Romania has long been an inviting story for anyone who has visited and absorbed the richness of its landscapes, folk traditions and vibrant urban culture. But there’s a dark side, too. One overriding misfortune is its geographic location surrounded over many centuries by competing empires. This was no less the case during two turbulent years, 1938 and 1939, that saw the tentacles of Naziism spread throughout the European continent and lead inexorably to the declaration of the Second World War on September 1, 1939. During those years, Romania was caught in the tightening vice of Hitler’s political tentacles and, as a counterbalance, unable to draw forceful aide from reluctant and distant allies—England and France. At the very same time the country was experiencing a thriving economy and the rise of a new middle class with money to spend, especially in Bucharest.