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Tuesday, 17 April, 2001, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK
Schroeder to visit lost father's grave
Grave said to be Fritz Schroeder's in  Ceanu Mare, Romanian village
The grave in Romania has been tended by local people
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has said he is planning to visit the newly-discovered grave of his father, who was killed in World War II without ever seeing his baby son.

Fritz Schroeder, father of Gerhard
Fritz Schroeder: Grave unknown until now
The grave of Corporal Fritz Schroeder was discovered in a tiny Romanian village by a German agency which traces the remains of soldiers killed in action, reported the German tabloid newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

The corporal died in 1944 at the age of 32 as he fought with German forces against partisans near the city of Cluj in north-west Romania.

He was buried in a common grave with eight other Germans in the village of Ceanu Mare.

German newspaper reports say the search for the grave was instigated by the chancellor's elder sister, Gunhild Kamp-Schroeder.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
Gerhard Schroeder: Never met his father
"I'm happy to have finally discovered where exactly the grave of my father is," Mr Schroeder has been quoted as saying in Bild.

"I will visit it soon - in the privacy to which I hopefully have a right."

A Romanian pensioner, meanwhile, has given a television interview recalling how, as a 14-year-old boy, he saw the bodies of the nine German soldiers being brought into the village on German army vehicles.

They were unloaded near the village church, said Marcu Hararean, and then wrapped in tent fabric and buried together in a trench.

Psychologists would naturally say that to grow up without a father would cause emotional problems - I never felt this

Gerhard Schroeder
A small plaque recording the names of those buried was placed nearby, he said, "but it disappeared a long time ago and nobody remembers the names on it," he added.

Local Orthodox priest Daniel Crisan says an Orthodox grave was erected in the men's memory, as he did not know who was buried there, or their religion.

Bild am Sonntag asked Mr Schroeder whether growing up without knowing his father had affected him.

"I don't know," the chancellor was quoted as saying.

Adolf Hitler attends a Nazi dinner
Adolf Hitler: Lost 1,000 men in same part of Romania
"Psychologists would naturally say that to grow up without a father would cause emotional problems. I never felt this."

Mrs Kamp-Schroeder was quoted as saying that she wanted to travel to the grave with her brother, but feared the journey would be too much for their mother Erika Vosseler, now 87.

The battles in which Corporal Schroeder died are believed to have claimed the lives of around 1,000 German soldiers in the same part of Romania.

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See also:

25 Jan 01 | Europe
Schroeder comes out fighting
11 Jan 01 | Europe
Germany's wobbling coalition
11 Nov 98 | World War I
My grandfather's war
15 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Germany
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