After 70 years apart, Italian woman finally reunited with the daughter she had with a Nazi soldier

After more than seven decades of separation, an Italian woman and the daughter she had with a German soldier during the have finally been reunited.

The Italian woman, who is 91, moved to voluntarily during the war to work in a factory in Heidelberg and there fell in love with a soldier. She became pregnant and in October 1944 gave birth to a baby girl, but the child was soon taken away from her by the soldier’s family.

After the war the Italian woman returned to her village of Novellara in the northern region of Emilia Romagna, believing the baby had died of illness or had been killed in an Allied bombardment.

But unknown to her, the infant had been adopted by the soldier’s parents, who raised her as Margot Bachmann.

People have not forgotten

As she grew up, the little girl was told that her birth mother was Italian but that the family had no idea of her whereabouts, and was forbidden from searching for her.

Bachmann, now 70, decided to track down her mother last year after her father died. Encouraged by her daughter, who was curious about the family saga, she managed to find her mother with the help of the Italian Red Cross and the International Tracing Service in Germany which works on reuniting families torn apart by the war.

With the help of the Red Cross, the ITS discovered Bachmann’s mother alive and living in Novellara.

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After more than 70 years, the two had an emotional encounter at the weekend, crying and toasting their reunion with a bottle of sparkling wine. “I started out doing some research, hoping to know a bit more about my mother,” said Bachmann. “But I would never have imagined that I would be able to embrace her once again.”

Their story has raised uncomfortable questions about collaboration between Italians and their Nazi occupiers. Her mother has refused to be identified, mindful of the lingering resentment towards Italian women who had romantic liaisons with German troops.

“I can understand her position,” said Elena Carletti, the mayor of Novellara. “In this village, people have not forgotten [the war].”

Laura Bastianetto, of the Italian Red Cross, described the reunion as “a small miracle.” “We hope that the mother, who believed she had lost her daughter forever, can now make up for lost time.”

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