Mafia bride between Chicago, Idaho and Salzburg
Virginia Hill was found dead on the Heuberg near Koppl (Flachgau) in 1966. After the Second World War, she fell in love with the Salzburg ski instructor Hans Hauser in Sun Valley (US state of Idaho), married him and moved to the Zistelalm near the Gaisberg in Salzburg in the mid-1950s. The couple and their son later died under mysterious circumstances. This thriller is the story in Blaikner’s new book.
Beloved several mafia bosses
She had a life story that Hollywood couldn’t have written better. Hill runs away from home in the 1930s and, with audacity, determination, charm and sex appeal, becomes the lovers of crime bosses – including Bugsy Siegel, the founder of Las Vegas. Black money, drug smuggling, alcohol, sex and luxury characterize their lives. She was married three times before she met Hauser, a ski instructor from Salzburg, on a skiing holiday in Sun Valley. After the wedding they move first to Switzerland and then to Salzburg. Hill will thus avoid proceedings for tax evasion in the USA.
Photo series with 13 pictures
Escape to Heutal near Unken
Born in Pinzgau, Peter Blaikner has been studying the biography of this unusual woman for centuries. In Salzburg, the little family was happy on the Hauser family’s Zistelalm, as original film footage shows – but not for long. According to eyewitnesses, Virginia will not forego her usual luxury and will apparently try to blackmail the mafia in the USA with entries in her diary.
Blaikner, Peter: Virginia Hill. The sophisticated life of a gangster bride. Gmeiner Verlag, Salzburg 2022. ISBN: 978-3-8392-0311-8. 17 euros
She is threatened and flees to a hut in the Heutal near Unken (Pinzgau) for two years. Shortly after her return to the provincial capital of Salzburg, she was found dead near the Heuberg on March 24, 1966, as her great-nephew Michael Hauser, today’s landlord of the Zistelalm, describes: “With Virginia, I think she was probably pushed into it. I don’t know if she did it herself.”
Sleeping pills were found at the autopsy
Eight years later, Hans Hauser was also found hanged in the famous Hauser bar in the center of Salzburg – today’s Chez Roland. “Closed file” is still on the investigation files of the police to this day – half a century later – as the senior Salzburg police officer Andreas Huber confirms: “At that time, an autopsy was also ordered by the Innsbruck public prosecutor’s office. Large quantities of sleeping pills were found in her stomach.”
In 1995, their son Peter also died in a car accident on the motorway near Toulouse in France. The family is buried in the cemetery in Salzburg-Aigen at the foot of the Gaisberg.
Colleague of the Hollywood director Otto Lang
These lifelines that follow here are not the subject of Blaikner’s book. They also belong to the milestones of early skiing in Austria and the USA: Virginia Hill’s husband Hans Hauser was a childhood friend and colleague of the Salzburg ski pioneer and later Hollywood film director Otto Lang. For years he ran the Sun Valley ski school in Idaho – where Hauser met his future wife. At that time also the Bad Gastein ski instructor and legendary musician Heini Zauntner in Sun Valley.
Years ago, the Salzburg writer and ORF editor Gerald Lehner shot a film portrait on the west coast of the USA about Otto Lang, who has been nominated for several Oscars. You can see it here: