Mother reunited with girl 40 years after Stasi intervention (Germany)

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A mother whose children were stolen by the Stasi secret police of former East Germany has been reunited with one of them nearly 40 years on.

Petra Hoffmann, 55, saw her daughter Mandy Reinhardt, 38, for the first time this week since the agents of the hard line Communist regime took her away shortly after she was born.

Mandy was born to Petra in 1971 when she was just 16 and worked in a government cafeteria. But the father was a man the state disapproved of – a dissident who had served prison time for speaking out against the imperfections of life in totalitarian East Germany.

She badgered authorities, placed notices in newspapers, appealed among old friends. But the Stasi had destroyed most of the paperwork and the hunt came to nothing.

Then, six weeks ago, as Germany prepared massive celebrations for next month marking 20 years since the Berlin Wall fell, a letter came from Berlin to Petra which read: "You don't know me at all, but I believe you are my mother." Mandy, a mother-of-two herself, had searched since 1992 to find her mother after the foster parents she was given to told her that she was adopted.

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