But once one of the Italians went up the steps. He asked Mme Geudevert if I was Italian. It scared me very much. My mother went out on a regular basis. She looked totally un-Jewish. My father was restless; he used to visit friends to play bridge or chess. My sister was just an ordinary little girl. I was the suspicious-looking one and it was an additional burden to carry. Because of my looks I was a potential danger to my family. One day my father was arrested in the street. His deep scar across one cheek made every German address him as "Herr Doktor" - because it looked exactly like a scar German dueling students inflicted upon each other. In fact it was the result of a 1st World War wound: a bullet had traversed his cheek. He was the youngest cavalry officer in the German army then. The various medals he received as a result actually saved his life since one day he was called off a truck ready to deliver Jews to the concentration camp. It was a miracle due to my mother's meeting with a former school friend from Trier. He had connection to the temporary SS replacement chief. The medals were used to free him. This was after three nights in the cellar of the Gestapo where one cellar was used to empty buckets of excrement. Meanwhile we had moved to different shelters after he was set free. We all moved for a while to No.33, then to a friend's house. My sister somewhere else. I was taken in by a lawyer whose Jewish mistress was upstairs. Their life was supremely well organized. There was no trace of her existence. One napkin, one plate setting. They slept in one half of the bed, her dressing gown's pockets were stuffed with underwear and essentials. When the door bell rang, she climbed to the roof in this garment. Only his 12-year old daughter from a previous marriage and the housekeeper knew of her existence. They were the happiest couple I ever met in their restricted quarters in these strange and dangerous circumstances. It was after the war, when freedom came, that their relationship fell apart. They tried to save it by having a child. Upon arrival I immediately got a very high fever. I was an additional danger, and could not escape to the roof with her in case of an emergency; they had to nurse me instead. I never told my parents of the hidden person in the lawyer's house until after the Liberation. This was when I learned keep a secret - for ever if need be.
A group of Dutch students from the underground would lunch in our dining room at times. They transported British pilots, who had been shot down over Holland, to Spain. I fell deeply in love with a medical student called Willy. He managed to escape when the group was discovered. Some of the students committed suicide, he got away, back to Holland. The very first flying bomb hit his parents' home and he lost one eye. We heard this via the underground connection. Years after war, swimming in the sea in Holland, a man followed me with a horribly staring eye. At the very last second did I realize who he was. I heard he married an English girl and became a doctor, but of course had to abandon his dream of becoming a surgeon.
The madness of it! Those who were there will never forget it. The city went crazy with joy. The Germans were still departing - on wheels without tires, disheveled, torn uniforms - starved bodies. They still tried to shoot people and still shouted but the Allied tanks appeared and in no time these were covered with jubilating people, embracing the Liberators, opening long hidden bottles of champagne. It was crazy, mad, wonderful! Suddenly everyone seemed to speak English. People wore white badges to show that they did. Many just wanted to, but really did not and the craziest misunderstandings arose as a result. Flags and banners of welcome flooded the city. Trams were about the only means of transportation the Germans could not confiscate. They overflowed with bodies. People hanging on, people squatting on roofs, on buffers. Elbows were used a lot to get on and off, but all in