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Hasterlik-Hine Collection

 Collection — Container: Personal Papers
Identifier: 02-98.0729

Scope and Contents

The materials in the processed portion of the Hasterlik-Hine collection consists of 530 personal correspondence between Giulia Kortischoner (married name Hine) and her family and friends during the years 1938 to 1942 and 1944 to 1948. The personal correspondence consists of letters, postcards, get-well-soon cards, greeting cards, and a small number of travel documents.

A selection of materials in this collection have been digitized and may be seen by [url=https://fsu.digital.flvc.org/islandora/search/?type=edismax&collection=fsu%3Awwiihasterlikhinecoll]following this link[/url].

Dates

  • Created: 1938-1948
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1939-1947
  • Other: Date acquired: 12/08/2000

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish, exhibit, or broadcast works from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience must be requested and granted in writing by the director of the Institute.  Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Institute on World War II as the owner of the physical items and the copyright holder.  Possession of a copy of an item does not constitute permission to publish, exhibit, or broadcast it. The Institute on World War II and the Human Experience reserves the right to refuse permission to individuals and publishers who have not complied with its policies. Permission fees must be paid before images are provided. Please contact the director of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience for current publication and duplication rates.

Biographical or Historical Information

Giulia M. Kortischoner (married Hine) was born in Vienna, Austria on 30 September 1925 and died on 16 June 2015 in Boulder, Colorado.

Only thirteen years old when World War II began, Giulia Koritschoner came of age in a time of uncertainty and chaos. Despite the context in which Giulia grew up, however, the letters of the Hasterlik-Hine collection demonstrate the fact that, for those on the home front, daily life often continued on as normal. Indeed, Giulia’s correspondence throughout 1942 regularly includes cheerful greeting cards for holidays that are decorated with personalized drawings and beautiful calligraphy. These letters were sent from not only family members but also a vast array of friends and acquaintances that Giulia made throughout the war years. Giulia’s letters to and from schoolmates portray scenes of growing up that remained largely unchanged even in times of war. This is particularly evident in Giulia’s letters to and from Margaret Wolf, a friend from Schaffhausen who evolved from sending letters complaining about disliked teachers and unbearably boring school lessons to letters that explained her fears about graduating from school and having to enter the workforce. Giulia’s own letters mirror this development, as she wrote to her family contemplating a variety of jobs, from a lab technician to a stenographer to a masseuse. Even in the midst of the war, the possibilities for the future seemed endless.

Yet, elements of the war do seep into many of the letters. Discussions of rationing figure prominently in much of Giulia’s correspondence, as Ällägg Bechtold, a school friend from Schaffhausen, described how school was let out early in the spring because of a shortage of coal to keep students warm. Margaret Wolf complained that bakeries purposely sold old bread because it was thought that individuals would consume it more slowly than fresh bread. Even the letter that Giulia’s school principal sent to her was written not on regular paper but rather on postcards that students were encouraged to fill with holiday greetings and send to soldiers in order to boost their morale. Many of Giulia’s letters to and from her family during this time contain anxiety about Giulia’s grandfather, Paul Hasterlik, who remained behind in Vienna while the rest of the family escaped. Although attempts were made to organize his passage to the United States, these efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful, and the letters reflect concerns about everything from whether Paul was able to find food to whether he was, in fact, actively being “tormented.” Although letters from Paul contained joy about Giulia’s recovery from polio and excitement about her prospects for the future, he remained vague in descriptions of his own life, only briefly mentioning that he was forced to move to another apartment in Vienna.

Other members of Giulia’s family struggled during this time as well. Mia Hasterlik’s letters outline her difficulties finding suitable employment in New York while living in unpleasant conditions. Perhaps most dramatically, Susi Weiss, Giulia’s older sister who moved to Nairobi at the beginning of the war, describes the emotional and physical abuse to which her husband subjected her to and her overwhelming happiness at finally being free of him. This vast array of voices and subject matter reflected in the Hasterlik-Hine collection depict a strange intersection between war and daily life that occurred for those living on the home front during World War II. Ultimately, the collection offers an invaluable glimpse of what it means to come of age in a time of war, highlighting the fears, delights, and amusements that punctuated daily life.

