A castle in the Carpathians was her home as a young princess; escaping communists, she crossed the sea in search of haven, found it in small New England town where she now lives with children.
Herzi's first summer, at Bran in 1942, with her mother, Princess Ileana, and three-year-old sister Magi. Bran, "a fairy-tale castle on the rock where the four winds meet," was left Ileana by Marie. Built in twelfth century, it was hard to heat, and they lived there only in summer, but castle furnished good hiding place for underground refugees. At Bran, Ileana built the Hospital of the Queen's Heart, in memory of her mother, whose heart is enshrined in the chapel there.
As a nurse, Ileana worked in wards, even did surgery in emergency. She hopes one daughter will be nurse, smiles at time when, tired out, she was helping in surgery. A general arrived. In sterile uniform, mask, veil, Ileana hoped he would not look down; in order to rest her aching feet, She had slipped off her shoes and was working in stocking feet.
"In Romania the policemen always saluted and I always had to bow in return. It was second nature, and one of the hardest things for me to learn in America has been to drive past a policeman without bowing to him."
"A very swell, charming, nice dame, even if she weren't somebody's mother," was American cameraman's opinion of Queen Helen, shown at Sinaia in 1946, two years before her son, King Michael, was forced by communists to abdicate the throne.
"I learned to know the peasant, the soldier, the schoolgirl and the factory girl. I knew the slums and peaceful convents. I grew up part and parcel of my country. Romania was and is the love of my life, the reason for my existence." Ileana, at 17, with Romanian gypsies.
First task each morning is washing, since arthritis makes once-aweek laundry difficult. Ileana marvels at automatic washer and electric mangle, but sends blankets out, since "there is a limit to the number of hours even a machine can work." Children help with hanging out clothes. Magi, in sixth grade, is good at drawing, dancing, sculpture; she learned to swim at the age of six months.
Breakfast terrace at Bran; by Romanian custom, Marie sat at head of table with King on her right. Rooms of castle are at various levels to follow natural conformation of rock, are connected by long irregular passages and stairs in walls, which are nine feet thick.
The fresh flowers which Marie always had in her bedroom "looked as if they had grown in the vases where she put them." The huge Hohenzollern bed, which had been brought from Sigmaringen, was covered with beautiful Romanian embroidery, and always piled with pillows. Statue is the "Spirit of the House," which now stands in Princess Ileana's living room in home in Newton, Massachusetts.
I Live Again - Part 3
Gay, young Princess Ileana was accorded a lively reception when, in 1926, she visited America with her mother, Queen Marie. In 1950, a refugee, ill with arthritis, she came again to the United States for treatment, carrying with her a sapphire-and-diamond tiara wrapped in her nightgown. In the years between, she had married Archduke Anton of Austria and borne six children. When the communists drove her, with husband and children, from Romania, they inexplicably permitted her to keep the tiara, which she sold in New York to pay debts and make the down payment on a home. Now, safe in New England, she looks back to her life in Romania and in Austria during the war years.
AT Sonnberg war seemed very close to us always. In the quiet countryside, where everyone was friend or acquaintance, there were few battles which did not wear the face of someone known to us. The mobilizing of all men, until only the very old or crippled remained, meant that farm tasks must be taken over by women.
Responsibilities pressed upon one so constantly that there was hardly time for the normal activities of living. I remember, in October, 1939, an afternoon when the birth of my fifth child was near. I denied the feeling as long as possible so that I might put all in order. I went about the estate, checking everything; drove my car into the garage and emptied it of water because the nights were getting cold; went to the kitchen to see that all was well; and made a tour of inspection throughout the house before turning my attention to my increasing pains, and calling the doctor. In wartime, as in peace, I wished my children to be born at home. It is something I feel strongly, for birth is a family event. I loved that hour when it was possible to call the other children in to see the newest member of the household.
This was a daughter, Maria Magdalene, whom we called Magi. Her christening had to be postponed because her father was at the front and did not even hear news of her birth immediately. When universal conscription was very near, Anton had decided to volunteer so that he might choose his service, the air, and my life became an irregular one of wartime responsibility and anxiety, with the family calendar keyed to Anton's furloughs. I remember one time when I made a fifteen-hour train trip to Berlin to meet Anton, who had a twelve-hour leave there. An infection which I had been fighting was aggravated by the long, cold trip, and I became so ill that I was put to bed with a high fever. After I recovered, I was in‑ formed by the Romanian minister of our loss of Transylvania to Hungary and of Bessarabia to Russia, then an ally of Germany. It was also his painful duty to inform me of the abdication of my brother Carol II, and of the distress and confusion in my country.
February the twenty-fourth, in 1942, snow fell relentlessly and slowly out of a leaden sky. I was making my first visit to Vienna after the birth of my sixth child, little Elisabeth, now nearly two months old and snugly asleep in her cot. As I looked out on the falling snow I felt with growing frustration that I was really doing little that was constructive at Sonnberg, where we had gradually achieved a certain system under which I was no longer needed personally as much as I had been at the first of the war. Surely, I felt, there must be something more I could do which would satisfy my longing to be of real use. And just then, as if in answer to this deep wish of mine, the telephone rang. An acquaintance who had been visiting one of the soldiers' hospitals in the city thought I might be interested to know that there was a Romanian officer among the patients.
Without difficulty I located the small and unimposing hospital. Yes, there were even two Romanian officers, and presently I was taken to them. They had been sent to Vienna with thirty wounded soldiers, but assignments to different hospitals had separated them from their men, and they could find no one who would help them get in touch with one another.
I KNEW a call had come that I must obey; that I must find a balance between its demands and those of my family life; and in large measure I succeeded. I found myself doing things I would not have believed I could bear to do, and accepting sights and sounds more horrible than I had ever imagined could exist. There were times when my body rebelled against what it must see and do, and I would return to my children for a time and refresh myself in caring for-them and living in their world; or I would make a trip to Romania to transact necessary business there, and to beg for more parcels for the wounded.
Then I could return to the hospitals—not only to give but to receive. For the road of the wounded which I took that snowy day in Vienna brought me many gifts in return for that which I gave of myself.
More and more Romanian wounded arrived in Vienna, and despite an operation which I myself had to undergo that summer, machinery for helping them was set up so that we could not only take care of sending home the less seriously hurt, but could assemble in one hospital those who must wait about in a semiconvalescent stage. They were lonely and in a foreign country; they needed to be together. Sonnberg was large, I had my nurse's training: why not a hospital at Sonnberg for those Romanian soldiers who must wait in Austria for operations?
WHILE I was recovering from my illness I made plans and wrote letters to those who could help me. By April, 1943, the Romanian hospital was established at Sonnberg and thirty wounded soldiers were finally settled into their beds at the castle. It was a very simple convalescent hospital, with no resident nurse or doctor at first. We had a doctor at Hollabrun whom we could call in an emergency, and I myself ran the hospital with the help of an orderly. The army furnished sheets, blankets, bandages and drugs; my servants did the cleaning; and I hired extra washerwomen to do the hospital laundry. The soldiers who were able washed themselves and helped make the beds, while I bathed and fed those who were not able to care for themselves.
Usually my day began with the problem of food; a problem which became more serious as time went on, since wartime shortages were numerous and difficult. The wounded, of course, had their army rations, which must be kept completely separate from our own even up to the last bit of leftovers.
Our patients were chiefly blinded soldiers, amputees, and soldiers who had been frozen. They had lain too long untended on the battlefield, or at improvised dressing stations. One officer had saved the lives of his men by getting somewhere a whip and literally beating them, exhausted, sobbing and cursing him, through the snow to a railroad. Many of his men suffered from frostbite, but they lived, and by the time they had reached the hospital they knew what gratitude they owed him. I would like to have met that officer, for he was no better off physically than his men, and yet found somewhere the strength of spirit which enabled him to save them; he must have been a remarkable person.
At Christmas, Minola was ill. She had had her tenth-birthday tea the day before, so that when she complained of feeling sick I had not taken it too seriously, but had got her to bed. However, it was no mere upset; she had scarlet fever. We made provisions to isolate Minola from the other children and from the soldiers, and that night, just as I managed to get thankfully to bed, the telephone rang. Anton, on his way home for Christmas leave, had had car trouble thirty miles away. The fires had to be made up, water heated to start our car, and a rescue party dispatched. It was seven in the morning before everyone was back at Sonnberg, and the holidays could be said to have begun.
They were good holidays, even though they had begun with such difficulty. We did not know they were to be our last in Austria.
