Stories of Divided Families

These are unforgettable stories filled with history, longing, and hope. There are an estimated 100,000 first generation Korean Americans with immediate family members in North Korea. Time is running out for this generation. Many of these family members have already passed away or are in their 70s‐90s.

 

Won Chan Noh

 Won Chan NohI am 93 years old, and I left a 10-month-old son and a 5-year-old son in North Korea. I went to DC in 2007 to let the world know about our suffering, and time is running out for us in the United States and for our family members in North Korea.

 

Won Hee Lee

 WonLeeThis family picture shows my father, my mother, and me when I was five years old. Now I am 86 years old. My father passed away in North Korea and my mother passed away in Chicago without knowing what happened to each other. But I still have a younger brother, Oong Hee Lee, in North Korea. Until 10 years ago, Oong Hee wrote to me, but his letters suddenly stopped. If he is still alive, he is 79 years old. I am praying that I will see my brother and visit my father’s grave in my lifetime. See Oong Hee’s letter and pictures.

 

Un Chin Lee

 mrs_ujleeI am 90 years old. I left a 2-year-old, a 5-year-old, and a 7-year-old then in my mother’s care in North Korea. While I was visiting my relatives in Seoul, the Korean War broke out, and I couldn’t go back home. Since then, every night I go home in my dreams looking for my children. I had a stroke several years ago, and I have had a few operations, but I am hanging in here because I must know what happened to my children.

 

Kwan Chong Seo & Hyun Ok Seo

Letter from younger brother in North Korea

I am 88 years old, and my wife is 82 years old. I have one sister and one brother, and my wife has two sisters in North Korea. We own a house in Chicago, and it is getting harder for us to maintain the house. But we refuse to give up the hope that our brother and sisters in North Korea will come to the United States and live together with us in our house some day.

 

Pictorial Archives of Divided Family Members

For over half a century, these divided family members have suffered with no access to the people they love most. Though they are US Citizens, they have no formal mechanisms that would allow them to reunite with their families in North Korea. Click on the picture to learn more about their stories.