1967: “Brano Oleksy Sev had reached his fiftieth year the previous month with fewer scars than he deserved, and had wide, flat cheekbones that belied his Polish descent. He was not married (he had never been), and he owned the same white Trabant P50 he had bought ten years before. He had replaced so many internal parts that likely nothing inside it had come with the original car. Even the steering wheel had been replaced in 1961 (31 October, the same day Stalin’s sarcophagus was removed from its Red Square mausoleum), after he had taken a particularly sharp turn while trailing a suspect and found it sitting in his lap.
But more important than anything, Brano Sev was a major in the Ministry for State Security, located on Yalta Boulevard, number thirty-six.”
This is the loose form of a man, not who he is. Comrade Sev’s history, long speculated on by those who knew him, has only recently come to objective light through his daughter, Jelena Frankovic of Vienna, who has generously assisted me with reminiscences and photographs of her father, this enigma whose life was spent in the shadows. I thank her.
I should note that there have recently been accusations from unkind parties against myself—namely that the images used here are in fact taken from the Pilices, a family living in Novi Sad, Serbia. This is simply untrue, and if the slander continues, my lawyers will be forced to make some calls.