As World War II came to an end in 1945, individuals across the globe celebrated the cessation of one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Yet, for many people, the end of the war did not necessarily mean a return to normal life. The letters of the Hasterlik-Hine Collection provide a nuanced first-hand account of the tumultuous period following the end of the war, chronicling the story of a family that had to cope with not only the loss of family members and friends but also, perhaps most significantly, the loss of a homeland. Letters from Mia Hasterlik to her daughter, Giulia Koritschoner, highlight the joy with which the end of the war was received in the United States, expressing disbelief at the fact that “this nightmare is really past, that it’s over,” and expressing excitement at a future that was “spreading more beautiful in front of our eyes.” Mia described the jubilation with which VE Day (Victory in Europe) and VJ Day (Victory over Japan) were celebrated in New York, where “all the people [were] happy and drunk and all the soldiers and sailors [were] out of their minds. All the girls got kissed, everybody had lipstick on their faces, thousands of tons of paper, which people had thrown out their windows.”Underlying the joy of these letters, however, was a lingering sense of sadness and loss. Mia lamented the “heavy, irreplaceable loss” of her father, Paul Hasterlik, who died at Theresienstadt in 1944. While Giulia expressed nostalgia for the Vienna that she was forced to flee from at the beginning of the war, Mia instead stated, “I have no yearning whatsoever for Vienna, could never return. Because of… all the crimes which they carried out with their ‘Golden Viennese Hearts.’” Much of the correspondence during this time also highlights the desperate search for missing family members and friends that took place after the war. Mia, in particular, made frantic attempts to find Boni, an old family friend who had stayed behind in Vienna with Paul, and Ellen Christansen, a childhood friend of Giulia’s who was also forced to remain in Vienna.

Excitement over Giulia Koritschoner’s upcoming trip to the United States characterizes many of the post-war letters, as does joy about reconnecting with the family friends that the Hasterlik-Hine family had lost contact with during the war. However, the most prominent aspect of the final portion of the collection is the numerous insights it offers into the difficulties that accompanied post-war life in Austria. Supplies were so scarce that “people had to fetch water in buckets an hour away on foot after having stood in line for an hour” and had to “take long walks in the woods to find small pieces of wood to have a little bit of heat.” Yet, perceptions of the former Axis powers varied dramatically. Mia felt pity for those living in these countries, expressing sadness that individuals were “starving” in Vienna while those in the United States were “suffocating in superabundance.” Others, however, only expressed contempt for the former Axis powers, even stating that they did not see the point of sending rations and supplies to “enemies who should starve to death.”The one consensus among all parties seemed to be the dramatic nature of the occupation of Austria by Allied forces after the war, which was so severe that it seemed as if “all the nations have sent their soldiers to Vienna.” However, even in Vienna, life would, eventually, return to normal.

In a letter from March of 1946, Boni celebrated the future of Vienna, writing, “Surely the people will tell you… about Vienna. About ruins and hunger, about cold rooms and deserted streets, about demoralization and despair. All that is also true here. But alongside that are also attractive things. People who want to live well, who certainly feel themselves to be unfortunate, but who are interested in the tragedies and little jokes of the greater evolution of things…” Reflecting the tenacity, resilience, and hope for the future that characterizes the Hasterlik-Hine collection, Boni’s letter exemplifies the sentiments upon which many of the survivors of World War II ultimately constructed their futures. Giulia’s letters to childhood friends such as Ellen Christansen and Lisl Urbantschitsch transformed from letters filled with cartoons that complained about teachers to letters that reflected exciting plans for the future. While Giulia discussed her upcoming trip to the United States, Lisl shared her plans to emigrate to California and live with her father. Developing an increased sense of independence throughout the post-war years, Lisl would employ her artistic talent in order to secure a lucrative job making puppets. By 1947, Lisl was living in Paris and enjoying her independence. Giulia’s life was, ultimately, one of joy and success as well. On April 21, 1946, she sailed from Paris, France to New York City, finally reuniting with her mother, Mia Hasterlik, from whom she had been separated for eight years. By 1948, Giulia had married Gerald Hine and was pregnant with their first child. Giulia would return to Vienna for a few years with her husband before living out the rest of her life in the United States. She passed away on June 16, 2015, at the age of 90.

Extent

2.00 boxes

Source of Acquisition

Giulia Hine

Method of Acquisition

Giulia Hine donated her family's collection in 2003.

Related Materials

In addition to the 530 letters currently processed, the Hasterlik-Hine collection contains an additonal 13,500 letters. The letters are written primarily in German, but also in English, Czech, and French and they span from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century.

Creator

Title
Hasterlik-Hine Collection
Author
Emily Woessner and Gabriela Maduro
Date
05/02/2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Institute on WWII and the Human Experience Repository

Contact:
Florida State University
Room 401 BEL, 113 Collegiate Loop
Tallahassee FL 32306 US
850-644-9033