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The day my grandmother Inge told me about the trauma that defined her life, I was standing at the kitchen table making my cousin’s wedding cake. I stood for a minute, frozen, the cake icing cloying and sticky between my fingers.

She had been a girl of 22 when it happened, shortly after the end of World War 2. Sixty years later the recollection still made her hands, though dotted with age, shake. She looked away as she spoke, not trusting herself to meet my eyes...

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