After the fall of the Berlin Wall, East Germany experienced an unprecedented temporary drop in fertility driven by economic uncertainty. We show that the children born during this transition period performed worse on a range of educational outcomes from an early age onward. The mothers of these children exhibit personal characteristics and family structures consistent with negative parental selection. Investigating the underlying mechanisms reveals that parental educational input and emotional attachment were also lower for these children. Finally, our ability to compare siblings means that we can reject that our results stem from a time of birth effect.