What Happened to the Real-Life Von Trapp Family From 'The Sound of Music'?

Gabrielle Bernardini - Author

Dec. 18 2023, Updated 12:45 p.m. ET

The von Trapp family as depicted in 'The Sound of Music'
Source: Getty Images

The iconic film, The Sound of Music, tells the story of the von Trapp family, who existed in real life. The classic movie is set prior to World War II and follows a woman named Maria who takes on the challenge of being the governess for Baron Georg von Trapp's seven children. 

The widowed dad and his kids eventually find joy and music through Maria's teachings. Georg and Maria also fall in love and get married. Their story is one of overcoming hardship and the importance of family.

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The timeless classic also follows the von Trapp family escaping from Austria during Nazi Germany's takeover in 1938. However, The Sound of Music did add a bit of Hollywood flare to the real family's story. Keep reading to find out what actually happened to the von Trapp family.

von trapp family
Source: Getty
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What happened to the von Trapp family?

In the film, Georg and Maria come back from their honeymoon and find out that he has been called on to join the German army. The von Trapp family makes the decision to flee Austria and head for the border in an attempt to escape Nazi rule. When they are stopped by a Nazi leader, the family convinces the soldier that they are simply going to sing at a festival. 

Eventually, the von Trapp family escapes to the Alps on foot after their performance. 

Did the von Trapps escape in the same manner? There are several reports about what actually happened to the von Trapp family and how they escaped Austria. 

According to Smithsonian Magazine, the singing brood's former home was located in modern-day Italy, which gave the family Italian passports. Therefore, the clan was able to leave Austria without giving a reason. 

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von trapp family
Source: Getty

The family eventually landed in the United States and began touring the country. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the group settled in Vermont.

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What happened to the von Trapp family home in Austria?

You can head to Salzburg, Austria to see the real von Trapp mansion where the family resided. The von Trapp clan left the home in 1938. It was then rented by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood but quickly occupied by the Nazis. Nearly 10 years later, in 1947, the missionaries bought the villa from the Trapp family.

In 1992, the villa was renovated and in 2008 it was turned into a hotel. 

Now, you can walk the halls, sing songs, and sleep in the same place that the real-life von Trapp family resided. 

According to the hotel's website, "Every room is carefully furnished to keep the spirit of the former time, but to feel today’s comfort of decent living with every detail. The rooms are dedicated to their former function or the family member who once lived there."

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Johannes von Trapp in 2005
Source: Getty Images

What happened to the von Trapp family after they escaped?

As a singing group, the von Trapps put on performances for several years following their escape. In fact, the group was still active following the deaths of Georg in 1947 and Martina in 1952. They were 67 and 30 at the time of their deaths, respectively. The group was held together by Maria until 1957, when the von Trapps officially disbanded as a singing troupe. Three of the children went to New Guinea to perform missionary work while Maria returned to the family lodge and maintained it for several years.

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The children went on to regular lives with eclectic professions, with some becoming teachers, farmers, and doctors.

Maria eventually passed away in 1987 and was buried alongside Georg and Martina in the family cemetery. Seven of the original Trapp children lived full lives before each of them died by the year 2014.

As of this writing, Johannes (one of the later von Trapp children born in Philadelphia in 1939) is the last surviving siblings of the von Trapp family at 84 years old.

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