The English Girl – Facts


The events of this novel take place in Vienna before the Second World War.

Brockenhurst is the town in England Estella comes from. Brockenhurst is the largest village by population within the New Forest, Hampshire, England. The nearest city is Southampton some 21 km to the North East, while Bournemouth is also nearby, 24 km South West.

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In Vienna Estella goes to live in Marie-Treu-Gasse with the Krause’s.

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She mentions that the piano she gets to do her practice on is a Blütner piano. Julius Blüthner Pianofortefabrik GmbH, is a piano-manufacturing company in Leipzig Germany. Along with C. Bechstein, Bösendorfer and Steinway & Sons, Blüthner is frequently referred to as one of the “Big Four” piano manufacturers.

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One of the first things she eats on arriving in Vienna is a sachertorte. Sachertorte  is a specific type of chocolate cake,  invented by Austrian Franz Sacher in 1832. It is one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties. The cake consists of a dense chocolate cake with a thin layer of apricot jam on top, coated in dark chocolate icing on the top and sides. It is traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream.

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Estella goes to Vienna to study at the Academy of Music.  The University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna s an Austrian university located in Vienna, established in 1817. Today, with a student body of over three thousand, it is the largest institution of its kind in Austria, and one of the largest in the world. In 1817, it was established by the Society for the Friends of Music. It has had several names: Vienna Conservatory, Vienna Academy and in 1909 it was nationalised as the Imperial Academy of Music and the Performing Arts. In 1998, the university assumed its current name to reflect its university status, attained in a wide 1970 reform for Austrian Arts Academies.

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When Estella first meets Anneliese, they go to Café Landtmann. Café Landtmann is a traditional Viennese café located on the Ringstraße at the corner of Lowelstraße 22 in the Innere Stadt first district in Vienna.


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Anneliese tells Estella she wants to become a film director like Leni Riefenstahl. Helene Bertha AmalieLeniRiefenstahl (22 August 1902 – 8 September 2003) was a German film director, producer, screenwriter, editor, photographer, actress, dancer and propagandist for the Nazis.

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In Vienna Estella takes little Lukas to the Prater, and they go on the big Ferris Wheel. When I was in Vienna, I also visited the area, and I was a bit disappointed. The Prater was one the places I had heard of most about Vienna, but I found the amusement park a bit outdated. The Prater is a large public park in Vienna‘s 2nd district (Leopoldstadt). The Wurstelprater amusement park, often simply called “Prater”, lies in one corner of the Wiener Prater and includes the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel.

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Estella and Rainer play together some songs. One of these is Schubert’s Winterreise. Winterreise (Winter Journey) is a song cycle for voice and piano by Franz Schubert (published  in 1827), a setting of 24 poems by Wilhelm Müller. It is the second of Schubert’s two great song cycles on Müller’s poems.

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Estella meets Harri when she is visiting the Naturhistorisches Museum. The Natural History Museum  is a large natural history museum located in Vienna, Austria. The museum’s earliest collections of artifacts were begun over 250 years ago. Today, its collections on display cover 8,700 square metres.

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It is when Estella is admiring Cranach’s Paradise that she meets Harri. Lucas Cranach the Elder (Lucas Cranach der Ältere [ˈluːkas ˈkʁana[unsupported input] dɐ ɛlˈtɛʁə], c. 1472 – 16 October 1553) was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving.

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Harri is a psychiatrist who has studied under Freud. Then Estella buys Freud’s “The Interpretation of Dreams”. The Interpretation of Dreams is an 1899 book by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, in which Freud introduces his theory of the unconscious with respect to dream interpretation, and discusses what would later become the theory of the Oedipus complex.

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At some point they also talk about Freud’s death instinct. In classical Freudian psychoanalytic theory, the death drive is the drive towards death and self-destruction. The death drive opposes Eros, the tendency toward survival, propagation, sex, and other creative, life-producing drives.