On the fifth of December, St. Nicholas, robed magnificently in the ermine wrap I had given my mother, had made his comments on the children's behavior in a very clever verse which amused everyone—even Niki, whose conscience was a little tender on some points. At Christmastime, trees were set up in the hospitals, and packages from Romania, along with parcels the rest of us had been making, were delivered to the wounded. There was a special tree for Minola, who was feeling only comfortably like an invalid. To make the occasion as festive as possible, we all dressed in our best, and I wore the lovely sapphire-and-diamond diadem.
Of such great and small incidents were the years after my mother's death made up—of such incidents, all occurring against the almost monotonous background of increasing difficulties and growing sorrow. The Castle of Sonnberg ceased to be the busy, pleasant, country house of a growing family. It became in turn a museum, a barracks and a hospital—and finally only the poor, stripped ghost of the happy home it had been.
In 1943 I had taken the children to Romania for the summer, and while I was there, there had been an American bombing raid on Ploesti: the war had for a moment been extended to the gates of Bucarest. Could I be satisfied to remain in Austria if Romania needed me?
I went finally to Prince Stirbey, an old and trusted friend of my family, and put my problem before him. It had become increasingly difficult for me to live in Austria. Brought up as I had been, I could not avoid strong personal objections to the totalitarianism of the Nazi political philosophy. Very little was known—at least in Austria—about the atrocities which were later published to the world, and therefore my objections were to abstract ideas rather than to concrete examples.
Yet, as I explained to Prince Stirbey, I was beginning to know too much about affairs in Austria and Germany to remain detached. The Nazi philosophy was not one I wished my children to accept. What should I do?
He looked at me very seriously as he answered, "But you must decide what you feel yourself to be. Are you Austrian, German or Romanian?"
There could be only one answer to this, and I made it from my very heart. "I am a Romanian," I said.
His reply was sternly challenging. "Then stand by your choice! Be a Romanian!"
His words continued to echo in my ears as I went on with the responsibilities I had undertaken. Perhaps because of them I made a last-minute change in my plans for the children. I decided to leave the three older children in Romania, where they could attend the Saxon schools, but I took the three younger children back to Sonnberg with me in September, 1943.
I went back, however, with a letter which charged me with the care of all Romanian wounded within the Reich, Czechoslovakia and Poland. All consulates were to give assistance as I required it. It was to be my duty to search out the wounded, and to decide which should be sent to Romania.
TO "search out the wounded," I made many journeys, learning the techniques of wartime travel. Sometimes the children's governess went with me as far as Vienna, but I cannot actually say that we traveled together. She felt that her dignity demanded she go second class, always crowded, while I had discovered that the workmen traveling third class got on and off at way stations in such numbers that I could get a seat before too long. Therefore the governess stood with dignity in a second-class carriage all the way to Vienna, while I sat down with thankfulness in a third-class one!
Nineteen hundred and forty-four began in the shadows of growing anxiety in Austria over the war, and to this in my case was added my personal anxiety for my own country. Conditions of living and of travel became worse as the destruction from the Allied bombing increased. Everyone was irritable and tired. There were constant minor frictions everywhere, to a degree which no one can imagine who has not lived in a country which is a battleground. There were the more serious problems of the soldiers. Inevitably we failed to save some lives for which we fought long and desperately, and each defeat was a personal sorrow because we came very close to the people we tried to help.
There were the upsets which any household suffers when there are children. During one holiday when the children were all at Sonnberg, Sandi, turning a cartwheel, bumped into Stefan. To recover balance Stefan threw out his arm so vigorously that he put it through a glass window and cut himself badly. Only the fact that a doctor happened to be in the castle and came at once prevented Stefan from bleeding to death. Niki, almost seven in 1944, crushed his hand in the door of the motorcar, and one of Anton's short furloughs was spent largely in taking the poor child back and forth to Vienna until it was certain that the bones were set correctly. But my main concern for the three children who were with me in Austria was caused by the war news. More and more I wanted them to be in Romania, even though the Russians were steadily advancing, and my Austrian friends felt that I was mad to think of going toward the enemy instead of staying where I was.
I HAD had very little personal experience with Russians since my childhood days, when the Bolshevik Revolution brought a constant succession of desperate refugees fleeing to Romania. In Austria, however, during these war years there had been Russians scattered through the country; some were war prisoners, and some had run away from their own land by choice.
One I remember: a Russian girl worked for a lady who was very kind to her. In this spring of 1944 the advance of the Russians seemed daily nearer, and this particular Russian was convinced that they would enter Austria. Anxious to show her gratitude for the kind treatment she reassured her mistress.
