I Live Again by Ileana, Princess of Romania
I feel it is necessary to stress that this book is my own personal story. It makes no pretense of being either a political or a historical work, but merely tries to portray what recent political and historical events did to an individual—to me. My motive in trying to tell this story has been twofold. It comes from my deep conviction of the life-and-death nature of the present struggle for a free world, and it comes from my strong and abiding love for Romania. I do not need to defend my conviction to any thinking person: I would like to say a little more about my country both to my fellow Romanians and to those who are interested in my story.
For Romania in her two-thousand-year fight for independence as a nation, and for the Romania Mare—the Greater Romania—who achieved this independence, I feel both love and pride. Deeper and more impossible to put into words are the love and pride I feel for Romania during her years of stress. There was a remarkable solidarity: a brotherhood that in better times we had not known. In those days of darkness and despair, in spite of spies and denunciations we stood together. No one would have refused shelter to one who knocked at his door. Political opinion was of no importance. We were Romanians, standing as one against the oppressor and the powers of darkness.
If, then, I do not appear vigorous enough in my condemnation or defense of some to satisfy those who have viewed events from outside the country, it is partly because I have experienced this brotherhood. It is also because, as I have said, this is my personal story, and as a person I have always been able to see the other man's point of view. Human hopes and joys and sorrows have moved me deeply because I have always seen the individual as a human being rather than as an exponent of any creed or belief, and pity has been my strongest emotion toward friend and foe alike. This has in no sense made me tolerant of evil, but it has given me an understanding which separates the individual from the evil, instead of presenting the one as the personification of the other.
I have lived for a long time beyond fear and pain, and since then values for me have changed. I wish to judge no man, but I stand uncompromisingly on the side of freedom and justice. I will fight the powers of darkness in whatever form I meet them, and to the death. Resentment and hatred I feel none of. These are weaknesses in which we have no right to indulge today. They waste both strength and energy, and we can afford to waste neither. Having been a nurse, I was concerned most often with the sick and the dying, and they have no political color, race, or faith to distinguish them in a hospital ward. My first concern was to help them, and not to let personal feelings or political opinions overshadow the service I was there to perform. Therefore I made it my business to work with all authorities as long as this did not conflict with my religious convictions.
In this book, also, I have made no attempt to record all the splendid humanitarian work done by the different welfare societies in Romania, each of whom has its own story to tell. This is a personal record in which I tell only what I personally witnessed and can vouch for, except for the barest skeleton of historical framework necessary to explain the setting of the events. In these days when so much is repeated from hearsay, I think each person should be careful to tell only the truth for which he can personally take responsibility, for with truth alone can we combat the powers of darkness overshadowing a large part of the world. I must leave untold, then, the efforts made by others in which I had no part, but I remind you that I tell my story not as unique but as characteristic of life in a period of national strain and danger. Even within these limitations, I must leave much unsaid to protect those still behind an Iron Curtain.
I wish here to thank those who helped me to bring this book, as we say in Romania, "la bun sfarsit"—to a good finish. I have no way of thanking my collaborator, Dorothy Kuenzli Hinckley, for she has become almost part of me, but we both thank her husband, Dr. Edward B. Hinckley, who painstakingly read each chapter through, and who advised and criticized without discouraging us. Thanks are due, too, to our respective families, who patiently bore with our neglect of our motherly and housewifely duties in the interests of "the book": to Stefan, Maria-Ileana, Alexandra, Dominic, Maria Magdalena, and Elisabeth; and to Marjorie, Edward Charles, and Lois Vivian Hinckley. It was my son Stefan who drew the map and who reminded me of many of the events in which he had a part.
I am grateful to Dr. John D. Montgomery, who read the manuscript, and to Mr. Georges Duca, Mr. Ray Baker Harris, Colonel Carroll Krichbaum, and Mr. Wilmer Park for their kindness in lending photographs and snapshots to illustrate this book, since mine of course are lost. I am grateful also to Mr. Brutus Coste, who supplied me with dates for many historical events, and who put at my disposal notes and documents by which I could guide and correct my brief political and historical references. All reactions to these, however, are my own personal feelings.
In deciding upon an English spelling for Romanian words I have aimed for ease in reading rather than for consistency. Thus in names like "Brasov" and "Peles," where the Romanian "s" has a cedilla and would be pronounced "sh" in English, I have not tried to indicate this, but have used the spelling common to most atlases, since, after all, these pronounciations do not differ a great deal. Where the Romanian "t" with a cedilla is used, however, I have written the English "tz" to indicate the pronunciation, as in "Domnitza" and "Constantza." There are many other accent marks on Romanian names and I have omitted all of them. Except for one explanatory reference, I have used the English version for the name of my nephew, King Michael, since it is more familiar here in that form than is the Romanian "Mihai." My spelling of "Romania" is to me not only nearer the Romanian spelling, but also indicates its direct derivation from "Rome" and "Roman." "Bucarest" also seems to me nearer the Romanian "Bucuresti" (the final "i" is not pronounced) than the more common English form, "Bucharest."
In making this explanation and these acknowledgments of gratitude, I do not feel that I can fail to mention my consciousness of the help given me by the thoughts and prayers of my people, both in exile and still in bondage. To the extent that I succeed in contributing to a more conscious appreciation of freedom as something that must be defended, and to a better knowledge of my freedom-loving country, I speak for these Romanians unable to speak to you themselves.