A Nation's Undesirables - Mischlingskinder and Whiteness: Post-WWII German Brown Babies

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This brand new research project is a historical and narrative study of cross-racial, international couplings between Black U.S. servicemen and White German women during WWII and the children that resulted from these relationships. Now referred to as “Brown Babies” (previously and pejoratively referred to as Mischlingskinder), often both the U.S. and German governments collaborated in returning Black servicemen to the United States while forcing White German women to give up their children for international adoption, primarily to the U.S. My thesis is that governmental policing of interracial coupling functioned as another form of state-sponsored eugenics in the postwar era, in which mixed race people have no value at all to the state’s vision of society. Mixed race children are the dross that must be removed from women, the nation’s wombs, to make room for a future Aryan child.

As a first-generation U.S. citizen, who identifies as a Black German, and whose mother and mother’s twin were German “Brown Babies,” I use their tragedy as an exemplar to begin my entrée into this study as well as our reunion with our German family in July 2012, 52 years later. In many instances this forced separation was tragic, dehumanizing, racist, and something that often neither parent wanted. Many Black men were denied the ability to marry their White German girlfriends and parent their mixed race child because of the “one-drop rule” as it concerns race, racism, and nationhood. Familial/societal pressures often made women feel that they had no choice but adoption for their child(ren).

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