On our first day in Bratislava, I took my mother’s arm to help her over the icy cobbled streets of the old town with its throbbing Christmas market and strong smell of grilled pork and plum strudel. To me Bratislava looked like any other small central European town, but for my father it was a special place. He was born in Slovakia and lived here until the age of twelve. Seventy years after escaping German occupation, my father was returning to Bratislava with my mother and me, along with my husband and our two teenage sons.

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