 1913)
Torpedo Boat 52 (1913–1914)
SM U-5 (April–October 1915)
SM U-14 (captured French submarine Curie) (October 1915 – May 1918)
Submarine base commander at Cattaro (May–November 1918)
Battles/wars

Wars:

Campaigns:

Awards Knight's Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa (1915)

Georg Johannes Ritter von Trapp (4 April 1880 – 30 May 1947) was born in Zara, Kingdom of Dalmatia, then a Crown Land of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (present-day Zadar, Croatia). His father, Fregattenkapitän August Trapp, was a naval officer who had been elevated to the Austrian nobility in 1876 which entitled him and his descendants to the style of Ritter (Knight) von in the case of male and von in the case of female offspring.[citation needed]

August Ritter von Trapp died in 1884, when Georg was four. His mother was Hedwig Wepler. His older sister was the Austrian artist Hede von Trapp, and his brother, Werner, died in 1915 in World War I.[4]

In 1894, aged 14, he followed in his father's footsteps and entered the K.u.K. (imperial and royal) Austro-Hungarian Navy, entering the naval academy at Fiume (Rijeka).[4] He graduated four years later and completed two years of follow-on training voyages including a trip to Australia. In 1900 he was assigned to the armored cruiser SMS Kaiserin und Königin Maria Theresia and was decorated for his performance during the Boxer Rebellion. In 1902 he passed the officer's examination. He was fascinated by submarines, and in 1908 he seized the opportunity to be transferred to the newly formed U-boot-Waffe. In 1910 he was given command of the newly constructed SM U-6, which was christened by his wife, Agatha (née Whitehead).[5] He commanded U-6 until 1913.[citation needed]

On 17 April 1915, he took command of SM U-5 and conducted nine combat patrols. While in command of the U-5 he sank the following:

He captured:

  • the Greek steamer Cefalonia off Durazzo on 29 August 1915.

Georg Johannes von Trapp has sometimes incorrectly been credited with sinking the Italian troop transport Principe Umberto. In reality, this was sunk by U-5 under von Trapp's successor Friedrich Schlosser (1885–1959) on 8 June 1916, after von Trapp was transferred to the SM U-14. On 14 October 1915, he was transferred to the captured French submarine Curie, which the Austrian Navy redesignated SM U-14.[citation needed]

Vessels Sunk While In Command of U-14
Vessel Location Date
British tanker Teakwood 36°23′N 21°06′E / 36.39°N 21.10°E / 36.39; 21.10 1917-04-28
Italian steamer Antonio Sciesa 36°23′N 21°09′E / 36.39°N 21.15°E / 36.39; 21.15 1917-05-03
Greek steamer Marionga Goulandris 35°23′N 22°22′E / 35.38°N 22.36°E / 35.38; 22.36 1917-07-05
French steamer Constance 36°31′N 17°15′E / 36.51°N 17.25°E / 36.51; 17.25 1917-08-23
British steamer Kilwinning 35°16′N 16°18′E / 35.26°N 16.30°E / 35.26; 16.30 1917-08-24
British steamer Titian 34°12′N 17°18′E / 34.20°N 17.30°E / 34.20; 17.30 1917-08-26
British steamer Nairn 34°03′N 19°12′E / 34.05°N 19.20°E / 34.05; 19.20 1917-08-28
Italian steamer Milazzo 34°26′N 19°10′E / 34.44°N 19.16°E / 34.44; 19.16 1917-08-29
British steamer Good Hope 35°32′N 17°03′E / 35.53°N 17.05°E / 35.53; 17.05 1917-10-18
British steamer Elsiston 35°24′N 17°17′E / 35.40°N 17.28°E / 35.40; 17.28 1917-10-18
Italian steamer Capo Di Monte 34°32′N 19°30′E / 34.53°N 19.50°E / 34.53; 19.50 1917-10-23

Von Trapp conducted ten more war patrols, until, in May 1918, he was promoted to Korvettenkapitän (equal to Lieutenant commander) and given command of the submarine base in the Gulf of Kotor. At the end of World War I, von Trapp's wartime record stood at 19 war patrols; 11 cargo vessels totalling 45,669 tons sunk, plus the Léon Gambetta and Nereide and 1 cargo vessel captured. Among other honors, he received the Knight's Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa. The end of the First World War saw the defeat and collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the process, Austria was reduced in size to its German-speaking core – losing its seacoast – and had no further need for a navy, leaving von Trapp without a vocation or employment.[citation needed]

