Eric’s affluent family life was equally divided between his French education in the city of Craiova, and his summer activity in the village of Melonburg. But his future became vulnerable when Romania joined the Axis Forces under Hitler’s command and participated in the invasion of the Soviet Union. The menfolk were marched to the Eastern Front, leaving behind women and children to take care of the watermelon harvest.
Then the Anglo-American alliance started daily air raids, aimed at destroying the oil refineries in the city of Ploesti, since they were the major source of fuel for the Panzer Division. The air corridor leading to the final target became a nightmare. Luftwaffe pilots arrived in large numbers, and were sheltered in private homes for lack of garrisons. All hell broke loose when the B-24 Liberators and the German fighter planes engaged in battle. With Grandpa Luca at his side, Eric witnessed the biggest air raid in history, known as “Operation Tidal Wave.” The ensuing dogfight forced Sergeant Harry, a turret gunner, to bail out. The lucky airman, who happened to be Eric’s uncle from New Jersey, parachuted safely, and was rescued in his own ancestral watermelon fields.
At the end of World War II, the Red Army occupied Romania. Stalin ordered the erection of the Iron Curtain, and the march of the Antichrist into the entire Eastern Europe began. Individual liberties and freedom of speech vanished in a matter of a few years. Melonburg, the watermelon capital of the country and the breadbasket of Europe, was devastated by the nationalization of its farms. With every month and year, religious persecution increased, and churches closed down. Grandpa Luca was arrested, and later died in a labor camp. Eric’s family, evicted from their home in Craiova, took refuge in Melonburg, with no hope for the future.
But fate brought salvation from Saint Mateo of Moldavia, Grandpa Luca’s older brother, who had passed away in his monastery. He left Eric an ancient Holy Bible with three prophecies inside. Eric followed his Guardian Angel’s instructions, and guided his family to freedom.