Since 1992 the »Wolf children Memorial« in Mikytai (German: Mikieten) in the Klaipėda Region (also known as the Memel territory) remembers the East Prussian boys and girls who became orphaned in the turmoil at the end of war 1944/45 during flight or by expulsion and who mainly fled to Lithuania.
In autumn 1944 the Red Army for the first time crossed the border to the German Reich and conquered parts of East Prussia across the river Memel, the »Memelland« (also called Prussian or Little Lithuania). The National Socialist camps had already been evacuated. Most of the German speaking inhabitants of the Memel territory fled. With a large scale offensive starting in the middle of January 1945 Stalin's troops rolled over East Prussia in no time. The result was a hasty flight of hundreds of thousands of civilians. After the Soviet occupation of the province many returned. Tens of thousands of Germans were abducted for forced labour, often to Siberia. Violent attacks on part of the conquerors became part of everyday life; famines and diseases broke out, costing the lives of tens of thousands of German children, women and elderly. Thousands of children lost their parents and had to struggle along as orphans. Begging and stealing they roamed the country. Many died of starvation, others crossed the Neman (Memel) River to the now Soviet-Lithuanian Memel Territory and on to Lithuania. Initially they found refuge in the woods, later they were accommodated by Lithuanian families and employed as cheap labour. Most of them were eventually adopted, took on a Lithuanian name and bit by bit forgot their German descent. It is estimated that in 1948 about 5,000 East Prussian children and youths lived in Lithuania. They called themselves »Wolf Children«, in Lithuania they were also known as »Vokietukai« [little Germans]. German orphans in the Russian part of East Prussia were admitted to asylums by the Soviet administration. With the start of the expulsion of the East Prussian population in autumn 1947 they were also evacuated to the Soviet Occupied Zone (from 1949: GDR). In May 1951 alone 3,300 children and youths from the Soviet Union were sent to the GDR.
The memorial remembers the thousands of East Prussian boys and girls who lost their parents and relatives during flight, because of the turmoil at the end of war 1944/45 or by expulsion and who mainly fled to Lithuania or who were evacuated to the West. Many died of starvation or during their flight from the Russian part of East Prussia. The tens of thousands civilians who died between 1944 and 1947 are also remembered.
In 1990, one year before Lithuania regained independence from the Soviet Union the »Deutsche Verein Edelweiß« (German Association Edelweiß)was founded. It considers itself as the contact for »Wolf Children« and tries to shed light on their fates and to find relatives or acquaintances in Germany. In 1992 the association got permission from Lithuanian authorities to built a site of remembrance in Mikytai for »the inhabitants of East Prussian who were killed and died of starvation in the years 1944-1947«. Because it also includes the orphans who were left behind, in the vernacular the memorial is called »Wolf Children Memorial«. In 2002 the dedication was remade. The memorial complex is located where the roads from Tauragė to Sovetsk and from Šilutė to Yurburg (Lithuanian: Jurbarkas) cross, near the Neman (Memel) forming the border to the Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Federation.