Migration of German Children from East Prussia and of Russian-speaking Children to Post-War Lithuania

  • Rūta Matimaitytė
Keywords: Wolf children, Russian-speaking children, famine, forced migration, typhus


The wave of famine-caused migration to Soviet Lithuania (1946–1948) has been a subject of historiographical analysis, focusing selectively on one of the migrant groups: either the East Prussian German children (widely recognised in the cultural memory as the wolf children) or those arriving from famine-affected republics of the Soviet Union. By employing the methodology of oral history, using the interviews collected alongside materials sourced from Lithuanian and German archives, research institutes, and memory institutions, this article aims to uncover the reasons behind the arrival of both groups of migrant children in Soviet Lithuania. It also investigates the attempts made by the bureaucratic apparatus to control and halt migration, as well as the efforts of the wolf children in seeking social justice in Germany after 1990. The study reveals that the Soviet system perceived migrants from East Prussia and other Soviet republics primarily as a potential threat due to the risk of a typhus outbreak in Lithuania.