A twelve-year-old Polish girl named Kazimiera Mika mourns the death of her older sister Anna, who was killed in a field in Warsaw during a German air raid. Anna and six other women, desperate for food, were digging for potatoes when Nazi planes strafed the field. In September of 1939.
In 1959, Bryan recalled the experience, “Several hours passed before Kazimiera learned that Anna was dead and her father and mother injured. She ran to the potato field where Anna was lying. Kazimiera recognized her sister by her dress. For the first time in her life, she understood what death meant, that it could take someone she loved. Sobbing in rebellion and grief, she clutched Anna’s hand. It was cold. And then she understood that all was lost. She was helpless. She did not wipe away the tears running down her cheeks; she cursed childishly the Germans and the war. In front of the pear tree a group of strangers had stopped. A motion picture camera was buzzing gently. One of the men approached Kazimiera. He stroked her hair, raised her from her knees. He was a foreigner. She did not understand what he said but she knew that his words were from his heart and that he wanted to comfort her.” He concludes, “Her story is the story of the people of Warsaw under siege, occupation, and the gray hardship of reconstruction.”