Forced Adoptions in East Germany Continue to Cause Pain

Feb 10, 2019 by

The East German state had a habit of taking children from politically undesirable parents and giving them up for adoption. It is a horrific aspect of the communist regime that has never received the attention it deserves. That may now be changing.

By Annette Großbongardt –

Image result for East German children

When Uwe Mai thinks about his childhood, he sees the Saale River. Bending gently, it flowed past his parents’ home in Calbe just south of Magdeburg. He only had to dash across the road and down some steps to reach the riverbank, lined with big old trees to climb and rocks to skip across the water.

Mai says that he and his little brother Thomas played down by the river every day when his parents were working their shifts. His father was a steelworker in a nearby factory that was a major supplier of pig iron in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), as East Germany was officially known. His mother worked as a bus conductor.

But then came the day in early 1961 when the GDR took his parents away. He and his brother were playing down by the river as usual when they heard someone call: “Come home quick!” Strange men were standing in the kitchen, he says, and his father sitting on a chair, crying. “Mommy is gone,” he said. “I can’t feed you here anymore, you will have to go to a home for the time being.” It was the first time that Uwe had seen his father cry. He was six years old at the time, his little brother was three.

After that, things moved quickly. A woman, likely from the youth welfare office, was also there, Mai says, and she packed their things and brought them to a children’s home in nearby Schönebeck. Only Herbert, their big brother, was allowed to stay.

Where was his mother? What had happened? In the children’s home, he says, a woman who worked there later whispered into his ear: “Your mother ran off to the West with a colleague.” He says it was the only bit of information he ever received, and even today, he still doesn’t know if it is true.

Source: Forced Adoptions in East Germany Continue to Cause Pain – SPIEGEL ONLINE

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