'The Sound of Music' is based on a true story and on this page you can learn all about the real Maria Von Trapp! You can check out Julie Andrews page to learn about the actress who played her in the movie, or learn all about the movie character of Maria!
Date Of Birth - 26th January 1905
Death - 28th March 1987 (aged 82) Maria died in Vermont of heart failure, outliving her husband by 40 years! Along with her husband and Martina Von Trapp she is buried in the family cemetery at the lodge.
Birthplace - A train heading to Vienna
Childhood - Orphaned at age 7 Maria went on to graduate from State Teachers College for Progressive Education in Vienna in 1923 (aged 18).
Job - Maria wanted to become a nun and so entered 'Nonnberg Abbey' in Salzburg where she was a teacher. From there they asked her to become a teacher for one of Captain Georg Von Trapp's children named Maria, who had been left weak after having scarlet fever (Scarlet Fever had killed her mother).
Marriage - Maria married Captain Georg Von Trapp on 26th November 1927.
Children Rosmarie Von Trapp - 8th Feb 1928
Eleonore Von Trapp - 14th May 1931
Johannes Von Trapp - 17th January 1939
'The Trapp Family Singers'
- 1935 - The bank in which Captain Von Trapp had all his money went bankrupt and so they lost everything. In order to survive, the family rented out rooms in their house to students and lived only on the top floor. Father Franz Wasner moved in with them as their chaplain and it was then the started singing. Lotte Lehmann heard the family sing and suggested they give concerts and perform on the radio. Kurt Schuschnigg (Austrian Chancellor) heard them and invited them to perform in Vienna. They became a popular touring act after performing at Salzburg Music Festival in 1935 and were offered tours in numerous countries!
Break out of the Second World War - Within one week the Trapp Family were offered 3 different positions promoting Hitler and the Nazi Party. Captain Von Trapp was requested as serve a Naval Captain for the Nazi party with which he firmly disagreed. His eldest son was requested to serve as a doctor at a hospital in a different part of Austria, and the 'Trapp Family Singers' were asked to sing for Hitler himself at a rally. Deciding they could not turn down 3 requests from the Nazi party in the same week, they had to flee the country in order to survive. Father Wasner accompanied them as they told everyone they were going on a family holiday for a week to Italy, however they did not return. Their home was confiscated by the Nazi's and an agent from the USA sent 10 tickets for them to board a boat and go do a tour in North America escaping from the war in Europe.
The Trapp's in America - Initially they were known as the 'Trapp Family Choir' and performed in many concert hall's across America and Canada including New York City's 'Town Hall'. When it came to their visa needing a renewal the family were declined and so had to leave the USA. Remembering a few people who had offered them tours in Scandinavia they went there and continued making money from their singing. After a few months they were able to return to the USA and give more concerts there. At this point World War 2 was in full swing and people were allowed to stay in America wavering their visa's and thus at least part of the Trapp family remain in Stowe, Vermont to this day. While they were not singing they ran a music camp at their home in Vermont. Maria and her 6 step daughter applied to become US citizens in 1944, Rupert and Werner became citizens because they served in World War 2, Maria's 2 daughters became citizens because their mother was and Johannes was born in the USA. Captain Von Trapp never applied for citizenship and died in 1947 of lung cancer.
After World War 2
- In 1957 the Trapp Family Singers went their separate ways. Maria and three of the children became missionaries in the South Pacific. In the 1960's Maria moved back to Vermont to help manage the Trapp Family Lodge before turning it over to her son, Johannes Von Trapp.
Back To Von Trapp Family