"When the Russians come," she said earnestly, "I will tell them how good you have been to me, and they will be good to you in return, you will see! For they will kill you quickly"—she made a vivid gesture of throat cutting— "and not torture you at all ! This I promise I will do for you!" This was to me almost unbelievable, but I lived to learn that she spoke matter-of-factly.
It was perhaps experiences of this kind which made the Austrians feel that it was insanity to think of taking my other three children to Romania, but to that I had only one answer. If there was to be worse danger, I wanted my children to be where every man was my friend. So in March I took them to Bran and made arrangements to leave them there, intending to return to Austria and continue my work for the wounded. But on March twenty-seventh, when I was to have left for Vienna, travel suddenly became impossible. The Russians were rumored to have entered Moldavia; the Germans were engaged in a quarrel with the Hungarians, and all civilian travel across Hungary was forbidden. Decision was out of my hands. I was in Romania, and there I must stay, even though I had brought only hand luggage with me.
Last spring in New York City a young Romanian asked friends of mine to introduce him to me. He had a message for me; a message from Dachau. It was strange, at the beginning of a new life, to be reminded so suddenly and vividly of another life; it was strange to reflect that I might have received that message much earlier and more directly, for it was from a Romanian student I had known in Vienna. In 1944, when Romania came to terms with the Allies, Romanians caught outside their own country became suddenly enemies of the German Reich, and were hated with a bitterness which was in proportion to the fear of defeat slowly seeping into that Reich.
In Vienna, the Romanian students studying there were given a choice between disowning their country and going to prison camps. From one such camp the student I had known and the young Romanian I met in New York tried to escape. They were caught on the Italian frontier and sent to Dachau, and there my friend died of hunger and ill treatment. In dying he gave his companion his last messages for his family, and also one to me. He wanted me to know that the most beautiful and precious experience in his life had been working with me in Vienna for the Romanian wounded.
I was in Romania in 1944; had I not been there, things might have been very different for me. There was Mafalda, daughter of the King of Italy and wife of Philip of Hesse. In 1943 Italy capitulated to the Allies while the Princess was making a journey home from the funeral of her brother-in-law, King Boris of Bulgaria. Since the train went through Romania, it happened that my sister-in-law, King Michael's mother, had a brief visit with her, and so became probably the last friend to see her. For in Germany Mafalda, who had not even heard of Italy's surrender, was removed from the train as an enemy of the Reich and sent to Dachau, where she died without ever having seen her husband or her children again.
So it might well have been with me, and there would have been no need for my friend to send his message in such a roundabout manner. I would have been in Dachau to receive it.
WHEN I look out my window in this country which is so far from my own, my eyes rest upon a silver-fir tree, and for a moment I seem to be looking at the firs my mother planted around the little wooden church at Bran. How gratefully I used to take fleeting rests in my castle in the little valley of the Carpathians, where I had settled my children while I worked in the Red Cross canteen in Brasov, about twenty-five miles away.
Not all my days at the station canteen left me with the feeling that we had been able to alleviate the misery of the thousands of people who had been driven from their homes. For some we could do nothing, and then frustration added to the depression always lurking in the background of my mind. What, after all, was a little bread and hot soup to someone who had lost everything?
I remember especially one bleak Sunday afternoon. A cold, cutting wind was blowing, and a merciless sleet added to the discomfort. There were three trains to be dealt with at once. The people were hungry, cold and unreasonable in their misery and despair, while the space between the lines was all too narrow for the seething mass of distraught humanity that surged out of the trains in a desperate attempt to get food. The air was full of the cries of frightened children, the pleas of frantic mothers, and the noises of hungry beasts who had also gone a long time without food or water.
AT one moment I found myself alone in the crowd, trying to save my two big cans of precious milk from being overturned in the desperate scramble from all sides to reach it. Suddenly, as I was forced against the outer platform of one of the railway cars, an officer standing above me on the platform reached down and lifted first my two cans and then me to a position beside him.
"Domnitza Ileana? " he asked me in a quick aside. And, when I nodded, out of breath from the last strenuous minutes in the crowd, "I thought so! We have worked together before!"
With his bulk between me and the crowd, I was able to serve the milk over his shoulder without spilling any of it. Never shall I forget those hungry and exhausted faces looking up at me. Their expression of patient acceptance of an awful fate was in many ways harder to bear than resentment would have been. The train pulled out with no chance for me to exchange more than brief expressions of thanks and good will with my officer friend, but as always I had been deeply moved by his recognition of me. Such things seemed to link my present with those years of my girlhood in Romania, and to make me feel that I had indeed come home.
