You Were: The Finder

August 13, 2010

In the aftermath of World War II, much was missing. People. Paintings. Prized possessions of every description. If they could be found (and many could not), you were often the person who found them.

In 1928, you were born in Zurich. For much of your childhood, you watched in horror as WWII raged around Switzerland. Refugees from all over Europe flooded into your  small, neutral country, but those who needed asylum the most were often turned away at the border. You begged your father, a powerful banker, to do what he could to convince Swiss authorities to change their policies. He did nothing.

The war ended before you were old enough to offer your services to those in need. And when you turned eighteen in 1946, you still weren’t quite sure what you should do. Then one day, you happened to be sitting in the lobby of the bank your father ran when the answer came through the front door.

The young French woman was painfully thin, her hair had turned gray, and her shoes looked as though she’d walked all the way from Paris. Inside the bank, she was met by an officious little clerk who seemed anxious to show her the door. You overheard the woman inform the man that she was visiting all the banks in Zurich. Her family’s precious art collection had been stolen by the Nazis, and she had it on good authority that many of the works had found their way into Switzerland. She was destitute now and desperate to raise money to search for her brothers.

The clerk laughed and assured the woman that the paintings could not possibly be in one of the bank’s vaults. When she was escorted out to the sidewalk, you followed behind. Once you were both out of sight, you tapped on her shoulder.

You knew for a fact that the bank’s vaults were packed with paintings. Your father, an art lover, took secret snapshots of each Rembrandt or Monet that had come through the doors during the war. You made a list of the works the young woman was seeking and arranged to meet her at a café later that night. When you did, you brought irrefutable proof that two of her paintings were inside the bank—proof that could have proven very embarrassing to the bank’s esteemed president.

As a result of your actions, you were kicked out of your father’s house. Which didn’t make much of a difference since your mother had recently acquired one of her own. And she was the wealthy one in the family. (Not to mention the one responsible for your big heart and bravery.)

The young French women quickly sold her masterpieces. The minute the money was in her pocket, she asked you to help her find her brothers. She offered you a fortune for your services, but you refused to take a dime. You traveled across Europe at your own expense, searching for traces of the two lost boys. (Did I mention you spoke seven languages back then?)

You found the first brother in Prague where he’d been in hiding for much of the war. Certain his entire family was dead, he had dedicated himself to helping put the pieces of the ancient city back together again.

The second brother found you.

While you were away on your travels, he had located his sister in Zurich. When she told him about the wonderful girl who had helped her, he couldn’t wait for your return. He immediately set out in search of you. His eyes met yours for the very first time when you stepped off a train in Budapest.

For the rest of your lives, the two of you traveled the world, looking for the things that had been lost during the war. I’d tell you more about your romance and adventures, but I’m afraid I’d need a book and not just a blog post.

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One Response to “You Were: The Finder”

  1. izzybell 14 Says:

    I LOVE IT!!! thank u and if u have free time you should write that book LOL JK i cant wait 4 Kiki Strike 3
    🙂


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