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Dr Lavinia Davenport RELLY PARDO

From: Dr Lavinia Davenport
Sent: Saturday, January 31, 2015 6:34 PM
To: sicke41@gmail.com
Subject: It was only a picnic

For me the essence of this excellent and unique autobiography about survival during the Nazi occupation of Belgrade lies in the depth of hope that the author feels regarding her 'disappeared' parents and brother. Right until the very end of It was only a Picnic we are still not convinced that they will never return. We join her in her silent prayer and faith. We too hope against hope. Throughout her story, Relly Alfandari Pardo keeps us in a state of suspended belief that the worst cannot happen. But it did. More... (pdf)

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Online editor:
Dragoslav Simić

It was only a picnic

Relly Pardo

Translated from the French by Bill Cohen

Relly Pardo
Relly Pardo

Relly Pardo

Chapter 1

1939. It was the year we took the family photograph. I remember it well. It was the middle of summer. I was ten and my brother was fourteen. Neat and formally dressed, we waited for the photographer. I clearly recall the conversation I had with my father on the subject.

We had a heap of lifelike snapshots – on the riverbank, on a stroll, in the garden, in the backyard… To take those, one did not have to get ready beforehand and it was always a pleasure to look at them again. So what was the use of this new sort? What was the difference?

My brother and I keenly felt the difference. We were expected to behave, to smile just a little, to look ‘special’, as my mother said.

“Why do we need such a photograph?”

“Someday you will understand why a family portrait is something special. This photograph will remain as a reminder of your parents – of your childhood. It will find its place of honour, first in an album and later in your home, on the bookshelf.”

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