+
Julie Andrews said she could "feel the evil" when she visited the real Von Trapp house

Sometimes the story behind the movie is more interesting than the story in the movie. In her autobiography, Home Work, Julie Andrews shared some of her experiences filming The Sound of Music. Andrews spoke with BuzzFeed News about her book, revealing her thoughts on the actual von Trapp family house. The movie musical, which is based on a section of the real-life Maria von Trapp's book, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, was shot in a Hollywood studio. The classic scene of Julie Andrews spinning in a meadow was shot in Bavaria, and the exteriors of the von Trapp house were filmed at a different house entirely.

Andrews did visit the von Trapp house in Salzburg, Austria later on in her life. "It wasn't until much later that I happened to visit the real villa where they actually lived," she told BuzzFeed News. During her visit, Andrews said she could "feel the evil that once permeated those walls." The evil Andrews refers to is, of course, the Nazis. "Because after they fled the country, which they had to do, as in the film, [Heinrich] Himmler took over that villa, and the atrocities there were just terrible," she continued.


The story behind the von Trapp house is much darker than what's touched on in the splashy Hollywood musical. The actual von Trapp family lived in the house from 1923 until they fled Austria in 1938. In 1938, the Nazis annexed Austria, making life hard for the singing family. Georg von Trapp refused to fly the Nazi flag on his house, and declined a request to sing at Hilter's birthday party. There was fear their neighbors would spy on them and their children would become brainwashed by Nazi politics. Even though the family was offered fame, they decided to stay true to their principals and leave Austria.

Not one year later, the house was occupied by Nazis. Heinrich Himmler used the house as his summer residence until 1945. Himmler was the second most powerful man of the Third Reich. Himmler set up and ran the Nazi concentration camps. The house was surrounded by armed guards and barbed wires. A barracks for the SS was built in the garden. Himmler also built the white wall around the house using slave labor. After the wall was completed, he had those who constructed the wall shot. Very monstrous.

Now, the von Trapp house is a more peaceful place. In 1947, the property was purchased from the von Trapp family by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. In 2008, it opened to the public as a hotel. While the house has a heavy history, the previous residents of the property took satisfaction in knowing the von Trapps resisted the Nazi party. "What Himmler did here is a heavy weight on the house," Precious Blood Fr. Andreas Hasenburger, the rector of the Kolleg St. Josef, told the National Catholic Reporter. "But we are also proud to live in the von Trapp house, the house of the man who said no to the Führer."

It takes a lot of guts to stand up for what you believe in, especially when you're pressured to forfeit your integrity. Knowing that the family gave up their life to stay true to their principals makes The Sound of Music so much better.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

Honorees, speakers and guests on stage at We the Peoples

True

Some people say that while change is inevitable, progress is a choice. In other words, it’s a purposeful act—like when American media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner established the United Nations Foundation 25 years ago.

Keep ReadingShow less

Fox was granted the award for his contributions to Parkinson's disease research through his foundation.

Following his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease back in the early '90s, beloved “Back to the Future” star Michael J. Fox became an unwavering advocate for others living with the condition. His Michael J. Fox Foundation, founded in 2000, has become the leading provider of funds for Parkinson's research in the world. A large chunk of that research goes into investigating potential cures for the disease.

His contributions to Parkinson's research were highlighted at the 13th Annual Governors Awards on Saturday, Nov. 19, in Los Angeles as a recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, which honors individuals "whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”

As the now-retired actor took to the stage to accept his honorary Oscar, he delivered a speech full of emotion, grace and a sense of humor that shoots straight to the heart.

Keep ReadingShow less
True

Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo from Pixabay

Courage and coming forward after a sexual assault

This article originally appeared on 10.12.17


"Why didn't she say anything sooner?"

It's the question that frustrates sexual assault prevention advocates and discredits the victims who bravely come forward after they've been targeted.

Stars Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow — who both disclosed to The New York Times they'd been sexually harassed by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein years ago — are among the latest women now having to trudge through a predictable wave of victim-blaming following their disclosures.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo pulled from video

Texas dad giving heartfelt speech.

This article originally appeared on 07.06.17


A baseball cap on his head, his hands tucked snugly in his front blue jean pockets, Ken Ballard stood in front of a room of onlookers, admittedly a little out of his element.

But the issue at hand was so critical, Ballard said, he couldn't keep quiet.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo pulled from YouTube video

Animated short about closeted love.

This article originally appeared on 07.31.17


After much breathless waiting and anticipation, the animated kids short "In a Heartbeat" was finally released on July 31, 2017.


The four-minute short film — which follows a closeted boy as he "runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams" — has captivated certain corners of the internet since its trailer was released in May and instantly went viral.

Keep ReadingShow less