Ny sydkoreansk dokumentär om de nordkoreanska ensamkommande flyktingbarnen i Central- och Östeuropa

”Alla” vet att Sydkorea är det land i världen som överlägset och utan konkurrens har adopterat bort allra flest av sina egna barn och medborgare till västvärlden med långt över 200 000 genomförda utlandsadoptioner sedan 1954 och utlandsadoptionerna pågår dessutom fortfarande (medan fastlands-Kina kommer tvåa med cirka 140 000 utlandsadoptioner och Indien alternativt Colombia trea med långt färre utlandsadoptioner än så).
 
Att Sydkorea är den utomvästerländska och postkoloniala världens ledande och största ”barnexportör” har också varit ett ”paradnummer” i Nordkoreas propaganda som genom åren har gått ut på att säga att ”Sydkorea säljer koreanska barn till de vita imperialisterna i Väst”.
 
Faktum är dock att även Nordkorea en gång i tiden ”exporterade” barn till Väst, och närmare bestämt till det då kommunistiska Central- och Östeuropa, även om syftet inte var att adoptera bort barnen permanent utan att placera dem temporärt på barnhem i bl a Polen, Tjeckoslovakien, Ungern och Rumänien under och efter Koreakriget (och fram tills 1959) som pågick mellan 1950-53.
 
År 2002 skrev jag om de nordkoreanska ”utlandsadoptionerna” till och ensamkommande flyktingbarnen i Central- och Östeuropa i en amerikansk tidskrift (se http://www.tobiashubinette.se/north_korea_and_adoption.pdf) och vilket bl a resulterade i att CNN ringde mig angående min artikel (och för första och hittills enda gången för min egen del i varje fall) då jag på den tiden möjligen var den första personen i västvärlden som skrev mer utförligt om dem och nu har en sydkoreansk dokumentärfilm snart premiär på Sofia Independent Film Festival i Bulgarien som handlar dessa barn.
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”In May 1957, the North Korean embassy in Warsaw received an urgent telegram from the Polish spy agency. It read two North Korean children had been caught at a Polish-Austrian border security checkpoint after their failed attempt to enter Austria. The two children were handed over to the North Korean agents and then sent back to the North.
 
No one has heard from them since.
 
The two unnamed boys were Korean War orphans who were protected at an orphanage in Plakowice, Poland. In the 1950s, the small Polish city was home to some 1,400 Korean War orphans who were sent there for education and vocational training.
 
Thousands of war orphans were loaded onto trains for several Eastern European countries during and after the 1950-53 Korean War. The rare wartime migration came as those governments accepted then North Korean leader Kim Il-sung’s plea to care for them temporarily.
 
Knowing their days in Europe were numbered as they were to be repatriated to North Korea soon, some children became defiant and maneuvered to stay in Europe.
 
The escapees’ cases came against this backdrop.
 
Kim Deog-young, director of the documentary film ”Two Homes” which traces the Korean War orphans who arrived in Europe, said many of the war orphans were traumatized as they experienced the brutal war that took the lives of their parents.
 
 
Kim Deog-young, director of the documentary film ”Two Homes” which traces the Korean War orphans who arrived in Europe, said many of the war orphans were traumatized as they experienced the brutal war that took the lives of their parents.
 
”They displayed extreme fear and anxiety after arriving in European orphanages. But they adapted to the new environment well and felt at home in Europe as the years passed,” he told The Korea Times. ”Facing calls to return to North Korea, some children displayed uneasiness. The escapees’ cases were reported in several European countries that hosted the North Korean children, such as Romania, Hungary and Poland.”
 
Some escapees had to face the tragic consequences of their failed attempts.
 
A North Korean orphan in Romania was to be adopted by a local family but the adoption had not gone well. He chose to run back the orphanage. It was a day before he and other North Korean children at an orphanage in the northeastern Romanian town of Siret were scheduled to be repatriated to North Korea. The other children brutally battered him and he became crippled. He and the other children were sent back to the North as scheduled.”
 
 
(…)
 
 
””Two Homes” features local residents who are aware of the migration of thousands of North Korean children into Eastern Europe in the 1950s. Some of them were teachers and some were friends of the Korean War orphans.
 
Kim traced their lost history based on his extensive interviews with the surviving teachers, friends and staff of orphanages that housed the North Korean children.
 
People were willing to share their photos of the children and letters they received from the orphans after they went back to North Korea.
 
Kim said the Korean War orphans in Europe was tough to uncover.
 
The children were there in the 1950s, six decades ago. Few documents or reports exist about their presence in Europe. The Eastern European nations’ decisions to accept Kim Il-sung’s request were a touchy domestic issue.
 
Europe was still recovering from World War II. In the 1950s, post-war reconstruction was still going on there and all resources were mobilized to rebuild their nations. So the leaders of the European countries were wary of the possible backlash from the public for using taxes to take care of the Korean War orphans.
 
Few knew about their presence in Eastern Europe, other than teachers and those who were involved in the orphanages.
 
The language barrier is another challenge Kim faced all during his film project. The five countries he visited ― Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania ― for the film project each have languages.
 
 
”Digging into information about the North Koreans, who were there decades ago, was challenging. Finding people who remember their presence or have first-hand experience with them was also tough,” he said. ”While shooting the documentary for three months in Europe and spending another five months editing, many thoughts came across my mind. I think ‘Two Homes’ is a thought-provoking film because it raises the issue about war orphans and how the issue should be handled. For me, it was a humanism project. I met many Europeans who still miss the North Koreans, even though chances of reunion with them are very slim.””
 
 
(…)
 
”Repatriation of the orphans was completed by 1959, three years after the North Korean leader’s state visit to Eastern Europe.
 
According to the filmmaker, Kim Il-sung might have been wary of the children who were exposed to European ways of thinking and the rise of the liberal movement that swept Eastern Europe after the death of Joseph Stalin.
 
”During his state visit to Eastern European countries, Kim Il-sung met the North Korean children at the orphanage in Poland. He would have sensed that the children were different from their cohorts in North Korea. Back then, the orphans had stayed in Europe there for four or five years, depending on the children, and had become quite European,” the director said.”