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The Rage to Live - The International D.P. Children's Center Kloster Indersdorf

Peter (Alexander Pecha) in Indersdorf.

The historian and educator Anna Andlauer, with the book "The Rage to Live - The International D.P. Children's Center Kloster Indersdorf, 1945-46," presents the story of young Holocaust survivors, who were sheltered in the former Indersdorf monastery in Bavaria at the end of World War II. Research into the fate of those children continues, and among others, Andlauer searches Alexander Pecha.

The exact identity of the boy is unknown. He was in the Kloster Indersdorf for a year, under the name of Peter, until he was repatriated to the Soviet Union in late 1946. "Since his return, there is no trace of him," says Andlauer. She hopes that her search for Peter will be successful, thanks to the communication possibilities of the Internet. Pecha was taken by the Germans at the age of about four as an orphan, kidnapped from Zhitomir in the Ukraine. According to the child search documents of the Allies, the SS physician Dr. Bruhns wanted to "Germanize" him. He came to the East Prussian family Polstorff and fled with them before the Red Army. They went to Prague and then to Bavaria, until the UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) took care of the child.

To tell the little-known story of the orphanage, the author has already tracked down 50 of the former children of Indersdorf. She also searched the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS). Andlauer regularly invites the survivors to visit the former convent. In July 1945, the Americans opened the orphanage in Indersdorf, where hundreds of surviving children from concentration camps, from forced labor, and from Lebensborn homes found a temporary home.

UNRRA was in charge of the emotionally and physically wounded, young people from over 20 nations until they could return to their homes or immigrate to other countries. The Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul also took care of them. Initially, the basic needs of the young survivors were met. They received adequate food, clean and appropriate clothing, medical supplies, and were allowed to wash regularly and sleep in their own, clean beds. With creative games, they learned to work through their traumatic experiences. "The children were allowed to play and learn again, and could talk about their disturbing experiences to people who listened to them," tells Andlauer. "This way, their difficult road back to life began." 

The Rage to Live - The International D.P. Children's Center Kloster Indersdorf 1945-46

Anna AndlauerKindle Edition226 pages, Pb