The Wandering Wolf Children Of Nazi Germany

“The attitude toward the wolf children in Lithuania was anything but united. At some houses, they cooked a big tureen of soup for the refugees every day. At others, however, the farmers unchained their dogs.” —Ruth Leiserowitz

In a Nutshell

As the Red Army took control of East Prussia at the end of World War II, thousands of orphaned children were forced to flee the cities and enter the woods in search of food and shelter. They became known as wolf children because they traveled in packs and made regular night trips between Germany, Poland, and Lithuania to avoid Soviet detection.

The Whole Bushel

When it became clear that the Third Reich was going to fall, Hitler enforced a law that prevented citizens from leaving Germany. The law caused many families to suffer and thousands of orphaned children were forced to flee. The children banded together, formed small communes, and became known for “begging, drudging, and stealing” food in order to stay alive.

The groups of children had to avoid Soviet detection, too—if caught, they would be forced to work for Russia. In some cases, Lithuanian farmers would offer the children food in exchange for work. The luckiest were adopted by nice families and grew up in Lithuania. The locals called them “Vokietukai” (“little Germans”) and thousands of children settled in the country in the wake of the war.

The stories documenting wolf children didn’t reach the mainstream public until the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which took place on December 26, 1991. After World War II, it was the official stance of the Soviets that no Germans lived in the occupied zones of Poland, Germany, and Lithuania. Today, approximately 100 wolf children are still living in Lithuania as adults. Some have tried to regain German citizenship, but the German government has refused the requests. Lithuania, on the other hand, has embraced these people and provided them with a pension.

Show Me The Proof

Lost and forgotten: German ‘wolf children’ in Lithuania
Denmark’s Myths Shattered: A Legacy of Dead German Children
The Story of a Wolf Child
‘I Thought There Was No Germany Anymore’

  • jesper

    Nice to see that somebody cares

  • anonymouse72

    Probably really smart children.

    Unfortunately there could have been more kind adults.

  • philipmarie

    Onions man, where are these onions coming from?

  • Mom424

    Can’t believe the Germans won’t extend citizenship to them.
    My uncle was actually one of these kids briefly; parents and family killed in the salt mines of Latvia, rescued by the Catholic Red Cross and adopted by my Grandparents.

    • Good for your grandparents.
      I’m shocked that the current German government refuses to reinstate the citizenship of these unfortunates. Shame on them!

      • Hillyard

        At the same time, many descendants of Germans that emigrated to Russia ca 200 years ago have been welcomed back and given citizenship.They were being ‘oppressed’, I think it’s really a wonderful ‘coincidence’ that just as the wall fell, these people decided they need to come home to the fatherland. And shop at Russian themed grocery stores.

        • Yes, I see your point. It is difficult to come to any completely logical conclusions when one is missing crucial facts.

    • diablo135

      If you think about it, why would they? How do they know they’re German?

  • Liege_Lord

    Awesome article, was not very familiar with this.

  • moistmulattoman


  • Glengarry Ricky Ross

    This is sad.. but it reminds me of that movie Mama….

  • rhijulbec

    Sad that the smallest victims of any hostility in any country are treated the same as the perpetrators.

  • Just wow,Germany.