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Searching for her Father’s Birth Place

Australian national Rebbeca Sharp’s original intention had been to apply for a EU passport only. But what seemed to be a mere formality turned out to be a fascinating search for her roots. “For about a year, I have been striving to learn more now pursuing research in Australia, the US, Bulgaria and Germany”, said Sharp. Early in May, she looked into the documents kept at the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen.

Sharp’s father, Georg Gusseff, was born during World War II, or to be more precise: in 1941. Where his birth happened is unclear still, and the respective documents available are contradictory. “My father died when I was a child. I have never had the chance to ask him in person”, explains 38-year-old Sharp.

She has to present her father’s birth certificate providing proof of the fact that he was born in Europe in order to obtain a EU passport for herself. However: One document kept in the ITS archives quotes Dresden in Germany as his birth place, another shows Bulgaria as his birth country. Answering the question the Allies had asked about his previous whereabouts, Sharp’s grandfather stated at the time that he had left Russia fleeing the Communists and had gone into exile first to Poland in 1920 and second to Germany in 1927. He made variant comments or statements on whether he had been staying in Germany throughout World War II or had temporarily lived in Bulgaria as well.

Having immigrated to the US together with his mother after the war had ended, i.e. in 1951, Sharp’s father joined his father in Australia when he was seventeen years old. His parents had separated prior to the emigration of mother and son which took place in 1947. Benefiting from ITS’ assistance, Sharp plans to find both, the last contemporary witness alive from her family in the US and her father’s birth certificate. “Knowing who you are and where you come from makes a difference”, said the Australian.