A DISTURBING tale of forbidden love between two incestuous siblings shocked the world as they vowed to stay together for their children.
Susan Karolewski was reunited with her older brother Patrick Stuebing 20 years after he escaped their abusive home when he was adopted at the age of three in the former East Germany.
But just six months after the death of their birth mother, the couple, then 16 and 23, described how their affection for one another turned into a disturbing sexual relationship.
The couple had four children, two of whom are severely disabled, and Patrick served two prison sentences after being found guilty of incest.
The couple caused a media storm when the relationship came to light in 2001 and vowed to challenge German incest laws that made sex between siblings illegal.
In 2012, Patrick appealed to the Court of Human Rights to seal their shocking union, claiming he and Susan had a right to family life.
At the time, Patrick said: “We don’t feel guilty about what happened between us.
“We want the law that makes incest a crime to be repealed.”
Patrick was born in Leipzig in 1977 as one of eight children into a broken family.
He was placed in foster care at the age of three after being attacked with a knife by his alcoholic father.
He was adopted by his foster parents at the age of 7 almost 100 miles away in the city of Portsdam.
His sister Susan was born in 1984 on the day her parents’ divorce was finalized.
Susan, who is mentally challenged, grew up in the same abusive household her brother escaped from and was poorly educated, barely literate.
Some of the six brothers and sisters died after being born with disabilities, while another was run over at the age of 7.
The couple finally met in 2000 while Patrick was visiting his birth family, but their relationship intensified just six months after her mother, Ana Marie, died of a heart attack.
Susan became heavily dependent on her brother and was described by a reporter as an obsessive nail biter with an easy way of speaking.
Susan was just 16 when she and then 23-year-old Patrick began their disturbing incestuous relationships when the siblings began sharing a room.
Speaking to the Mail in 2007, he said: “We both stayed up late talking to each other about our hopes and dreams.
Susan said: “We didn’t know each other growing up, it’s not the same for us.
“We fell in love as adults and our love is real. There’s nothing we can do about it.
“We were both attracted to each other and nature took over from us. It was that simple. What else could we do?
“We followed our instincts and our hearts.”
In October 2001, Susan became pregnant with her first child and gave birth to a severely disabled boy named Erik.
But a nurse became suspicious and contacted German police before Patrick was sentenced to a year’s suspended sentence for incest and Susan, 17, who was still being treated as a juvenile, was taken into custody.
The couple continued to meet secretly, and Susan had three more children, who covered her stomach with baggy clothes.
A daughter Sarah, who was also born disabled, as well as Nancy and Sophia.
Patrick was jailed for ten months for his second incest conviction and an additional two and a half years after his third conviction.
The couple denied their children were born disabled as a result of their incestuous relationship.
In 2007 Patrick said: “Two of our children are disabled, but that doesn’t necessarily have to do with the fact that we are siblings.
“There are people with disabilities in our family. We had six siblings who did not survive, partly because of their disabilities.”
While Patrick was behind bars, Susan told reporters she couldn’t live without him – even though she fathered a fifth child with another man.
However, the mother-of-five gave up her rights to the child before the baby went to live with his father.
Patrick underwent a vasectomy in 2004 and tried to change German law that made incest illegal to stay out of prison.
But in 2008 the Federal Constitutional Court upheld the law and dismissed his appeal.
In 2012, Patrick also appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, saying the couple had a right to family life and privacy.
Again the appeal was dismissed after the court found the couple had been treated fairly by the German authorities.
The couple often visited son Erik in his foster home and sensationally claimed they would not have had any more children if their first child had not been taken away from them.
Patrick said: “When you see your child being looked after by someone else when they should be with you, it’s hard for any parent to take.
“So if he’s disabled then that’s all the more reason we should be able to take care of him.”
Speaking of his vasectomy, he said: “There’s no reason for them to put me in jail now. I don’t want to go back to prison and I know we will never leave each other voluntarily.
“If someone doubts our love, they should just see that we won’t stay apart.”
In 2014, the German Ethics Council did a shocking about-face and voted to allow incest between siblings.
They claimed the risk of disability was not sufficient to justify the law after examining the German couple’s case.
In Germany, the law still applies that incestuous relationships between siblings are illegal.
It is punished with imprisonment of up to two years or a fine.
The couple are believed to still live together in East Germany.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5240095/in-love-with-sister-children-branded-criminals/ I fell in love with my sister and had four children