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REUNITING GI-KIDS AND THEIR FATHERS

No one knows exactly how many German children can call American soldiers their father. According to official statistics, some 68,000 German children were born to American soldiers between 1945 and 1955. The number of American troops was much smaller during this time than during the critical period of the Cold War in the years after 1955. Estimates point to hundreds of thousands of German GI Kids who were born during the occupation time. Tens of thousands of these GI Kids were adopted by American families and are living in the U.S. today.


More than 15 million U.S. soldiers were stationed in Germany from the end of World War II until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Although the majority of US soldiers were removed following German reunification, there remain tens of thousands of GIs stationed in Germany. Children continue to result from the relationships between American soldiers and German women.


Today, these relationships are considered normal – right after the end of the war, however, they were extremely problematic. In 1945 there was even a “No Fraternization” rule for US soldiers. They were not supposed to become overly friendly with the German people. This restriction was lifted in 1946. Still, relationships between GIs and German “Fräuleins” were looked at skeptically by both the American and German societies.

GI children themselves didn’t fit into postwar German society very well either. Afro-German children, in particular, were considered incapable of integration until well into the fifties. The mothers were defamed as “Ami sluts” while the children were called “Ami breeds”. Since these children were born out of wedlock, they were under the supervision and control of the “Youth Authority” and “Orphan’s Court”. Some mothers couldn’t take this pressure and gave their children up for adoption or sent them to an institution. Considering these societal conditions, it’s not surprising that many mothers kept their children’s origins from them.


Even today it is not known how many GI children are even aware of their American patriarchy, or are in search of their fathers or managed to find them. Equally uncertain is how many GIs ever learned of the existence of their offspring in Germany. Often, GIs had to leave Germany with their units before the child was born.


The only certainty is that the search for a GI father is long and difficult. The mother generally finds it difficult to deal with the child’s desire to find the identity of their father. Without their support the search is impossible. Often, the mother knows nothing more than the name of the soldier and the location where they met. A search without a date of birth is very difficult. Even if a GI child manages to identify his or her father, there is no guarantee that he will be alive or, if so, will be interested in meeting the child.