Twin brothers who were separated at birth at the end of the Second World War have been reunited by the Red Cross after almost 70 years apart.
George Skrzynecky and Lucian Poznanski, 69, were born in Germany after their Polish mother was sent to a forced labour camp. Once she became ill and could no longer look after them, the twins were taken to Poland and adopted separately. For many years they were unaware that each other existed.
Mr Poznanski found out he was adopted when he was drafted into the army as a young man. Mr Skrzynecky discovered the truth about his birth from documents he found when he was 17-years-old.
Once Mr Skrzynecky’s discovered that his adoptive parents had kept his brother a secret, their relationship struggled and he eventually moved to California to start a new life.
A search by the Red Cross Restoring Family Links Programme led them to each other, and they were reunited in their home country of Poland, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show reported.
“All my life I wanted to know my family,” said Mr Skrzynecky, who has been searching for his brother since the 1960s.
On the day of their reunion, Mr Poznanski said “I don’t care about winning the lottery, I just want to have my brother by my side.”
Documents uncovered by the Red Cross revealed the twins’ mother had tried to find them and wanted her sons to be returned to Germany with her, but found out that they had been adopted and that she could not have them back. She died in 1952.
The documents said that: “By error the children were repatriated to Poland without their mother being notified.”
It was also discovered for the first time that the twins’ father was an US soldier who had gone home before their birth.
“I always had the feeling that I would come to America and now I’ve found out why,” Mr Skrzynecky said.
“When I finally learned the whole truth I cried for my mother,” Mr Poznanski said. “She lost two sons.”
“The story is closed,” Mr Skrzynecky said. “The best part of everything is that we finally found each other after so many years of separation.”
“What happened in the past, you cannot change it,” he said.
“Wars are terrible things. There are wars around the world right now, people are dying, people are being misplaced – it’s really very sad.”
“But we have a time to celebrate now and look to the future. Brothers forever.”