Christian Boltanski: Diese Kinder suchen ihre Eltern. (These Children Seek Their Parents). Gina Kehayoff Verlag, Munich, 1994. 88 pp. Octavo (9.75 x 5.75 in./24.5 x 14.5 cm) Limited edition of 77 signed and hand-numbered copies. Stiff printed wrappers. Black-and-white reproductions. Accompanied by silver gelatin print (signed and numbered on verso; 9.25 x 5 in./23.5 x 12.5 cm) Cardboard slipcase. Text in French, German and English (though photo-captions themselves are mostly in German).
Most of the photographs reproduced in Diese Kinder suchen ihre Eltern (These Children Seek Their Parents) were taken by Hilmar Pabel 1946-1947. The Red Cross originally reproduced the photographs along with characteristics of the children and distributed them in an endeavour to trace their parents.
In his introduction, Boltanski explains, "In devastated post-war Germany, thousands of children were displaced or homeless. They did not know how to find their parents, and in some cases did not even know their own name or age. The Red Cross took up their cause, and printed posters with their photographs and information on special characteristics in an attempt to find a family for them again.
Now fifty years have passed, and when I look at the faces of these lost children I find myself trying to imagine what has become of them. They have become part of the post-war history of Germany with all its changes. Has fate brought them happy or unhappy lives, made them rich or poor? I should like to find them again. They are about my own age, and their history is similar in some ways to mine, to ours. We, too, are in search of our parents"--Christian Boltanski