The suitcase of lost memories: Tourist finds trove of post-war snaps

The suitcase of lost memories: British tourist finds pre and post-WWII snaps of an Austrian family in bag she bought in Vienna… do YOU recognise them?

  • EXCLUSIVE: Pictures found by Australian Anne Russo, 62, in bag she bought in Vienna’s Naschmarkt  
  • If you recognise anyone in the photographs, email [email protected] 

Some show cheeky children with beaming smiles, others beautiful young women posing in their best outfits. 

Yet more give a sense of the close-knit Austrian family, still together after the horrors of the Second World War. 

Australian grandmother Anne Russo, 62, found the amazing collection of photographs in a bag she bought from Vienna’s famous Naschmarkt during a trip to Europe in 2014.

After taking them home, she lost track of them for several years but recently re-discovered them while sorting through paperwork and so decided to try and find out more about the people they show.  

Sitting in a battered envelope, the images document the lives of a family over the course of more than four decades. Of all the dated images, the earliest is 1937 but nearly all were taken after the war, the latest being 1972. 

Writing on the back of the images reveals how one of the women in the pictures was named Liselotte, although she was affectionally known as Lisl.  One message, sent by a friend called Sefi, is addressed to her on her 17th birthday. 

Austria had become an annexed state of Nazi Germany in 1938 and remained under Hitler’s rule until 1945, after which the country was occupied by the Allied victors – Britain, the Soviet Union, France and the US – and did not become independent again until 1955. 

Australian grandmother Anne Russo, 62, found more than 25 images in a bag she bought in Vienna’s famous Naschmarkt in Austria in 2014. She is speaking out now after she initially forgot about the photos but recently re-discovered them. Above: A little boy beams as he drinks from a cup 

Writing on the back of the images reveals how one of the women in the pictures was named Liselotte, although she was affectionally known as Lisl. One message is addressed to her on her 17th birthday 

Anne Russo is seen with her husband Mike. The pair were visiting Vienna when she found the images in a bag bought from the famous Naschmarkt

Ms Russo, from Mandurah, near Perth in Western Australia, was visiting Europe to attend her son’s wedding in Zagreb, Croatia.

After the ceremony, she went with her husband Mike to Austria. 

Having bought a bag that she said was ‘nothing spectacular’ from a stall at the Naschmarkt, Ms Russo did not find the photos that were inside until she got back to her hotel.

‘When I opened it I found this old envelope with all these photos in. I was pretty amazed, being interested in geneaology,’ she told MailOnline.

‘I’ve done a lot of research on my own family. I remember sitting there and feeling a great sense of sadness. Who are these people? Who were they? 

‘Some of them date pre-war and around the war. I wonder were they from people whose belongings became displaced? Were they Jewish, or even supporters of the Nazis? We just don’t know.’ 

This unknown woman in the collection is seen wearing a stripy jumper in one of the portrait photographs. Ms Russo is hoping to find out who the family was and if any relatives are still living

This portrait image- dated September 1947 – shows a young woman  wearing a hate and top with a lace collar. One the back is a poem signed by Liselotte 

This image showing a young woman wearing a white dress is signed by ‘Edith’, who says: ‘To my dear Liselotte as a souvenir’ 

A teenage boy and girl are seen in another of the images found by Ms Russo in the bag she bought in Vienna

A stamp on the back of this family photograph shows how it was taken at Hellbrunn Palace in Salzburg, Austria, in 1948

A young child walks across grass as tall trees loom behind her. Ms Russo hopes that by bringing the images to public attention she will be able to trace any living relatives

The images from 1937 show two children both sitting on their own and with their mother. 

What appears to be a large family photograph was taken at Hellbrunn Palace in Salzburg in 1948. It shows young children and men and women, some young, some middle-aged and some elderly. 

The photographs from 1971 appear to show a mother and father on holiday with their daughter. One shows the girl sitting happily on a camel as her happy parents stand next to her. 

Retired Ms Russo – who previously worked as a funeral director and owned a business importing furniture – said that, after getting home from her holiday, she forgot about the images and then was unable to find them when she looked for them a couple of years later. 

‘A couple of months ago, I was going through some old paperwork and came across them again,’ she said. 

A photo dated 1948 shows a blonde-haired man on a mountain during what appears to be a hiking or skiing trip

A young woman beams in the garden of her home in another of the images discovered by Ms Russo in 2014

This intimate family photo appears to show two men with their wives, an older woman sits on a chair in front of them

A young girl poses with family beside a lake in Austria. There is no writing on the back to explain when the image was taken

An older woman stands next to some box plants in what could be the garden of her home. She is yet another unidentified face from the collection of images

A young boy wearing shorts and high socks stands next to what could be his sister in another of the family shots

This group of six children – perhaps siblings, cousins or just friends – are seen smiling for this group photograph

An older man and his family sit at a table in what is most likely their home. Ms Russo hopes that living relatives will see the pictures and come forward

The same family members are seen sitting at the table, this time they have company in the form a young blonde-haired child

Family members are seen sitting against a wall at their home as snow lies on the ground

Ms Russo said she was particularly moved by an image showing a little boy sitting in a toy car while wearing what appear to be a pair of rudimentary headphones. ‘That really touched my heart’, she said

A young woman poses with a young child in an intimate family photograph that was found in the collection

This portrait image shows a member of the family in later life, wrapped up against the cold

The same woman is seen in what may be the garden of her home. A note on the back dates the image to 1959

This image is one of two dated April 10, 1937. It shows siblings sitting on a chair. The little girl looks happier than her brother

The same children are seen with their mother in an image that is also dated April 10, 1937 – the year before Germany’s annexation of Austria

A young boy sits at a table in one of the older-looking images in the collection found by Ms Russo

The latest images in the collection date back to 1971 and show members of what is likely to be the same family on holiday. Above: A mother and father with their daughter, who is sitting on a camel

The group this time are seen sitting on a boat in a harbour during their holiday, which took in Rhodes, in Greece 

The family are seen walking in front of the ruins of the Temple of Apollo in Rhodes, Greece, during their holiday

‘Again, I thought how sad, this is someone’s family. Is there someone out there? I scanned them all and reinstated my Instagram account. I put them up but got nothing back. 

‘Then I just thought, well, I will ask the Daily Mail. I did not expect to hear anything back.’

She said she was particularly moved by an image showing a little boy sitting in a toy car while wearing what appear to be a pair of rudimentary headphones. ‘That really touched my heart’, she said.

Asked what she wants to achieve by publicising the pictures, she added: ‘My aim really is, if there is any chance that there is someone out there who recognises them, I would rather give the photos back. 

‘If it was your family wouldn’t you be thrilled to find voices from the past coming back? 

‘There’s nothing to lose but everything to gain. What joy would that bring to a family? Otherwise they are languishing here in an envelope in my spare room.’ 

Do YOU recognise anyone in the images? Email [email protected] 

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