First marriage[edit]

Von Trapp was first married to Agatha Whitehead, a niece of St John Brodrick, 1st Earl of Midleton and a granddaughter of Robert Whitehead, who invented the modern torpedo. After the British government rejected Whitehead's invention, Austrian Emperor Franz Josef invited him to open a torpedo factory in Fiume (present-day Rijeka, Croatia).[4] Robert christened his first command, the U-boat U-6.[4][6]

Agatha's inherited wealth sustained the couple and permitted them to start a family. Their first child, Rupert,[7] was born on 1 November 1911, at Pola, Istria. The family lived at Pina Budicina 11.[Map 1] The marriage produced six more children: Agathe, also born at Pola; Maria Franziska; Werner;[8] Hedwig; and Johanna; all born at Zell am See, at the family home, the Erlhof.[Map 2] and Martina, born at Klosterneuburg at the family home, the Martinsschlössel, for which she was named.[Map 3]

On 3 September 1922, Agatha, Baroness von Trapp died of scarlet fever contracted from her daughter Agathe.[4] The family purchased a villa in Aigen, a suburb of Salzburg, and moved in 1924.[4][Map 4]

About 1926, Maria Franziska was recovering from an illness and was unable to attend school, so von Trapp hired Maria Augusta Kutschera, from the nearby Nonnberg Abbey, as a tutor.[citation needed]

Second marriage[edit]

Von Trapp, 47, married Maria Augusta Kutschera (aged 22) on 26 November 1927.[4][9] They had three children: Rosemarie, born on 8 February, either 1928 or 1929,[4][5] in Salzburg, Austria; Eleonore, born 14 May 1931, in Salzburg; and Johannes, born 17 January 1939, in Philadelphia, bringing the total number of von Trapp's children to ten.[5][10]

Later life[edit]

In 1935, von Trapp's money, inherited from his first wife, was invested in a bank in England. Austria was under economic pressure from a hostile Germany, and Austrian banks were in a precarious position. Von Trapp sought to help a friend in the banking business, Frau (Auguste Caroline) Lammer (1885–1937), so he withdrew most of his money from London and deposited it in an Austrian bank. The bank failed, wiping out most of the family's fortune.[5]

Faced with an impossible situation of little or no money and a husband incapable of providing for her or for the family, Maria took charge and began to make arrangements for the family to sing at various events as a way of earning a livelihood. At about that time, a Catholic priest, Franz Wasner, around Maria's age, came to live with them and became the group's musical director.[2] In 1947, Maria also entrusted the priest with management of the family's finances as treasurer of the Trapp Family Austrian Relief fund. Around 1936, Lotte Lehmann heard the family sing, and she suggested they perform paid concerts. When the Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg heard them on the radio, he invited them to perform in Vienna.[11]

According to Maria von Trapp's memoirs, Captain von Trapp found himself in a strange situation after the Anschluss in 1938. He was offered a commission to the German Navy, a tempting proposition for a Captain without a navy, but decided he would have to decline, being opposed to Nazi ideology. Knowing that he could not decline the offer without threat of arrest, possibly for his entire family, he decided to leave Austria. Some details of the von Trapps' escape from Austria were changed in The Sound of Music. In the film it was stated that he was threatened with death if he did not capitulate to the Nazis. In fact the Captain had been born into what later became the Italian territory of Zara, so the family members were all Italian citizens, and were able to leave Austria for Italy by train in broad daylight, rather than by hiking over the mountains from Austria to Switzerland in the middle of the night.[2] The family then sailed to the United States for their first concert tour, then went back to Europe to tour Scandinavia in 1939 hoping to continue their concerts in the non-Nazi cities.[12] During this time, they went back to Salzburg for a few months before returning to Sweden to finish the tour. From there, they traveled to Norway to begin the trip back to the United States in September 1939.[5]

After living for a short time in Merion, Pennsylvania, where they welcomed their youngest child, Johannes, the family settled in Stowe, Vermont, in 1941. They purchased a 660-acre (270 ha) farm in 1942 and converted it into the Trapp Family Lodge.[13] In January 1947, Major General Harry J. Collins turned to the von Trapp family in the USA pleading for help for the Austrian people, having seen firsthand the residents of Salzburg suffer when he had arrived there with the famed 42nd Rainbow Division after World War II. The Trapp Family founded the Trapp Family Austrian Relief, Inc.

