Hedwig von Trapp
|Hedwig von Trapp|
Petition for Naturalization, 1948
|Born||Hedwig Maria Adolphine Gobertina von Trapp
28 July 1917
Zell am See, Austria-Hungary
|Died||14 September 1972
Zell am See, Austria
Hedwig Maria Adolphine Gobertina von Trapp (28 July 1917 – 14 September 1972) was the fifth child of Georg and Agatha (née Whitehead) von Trapp. She was a member of the Trapp Family Singers, whose lives were the inspiration for the play and movie The Sound of Music. She was portrayed as the character "Brigitta".
Hedwig was named after her paternal grandmother. Hedwig had brown hair and grey eyes. She grew up in Zell am See during World War I with her siblings: Rupert (1911–1992) Agathe (1913–2010), Maria Franziska (1914-2014), Werner and Johanna (1919–1994). The last sister, Martina von Trapp (1921–1951), was born in Klosterneuburg (Austria). The Von Trapp family moved from Zell-am-See to Klosterneuburg, when their home, the lake hotel "Kitzsteinhorn", was flooded. Before living in the "Kitzsteinhorn", the von Trapp family lived on a farm called "Erlhof" near Agathe Whitehad von Trapp's mother and her sisters.
In 1922, her mother died of scarlet fever and was buried in Klosterneuburg. Hedwig was then five years old. In 1925, the Von Trapp family moved to Salzburg-Aigen, and she entered the Ursuline convent as a student, together with her sisters. In 1927, her father, Georg Ludwig von Trapp, married Maria Augusta Kutschera (1905–1987), the teacher of her sisters (Maria Franziska and Johanna). Georg and Maria Augusta had three children together: Rosmarie (born 1928 or 1929), Eleonore (born 1931), and Johannes (born 1939).
The family left Austria in summer of 1938 and went to America. Hedwig was now in her early twenties. She sang alto in the family chorus and alpine yodels, standing behind an open grand piano to achieve an alpine-like echo effect. She became a naturalized United States citizen in 1948. After the Trapp Family Singers disbanded, she started her teaching career in Honolulu directing a children's choir, teaching handicrafts, carpentry, and cooking. She later taught music at St. Anthony School in Kailua, throughout the 1960s, living in a small cottage next to the school grounds and continued to wear her traditional German/Austrian clothing (tracht) every day.
She went to visit her aunt in Zell am See in 1972 and died there at the age of 55 from asthma. She was buried at the Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, next to her father, her stepmother and her siblings, Rupert, Werner, and Martina.