German car leaders in Czechoslovakia were instructed "to tell any separated families in their cars that if questioned they were to state that the retained member was either dead or missing."
(R. M. Douglas, Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans After the Second World War)
The Second World War and its aftermath separated many families in Europe. In East Prussia, the Soviets declared that all Germans would have to leave. In 1947, Oma, her daughter, her nieces and nephew were all ordered onto cattle cars for the trip across the Polish Corridor to the rest of Germany. However, Oma's son, Manfred, was in Lithuania scourging for food with his grandparents. With the Soviet soldiers pointing a gun at her, she had no choice but to leave without her son.
In fact, Oma could have been punished by the Soviets if she had insisted on waiting for her son rather than get on the transport. Such was the case for German minorities across Eastern Europe after the Second World War.Author R. M. Douglas points out that German car leaders in Czechoslovakia were instructed "to tell any separated families in their cars that if questioned they were to state that the retained member was either dead or missing."
In Ruhla, East Germany, Oma found a job in an auto parts factory. But she ached for her son. Wartime communication was unreliable. Months passed without any news. Oma, who couldn't afford to care for her nieces and nephews indefinitely, put them in an orphanage. She and her daughter continued to live in a Ruhla apartment.
One day in 1948, Oma's sister, Doris, who worked for the Red Cross, was walking down the road in Lithuania when she saw a blond haired blue eyed boy -- it was Manfred! She wrote a letter to Oma who was overjoyed to hear the news. After a year, Oma was finally reunited with her son.
German children, deported from the Eastern provinces, arrive in West Germany circa 1948 courtesy https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-2003-0703-500,_R%C3%BCckf%C3%BChrung_deutscher_Kinder_aus_Polen.jpg.