The train pulled out and we hoped that no more would come, since our supplies were low and we were exhausted. When another train was announced, I felt tears of exhaustion and inwardly prayed both for strength and for supplies; to face hungry children with no milk and no bread would be something I could not bear. Dear God, let not Thy children go hungry! Give us this day our daily bread! ran my thoughts, while my hands measured out tea and sugar. It was growing dark. We worked in silence, bracing ourselves for the train coming into the station.
Suddenly the door opened, and through the rush of bitter air we saw women muffled in shawls, their arms full of cans of ready-boiled milk or of coffee, and great baskets of freshly baked cozonac, a special date bread. We could have hugged the good women, bundles and all, but instead we hastened to unload the supplies.
"Ah!" they sighed. "The bad roads! The men taking it easy on a Sunday! Everything seemed to keep us back! Are we too late?"
"Dumnezou dragutzu v'a trimes!" we told them, using the familiar expression which literally means "God, the Dear One, sent you!" I know that we all felt we had received a prompt answer to the prayers in our hearts.
They were little worlds of tragedy, those refugee trains; yet because they were truly little worlds of their own, there were gallant deeds done, and glimpses of romance, and even moments of something like gaiety. There were ever-present problems: how to feed the assorted livestock on the trains; how to install baths and the unglamorous but essential sanitary facilities; how to arrange for overnight lodgings where stranded soldiers and passengers might get a few hours' restful sleep; how to prepare and store stretchers, and arrange for quick transport of emergency cases to the hospitals when Brasov had only four ambulances for the whole community. Really exhausted by the long hours of work I had been doing, and by the misery and despair I had so constantly witnessed, I left for a few days the work I loved, and went back to Bran and the younger children. And as I went I felt a sorrowful longing to be a child again, and to be going to my father for comfort.
Then in my room in Bran, as now in my New England bedroom, a photograph of my father stood where I could see it as I entered. It shows his beautiful, clear-cut profile, with hair and beard turned slightly gray. I remember thinking when I was little that all kings had beards, and being very astonished when I was presented to the old King of Sweden, who was clean-shaven. According to my ideas, also, kings always wore uniforms.
MY father was at heart a quiet, gentle scholar, who all his life kept a lively interest in the science of botany. One of his greatest pleasures was to go for long rambles with his dogs, looking for rare plants for his rock garden. Deep satisfaction he also found among his books. He read with ease the old Greek and Latin classics in the original, and knew the ancient Romanian with its Cyrillic alphabet. He read widely also in modern languages, and enjoyed a good detective story. He and I were great admirers of Bulldog Drummond.
Although his outward reserve was great, my father had a deep understanding upon which I relied always, even in little matters. When I was about ten or twelve, I developed a passion for dressing up. My father joined in cheerfully when his duties permitted, and I remember one very successful evening when he put on an old dressing gown made of an Indian blanket. Binding a few feathers around his head, he took the part of a red Indian chief to my entire satisfaction.
Fate sought out this quiet scholar to guide a nation to the realization of its dreams. His life demanded of him great and terrible decisions on every level; the sacrifice of the loyalties of his youth; the sacrifice of his relationship to his oldest son when this son did not measure up to his responsibilities. He was so modest that I think he never quite grasped his personal contribution to his accomplishments. He did not accept it as a tribute to himself when a whole people were swept with joy and gratitude, adoring him as a liberator. At the end of his last illness he closed his weary eyes as quietly as he had always lived.
"I am very tired," he murmured as he rested his head against my mother's shoulder. "I must once just rest a little."
THE Sinaia he loved stands in the valley of the Prahova River, which cuts the principal pass through the Carpathians. It is a narrow valley, but very beautiful. The great forest comes down to the very edge of the turbulent river and the rocky peaks stand grandly outlined against a Mediterranean-blue sky. It is indescribable, that marvelous blue of the Romanian sky; a deep, intense blue where often no cloud will be in sight for many weeks. As a result, rain for us is always a blessing, and we can enjoy its cool silver-gray falling with a grateful heart.
The Castle of Pelisor, built for my parents just before the birth of their fourth child, was full of charm. It resembled a comfort able English country house, and was a home we all adored. As a child I was greatly chagrined by my brother Nicholas' boast that he had been born up in the mountains, while I was born in a mere suburb of Bucarest !
