‘Brown Babies:’ Post-war Germany’s Mixed-race Children

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2013-02-28 04:18Z by Steven

‘Brown Babies:’ Post-war Germany’s Mixed-race Children

The Washington Informer
Washington, D.C.

Barrington M. Salmon

For much of his adult life, Daniel Cardwell has been immersed in a search for his identity and his past.

He told an audience at Bowie State University recently that he remembers a childhood where he was never hugged or shown love by the couple who adopted him, and it was a childhood filled with “confusion, questions and secrets.”

“I was a brown baby looking for mama, someone who wanted to belong. Abandonment and rejection are two emotions we all have,” said Cardwell during a panel discussion after the airing of the documentary, Brown Babies, The Mischlingkinder Story.

Cardwell is one of an estimated 100,000 biracial children born to German women and African-American servicemen stationed in Europe during World War II. He was brought to the United States when he was three and grew up with a couple who raised him along with five other mixed race German children. Cardwell traveled to six times and spent 30 years and $250,000 in his quest for greater knowledge of his background and heritage…

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‘Brown babies’ long search for family, identity

Posted in Articles, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2012-09-10 22:32Z by Steven

‘Brown babies’ long search for family, identity

Indianapolis Recorder

Stephanie Siek

(CNN) — Daniel Cardwell’s obsession consumed three decades of his life and $250,000 of his money, he estimates. His energy has been devoted to answering one basic question: “Who am I?”

Cardwell was a “brown baby”—one of thousands of children born to African-American GIs and white German women in the years after World War II. Inter-racial relationships still weren’t common or accepted among most in the United States or Germany, and they weren’t supported by the military brass, either.

Couples were often split apart by disapproving military officers. Their children were deemed “mischlingskinder”—a derogatory term for mixed race children. With fathers forced to move way, the single mothers of the African-American babies struggled to find support in a mostly white Germany and were encouraged to give their kids up.

Thousands of the children born from the inter-racial relationships were put up for adoption and placed in homes with African-American military families in the United States or Germany. Images of black, German-speaking toddlers with their adoptive American families were splashed across the pages of Jet and Ebony magazines and African-American newspapers.

Their long-forgotten stories have recently been shared in new films, “Brown Babies: The Mischlingskinder Story,” which was released last summer and “Brown Babies: Germany’s Lost Children,” which aired on German television this fall…

…For the thousands of children who are now adults and seeking their biological families, time is running out. Henriette Cain, a “brown baby,” from Rockford, Illinois, knows this all too well.

“People’s mothers are passing away, their fathers are passing away, and people are starting to wonder who they are,” Cain said from her home. “Now even we are passing away, and it’s a story that needs to be told.”

Since beginning her search in the 1970s, the 59-year-old retiree has been fortunate — she located and met her biological sister, who was living in Darmstadt, Germany, and her biological mother, who had married a white U.S. soldier and moved to Virginia. The family now enjoys a close relationship. She tracked down her biological father, as well, but he died before they could meet…

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