• Germany's news in English

70 years after WWII, mum and daughter reunite

Patrick Browne · 11 Aug 2015, 08:44

Published: 11 Aug 2015 08:44 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Last weekend's emotional reunion was made possible thanks to a search led by the Germany-based International Tracing Service (ITS), which specializes in reuniting people separated by conflict, and the Italian Red Cross, which has an international mandate to assist in such searches.

In 1944, the mother from Emilia-Romagna became pregnant by a married German soldier while she was working in Germany.

As soon as the child was born, she was taken from the mother and raised by the father and his wife, along with their own sons and daughters.

The mother was led to believe that the baby had died shortly after being born, and returned to her hometown of Novellara when the war ended.

As the child grew up in a small town outside Frankfurt, the father told her that her mother was Italian, but had died during the war and would not allow his daughter to ask anymore questions about her maternal parent.

But two years ago, after the death of her father, Margot Bachmann, now 71, decided she wanted to know more about her biological mother, who she believed to be long dead.

With the support of her own daughter, she went to the ITS to try to see what she could discover.

Incredibly, the search revealed that after 70 years, her mother was still alive. Since returning to Italy, she had never left her hometown and was eventually located by the ITS and Italian Red Cross.

"It required a lot of time. We have a database of 30 million documents that we needed to search and fortunately we managed to find the mother's pension request," a spokesperson for the ITS told The Local.

"We only manage to reunite a handful of people like this each year."

Story continues below…

Speaking of the emotional reunion in Novellara, Bachmann told La Repubblica: "I started the search hoping to find out more but I never thought I would be able to embrace my mother in my arms."

A spokesperson for the Italian Red Cross, Laura Bastianetto, explained how extraordinary the reunion was.

“We have witnessed a small miracle. It's very rare for a mother and daughter to find each other after 70 years. Usually it's brothers and sisters we end up reuniting – there aren't that many Second World War survivors left.

“Now that the two families have been reunited, no doubt there will be plenty of trips between Germany and Italy. They have so much to tell each other and it's great that the mother, who believed her child to be dead, will have the chance to make up for lost time.” 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Patrick Browne (patrick.browne@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd