Ute has her book published!
Between 1945 and 1955 hundreds of thousands of children whose fathers were soldiers in the Allied occupying forces, were born in Germany and Austria.
Many of these so-called Children of the Occupation have never met their fathers from the USA, Great Britain, France or the former Soviet Union. Very often they experienced exclusion from society and even from their own families.
Ute Baur-Timmerbrink, herself a Child of the Occupation and one of our members assists people seeking their soldier fathers and up to now has been witness to around 200 family reunions.
Central to the theme of her book are portraits of Children of the Occupation from Germany and Austria.
Two contributions from experts give insight into the relationship between the occupying troops and the population 1945-55, and present the most recent research results concerning the psychosocial pressures to which Children of the Occupation may be subject.
Her book recounts the fate of Children of the Occupation who were not prepared to resign themselves to unanswered questions regarding their origins. Their journey into the past brings pain and insecurity, but also hope. The book encourages Children of the Occupation, as well as other readers to confront their own pasts so that unexplained issues or traumas are not passed on to the generations who follow.
Ute’s July 2016 Book Launch in Sarajevo
VIENNA "LOST IN ADMINISTRATION" 18 - 21 May 2016
In May Ute was invited to Vienna to give a speech about her experiences with children of the occupying forces in Germany and Austria.
The Austrian historians Philipp Rohrbach and Nico Wahl began the research program "Lost in Administration" in 2012 and by means of newspaper advertisments searched for "Brown Babies" who were willing to provide information about their lives. They subsequently interviewed numerous children with Afro-American fathers, in Austria and America and who were born of relationships which took place during the occupation. Personal letters and photos provided by these children form the basis of the exhibition “BlackAustria – Children of Afro-American occupation soldiers”, which opened at the Folklore Museum Vienna in April and can be visited until mid-August. In connection with the exhibition twenty-one time witnesses were invited to Vienna from 18 – 21 May.
The half-breed children, as they were called, were stigmatize even more in Austria than in Germany, and the Austrian Government was particularly interested in sending these children to their father’s home land America as quickly as possible. An estimated 30.000 children were born of relationships between Allied and Austrian women during the period 1945 - 1956, but the exact number of children of African American fathers cannot be determined due to lack of documents. Historians and curators Philipp Rohrbach and Nico Wahl estimate the number to approximately 300 to 400 children. For their project "Lost in Administration" they were able to access numerous files and welfare documents from Austria. Three witnesses, who had been adopted by Afro-American couples in the late 1950s, came from the USA to the meeting in Vienna. In Europe, at that time, particularly in Germany and Austria, there emerged something like an illegal market for babies and toddlers. This relieved the social funds system in both countries as the fathers of these children could not be called upon to pay maintenance.
The meeting with three witnesses from America was especially touching. All three
had memories of Austria, their country of birth and where they spent their early
childhood, but they had forgotten the German language. They explained what it was
like when they arrived in America, and that for a long time they felt themselves
to be strangers in their Afro-American families. At first they could hardly communicate
and they suffered from home sicknesses, despite having been brought up in orphanages.
Austria was their perceived homeland and the longing to return remained. These three
people know nothing about their Austrian mothers nor their American fathers.
In Austria, the "Brown Babies" had not been accepted because of their skin colour, and in America they also remained outsiders because of their appearance. Adoption in the US had been spared the other participants, but they still feel reaction because of their skin color today
At the meeting all said that they had not been in contact with other African-American children of US soldiers. Everyone - even the Americans found a way to cope in life. During the very first hours together the three witnesses exchanged personal experiences, and all definitely wished to continue and cultivate their newly found friendships.
Talking about her work with Gitrace, she gave advice and support to those who have little information about their mother and father, in the hope that their on=going research would be successful.
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