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Eva and her family were not in the apartment now.  They had lost that during one of the hellish raids that had come at the time of restraint from the allies which had lulled them into a false sense of hoping the worst was over.  That was what the newspapers and wireless broadcasts were telling then and, of which her neighbour from upstairs had verified.  He had pounded on her door a few days after the allies had invaded Normandy to relay the good news.”Frauline Butz,” he`d gushed, rushing past her waving the Volkischer Beobachter, the Nazi party newspaper in front of her face.  “Look what`s happening in France – we have nearly won the war.  Let me read it to you.”

“It`s too soon to say.”  Pierre answered in a hushed voice.  He led Henri by the shoulder taking him away from the throng of people who were going about the daily task of making the most of their cave like existence.  “The Germans have their tanks all around the entrance to Caen.  Pierre drew Henri hard by his shoulder toward him and hissed.  “The SS have murdered over six hundred people in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane. They shot some in the market square and burned others alive in the church.”

Henri`s head shot up.  “Why would they do such a thing?”

“Because they are murderers and since the allies landed are finding any excuse to kill.”

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Despite Eva`s best efforts and motherly nursing skills, Anna was deteriorating.  She needed a doctor and Eva had no idea where to find one.  She had heard that the two big hospitals in the central and western parts of Berlin had been destroyed by the allies` bombs and the local doctors had all but disappeared, either dead, sent to the front, or transferred to military hospitals.

Little Anna.  Eva stroked her sleeping face.  She was so pale; the frown now permanent across her forehead, her body hardly making an impression under the blackout curtains Eva was using for blankets, her little stark white hands protruding.  She had a sore at the corner of her mouth and her breathing was accompanied by a slight rasp and she coughed intermittently in her sleep.

 

There had been no raids during the last twenty four – hours so maybe in this lull; today she would take a chance.  Eva always put off going out until she had to, the sight outside depressing her with broken water mains, clatters of bricks piled high, cratered roads, smoking skeletal buildings teetering on collapse.  People were trying to go about their business, but look closely, and their eyes were dead, their bodies triumphant in neglect of their own humanity, such were the living conditions.  Berlin wasn’t Berlin anymore.