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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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Introduction (Marion Kraft)

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MARION KRAFT

Introduction

In 2015, we commemorated the end of World War II 70 years prior, and Germany’s subsequent liberation from fascist rule. African American soldiers were among the Allied Troops. Their contributions to the demise of the Nazi dictatorship have only begun to be acknowledged in recent research in the U.S.1 In Germany, this aspect of the war and post-war history remains largely unknown and many of the stories of the generation who were born of the relationships between these African American soldiers and German women also remain unknown. As children, they were a “social problem”, and in the first two decades after the war they became the objects of different sociological studies, including some that were shaped by the racial theories of the fascist era. Since the early 1970s, public interest in the on-going story of these children waned, with some recent analyses dealing only in more general terms with the topic of “War” – or with “occupation children” or the historical reappraisal of post-war racism towards these children, many of whom were placed in African American adoptive families.2 This book represents the first collection of self-determined and diverse voices of Black people born in Germany between 1946 and the early 1960s and is based on their own experiences, analyses and perspectives.

Contrary to negative assumptions and prognoses prevalent in post-war Germany, many of the so-called “colored occupation children” have assumed their places in their communities and in mainstream...

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