Destiny changed the course of things. I went to Paris as planned but with less ardour, in fact without enthusiasm. About two months before leaving for Paris, at the end of December, I met a young man who was fated to become my husband. My parents had a hired box at the theatre which had room for five people and I often invited friends when my parents could not go. This also happened one evening in December 1938, when Boris Godunov was performed. One of my friends whom I had invited was unable to come but asked whether I would mind if a young man came instead. The young man was Fritz (Miroslav) Brichta. I could not remember ever having met him before although he claimed to have met me in the company of my girlfriends. Indeed I remember that one of the young men with whom my girlfriends exchanged letters during their service in the army had once sent greetings 'to the girl with the beautiful blue eyes' having me in mind. From the first moment we were mutually attracted. I think that from that evening at the opera watching Boris Godunov - Mussorgsky was Fritz's fa- vorite composer - we met daily; our friendship and love increased from hour to hour and the thought of being separated made us sick. My pride, however, did not allow me to retreat - how had I wished that something would happen to prevent my trip to Paris! Nothing likely occurred and I departed, accompanied by my father as planned. Fritz and I had so much in common: music, literature, politics, philosophy, psychology, so many ideas to be exchanged, so many problems to be discussed. Fritz was a pleasant looking young man, he was not tall, full figured but not fat, he had beautiful grey-green eyes, a high forehead, rather a big nose, he was of gentle disposition, very quiet, emanating kindness. He had studied law and by the time we met he had graduated, taking his apprenticeship in court. He tried three times to take examinations for his doctorate, but failed and said he would never do it. Just like many other intellectuals, Fritz and his friends believed that only the Communists could bring peace to the world, that the Russian Revolution was the example for others to follow. He had a big library with well-known books dealing with Communist doctrines, which he ordered from abroad. From him I learned more than I knew before. Later we even started to learn Russian in order to read Russian books. Fortunately Fritz's activity remained in the limits of theoretical involvement; he was never a member of the Communist Party like some of his friends who were always in danger of being imprisoned or expelled. As a boy Fritz played the violin but later he played no instrument; however, he had an outstanding ability to respond to music, after a few tones he recognized every piece; we could listen to music for hours. 11. On one of the last days before my departure to Paris, Fritz invited me to his home and I accepted under the condition that we should be alone. My parents were not informed of our close relationship, therefore I did not want his to know. His mother prepared everything to make the afternoon pleasant for us, but she respected our wish; nobody was at home. Long afterwards I remembered the wonderful afternoon, when I listened for the first time to Schubert's Forellenquintett, Fritz liked it so much! Fritz adored his mother and mentioned her often but everything he told me was not nearly the half of what she really was. By a stroke of destiny I lived with her much longer than with Fritz. She was so wise, kind, loving, intelligent; to me a caring, feeling mother, a substitute for my lost family (if I may say so). Table of Contents Paris