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Children of the Liberation

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

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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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Bridges (Helga Emde)

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← 182 | 183 →

HELGA EMDE

Bridges



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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