Death[edit]

Georg Johannes von Trapp died of lung cancer on 30 May 1947, in Stowe, Vermont.[14]

Children[edit]

Name Mother Birth Death Notes
Rupert Agatha von Trapp (née Whitehead) 1 November 1911[4] 22 February 1992(1992-02-22) (aged 80)[7] He married Henriette Lajoie (1927) in 1947 and had two sons and four daughters; they later divorced. He later married Janice Tyre (1920–1994), and had no children with her.[10] He was a physician.[5][15]
Agathe 12 March 1913 28 December 2010(2010-12-28) (aged 97)[16] She worked as a singer and an artist, and lived in Baltimore, Maryland. Agathe ran a kindergarten with her longtime friend of 50 years, Mary Louise Kane, at the Sacred Heart Catholic parish in Glyndon, Maryland. She had no children.[3][10]
Maria Franziska 28 September 1914[17][18] 18 February 2014(2014-02-18) (aged 99)[10][19][20][21][22] She worked as a singer and missionary in Papua New Guinea, no children. In 2008 she visited the ancestral home.[10][23]
Werner 21 December 1915 11 October 2007(2007-10-11) (aged 91)[15][24][25] He married Erika Klambauer in 1948 and had four sons and two daughters, including Elisabeth von Trapp.[8][10][26]
Hedwig 28 July 1917 14 September 1972(1972-09-14) (aged 55)[3][24] She worked as a teacher, lived in Hawaii, and died of asthma, no children.
Johanna 7 September 1919 25 November 1994(1994-11-25) (aged 75) She married Ernst Florian Winter in 1948 and had three sons, one died, and four daughters. She lived in Vienna and died there.[10]
Martina 17 February 1921 25 February 1951(1951-02-25) (aged 30)[24] In 1949, she married Jean Dupiere (died before 1998). She died of complications during childbirth and had a stillborn daughter.
Rosmarie Maria von Trapp (née Kutschera) (1928-02-08) 8 February 1928 (age 86) or (1929-02-08) 8 February 1929 (age 85) Rosmarie worked as a singer and missionary in Papua New Guinea. She most recently lived in Pittsburgh, and had no children.[10]
Eleonore (1931-05-14) 14 May 1931 (age 83)[9] She married Hugh David Campbell in 1954 and has seven daughters. She lives with her family in Waitsfield, Vermont.[3][10]
Johannes (1939-01-17) 17 January 1939 (age 75)[9] Married 1969 to Lynne Peterson and has one son, Sam von Trapp, and one daughter, Kristina von Trapp-Frame. Johannes manages the family resort in Stowe, Vermont, with his son Sam.[10][27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Regarding personal names: Ritter is a title, translated approximately as Knight, not a first or middle name. There is no equivalent female form.
  2. ^ a b c "Trapp Family profile". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 9 January 2011. "Maria Augusta Kutschera (26 January 1905 – died 28 March 1987, Morrisville, Vt., U.S.), the best-known member of the family, wrote The Story of the Trapp Family Singers (1949). She recounted her experience as an orphan and novitiate in a Benedictine convent in Salzburg. As a governess, she won the hearts of the seven children of a widower, Freiherr (Baron) Georg von Trapp, a World War I submarine commander, and of the baron himself. She was married to Trapp in 1927, and they had three children. In the mid-1930s the family began singing German and liturgical music under the tutelage of the Reverend Franz Wasner, who continued as their director. In 1937 they made their first European tour as professional singers—the Trapp Family Choir. With Father Wasner, the family fled in 1938 from Nazi-dominated Austria to Italy (Switzerland in the play) and emigrated to the United States. ..." 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Tribute to Baron von Trapp Joined by Country He Fled". New York Times. 14 July 1997. Retrieved 8 January 2011. "The ceremonies ended today in a morning Mass, at which the cadets stood watch during a performance of Franz Schubert's Deutsche Messe, then laid a wreath at the grave of Baron and Baroness von Trapp, who were portrayed by Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews in the 1965 film The Sound of Music. ... The six surviving children are Eleonore Campbell, Rosmarie Trapp and Maria F., Werner, Johannes and Agathe von Trapp, all of whom live in the United States." 