October 22, 2018:

No — no — no. There is a smile.

He writes, "This is a German girl, she says she is my baby, she is a good little kid too. July 1945 Eberbach, Germany."

He's in his greens, with tie and sergeant's stripes, a dozen G.I.s milling behind. He holds a curly-headed child in one strong arm. She beams confidently, flirtatiously. His smile is broad and genuine. Of course. Because he's holding life, after so much death.

I wonder if he's thinking of his own daughter, in this moment.

I certainly am.

She'll be eight years old just then, perhaps in Topeka, perhaps in Little Rock, perhaps already in California, the timeline isn't clear to your author and there's no-one remaining to ask. Is she locked in a closet? Counting flowers on the wall?

That was the life her grandfather doomed her too.