Paris, July 1943
Lana Hartmann hurried down the Boulevard Saint-Germain to St. Catherine’s school, where Frederic taught piano. For once, the signs of the occupation—the slick German cars cruising down the boulevards, the Parisians crammed into buses, the endless lines of people waiting hours for a stick of butter—didn’t bother her. She was wildly, irrationally happy.
If it was possible, she was happier than the day she and Frederic had married in the autumn of 1941. Everyone said they were crazy: Who gets married when Europe is at war? Her wedding gown was an old party dress, and her shoes were made of rubber. But when she faced Frederic in the office at city hall, she felt as elegant as a princess.
Her hand went instinctively to her stomach. She couldn’t wait to tell Frederic her news. It was the worst possible time to have a baby; they couldn’t even afford an extra loaf from the corner patisserie. But Hitler and his army couldn’t take away the velvet sheen of a baby’s cheek, the sweet smell of breast milk on its breath.
Lana froze at the sight of a German truck that was parked in front of the convent. The sight of any truck emblazoned with the red and black swastika filled her with dread. The Germans usually left the nuns alone. With rising concern, she walked around the stone build-ing and noticed Frederic standing in the music room talking to two Gestapo officers. She crouched down so the top of her head couldn’t be seen from inside and listened through the open window. If she raised her chin, she could just see Frederic facing the two men.