By Jasmine Kazlauskas
A German mum-of-two who fled to New Zealand after the collapse of the Berlin wall has met her estranged brother for the very first time, after discovering that her “dad” was not her biological father.
In late December 2017, Steffi August, 53, stood at Auckland airport anxiously waiting the arrival of her brother Guido Voigt, 49, after he flew across the world from his hometown of Leipzig, Germany to meet his sister for the first time in New Zealand.
The heartwarming moment was streamed live on Facebook by Steffi’s daughter Sally, 33, and shows the mum nervously waiting at the arrival gate with a huge sign that read “United after a 50 year mystery…The brother I never knew I had arrives TODAY!” before Guido finally arrives, and the siblings embrace for the very first time.
Steffi, who is also mum to son Max, 23, revealed that she always felt as if “something wasn’t right” in her family growing up, due to the fractured and distant relationship with the man she believed was her father, who Steffi said “completely abandoned” her following her parent’s divorce when she was ten-years-old.
Author and motivational speaker Steffi grew up in Dresden in communist East Germany, which she reveals was difficult due to the “limited freedom” and “restriction of movement” east Germans faced at the time, while being “constantly monitored” by the secret police known as The Stasi.
After fleeing communist East Germany in 1988 and then emigrating to New Zealand eight years later, Steffi said that she finally discovered the truth about who her real father was during a visit to Germany in 2006.
Steffi said: “I always thought when I was a child that things just didn’t seem to add up.
“I couldn’t understand why I had brown hair when the rest of my family was blonde.
“And I didn’t know why my ‘father’ was so cold towards me all those years and why he simply stopped talking to me after he divorced from my mother when I was a kid.
“I never understood why we were never close and why he made no effort to talk to me after the divorce.
“I was a good girl and yet he didn’t want me in his life. It hurt a lot.
“So, when I tracked him down during my visit back to Germany in 2006, I just confronted him. I wanted to know why he acted the way that he did.
“And he just spilled everything to me.
“He told me that he wasn’t my father, that he married my mother when I was three weeks old and put his name on my birth certificate because he was so in love with my mum.
“After absorbing the shock and listening to him explain everything, it all fell into place for me, and everything now made sense.
“But it also raised a whole new set of questions: Who was my father? Where was he? Was he looking for me?
“I didn’t say anything to my mother, and just returned to New Zealand more lost and confused than ever before.
“I mulled over things for a few months, but I was desperate for answers.
“A friend recommended I visit a clairvoyant.
“I was very skeptical, but I had nothing to lose. I needed answers.
“As soon as I walked in she looked at me and said, ‘you’re here to find out about your father, aren’t you?’
“I was gob smacked. She told me I had a half-brother who lives in Germany and described my real father, who she said had a white marine uniform with medals.”
After this ground-breaking revelation, Steffi decided to confront her mother with this new information a few months later – who astonishingly confirmed what the psychic had said.
Steffi said: “She was shocked by what I knew. My mother never had any intention of telling me the truth.
“She had even prepared some letters and hidden them in a box, to be given to me once she has passed away.
“But she revealed everything. She told me that she had a one night stand with my biological father which resulted in an unexpected pregnancy.
“He was in the marines just like the psychic had said.
“But he never even knew that I existed.”
Steffi said she was surprised by her mother, who then helped her investigate her bloodline.
Together they discovered that her real father had married, divorced and had a son – but sadly committed suicide in 1991.
Steffi contacted her father’s ex-wife, who agreed to pass on her details to her brother Guido, who would get in touch if he was interested.
But after nine years of silence, Steffi imagined that her brother had no interest in getting to know her.
Mustering up the courage one last time, she made contact with her father’s ex-wife once again – who admitted that she never talked to Guido about his sister.
Steffi said: “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, to be furious or thankful.
“Yes I wish she had told him immediately, and was annoyed that she hadn’t.
“But maybe this was the only reason he hadn’t contacted me.
“Maybe he too would be excited to find he had a half-sister on the other side of the world.
“This time I wasn’t going to leave it up to his mother. I asked for Guido’s email address and contacted him myself.
“A few weeks later, there was an email sitting in my inbox from him. I couldn’t believe it.
“I was terrified to open it. What if he didn’t want to know me?
“Thankfully, he was as happy as I was that we had discovered each other.
“We emailed, skyped and spoke on the phone regularly.
“We knew we had to meet. So a year and a half after we found out about each other, we arranged for him to fly to Auckland.
“It was such a happy day. My knees were shaking with excitement.
“I loved him as soon as we hugged for the first time.
“He stayed in New Zealand for six weeks and we got along from the very first moment we met.
“We just clicked. It was perfect. We’ve had the best time.
“He will be back to visit soon for sure.
“I can’t believe after 50 years, I finally got to meet my little brother.
“I’m just over the moon and have so much love in my heart.”