War tears families apart, which is a terrible, terrible thing. Consider how many mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, and other family members had to bid their goodbyes for the sake of their own safety throughout any war in history. When circumstances make raising a child impossible, women may choose to place their kids for adoption.

Gerda Cole was one of these mothers. Due to the horrific circumstances of World War II, the Jewish mother was forced to give up her daughter for adoption in 1942.

The young girl, Sonya Grist, lived the rest of her life with her adoptive parents.

She would then give birth to Stephen Grist, who would go on to play a major role in the remainder of the story.

As a result, the Nazis turned the lives of yet another Jewish family upside down. At the very least, this time they were both safe.

Stephen would stumble across Gerda again 80 years later, accidently.

Despite the fact that it was not a world war, Brexit and COVID had an impact on Stephen’s family.

When Stephen sought for Austrian citizenship, the story’s next episode would take place. Anyone who could prove that their relatives left Austria in the 1930s would be rewarded by the Austrian government. Stephen’s maternal grandparents (of whom Gerda was one) were Austrian citizens at the time.

Stephen began searching as many ancestry websites as he could, not wanting to lose out on the opportunity. He found some of the answers he was looking for, as well as those he hadn’t anticipated.

He became acquainted with his grandmother’s stepson.

He said that he was applying for Austrian citizenship and that he required Gerda’s death certificate to complete the process.

To say the least, he was blown away by the response. The narrator explains, “You won’t find Gerda’s death certificate since she’s still alive and residing in a nursing home in Canada.” Wow!

After all, they couldn’t just sit there with this information. Sonya’s mum was still alive! It’s past time for them to pay her a visit. It’s been 80 years, for the love of God! “I want to fly to Canada right now and give her a big embrace,” Sonya said on CBC’s presentation of the story.

“I’m still learning a lot, and I’ve got a lot of questions for her.” – Sonya expressed herself

“We were all taken aback by the news that her mother was still alive and that she would have the opportunity to meet her.” – Stephen went on to say, ”

The reunion took place on her birthday, Saturday, May 7th. It was a birthday celebration as well as a reunion. It was a turning point for both mother and daughter.

“I had a very limited personal education, and this, combined with the fact that I was in the middle of a conflict, left me with little choice other than to have my daughter Sonya adopted on the advice of the refugee committee,” the woman said. “I had no other choice but to have my daughter adopted.” – Gerda’s statement was made as she was reading from a piece of paper.

On the other hand, it was only because of her grandson that she was finally able to meet the daughter she never got the chance to bring up. And it was during this time that they shared their first few grins and memories with one another. Even though Gerda is 98 years old at this point, it’s always better to start late than never, right?

On their first day spending the day together as mother and daughter, it became clear that the two of them had a love for music. Even though Sonya asserts that she wasn’t particularly talented when she was younger, she did spend some time playing in a steel band.

By Elen

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