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The first time Estella and Harri go out together, they attend a concert at the Musicverein. The Wiener Musikverein, commonly shortened to Musikverein, is a concert hall in the Innere Stadt borough of Vienna, Austria. It is the home to the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra.

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Estella mentions how the former Austrian Chancellor, Dr Dollfuss, was assassinated by the Nazis. Engelbert Dollfuss (October 4, 1892 – July 25, 1934) was an Austrian Christian Social and Patriotic Front statesman. Dollfuss was assassinated as part of a failed coup attempt by Nazi agents in 1934.

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Harri and Estella visit Schönbrunn Palace, which is one of the most beautiful sites I have ever visited. Schönbrunn Palace  is a former imperial summer residence located in Vienna. The 1,441-room Baroque palace is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historical monuments in the country. Since the mid-1950s it has been a major tourist attraction. The history of the palace and its vast gardens spans over 300 years, reflecting the changing tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.

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On another occasion they visit the Schönbrunn zoo. Tiergarten Schönbrunn (literally, “Schönbrunn Zoo”), or “Vienna Zoo”, is a zoo located on the grounds of the famous Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria. Founded as an imperial menagerie in 1752, it is the oldest zoo in the world.

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They also visit where Mozart was buried. St. Marx Cemetery (Sankt Marxer Friedhof) is a cemetery in the Landstraße district of Vienna, used from 1784 until 1874. It contains the unmarked burial of the famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The most famous person to be buried in the St. Marx Cemetery is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Later attempts to locate his mass grave all failed, including a search by his widow, 17 years after Mozart’s death, and by Vincent Novello in 1829. In 1855 a gravestone was erected at what was presumed to be the correct spot. Later the stone was transferred to a group of famous musician graves at Zentralfriedhof. At St. Marx Cemetery, a worker replaced the gravestone with a memorial tablet, which was again expanded by several contributors. The memorial known today was refurbished by Viennese sculptor Florian Josephu-Drouot in 1950.

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They also go to the Zentral Friedhof where the great musicians are buried. The Vienna Central Cemetery (German: Wiener Zentralfriedhof) is one of the largest cemeteries in the world, largest by number of interred in Europe and most famous cemetery among Vienna‘s nearly 50 cemeteries.Interred in the Central Cemetery are notables such as Ludwig van Beethoven; Franz Schubert, who were moved to the city in 1888; Johannes Brahms; Antonio Salieri; Johann Strauss II and Arnold Schoenberg.

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Harri tells Estella about Kapuzinerkirche where the Habsburg are buried. This is also a site I visited when I was in Vienna on holiday. The Capuchin Church (German: Kapuzinerkirche) in Vienna, Austria is a church and monastery run by the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. The Capuchin Church most famous for containing the Imperial Crypt, the final resting place for members of the House of Habsburg.


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He also tells her about the Hamburgs’ hearts being in silver containers in the Augusterkirche.  The Herzgruft (English: Hearts Crypt) is a burial chamber that protects 54 urns containing the hearts of members of the House of Habsburg. The crypt is located behind the Loreto Chapel in the Augustinian Church within the Hofburg Palace complex in Vienna. The first heart, belonging to King Ferdinand IV, was placed in the Augustinian Church on 10 July 1654, according to his wishes. The last heart, belonging to Archduke Franz Karl of Austria, was placed in the crypt on 8 March 1878. The bodies of all but three of the hearts are in the Imperial Crypt a few blocks away.

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He also tells her about the royal family’s intestines in the Stephansdom. The Ducal Crypt (German: Herzogsgruft) is a burial chamber beneath the chancel of Stephansdom in Vienna, Austria. It holds 78 containers with the bodies, hearts, or viscera of 72 members of the House of Habsburg.

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Estella also goes to the Volksgarten. The Volksgarten  is a public park in the Innere Stadt first district of Vienna, Austria. The garden, which is part of the Hofburg Palace, was laid out by Ludwig Remy in 1821. The park was built over the city fortifications that were destroyed by Napoleon in 1809. The Volksgarten was opened to the public in 1823.

