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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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Stories Matter: Experiences of Black German Adoptees in the U.S. (Rosemarie Peña)

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← 242 | 243 →

ROSEMARIE PEÑA

Stories Matter: Experiences of Black German Adoptees in the U.S.



49.  Rosemarie Peña. Private property.

Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.

— CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE (“The Danger of a Single Story”) ← 243 | 244 →

Introduction

No ethnographic study exists that examines the diverse childhood experiences of the thousands of Black German children comprising the finite cohort of adoptees that Yara-Colette Lemke Muniz de Faria identifies in her seminal texts about Afro-German “occupation children.”1 While Lemke estimates that 4,776 children were born between 1945 and 1955 as a result of the interracial relationships between white German women and African American soldiers, others were born after 1955 and there is no precise number available for the number of children who were relinquished for adoption to the United States.2

For about 15 years now, I have listened to the stories and concerns of many Black German adoptees in person, via phone and e-mail, and have also been a participant observer and moderator in several social media groups in which many have shared their personal experiences. It would be professionally unethical of me to disclose the details of private conversations or online discussions in closed...

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