German original below English
(from Chaninah Schott, age 13 years)
On September 5, 2013, all of the children from Klosterzimmern and Wornitz were just taken away. At 6 o’clock in the morning the police came and got them. They said they would bring us back in the evening and that they were supposed to take us with them for a short time. I did not want to go away from my parents and thought, “They can’t possibly do this to me.”
When we were at the Jugendamt and were being examined, the people came and were supposed to put us in foster homes (orphanages) and with foster families. That was the moment when my worst nightmare began. Me and my sisters were brought to a home. I was just weeping, and I was helpless.
Then the police said, “Tonight, you’ll be back with your parents.” As it got later and the caretaker gave us our rooms and beds, I knew that it was a lie and we’d have to stay here for a while.
I didn’t know what to do and that’s how the days went by. On every new day, when evening came, I lay in my bed and wept.
7 weeks had passed before I was allowed to see my parents again for the first time. They were also allowed to know where we were, but they were only allowed to see us when accompanied by the caretakers and Jugendamt, because they thought otherwise my parents would just take us. I couldn’t understand why Judge Mrs. Roser threw us all into one pot. She didn’t have any evidence that our parents beat us.
After a while we were allowed to see our parents every other week. I was very happy to see them. I didn’t understand anything. Like many puzzle pieces that didn’t fit together…
When we had a hearing at Judge Frau Roser’s court, I had a feeling that she had us prejudged already and didn’t really listen to us. At the Appeals Court, for the first time, I felt like the judge listened and tried to understand us.
I knew that even if they separated us, you could never separate a daughter from her mother or father, even if they can’t be together.
My friends and parents encouraged me saying, “If not today, then tomorrow.” That’s how we can endure, is if we encourage one another. I also know that when I am away from my family and my friends won’t ever forget me. They encourage me to hold on and not give up.
My parents are always there for me. Some children don’t have parents that care for them the way mine do. And nobody can replace my parents for me. They’ll always be the best parents in the world. I know that they love me and I love them, too.
After three months we heard that Besorah was allowed to go home. We were so happy for her but it was very hard to let her go. I would not see my older sister very often any more.
When I asked why she was allowed to go home and we weren’t, I just heard, “She’s older than you.”
It didn’t make sense to us that she was allowed to home just cause she was older. I was always happy when all three of them visited every other Friday.
Even though we needed to be accompanied and we were never able to have our private “realm”, it was nice. Like cold water to a thirsty soul. Simply forget everything and enjoy the time as a family that we don’t have very often.
You’d felt like you were in prison, never knowing when you could go out and always having to be watched. Everyday I hope that I could go home soon.
I will continue to endure, even if I suffer. It strengthens the character.
I know that I can make it and it will have an end. I am old enough and know what I want.
Nobody can force me to do something I don’t want to do. I hope the people who read this letter will take to heart what I am trying to say.
And that they might start listening to the younger ones, because they also have something to say.
Thank you very much,
Chaninah Schott (age 13)
Read more about the courageous and determined Schott Family.