Our mornings started with breakfast in the long dining room. Following a Romanian custom, my mother sat at the head of the table with my father on her right. All meals except the evening one were taken with the whole Court; conversation and jokes flowed freely. On Sundays the band would play and the people would wander up and listen to the music and walk about the terraces of the palace; my parents used to saunter down and mix with the crowd freely. That is the Sinaia I cherish in my memory: the beautiful mountains; the sunshine, flowers and music; the smiling holiday crowd; my father and mother, gracious and dear to everyone; a feeling of good will and content everywhere.
In later years when I went to Sinaia I felt my heart contract a little. My brother Carol, returning to Romania in 1930 as King Carol II, had other conceptions of how life should be lived. He built a wall around the terraces, and the guard was no longer for show, but to keep people out. The life of the Court was much more orderly, formal and correct, but it was also less happy and congenial.
When my nephew, young King Michael, came to the throne after his father's abdication in 1940, he inherited a troubled situation. Though his Court was full of sober dignity, and his beautiful, gentle mother lent it charm, there was an atmosphere of sadness, and it lacked the vigor and zest of former times. But Michael had been too young to remember the sunny days of his grandparents. His youth had been a sad one. His father had left family and country when Michael was hardly more than a baby, and had not returned until Michael was seven. Then, because Carol's wife had divorced him, Michael was unhappily without a mother most of the time until, at eighteen, his father's abdication made him King. He is said to have remarked sadly on one occasion, "When I needed a mother, I had a father; and when I needed a father, I had a mother."
Michael is a tall, blond boy, somewhat broad and solid. His hair has a wave, his eyes are blue, and he has a most enchanting smile. It brings deep dimples that are almost disconcerting in the face of a man so serious. To me, there will always be in him things which remind me of the sunny-haired child who brought so much happiness by his birth, and whose baby ignorance added to the stunned grief of the whole family when Carol left us.
His mother, Queen Helen, whom the family had always called Sitta, is a slim, tall woman, with the greatest charm and sweetness about her. Her appearance is always exquisitely neat and dainty; I have only once seen her ruffled. It is from her that Michael inherits his dimples and his sudden, entrancing smile. She is a little shortsighted, which gives her a slight air of hesitation, and has added to her natural shyness. She in turn was surrounded by a crowd of Pekingese dogs, barking and gamboling around her feet. Conversation was easy and often amusing, since both mother and son have an incomparable talent for describing an amusing situation. Yet lurking in the background there seemed to me the shadow of tragedy past and to come. Intangible and ignored, it was nevertheless present and I had the feeling of fighting against time and an overwhelming fate.
MARCH and early April, 1944, passed. Catholic Easter was celebrated, and I took that day to attend service with all my children. This feeling of peace and beauty was still with me when, later in the morning, I went to celebrate Easter also with the ill and wounded of the military hospital in Brasov. It was one of those perfect spring days, with the wonderful promise of greenness seeming to hover over woods and fields. The air was crystal clear, and the sun shone warmly from the intensely blue sky. For once I laid aside my nurse's uniform and put on the Romanian peasant dress: the overskirt, the wide belt, the embroidered white blouse and the long head veil which is worn by married women. This, I thought, would make the soldiers feel that I was making the day one of festival.
The service at the hospital over, I went to take a share of the eggs and gifts to the men who could not leave their beds. At this moment the general's aide told me that enemy planes were heading for Brasov. I prepared to remain inside the hospital, but the general refused his consent. I stepped out into the courtyard on my way to the dugouts on the hillside just as the first wave of planes was overhead, silver and beautiful against the blue sky. Then suddenly the air was rent by a tremendous sound. It was as if a huge, impersonal hand pushed me down flat on my face. I was roused by the shrieks of a woman whom I saw running downhill and away from safety, carrying a child in her arms. I scrambled to my feet and caught up with her. There was no time to argue even if she could have heard me, so I chose an easier way to stop her. I snatched the child from her arms and turned and ran up the hill, while she followed me, still screaming. We reached the dugouts and jumped into a trench just as the second wave of bombs fell. When the dust cleared a little I found myself surrounded by weeping women and terrified young girls. I was surprised that I felt no fear, and that I could repeat the 91st Psalm; slowly it calmed the others. It was then that my own self-control was most threatened, for I saw when I opened my eyes that on each side of me they had taken hold of my long head veil, and had spread it over their heads as if for protection; as if they were my children.