What Happened to Black Children of WWII?

Where there are men and women…

Eventually there are going to be children.

Such was true in WWII where black American troops were stationed in Europe.

Prior to WWII, there were roughly 100,000 “black” Europeans, of which 24,000 were black Germans who were the children of black American troops, and post war African occupation troops. An estimated 25-50,000 of those died in concentration camps – which considering the brutal effectiveness of the “final solution” Hitler imposed on Jews, it is amazing that even half survived.

Black German Girl With Classmates, c 1930

Black German Girl With Classmates, c 1930

After World War I, more blacks, mostly French Senegalese soldiers or their offspring, ended up in the Rhineland region and other parts of Germany. Estimates vary, but by the 1920s there were about 10,000 to 25,000 Afrodeutsche in Deutschland, most of them in Berlin or other metropolitan areas. Until the Nazis came to power, black musicians and other entertainers were a popular element of the nightlife scene in Berlin and other large cities. Jazz, later denigrated as Negermusik (“Negro music”) by the Nazis, was made popular in Germany and Europe by black musicians, many from the U.S., who found life in Europe more liberating than that back home. Josephine Baker in France is one prominent example. Both the American writer and civil rights activist W.E.B. du Bois and the suffragist Mary Church Terrell studied at the university in Berlin. They later wrote that they experienced far less discrimination in Germany than they had in the U.S.

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