Adopted woman born in WWII thought her mother had goes then 80yrs later she learns the truth

Look to any historical conflict and see how many mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, and so on had to say goodbye for their safety.

Mothers can sometimes give up their infants for adoption when circumstances are too unforgiving to raise a child.

Gerda Cole was one such mother.


The difficult times amidst World War II forced the Jewish woman to give up her daughter for adoption in 1942.

The little girl, who wouldn’t know who her real mother was, was adopted by a German couple living in England.

Gerda was only 18 when this happened.

Being a young mother is challenging enough. Imagine being one during a world war.

That little girl, Sonya Grist, lived with her adoptive parents for the rest of her life.
She would then become a mother to Stephen Grist, who would play an essential part in the rest of this story.

So it came to be that another Jewish family had their lives upended by the Nazis.

At least this time, they were both safe.

The next part of the story would play when Stephen sought Austrian citizenship.


The Austrian government announced that anyone who would prove that their families departed Austria in the 1930s.

Stephen knew his maternal grandparents (which Gerda was one of) were Austrian citizens at the time.

Not wanting to pass up the opportunity, Stephen searched on as many ancestry websites as he could.

There, he found some of the answers he was looking for and some he didn’t expect to find.

He became acquainted with his grandmother’s stepson.
He explained he was applying for Austrian citizenship and was requesting the stepson for Gerda’s death certificate so he could complete the application process.

The answer he got was incredible, to say the least.
“You’re not going to find Gerda’s death certificate because she’s still alive and living in a nursing home in Canada.”

Well, they couldn’t just sit around with this information.

Sonya’s mom was still alive! And it’s about time they went to see her.

It’s been 80 years, for goodness’ sake! Sonya said, “I want to get on an airplane to Canada right now and give her a big hug” in CBC’s story coverage.

“I still don’t know much and there’s a thousand questions I’ve got to ask her,” said Sonya

“The idea that her mother was still alive and she would have the opportunity to meet her was so exciting, it just threw us all for a loop,” Stephen went on to say

The reunion took place on Saturday, May 7th, on her birthday.
The celebration doubled as a birthday and reunion. It was a big moment for both mother and daughter.


“I had very limited personal education, and this, combined with wartime, left me no recourse but to have my daughter Sonya adopted under the advice of the refugee committee.” – Gerda said reading from a piece of paper

But thanks to her grandson, she got to see the daughter she never got to raise.

And they were able to share smiles and their first few memories.

Gerda may be 98 now, but better late than never.

Their first bonding day as mother and daughter revealed they both had a heart for music.

Sonya was even in a steel band in her youth, though she tells her mother she wasn’t particularly good.

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