Sunday, August 17, 2008

Interview with Ilsa Lund-Blaine

Morvern Restal has shared a treasure with the world. Restal, in her twenties, lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband Bruce. She recently graduated from Colorado State with a degree in Art History, but it is her personal history which is the subject of her new book/DVD: she is the granddaughter of Richard Blaine and Ilsa Lund-Blaine.
Lund-Blaine had been married to Victor Laszlo, the great Resistance leader whose efforts against the Nazi war machine served as an example and encouragement to dozens of underground resistance groups across Europe. Laszlo was killed in Cetinje, Montenegro, in 1945 during the final days of the war.
Ilsa Lund, Laszlo’s widow, was wounded in the same battle. She was recovering in Podgorica when reunited with Richard Blaine, a friend whom she had met years earlier in Paris. Blaine was fighting in the “Lapland War” where the Germans were driven out of Finland. He came searching for Lund when Laszlo‘s death was announced. They were married in May, 1945; when the War ended a few months later, the Blaines made their way to America and settled in Phoenix, Arizona. They raised five children; their oldest son Victor is the father of Morvern, which brings us back to the reason for this post.
Morvern interviewed her grandmother Ilsa about her life: her childhood in Norway, her college years studying in Grenoble, where she met her first husband Victor. Watching the interviews captured on video, it’s evident that the wartime years are painful for Lund-Blaine, but she does speak at length, with gentle encouragement from her grand daughter. It’s obvious that Morvern and Ilsa are very close; the interviews, the book/DVD are a work of love, and a wonderful testament from one who was there, her voice soft but still strong.
“I married twice for love. Doesn’t that sound silly? But it was Love, both times.”
“Victor said that most of the Germans were prisoners of Fascism, who struggled in their chains as they raised their arms to salute Hitler. There was as strong an underground resistance in Berlin as in Paris.”
“We were fortunate, Victor and I: we had just a few years together, but those few burned very brightly. Would they have seemed an intense in peacetime, if we had not taken part in such a conflict? Who can say?”
“Richard has reformed me-I used to be such a coward, so unsure of myself. I couldn’t have survived after Victor died if Richard hadn’t come and taken me from that hospital in Serbia. He may seem crass, but that covers up the biggest heart in the world. I had to toughen up to keep pace with him; he couldn’t help but steamroll over any weakling. So he made me strong, and still challenges me every day.”

I encourage you to seek out the book, order the DVD. I’ll put the link in the comments.

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