Native Austrian, long-time resident and prominent figure among circles of government leaders and foreign diplomats in Washington, D.C., Gertrude d’Amecourt, became 100 years old on May 24, 2010. She was honored at a celebration for her generous and extraordinary supportive friendship extended to people from all walks of life who make up the fabric of the nation’s capital.
Born in Vienna in 1910 during the reign of Emperor Franz-Joseph, Gertrude Zinner was the daughter of a banker and a mother who was an entrepreneur. She attended school in Vienna before marrying and moving to Warsaw. Her second marriage to a titled French military attaché coincided at a time of pre-war Europe. In 1941, with two small children, the family fled to the U.S. on one of the last boats leaving for New York. Subsequently, they came to Washington where her husband represented General de Gaulle. Following the war, her husband returned to France while she remained with her three children.
Her home, located on the same street as the Austrian Ambassador’s residence, became the site of many social gatherings where she hosted ambassadors, senators, congressmen, artists, writers, musicians, singers and business and close friends, rivaling many diplomatic missions in Washington.
Throughout the years she regularly attended cultural functions held at the Austrian Embassy, such as concerts, commemorative events or celebrations of National Days. She became an unspoken pillar of Austrian public diplomacy and was known for her generous hospitality and immeasurable concern for Austrian diplomats and their spouses posted in Washington, D.C. She provided a sense of home while caring for entire generations of members of the Austrian Embassy and became as a result a living legend.