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August Mayer, President of the Tracing Service for Missing Germans: People’s Solidarity and the Tracing Service (1947)

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But the press, radio, and film are not enough. They are not sufficient to penetrate the tiniest village and to tell every last resettler, every last person who is looking for his lost loved one, which path to take to achieve results. Ways must be found to provide even more information than before about the work of the Tracing Service. What we need to do is activate transmission lines from the agency to the population, whose task it is to help wherever the reach of a central agency does not extend far enough. The mass organizations, be they unions, cultural organizations, political parties, organizations devoted to the welfare of the people – they all have the opportunity to help here. One of the most important of organizations is “People’s Solidarity” [Volkssolidarität], the organization of solidarity for the people.

We can happily note that Volkssolidarität has already helped us a great deal, whether it was resettlers, or impoverished elderly people who had no contact with their children, or children who had to be placed into homes – everywhere we felt the helpful arm of this organization.

We want to make special mention here of the laudable initiative of the state of Saxony, which, in collaboration with the Tracing Service, issued a booklet of parentless children. We hope that this initiative will reach all the states and will be centrally guided, so that here, too, the greatest possible success can be achieved in productive cooperation with the state organizations of the Volkssolidarität. The help that the Volkssolidarität is extending to parentless children must be supplemented by the joint efforts of the relevant agencies to do everything possible to follow all traces to find the parents, parent, or relatives of the children who still have not heard anything today. [ . . . ]

From Kaliningrad, the former Königsberg (Prussia), 3,200 children who lived in orphanages have arrived in quarantine camps in the Soviet occupation zone. The Tracing Service now faces the difficult task of determining whether any family members of these children might still be living, and if so where. So far, the Tracing Service has found the parents or relatives of 323 children. How much joy the Tracing Service has given to mothers or relatives who were filled with anxiety about their children! It must be a human duty for everyone to restore these children to their families, if possible before Christmas.

Anyone who can provide information about the location of the parents or relatives of the children listed below should pass it on to the Tracing Service for Missing Germans [Suchdienst für vermißte Deutsche], Berlin W8, Kanonierstr. 35. Search requests for children should be directed to the Suchdienst für vermißte Deutsche through official search postcards, which are available at every post office in the Soviet occupation zone.

[ . . . ]

Source: August Mayer, “Volkssolidarität und Suchdienst” [“People’s Solidarity and the Tracing Service”], Volkssolidarität. Mitteilungsblatt für alle Ortsausschüsse und Aktivisten der Volkssolidarität [People’s Solildarity. Newsletter for all Local Committees and Activists of People’s Solidarity]. December 1947, no. 9, p. 7.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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