April 1945, end of World War II in Augsburg. Here – as anywhere else – fraternization with the defeated Germans was prohibited for the Allied soldiers of the U.S. Army. However, after a short time, this order was relaxed, then cancelled and turned into friendly relations. The damages caused by the war were tremendous and Germany was depopulated of energetic men. The neediness of the survivors led to special legitimacies between victors and defeated.
With the beginning peace, it was obvious that young women found protection, human nearness and a modest fulfillment of material requirements with American soldiers. Germany woke up and wanted to live up. Social needs showed themselves from their most basic side.
It was during this time of military occupation, when, due to the Cold War (1947-85), the Army established itself permanently in the former Wehrmacht kasernes. In the long run this led to a limited but nevertheless relatively wide cultural approach of two nations, reflected in the contact of the genders with sometimes far reaching consequences. Many U.S. soldiers married German girls or women (sorry, some were divorced). Tragic, however, was the fate of an unknown number of illegitimate children, who had to grow up without any knowledge of their natural U.S. father. At the same time, their mothers, young women, had to face considerable social challenges up to ostracism.
As the soldiers had to change posts every two or three years, a paternity follow-up was, in most cases, impossible. That is why even today numerous adults of all age groups are living in Augsburg, who would like to find their real identity – category “father wanted”. They are suffering because of a bygone military political struggle for power as well as human relations, which were incapable to find a solution that would have led to more happiness for everybody. In West Germany alone, the number of illegitimate children of Allied soldiers is, officially estimated, around 67,000, not including a large number that is obscure.
Military organizations are by no means suitable contacts for finding out about fatherhoods. After base closures, muster rolls were taken away - unit enlistments being considered to be a military secret. Therefore, not even German authorities did receive any information in that regard. Besides, military institutions protected their soldiers against alimony payments with might and main. In many cases, subject soldiers were just ordered back to CONUS.
Amerika in Augsburg e.V. Society regularly receives inquiries from children - or their children - in regard to former soldiers of the U.S. forces. As often no information about the natural father had been brought about, the concerned children were unable to build up any contact with their father. Shame and resentments of the mothers frequently came together with the jealousy of the German stepfathers. A conflict that was to take away even the slightest chance from these children.
A responsible point of contact for ‘GI Kids’ is www.gi-kinder.org If necessary, they will also file a search request with the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis.
Kinder des Feindes (Spiegel 52/2006)
Von Widmann, Marc und Wiltenburg, Mary
More than 100,000 occupation children were born in post war Germany. Mostly, Allied soldiers did not want to have anything to do with them. Before it is too late, many are searching for their father now. http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-49976912.html
The following book in English might be helpful for research:
FINDING YOUR FATHER’S WAR
Paperback, 352 pages. Price (e.g. at amazon.de) € 21.99.
The book provides an excellent survey of the U.S. Army’s organization and units during WW II and the immediately following years as well as the filing system and the files of the U.S. Army in regard to the single soldier as well as to the units. The book also shows how legitimately interested persons can find files and notes in U.S. archives (e.g. The National Archives).
In March 2015, the CH. Links Verlag GmbH published a book titled "Wir Besatzungskinder". ("We, the Occupation Kids"). Author Ute Baur-Timmerbrink, an occupation kid herself, describes not only moving individual fates and their clarification, but also refers to helpful web links and other addresses. She herself worked for the network GItrace, www.gitrace.org