BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, 1944
Banging shakes the foundations of the house.
The professor rises and nods a Mamma to stay in her seat. He signals everyone to be very quiet while he walks towards the front door. The girl, their daughter Verushka, watches as still as alabaster. Her friend, the boy Zoltan, presses his hands to the back of Verushka’s chair.
Heavy black boots stamp down the hallway. The ceiling pendants vibrate, flinging broken bronze beams through the sitting room. Four men march inside, wearing uniforms with spider arrows on their arms, guns in their belts.
The Lieutenant holds out his notebook. ‘We are making a record of everything here in this house.’ He grins. ‘To take away for safe keeping.’
The soldiers study the walls filled with paintings of mythical Greek gods, fields of honey and gold, generations of portraits. One soldier picks up the golden candelabra with its seven lamps of wisdom.
‘No … not … our candelabra … the light …’ Mamma cries.
The professor grabs her hands. ‘Leave it.’ You must leave it.’
Verushka whispers, ‘Shush, Mamma. They may take the candelabra, but they can’t take the light. That is always ours.’
Mamma leans back in her armchair. Her eyes cloud over as the soldier steals the candelabra. The silence is lead as the Lieutenant continues to write his inventory. He writes the list of all the precious things that make up their home. He threatens, ‘Do not think of hiding anythimg. Otherwise …’ He points to a soldier. ‘We will be back with a truck. He’ll wait at the front door.’