Bernhardine Alma grew up in well situated family in Vienna. Aged thirteen, she began to write down her experiences and life in diaries. When the First World War broke out the events on both the military and home fronts also became topics for her notes. Thus her entries for the days around 1 August 1914 repeatedly describe the general war euphoria of the population, although this mainly aroused abhorrence in her and the wish for an early cease-fire. After endeavouring unsuccessfully to be engaged as a nurse, Bernhardine Alma worked for the Red Cross from February 1915 on as an assistant typist. She retained her practice of keeping a diary until shortly before her death in 1979.