Germany surrenders and suddenly the temperature is lowered at least 50 degrees: that is, Russian soldiers stop terrorizing the populace and begin to practice some restraint.

The narrator looks back on what she has endured and tries to puzzle out her future (The “red flag” she refers to in the passage below must be the Russian flag: She was enamored enough of Communism — idealistic enough — to travel around Russia. She even enrolled in school in Moscow. That must have been why, when the Russian soldiers arrived, she tried to practice her Russian on them. Poor, naive woman!)

When I was young, the red flag seemed like such a bright beacon, but there’s no way back to that now, not for me: the sum of tears is constant in Moscow, too. And I long ago lost my childhood piety, so that God and the Beyond have become mere symbols and abstractions. Should I believe in progress? . . . The happiness of the greater number? . . . An idyll in a quiet corner? Sure, for people who comb the fringes of their rugs. Possessions, contentment? I have to keep from laughing, homeless urban nomad that I am. Love? Lies trampled on the ground. And were it ever to rise again, I would always be anxious, could never find true refuge, would never again dare for permanence.

A Woman in Berlin, p. 176

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