[imText1]A German grandmother, Renate Hong (69) has been waiting for her North Korean husband having separated with him 40 years ago. Through this case, a Romanian grandmother Mircioju (72) was introduced to the DailyNK last March in order to gain further interest.
German grandmother Hong married her North Korean husband who at the time was an overseas university student in former East Germany. However once the Berlin wall was constructed in `61, her husband was forcefully repatriated back to North Korea and as a result they have been apart for 43 years. Grandma Hong raised two children on her own and has been waiting for the day she will be reunited with her husband.
As for Romanian grandma Georgeta Mircioju, she was the head of an orphanage during the Korean War and when a North Korean instructor was sent to East Europe, she fell in love.
At the time, she had just graduated from the college of education and was consigned to teach as an art teacher for North Korea’s war orphanages at a N. Korea people’s school. Here she fell in love with Cho Jung Ho and a secret love blossomed. Within 5 years, the two people received permission to be married from their countries and were even able to have a ceremonial wedding.
After the war, the couple settled their new life in Pyongyang, but was unfortunately separated when their daughter Mi Ran became severely ill at two years of age. With her daughter and the child’s care, grandma Mircioju went to Romania with intentions to return to North Korea once the child was better. However, the Romanians superintendents refused to issue her an entering visa from the North Korean embassy.
Afterwards, though she was able to send and receive letters through her husband’s younger brother, the correspondence ended with a final letter stating that her husband had been forced to work in the coal mines.
Not only did Grandma Mircioju send earnest letters and photos asking the North Korean authorities to allow her to meet her husband, she also sent countless requests to the National Red Cross Society and Amnesty International.
[imText2]In order to hear news of her husband, grandma Mircioju has been going to the North Korea embassy nearly every month. She has made endless requests to the North Korean embassy asking to meet her husband if he was to be alive or to at least to confirm his bones or ashes if he was to be dead.
However, every time, she has only heard unclear responses from the embassy suggesting his death, life and whereabouts.
The wedding ring marked with “1957 Jung Ho” on the inside has never been taken off her finger says grandma Mircioju. Grandma Mircioju who is still unable to throw away the hope of reunion remarks “Until I am able to confirm with my own eyes, I cannot believe that my husband is dead.”
The voice appeal by grandma Mircioju sent to the DailyNK to look for her husband was an earnest and touching one. Grandma Mircioju not knowing when she would meet her husband again, has studied Korean all this time and voiced in her broken Korean her longing to meet her husband.
Following the Korean War, in 1950~1960, North Korea dispatched large numbers of overseas students and laborers to Eastern Europe and as the number of people extricating to East and West Europe increased, North Korea began to forcefully extradite people back. In 1960 under the impulse of ‘revisionism’ many people married to foreigners were forced to divorce.
As a result of these policies, grandma Hong like grandma Mircioju lost her loving family in a day and it is said that there is a large amount of victims in similar situations.
On a different note, political groups and the National Red Cross Society hearing grandma Hong’s story have revealed that they would support and be proactive in helping her reunite with her husband. Han Wan Sang, Director for the Korean Red Cross Society has sent exclusive letters to the Director for the German Red Cross Society and when the North-South Korean Red Cross Conference is opened, he revealed that he would try and make a plan to help Renate Hong.
As for Korea’s position, they said “This issue is actually an issue between Germany and North Korea. Though it is not something in which we should become involved, as it has gathered must interest from the news, we sent a letter as symbolic precedence” and regarding Romanians grandma Mircioju’s case they said “We will make a decision once an investigation is complete.”