From Intersections

"It was 1945 and the war was all around us," Elsa continued in her heavy accent. "Nothing was normal anymore. We was afraid all the time. You hurried from your home or apartment to places you had to go and you hurried back, hoping to stay alive. You didn't want to even look at anyone or say something to anyone. You just wanted to go home and close the door behind you. But when the Russian soldiers came, there was no hiding, there was no escape. They came into our building looking for rooms to sleep in. They found us … found women … found me. They kept us there for weeks. They forced themselves on us. What is the word? Rape?" Elsa asked, rolling and extending the 'r.' Mom nodded in the affirmative, not saying anything. "I never say that word before," Elsa continued. "That's what they do to us. Raping us again and again. Again and again. When some left, more came, and the rapes went on day and night." Elsa paused for a moment. We said nothing. There was nothing to say. Needing to finish her story, she went on.


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