The Lexora Leader, a New Jersey newspaper, recently reported the story of a man born in l938 or l939 in Poland who was stolen and sent to a Lebensborn Center to be Germanized, one of the 100,000 such children who were then given to German parents to raise.
Stanislaw (Stan) Rowski, 79, who recently was living a homeless-style life camping in the New Jersey woods or in and out of motels, was given the German name, Fritz Radke, and placed with an Austrian family. He never knew his birth parents.
In l945, when the Allies were trying to relocate refugees at camps in Italy and Spain, at l8 years he was old enough to immigrate to the U.S. He was drafted and served in the U.S. air force for l6 years in the Philippines and Thailand. In the Philippines he met and married a Fillipino and had two children. “She wasn’t interested in coming to the U.S.,” he says and they separated.
A Center City veterans center a few months ago reached out to help him. They found him to be highly independent so it took them a year or more to get him to tell them his name and to show us his military I.D.
His health failing, he finally agreed to let the VMC veterans assist him move into permanent house and to locate his adult children living in California. He says that they didn’t know he was living in the woods or that he was even alive. He now visits the military base where he grocery shops and goes to the library. The Lexora Newpaper article reports him as saying, “I’ve had a fascinating life, but too much change.”
According to the national American Red Cross, no chapter had ever been asked to help such a Lebensborn child locate their parents. However, at my first Lebensborn Secrets book presentation, a man in his late sixties stood up. “I was born in a Lebensborn Home and I have been trying without success to find my birth parents.” Fortunately, today records of all the war victim tracing services have a combined computer base and may have been able to assist him. The International Tracing Service, a German-based organization, for example, continues the work and issues a yearly publication about their efforts.
There in Bad Arleson, Germany, at the Tracing Center, you can see such records as Schlinder’s List. From time to time, I will be contacted, too. A woman photographer in Australian asked me about seeking such children in her area. I wonder to this day if the man who asked for my source information, finally was able to learn about his parents.
As an author, I may never know. But, I was glad I could pass along what information I did have about the war victim agencies. Since WWII, the stories of Lebensborn children which today are surfacing are ones who have had conflicted lives with little support or education. Thankfully, Stan now has a family and friends and life worth living.
(Picture credit: Photopin)