Until recently, Rita Kleiber Soares thought she was the daughter of a Romanian woman who emigrated to Brazil via Austria. But research carried out by her daughter-in-law, Carolina Toom, has revealed that Rita was in fact separated from her German family in the turmoil of World War II and given up for adoption. Now Rita and Carolina are searching for surviving relatives in Germany. We need your help with this search.


From Silesia to Brazil

Rita Thasler was born in 1941 in Striegau, Silesia, now Strzegom in Poland. On February 12, 1945, the day the family fled in the face of invading Russian troops, they became separated from one another. Rita’s father remained in Striegau; Rita, her mother, and her grandmother Ernestine fled. They ended up in a refugee camp near Pilsen (Bohemia), where her mother died a few months later. The cause of her death is unknown. Rita spent time in children’s homes in Mariánské Lázně (German: Marienbad) and near Regensburg before she was adopted by Stefanie Kleiber when she was five years old. They lived in Vienna until 1948 and emigrated to São Paulo, Brazil, with assistance from the International Refugee Organization (IRO). When Stefanie applied for naturalization, she told the authorities that she was Rita’s biological mother because she did not have a birth certificate for her adopted daughter. That is how a Silesian orphan named Rita Thasler became the Vienna-born daughter of Stefanie Kleiber. Rita was given the new surname Kleiber – and with her new name came a new identity.


The Thasler family (back row, from left to right): Johanna and Alfred Thasler (aunt and uncle), Gertrud and Richard Thasler (parents). Rita Thasler is in the front row, wearing a light-colored coat.

Carolina’s search for Rita’s roots

In an effort to learn more about Rita’s origins, her daughter-in-law, Carolina Toom, submitted an inquiry to the Arolsen Archives in 2018. The documents from the archive combined with her own research enabled her to discover Rita’s place of birth, the orphanage, and the names of her parents. She also managed to clarify the fates of Rita’s deceased parents. Rita also found out that her father had spent decades searching for her.


After the war

In 1957, Rita’s father and uncle submitted an inquiry to the German Red Cross in Hamburg, and their staff got in touch with the International Tracing Service (now known as the Arolsen Archives). In the meantime, Rita’s family in Brasil grew. Nowadays, her family includes her son Richard, her daughter-in-law Carolina (back row, from left to right), her grandchild Thomas and her daughter Veronica (front row, from left to right).

The facts: Rita Kleiber Soares (Thasler)

  • Born on May 25, 1941 as Rita Renate Gertrud Thasler
  • Alternative spellings: Rita Thassler, Tassler
  • Parents: Richard Thasler (father), Gertrud Klara Thasler, née Stretzke (mother), Stefanie Kleiber (adoptive mother)
  • Grandparents: Paul Thasler and Ernestine, née Förster
  • Aunts and uncles: Frida Else (b. 1904), Alfred Gustav (b. 1906), and Frida Grete (b. 1907).
  • Last address of her parents: Ziganstraße 13, Striegau, until February 1945

Wedding photo (from left to right): Alfred Thasler (uncle), Johanna Thasler, unidentified woman, Frida Else Thasler (aunt), Erwin Eckert, Ernestine Thasler (grandmother), Gertrud Klara and Richard Thasler (parents). Bride and bridegroom: Frida Grete (aunt) and Oskar Paul Pallachowski

Carolina Toom published her mother-in-law’s story together with Prof. Dieter Schwaiger at heimatforschung-regensburg.de in the hope of finding more information about the family’s history. So far without success.


Who are we looking for?

Rita is now 80 years old and would like to get to know any living members of her family in person. The information she already has, which includes names and last known addresses, is listed below. Please help us find these people:

  • Lieselotte Thasler (Rita’s father’s second wife, born in 1925): Berlin
  • Evelyne Schatz (cousin, born March 15, 1939) and her children Brinkfried, Viola, Olaf, Andreas, and Carina Schatz (all born in Groß Schönebeck): Basdorf
  • Irene Bohne (cousin, born March 12, 1941): Klosterfelde
  • Reinhardt Erwin Pallachowski (cousin, died Jan. 14, 1987) and his children Heike Tietz (born Dec. 15, 1959, in Groß Schönebeck) and Sabine Pallachowski (born Oct. 2, 1973 in Bernau)


The Thasler family (back row, from left to right): Unknown man, Johanna Thasler, Frida Grete Pallachowski (aunt), Ernestine Thasler (grandmother), Richard Thasler (father). Children: Unidentified girl, Rita Thasler
Relatives Rita is searching for (from left to right): Evelyne Schatz (cousin), Irene Bohne (cousin), Frida Grete Pallachowski (aunt), Reinhardt Erwin Pallachowski (cousin)

Surviving members of the Thasler family

The Thasler family grew over the years, so there are many relatives Rita could still meet. Unfortunately, initial attempts to get in touch with her relatives by post failed. The letters were returned to Brazil marked as undeliverable. Nevertheless, Rita and Carolina still have not given up hope of finding members of the Thasler, Schatz, Bohne, and Pallachowski families who are still alive.


Thanks to this appeal, Rita has now found her cousin’s daughter. The two of them are in touch with each other and plan to meet in person the summer. We wish the family all the best and want to thank everyone who helped by sharing the search appeal.

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