Anne-Marie Lemaire, Storyteller
ANNE-MARIE LEMAIRE, Patron
When I was a young girl growing up in Vienna my family used to go to the Salzburg Festival and I remember the first time I ever saw their presentation of Jedermann (this means Everyman in English). It’s a medieval morality play about a rich man and what he has to do to save his soul on judgment day, a classic play. The festival displayed it outdoors in the plaza in front of the Cathedral. It was so impressive; I think it was one of the greatest things I ever saw.
I have adapted to this country, I’m happy here, I like it. But there’s always a certain nostalgia for this kind of a life.
This was before Hitler came to power and changed all our lives. I was lucky enough to leave Austria for Paris before things got really bad – purely by accident, in all honesty. I went because I was a spoiled 20-year-old and wanted to see Paris. And, again, I was lucky enough to obtain a visa even though I had a Jewish mother. But still there were some terrible years for me in France during the war.
So after the Nazis came, everything changed of course. For the upper and middle classes in Austria, life before the war was very pleasant. There was a douceur, a sweetness, about life. We had summers at the lake — swimming and tea, hiking, dressing up to go dancing or go see a play. I have adapted to this country, I’m happy here, I like it. But there’s always a certain nostalgia for this kind of a life.
My husband and I went back to Salzburg in 1951, after coming to this country to live, and once again we saw Jedermann. And they still present it at the Festival there, every year. So some things continue.