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'Close to a miracle'

Mother and daughter reunited 71 years after being separated by the Nazis

By WITW Staff on August 13, 2015

“What we observed last weekend comes close to a miracle,” said Friederike Scharlau, a representative for International Tracing Firm, which reunited Margot Bachmann with her 91-year-old mother some 71 years after they’d been separated by the Nazis. As far as extraordinary stories go, this one ranks among the very top tier. Bachmann, a German citizen, and her mother (who didn’t want to be identified in news reports) reunited over the weekend in a small Italian village. It was an occasion that was decades in the making, not to mention highly improbable. After they were separated, Bachmann lived for a time in an orphanage and, in the chaos that followed the end of World War II, even more distance was put between the two.

Bachmann never gave up on the search for her mother, but managed her expectations about what, if anything, she might discover about her. Anytime she asked about her birth mother, the family that ended up raising her dismissed her questions. She thought maybe, at best, she’d learn her mother’s identity, but scarcely expected to meet her in the flesh or share a hug. “I wanted to find photos or some information,” she reportedly said. When they did meet in Italy, a bottle of sparkling wine was opened and the two caught up on decades of lives spent apart. According to a witness, the mother looked at her long-lost daughter at one point and said, “I thought you were dead, otherwise I would’ve searched for you.” What’s most chilling about this story is how Bachmann was separated from her mother in the first place.

For more on the story, watch the video below.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.