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By Olga Alexandrovna
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Additional resources for 25 Chapters of My Life
I loved that moment even though I was often only half awake, and I loved the smell of his cigarette smoke which lingered on after him when he tip-toed out of the room so as not to wake us up. That was how Father was. Now I must say something about my two dear tutors, the Englishman, Mr. Heath, and the Swiss, Mr. Thormeyer, who lived in the Palace and were always together with us. One day we would speak French and the next day we would speak English and so on. They were very different and yet we loved them both just the same.
In the middle of the church there was an image of the birth of Christ. It was surrounded by a profusion of flowers and when you went up to the image to kiss it you breathed in the balmy scent of hedge roses and wild lilies. Wax candles had been lit all over the church and they cast an intense but none the less subdued glow over the congregation, and when the old, but eternally new Christmas gospel was read, you were filled with a feeling that God and His angels were very close. After the service it was time for dinner – only Father, Mother and us five children, and then the moment came, which all Danish children know, too when you sit and wait in front of a closed door and when you glue your eyes to the faint yellow strip of light which is making its way under the door till it is suddenly thrown wide open!
During the occupation the Germans brought Soviet prisoners of war to Denmark. With the collapse of Germany, Denmark was liberated by the British in May 1945. One part of Denmark, the island of Bornholm in the Baltic, was, however, liberated by the Red Army. The Soviets refused to leave and occupied the island for a year. They demanded the return of all Soviet citizens from Denmark Anyone who was not sent back to the Soviet Union was considered a war criminal. Olga found herself in a dangerous situation so she and Kulikovsky concluded that they would have to leave Denmark for the safety of faraway Canada.