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Von Trapp, Georg (1 December 2007). To the Last Salute: Memories of an Austrian U-Boat Commander. ISBN 0-8032-4667-6. "Not long after that Agathe, the oldest daughter, came down with scarlet fever. Her siblings contracted the disease, and their mother nursed them. ... They were married on January 10, 1911, and lived in the Trapp villa in Pola, Austria. Their first child, Rupert Georg von Trapp, was born November 1, 1911, ..." 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Gearin, Joan. "The Real Story of the von Trapp Family". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 5 January 2009. "Maria Kutschera and Georg von Trapp married in 1927. They had three children together: Rosmarie (born 1928 or 1929) , Eleonore (born 1931), and Johannes (born 1939)." 
  6. ^ Sources conflict on whether the marriage took place in January 1911 or January 1912.
  7. ^ a b Social Security Death Index as "Rupert Vontrapp" 1 November 1911 – 22 February 1992; 05672 (Stowe, Lamoille, VT); 127-14-1082; Social Security issued in New York
  8. ^ a b "Susan Hoyt, Teacher, Sets July Wedding". New York Times. 23 March 1980. Retrieved 21 July 2007. "The engagement of Susan Thatcher Hoyt to Bernhard Rupert von Trapp has been announced by her mother, Mrs. G. Chamberlin Hoyt of Short Hills, New Jersey. Mr. von Trapp is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Werner von Trapp of Waitsfield, Vermont, and Salzburg, Austria. A July wedding is planned." 
  9. ^ a b c "Petition for Naturalization". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 5 January 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kerr, Peter (29 March 1987). "Maria von Trapp, whose life was 'Sound of Music', is Dead". New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2007. "Maria Augusta von Trapp, the guiding force behind a family of singers who won world renown when their story was portrayed in the play and film The Sound of Music, died of heart failure yesterday in Morrisville, Vermont, three days after undergoing surgery. She was 82 years old and had lived in Stowe, Vermont, for more than 40 years. ... She is survived by a son, Johannes, of Stowe; two daughters, Eleonore Campbell of Waitsfield, Vermont, and Rosmarie Trapp of Pittsburgh; two stepsons, Rupert, of Stowe and Werner, of Waitsfield; three stepdaughters, Agathe von Trapp of Glyndon, Maryland, Maria Franziska von Trapp of Papua New Guinea, and Johanna von Trapp of San Diego, California, and by 29 grandchildren." 
  11. ^ "Family Choir". Time magazine. 19 December 1938. Retrieved 7 January 2011. "When Soprano Lotte Lehmann heard them, she suggested concerts. When Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg heard them over the radio, he invited them to sing in Vienna. Soon the von Trapps were touring the whole map of Europe." 
  12. ^ "Family Life in Vermont". Time Magazine. 18 July 1949. Retrieved 7 January 2011. "In 1938, the Trapps arrived in the U.S. with $4 in their pocket and a concert contract in hand. Father Wasner came along as the family chaplain, by special dispensation of his bishop. 'How I hated this country at first', Mrs. Trapp says. "Oblong envelopes and mayonnaise on pears!' But the family was soon making $1,000 a concert, and she thought better of the country. "It's so big', she exclaims, "and I love to make long-distance calls!" All the Trapps are now U.S. citizens, have dropped their titles and the 'von'." 
  13. ^ "Tribute to Baron von Trapp Joined by Country He Fled". New York Times. 14 July 1997. Retrieved 5 January 2009. "In 1942, the Baron and his wife bought a farm in Stowe and built the lodge, which burned in 1980 and was rebuilt. Some family members have continued to run the lodge as an inn and ski resort." 
  14. ^ In The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, Maria points out that there was a high incidence of lung cancer among World War I U-Boat crews due to the diesel and gasoline fumes and poor ventilation, and that his death could be considered service-related. Maria also acknowledges in her book, published in 1949, that, like most men of the period, the Captain was a heavy smoker.
  15. ^ a b Social Security Death Index as "Janice T. Vontrapp" – 26 June 1920; 21 December 1994 (V) 05672 (Stowe, Lamoille, VT); 05672 (Stowe, Lamoille, VT) 169-14-4569; Social Security issued in Pennsylvania