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One weekend Estella and Harri go to the Vienna woods and go up Kahlenberg Hill. The Vienna Woods (German: Wienerwald) are forested highlands that form the northeastern foothills of the Northern Limestone Alps in the states of Lower Austria and Vienna. The 45 kilometres long and 20–30 kilometres  wide range of hills is heavily wooded and a popular recreation area with the Viennese.

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The Kahlenberg  is a hill (484 m) located in the 19th District of Vienna, Austria (Döbling). The Kahlenberg lies in the Vienna Woods and is one of the most popular destinations for day-trips from Vienna, offering a view over the entire city.

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Estella takes Lotte ice-skating in Stadtpark. The Stadtpark (City Park) in Vienna, Austria is a large municipal park. The park is divided in two sections by the Vienna River, and has a total surface area of 65,000 square metres. Scattered throughout the park are statues of famous Viennese artists, writers, and composers, including Hans Canon, Emil Jakob Schindler, Johann Strauss II, Franz Schubert, and Anton Bruckner.

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When Estella finally agrees to help Frank Reece, they meet in the Franziskanerkirche. The Franciscan Church (German: Franziskanerkirche), also known as the Church of St. Jerome, is a Roman Catholic parish church dedicated to Saint Jerome and located in the historic city center of Vienna.

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Around that time Estella reads about Hitler dismissing some generals and conservative ambassadors. For Hitler, the moment had arrived to clean house, to replace the crusty old generals with younger men eager to serve their Führer and follow orders, regardless of the consequences.He abolished the entire War Ministry, replacing it with the new High Command of the Armed Forces  headed by himself with complete control of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

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There is also news of DR Schuschnigg, Austria’s Chancellor, meeting with Hitler. Kurt Alois Josef Johann Schuschnigg (14 December 1897 – 18 November 1977) was Chancellor of the Federal State of Austria from the 1934 assassination of his predecessor Engelbert Dollfuss until the 1938 Anschluss with Nazi Germany. He was opposed to Hitler‘s ambitions to absorb Austria into the Third Reich. After Schuschnigg’s efforts to keep Austria independent had failed, he resigned his office. On 12 February 1938, Schuschnigg met Hitler in his Berghof residence in an attempt to smooth the worsening relations between their two countries. To Schuschnigg‘s surprise, Hitler presented him with a set of demands which, in manner and in terms, amounted to an ultimatum, effectively demanding the handing over of power to the Austrian Nazis.

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To resolve the political uncertainty in the country and to convince Hitler and the rest of the world that the people of Austria wished to remain Austrian and independent of the Third Reich, Schuschnigg, with the full agreement of the President and other political leaders, decided to proclaim a plebiscite to be held on 13 March.

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First Hitler insisted that the plebiscite be cancelled. When Schuschnigg reluctantly agreed to scrap it, Hitler demanded his resignation and insisted that Seyss-Inquart be appointed his successor. This demand President Miklas was reluctant to endorse but eventually, under the threat of immediate armed intervention, this too was endorsed, Schuschnigg resigned on 11 March and Seyss-Inquart was appointed Chancellor, but it made no difference – German troops flooded into Austria and were received everywhere by enthusiastic and jubilant crowds.

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When Harri is arrested, he is taken to the Hotel Metropol, and Estella tries to see him, but she is not lucky. Hotel Metropole was a hotel in Vienna, Austria that was constructed in 1871–73. It was destroyed during World War II after serving as the Vienna headquarters of the Gestapo from 1938. With a staff of 900 (80 per cent of whom were recruited from the Austrian police), it was the largest Gestapo office outside of Berlin. Many people, especially Jews, were interrogated or tortured there.

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Hitler goes to Vienna on March 15, 1938, days before Estella is finally able to leave. Hitler’s journey through Austria became a triumphal tour that climaxed in Vienna on 15 March 1938, when around 200,000 cheering Austrian Germans gathered around the Heldenplatz (Square of Heroes) to hear Hitler say that “The oldest eastern province of the German people shall be, from this point on, the newest bastion of the German Reich.”

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