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Children of the Liberation

Transatlantic Experiences and Perspectives of Black Germans of the Post-War Generation


Edited By Marion Kraft

This volume was originally published in German in 2015, commemorating the end of World War II seventy years earlier and acknowledging the contribution of African American soldiers to Germany’s liberation from fascist rule. Using an interdisciplinary approach, it collects the voices of some of the descendants of these World War II heroes. In this volume, Black Germans of this post-war generation relate and analyse their experiences from various perspectives. Historical, political and research essays alongside life writing, interviews and literary texts form a kaleidoscope through which a new perspective on an almost forgotten part of German history and US American–German relationships is conveyed. The collection explores causes and consequences of racism in the past and in the present as well as developing strategies for achieving positive changes.
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Black Police Officer and Activist (Mike Reichel)


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Black Police Officer and Activist

28.  Mike Reichel. Private property.

A Childhood in Berlin

I was born in Berlin-Wilmersdorf and grew up in Berlin-Charlottenburg. My mother was a single parent, and during the first four years of my life we lived in Sybelstreet, where my mother worked as a seamstress for her ← 135 | 136 → landlady. I remember it was there that I saw policemen for the first time in my life. We were standing in the yard, my mother was holding me in her arms, and there were two men wearing long overcoats. Looking back, this image reminds me of scenes in old-fashioned U.S. American crime movies. My mother had called the police because her landlady had refused to give back some of our belongings when we moved to our new apartment. I also remember our move to Charlottenburg. We lived in a dark old building that used to be the rear house. The front house had been totally bombed during the war, and it was replaced by a parking lot. We lived in a well-functioning apartment building. There were other families with children, elderly neighbors, who sometimes took care of me, and older boys who often protected me. When a new family with children moved in, they often invited me over for lunch. One day, when I was approximately 5 years old, we children were sitting in the kitchen when the door opened,...

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