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Getting information and a photo of the half-sister

The search for Horst Meyer´s half-sister led him from Mücke (near Gießen) to the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. “On her deathbed, my mother told me of her existence. I would like to find her,” said Meyer. The 65-year old first learned his half-sister´s name and birth date at the ITS, where he also managed to locate a photograph of the barely two-year old girl in a children´s file. “She was so beautiful,” he said.

Meyer was surprised. “I never would have believed that there was still so much information available. I have to come to terms with it all.” His mother, Olga Fediura, was the youngest of seven children who was forcibly deported to Germany in 1943. She was from Rowno, Poland, which is today Riwne, Ukraine. After the liberation from National Socialism she worked as a waitress for the US Army, began a relationship with a soldier and gave birth to her first child. Horst Meyer was born as Clarens Estes Fediura on 10 December 1947 in Hoechst near Frankfurt am Main.

She had her second child, Monika Fediura, on 18 September 1949, with another US soldier. No wedding ensued, and due to her uncertain future as a single foreigner in post-war Germany, Olga Fediura gave her up for adoption. “This concerns a black child whose unmarried mother was in no position to provide her with a secure future. Having her adopted by a black family in the USA seemed to be in both parties´ best interests,” said the report found in the ITS archives, written by Child Care Officer L. Wijsmuller on 18 January 1951. According to court records, “nothing” was known of Monika´s father; however, in another document he was named as “American Soldier Roy Jones in Frankfurt, Germany”.

Monika was placed in foster care a few days after her birth. She was moved from one location to another until her departure for the USA, including the municipal children´s home in Frankfurt am Main, as well as the International Refugee Organisation´s (IRO) childcare centres in Fabenhausen, Schweinfurt und Bad Aibling. In May 1951 the United States Courts of the Allied High Commission for Germany in Munich decided in favor of her relocation to the USA. On 18 September 1951, her second birthday, Monika was flown from Munich-Riem to New York.

“My mother never spoke about that time in her life,” reported Meyer. “I hardly know anything. She became aggressive whenever I asked her about her ancestry.” She was also uninterested in visiting her birthplace. “Today I heard its name for the very first time.” Margret Schlenke, who heads the ITS department for missing persons, confirms this from her own experience. “Mothers were often so badly traumatised by their experience that they kept their silence for many, many years.” Meyer will likely never learn what happened to his mother. On her Displaced Person registration dated March 1946, the Allies simply remarked “no desire to return to country”, as so many other former forced labourers from eastern Europe.

In most cases they chose emigration. Olga Fediura met a German and after their marriage had her first child´s name changed to Horst Meyer. “I have no information about my biological father and I am not particularly interested,” said Meyer. “I only want to find my sister. She was just a child and none of this was her fault. Maybe we have taken the same path in life.” The search has proven difficult. There have presumably been two name changes, through adoption and possible subsequent marriage. “Mr. Meyer needs to be patient,” said Schlenke. “But we won´t give up. We have a very good relationship with the American Red Cross, which is helping us in our search.”