  16. ^ "So long, farewell: Von Trapp daughter dies, aged 97". New York Times. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2011. "Agathe von Trapp, whose film counterpart was 16-going-on-17 Liesl, who had her heart broken by Rolf, the post boy turned Hitler Youth member, died from heart failure at a hospice in the Baltimore suburb of Towson, her friend Mary Louise Kane said yesterday." 
  17. ^ Electronic mail from Carla Campbell von Trapp Hunter from August 2010
  18. ^ VON TRAPP, JOHANNES. "The von Trapp Family Biography". 
  19. ^ "Maria von Trapp, last member of Sound of Music family, dies". BBC. 22 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014. "The last surviving member of the Trapp Family Singers, the group whose story inspired The Sound of Music, has died at the age of 99, her family say. Maria von Trapp died at her home in Vermont on Tuesday, her brother, Johannes von Trapp, told the Associated Press." 
  20. ^ "Maria von Trapp: last member of family group that inspired Sound of Music dies. Family escaped Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938 and won acclaim throughout Europe for their singing". Associated Press in the The Guardian. 22 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014. "The last surviving member of the famous Trapp Family Singers made famous in The Sound of Music has died at her home in Vermont, aged 99. Von Trapp's brother, Johannes von Trapp, said she died on Tuesday. ..." 
  21. ^ "Maria von Trapp, last of famous singing siblings, dies at 99". CNN. 23 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014. "Maria von Trapp, the last of the singing children immortalized in the movie musical 'The Sound of Music,' died at her Vermont home of natural causes, her half-brother told CNN on Saturday. The native of Austria was 99 and lived in Stowe. She died Tuesday." 
  22. ^ "Maria von Trapp, 'Sound of Music' Daughter, Dies at 99". New York Times. 23 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014. "Maria Franziska von Trapp, the last surviving sibling of seven brothers and sisters who were portrayed in the Broadway musical and the film 'The Sound of Music,' died on Tuesday at her home in Stowe, Vt. She was 99. Her death was confirmed by her half-brother, Johannes von Trapp." 
  23. ^ Peterkin, Tom (26 July 2008). "Maria Franziska von Trapp returns to home that inspired The Sound of Music". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 26 December 2008. "Seventy years after fleeing the Nazis, a 93-year-old woman whose family was immortalised in "The Sound of Music" has returned to Austria to visit her former home." 
  24. ^ a b c "Trapp Family biodata". Trapp Family Lodge. Retrieved 21 January 2009. 
  25. ^ "Werner von Trapp, a Son in ‘Sound of Music’ Family, Dies at 91". Associated Press in New York Times. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 5 January 2009. "Werner von Trapp, a member of the family made famous by the stage musical and the 1965 movie 'The Sound of Music,' died Thursday at his home in Waitsfield, Vt. He was 91." 
  26. ^ "Granddaughter of 'Sound of Music' duo to perform". The Topeka Capital-Journal. 24 April 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2008. "Her father, Werner, who was portrayed in the musical as the stoic Kurt, purchased a dairy farm about 35 miles south of the von Trapp family's New World homestead after he left the Trapp Family Singers. ... Werner von Trapp died Oct. 11, 2007, at age 91." 
  27. ^ Clifford, Stephanie (24 December 2008). "Von Trapps Reunited, Without the Singing". New York Times. Retrieved 26 December 2008. "Still, Johannes von Trapp, the 10th and youngest child, remembers growing up relatively anonymously in a quiet, strict home. ... By 1969, he had graduated from Dartmouth, completed a master’s degree from the Yale school of forestry and was planning on an academic career in natural resources. He returned to Stowe to put the inn’s finances in order, and ended up running the place. He tried to leave, moving to a ranch in British Columbia in 1977 and staying a few years, then moving to a ranch in Montana. But the professional management in Stowe kept quitting. 'Now I’m stuck here,' he said." 

Map locations[edit]