Mary Bancroft had served America as a spy in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) from Zürich before America came into the war and throughout the war. Now, it was 1945. The war was over. She was traveling to Nuremberg by car from Zürich to observe the war trials.
On the way, she traveled through Würzburg. It had been razed to the ground in an air attack lasting eighteen minutes. A woman was sitting in the sun on a wooden chair before the ruins of what had once been her home. Mary told her driver to stop. As the woman sat with a dirty white cat curled at her feet, she told of how she had lost her entire family in the bombardment and had herself been temporarily blinded. She now lived in the cellar of her former home. Everyone else in the town was living in a cellar, as well.
The lonely lady did not know what she was going to do. For the moment, she just enjoyed sitting in the sun with her cat, who had miraculously escaped the bombs and now dozed contentedly at her feet. She waved her hand at the surrounding ruins: “We have our Führer to thank for this!”
I write of Mary Bancroft’s life in my book: “Observer: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation — even crime”.
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