In the aftermath of WWII, millions of Americans were stationed in Western Germany as a part of the occupation forces. During that period, hundreds of thousands of children were born to German mothers and American GI fathers.

 

ID inComplete – One Man’s Quest for his True Identity follows the story of Norbert Alexiou, who at 16 learns a secret from Hedi, his embarrassed mother; Norbert’s father is one of the GIs who was stationed in Germany. His name is Theodore Moore. Hedi isn’t sure of the spelling or where he lives. She has no photos, no address, nothing. She only remembers that he is Elvis Presley’s cousin. Hedi makes Norbert swear to keep this information a secret.

 

A short time later, Elvis dies and Norbert secretly scans the papers and newscasts for any word of his father. Norbert is wary and embarrassed at the thought that his mother might discover him looking for any mention of his father in connection with Elvis’s passing; but the King is Norbert’s only, tenuous, connection to his father. He finds nothing in his search and pushes thoughts of his father to the back of his mind to keep the secret safe.

Norbert builds an exciting life while papering over the psychic wounds inflicted by the burden of the secret. He starts a band and plays at U.S. bases in the Frankfurt area. He later becomes a cameraman, eventually founding his own production company and achieves great success. Work is Norbert’s life’s work.


The noise of Norbert’s daily life helps him bury a growing desire to find his father until a business trip to Las Vegas brings forth a flood of suppressed feelings. In the months after his return to Germany, Norbert wrestles with these growing feelings until he is forced to confront his mother and begin searching for his father.

 

For the next 13 years, Norbert engages in an on again off again search for his father that mirrors an internal struggle to find himself. Obstacles encountered in the search and in his private and business life push him to make dramatic changes. Norbert begins to confront his mother, slowly stripping away the layers of secrecy until he can speak openly about his father for the first time; he confronts his own repression through his relationship with his future wife, Gabriella, who helps him navigate this treacherous path; and he finally deals with the relationship between his work and private life, as well as the horrible burden of the secret.

 

Eventually, Norbert moves to California, makes a fresh start with business and begins a new chapter in the search for his father. Norbert studies English in preparation for the move and to help gain independence in his search. He meets Reinhard, who helps Norbert not only get settled in Los Angeles but also with Nobert’s search.

 

Years go by and Norbert learns from an unreliable source that his father is dead. Despite misgivings about the source, Norbert is ready to abandon his search when he receives a call from Dick Bielen, a detective Dick Bielen in St. Louis. A former army officer who specializes in reuniting GIs with their foreign children, Bielen convinces Norbert that he can find his father. Over the course of the next year, Dick calls with one wrong lead after another until finally he calls with what he says will be the last number.

 

Norbert sits with Reinhard as he dials; he is too nervous to call and his English is still rudimentary. He waits while the call goes on, past the point when it would usually end. As he puts down the receiver, Reinhard looks at Norbert and says, “I think we’ve found your father – Theodore Moore!”

 

With years of searching at an end, the building of a new relationship starts. Norbert visits his father Ted and his new family immediately. They connect easily and Norbert visits frequently. Over time he learns the stories and relationships that make up a family. Norbert learns much about himself and his personal growth progresses rapidly.

 

Norbert decides to bring his father to Germany to reintroduce his parents. He must confront the open questions about the events and relationships that shaped his life. Norbert and Ted head to Germany. The reunion is joyful but the trip down memory lane is haunted by ghosts of the past that Norbert, his parents and his siblings must confront. What looked like a happy family is a facade concealing a roiling brew of emotions and conflict. As he travels through the scenes of his life, Norbert learns the truth about his parent’s relationship, the circumstances of his father’s departure and his abusive treatment at the hands of his stepfather, Werner Arnold. His parent’s incomplete and sometimes contradictory answers to his painful questions leave him vaguely unsatisfied, but he moves toward acceptance.

 

Norbert returns home and takes one final trip. With special permission from the Pentagon, he travels to the National Personnel Records Center, the massive military archive in St. Louis where he had started his search some 13 years earlier. He hopes to learn more about how his father’s record was found and how to help other GI children avoid his long frustrated search. He is shocked to find no record of his earlier correspondence and with the information he provided them, they should have easily locate his father in less than an hour.

 

As Norbert mulls over his experiences, he realizes that the process of finding yourself is never ending. He makes peace with himself and his parents and closes this chapter of his life, confident that his understanding of his past will help him lay the foundation for his future.

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