"Somehow there was always something missing," says Erika Thesenvitz. "You knew there was somebody there, there is still somebody, somebody still alive - a child you could have brought up yourself."
This film tells the stories of mothers and children who were forcibly separated by the state during the days of the East German regime. A separation that often lasted more than 20 years until mother and child would find each other again. However, those long years of separation turns mothers, daughters and sons into strangers. The challenges of reuniting children and parents often prove to be too much – expectations of the natural family are too high and bonds to adoptive families are too strong.
Between 1950 and 1990 the East German government arranged 75, 000 adoptions. The majorities of them considered the welfare of the child, however, a not insignificant number of adoptions had a political purpose – parental guardianship was taken away as a method of social or political reprimand.
How many parents and children suffered this cruel hardship is hard to say. Documentation of these cases is sparse and often the concerned children do not even know that they have been adopted. For parents the East German government has made it nearly impossible to re-establish contact with their child. 20 years after unification those practices by the East German regime have never been acknowledged as human rights violation subsequently the victim’s rights have never been acknowledged.
Filmmaker Ulrike Brincker in her documentary offers insights of lives and families shattered into pieces, pieces which would never fit together again. Even though the victims have come to terms with their fate, the disappointment over not having their rights as victims of a repressive state officially acknowledged lingers on.
Beate Schlanstein WDR, Dr. Katja Wildermuth MDR