Homeland Honors Von Trapps

06/08/1999 at 12:00 AM EDT

Sixty years after fleeing their homeland, members of the family that inspired "The Sound of Music" were honored by the Austrian state of Salzburg. It wasn't the sound of music the von Trapps heard behind them as they fled Salzburg in 1938 -- it was the sound of Nazi stormtroopers. (The Nazis had wanted family patriarch Baron Georg von Trapp to join Hitler's navy.) Dr. Arno Gasteiger, vice governor of Salzburg, presented six of the baron's children with the state's highest civilian honor, the Golden Decoration of Honor, at a New York hotel before they all attended a performance of the Broadway revival Wednesday. "The von Trapp family has been the most famous ambassadors of Austria in America," said Gasteiger, who praised the family for collecting tons of food and clothing for Austria after World War II. Also present at the ceremony were the seven actors who played the von Trapp children in the 1965 movie.

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