Transatlantic Experiences and Perspectives of Black Germans of the Post-War Generation
Edited By Marion Kraft
Bridges (Helga Emde)
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38. Helga Emde. Private property.
I was born in March 1946 in Bingen on the Rhine river. My mother was white and German, I have a white sister, and my father was an African American soldier. In those days, children who had a Black and a white parent were often called “occupation children,” “bastards,” “n****rs,” “mulattos,” or “bimbos.”1 Many of these designations had their origins in colonial times and were often connected to sweets, such as the “Sarotti-Moor” or ← 183 | 184 → the “N***r Kiss.” In the tradition of European racial ideologies, they were “Mischlingskinder” [mixed-race children]. In an article dated September 16, 1991, that appeared in the newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau under the headline “Dunkle Erinnerungen an halbdunkle Kinder” [dark memories of half-dark children], Susanne Broos wrote a preview of a new novel by the white writer Eva Demski,2 who had chosen an obese Black woman as her protagonist: “After the end of World War II approximately 70,000 to 90,000 half-black occupation children were born in Germany”.3
In addition to all the aforementioned discriminating and insulting terms, we were defined here as “half-dark” and “half-black!” This sounds like half-pregnant – or half-human. My self-definition is Black German (or African American German). Other Black Germans define, or used to define, themselves as Afro-German, particularly those of the younger generation, who have an African parent.
There was little...
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