In occupied Paris a female German Soldier gives birth to a child without anybody telling
about it. She gives the child up for adoption. But the father, a french officer, takes the
child in. Sixty years later the events are revealed.
When enemy armies retreat they do not only leave behind the
dead and the devastation. They also leave behind children.
Often these children are the result of rapes. But sometimes
they are the result of love, too. In most cases it’s the
men, the soldiers who leave these children behind. Even
today numberless children of the war don’t know who their
But there also were women in uniform, who left their
children behind. The documentary “Dead Silence” tells one
of these yet unheard stories. In the occupied Paris of 1944
a young woman, employed by the German army conceives a
child from a french officer. Renate Schodder gives birth to
her son Thomas. Right after the birth she gives him up for
adoption. Only her sister knows about the child. Nobody
else must know as the child’s father still is an enemy.
Life is more thrilling than fiction. The father of the
‘forbidden’ child takes the child in. In the post-war
confusion he fights the German youth welfare office to be
able to keep his son. In elaborate letters to Renate he
tries to win back her love. He wants to live with her and
asks her repeatedly to live with him in Paris. In 1947
however Renate marries a German. Her illegitimate son is
raised by his french father. Finally the parents cut all
ties between them.
On September 7th, 1996 Renate dies. Two hours after the
death of his beloved mother her son Dietrich Frey finds the
letters and documents that reveal the events that had taken
place almost 50 years before. From this moment on he is not
an only child anymore. And the image of his mother has
changed. It takes almost ten years for Dieter to process
these news and to start the search for his french half-
brother. After searching for quite a while he finally
receives a response saying: „Cher Dietrich, je suis bien le
demi-frère que tu recherches!“ (Dear Dietrich, I surely am
the half-brother you’ve been looking for!).
From the viewpoints of the still living persons involved
this film tells the story of Renate and her two sons:
Thomas, who never got to know his biological mother. And
Dieter, who has to find a new image of his mother. And
after over 60 years the familys are re-united. The French
and the German brothers finally meet.