In 1914, when our story opens, we meet the Amsler family of Eagle Pass, Texas. They are one of several immigrant families who’ve come to do business on the border of Mexico. With three beautiful children, father Karl is a well-respected import/export specialist in the sawmill industry.
Family fun and lederhosen for Xmas in Eagle Pass Texas. Oskar Bruehl in center.
Maximilian was a highly accomplished lawyer-turned-diplomat for the Third Reich. He was born to an affluent family in Zittau, a small town on the borders of Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia. His father was a physician an his mother a school teacher, both his brothers were also physicians. Like most affluent men, he was able to arrange a one-year-only commission n the German army; a year he would subsequently cite as notable only for animal (equine) husbandry. His experiences were so negative that he continued to regard most things military with disdain. To him, and to his family, the military was a repository for less-educated men who could not, or did not want to, take up a proper profession. So it was that he managed to circumvent the usual two year conscription. Upon completion of his Einjaehrige, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the reserves, and he went on to law school at the University of Jena.
A talented and patriotic diplomat, Maximilian was well known for his anti-military stance. It eventually costs him his career.
You’d never know she grew up riding horses and shooting guns in Texas.
Ursula A. is a study in elegance. From her perfectly pin-curled mahogony hair, to the tips of her moon manicure in blood red, she is not just stylish: she is style. After an unexpectedly rugged upbringing in Texas, she attended a fine finishing school in Dresden, where she established herself as an outstanding student of geography and languages. One night, after sneaking out with fellow students, she encounters a Polish matron who offers to introduce her to young men in the diplomatic corps. After one lavish party, she can imagine herself nowhere else. This is her chosen milieu. And she learns quickly, as one does, that good looks can buy you almost as much as money. Blessed with fair genetics and exceptional posture training from years of ballet study, Ursula commands the attention of many potential suitors in general, and of one senior ambassador in particular, Maximilian Bruehl. A man of visible bearing and pedigree, Maximilian introduces her to the cushioned surroundings of Third Reich luxury and excess. That is, until Hitler invades Poland.