My father was a king, which would make me a princess, except that we were only dirty gypsies to the Gavvers. And when they stormed the camp and marched my people to the woods, I bit back the cries on a blanket, and hid in the small space behind Bana’s trunk, until the screams and shots quieted to mean laughter. And when it was still, I walked the other direction from camp, barefoot through the puddles left by the Gavvers’ boots.
I thought I had nothing but a throat choked with smoke, and the screams I didn’t scream for them. With them.
“Come, chahvi,” said a voice from the train. I turned, startled. Her black hair was parted in the center, her dark eyes fierce and bright.
In a month I had nothing—and everything: papers, passport and transport, and that one thing without which nothing can be had: Viaţă
I beg your tolerance on this one–I went far from the location and wound up sticking my clumsy nose in some history I’m not qualified to tell, not to mention my wild guesses at language and terminology. But my research led me to Alfreda Markowska, my new favorite hero. After her entire clan was massacred by the Germans, she went on to personally rescue at least 50 Jewish and Roma children. Such a courageous lady!