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'Brown babies' long search for family, identity
November 20th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

'Brown babies' long search for family, identity

(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.


Cardwell, who appeared in both documentaries, was brought to the United States at age 4 and adopted by an African-American veteran and nurse in Washington, D.C. He has some memories of Germany, but didn't have any sense of his family's real story until he was an adult. He'd been raised to believe he was a light-skinned black man with African-American parents.

The hunt for his biological parents - and his own sense of identity - has dominated the second half of his life. He has traveled the country in search of aging documents, tried hypnotism therapy, built relationships with distant family members and visited Germany several times.

“Would I do it all again? Yes,” Cardwell said. “If only so others wouldn’t have to go through what I went through."

Between 2 and 3 million African-American civilian personnel, military members and their families lived in Germany from 1945 until the end of the Cold War, according to  the digital archive "The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GI's, and Germany."

Many German women perceived the black soldiers to be kinder than their white counterparts, even admiring - a rarity after the brutal war. After so many years of scarcity, a gift of stockings or canned milk might as well have been a diamond ring.

The soldiers wanted to seize the advantages of being away from Jim Crow America. In Germany, they could go to a biergarten, dance with a German woman at a bar and - if they ignored rules against fraternization - develop a relationship with her.

The total number of children born from those relationships is unclear. Some 5,000 "brown babies" were born between 1945 and 1955, according to the book “Race After Hitler: Black Occupation Children in Postwar Germany and America," and by 1968, Americans had adopted about 7,000 of these German children, the book's author, historian Heide Fehrenbach, wrote. Still more of those kids remained in Germany.

But after the babies were born and the soldiers' superiors discovered the romances, they often transferred the black soldiers to other bases. The U.S. military's policy at the time was to reject any claims of paternity made by German mothers. Black soldiers who wanted to marry their white girlfriends were often forbidden from doing so.

Life wasn't simple for the mothers, either - they were sometimes judged unfit by child welfare officials based solely on the fact that they had a relationship with an African-American man. Some Germans condemned the mothers as "negerhueren" - Negro whores.

German authorities doubted the children would thrive in the country, where national identity was strongly tied to white German heritage. It became common for the babies to be adopted to couples living in the United States, where the children’s roots were hidden, often for years.  Many didn’t know of they had been adopted until they were adults.

Cardwell remembers his adoptive parents as cold and distant. He spent years at boarding schools, then later returned to their home, where he worked on their farmland. He can't remember being hugged, or told that they loved him.

It wasn't until he began trying to find his biological parents that he discovered his mother was actually a half-German refugee from Poland. She thought she was leaving him at an orphanage temporarily, and had searched for him for years. He learned, too, that his father was described as “colored” in official papers, and was a mixture of Portuguese, native Hawaiian, Japanese and Puerto Rican ancestry.

Regina Griffin, a Washington-area journalist, was inspired to make "Brown Babies: The Mischlingskinder Story,"after a "brown baby" and family friend wrote a book about her search for her parents. Griffin realized most people had never heard the adoptees' remarkable stories, so she interviewed "brown babies," German mothers, historians, and the African-American fathers.

“It’s a part of our history,” Griffin said. “It’s not just African-American history, it’s not just American history, it’s world history. There were a lot of people who were caught between two countries, two warring nations. And we allowed those children to be abandoned, and people should know that.”

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.

Cain discovered that her mother had never really wanted to give her up. Her biological father had been reassigned to another military base, and promised to return to bring his family to the United States, but they never heard from him again.

Her mother found herself alone and impoverished in post-war Germany, with two young daughters, an unsupportive family and a choice to make: Keep the children and face poverty and scorn, or put them up for adoption in hopes of giving them a better life.

Cain’s older sister was adopted by the family with whom they had been living while Cain was sent to a local orphanage. When she was 2, she was adopted by an African-American couple living at a U.S. base nearby.

Her adoptive parents doted on her, and she was happy, but she always sensed she was different. Her adoptive parents were much darker in skin tone. They didn't reveal that she was adopted until she was 12. Children she grew up with taunted her and called her “Little Nazi.”

Soon after reuniting with her birth family, Cain began helping other adoptees. She now runs Sunco Public Records Research, a firm that helps black German adoptees, American fathers and German mothers find each other.

Cain said about 25 of her last 40 searches ended with a reunion or positive identification. She has about seven cases that remain open.

“Since I’ve been in their position, I understand how they feel and I know it’s important to get the answers for them,” Cain said.

Cardwell is still looking for answers.

After years without all the information he's looking for, he now sees America and Germany’s obsession with skin color as a destructive force in his life.

“My mother couldn’t marry my father because of color. I couldn’t stay in Germany because of color. Here in America they couldn’t figure out my color,” Cardwell said. “Maybe I should just be an American and just let it be with that. They won’t let me be German.”

Nevertheless, he continues to search for more clues about his father’s identity. Because he’s officially an illegitimate child, he can’t view his biological father’s military records and other papers until they become available to the general public. He's working on a book about his life. He helps other adoptees in their searches.

“My whole objective in this thing is to minimize the pain that I felt for so long,” Cardwell said. “I have come to know that there were a number of mothers that did love their children, and a number of fathers who did want those children, but because of color they weren’t allowed to have them.”

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Filed under: Black in America • Ethnicity • History • How we look • Immigration • Race • Who we are
soundoff (335 Responses)
  1. Mixed Human

    To kmt_4life – if it's by taking advantage of another person because of his/her color I'm not interested. That's not being a decent caring human. That's being a user. When the company out in the country hired an African American woman in the office – it was in my office that she was placed. She was fun, worked hard & we became friends. I had grown up playing with black children & gone to school with them too. So maybe it was easier for me – I honestly got to know them. It could make you a better person. Caring could turn this country around.

    December 9, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Stella

    I'm medium pink #12.

    December 9, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bribarian

    Communist News Network always pushing their agenda

    December 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • carolyn

      Then, stop reading it!

      December 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mishka

    SIGH. It's all part of the agenda. They want you to believe (their lies) that we all originate from one person, but we don't. That one person and his wife gave birth to sons and daughters who BRANCHED out and formed their own UNIQUE genetic offspring. It's a fact. Your DNA will NOT be the same as mine, because we descend from DIFFERENT fathers and mothers. And each of those branches of our human ancestry establishes their own genetic lineage that can be selectively TRACED. It's called ETHNIC MARKERS. And we should not mix them. The question is, why are the current rulers of the world so hell-bent on trying to ERASE our uniqueness???? It's a dark and sinister thing when someone tries to ERASE you from the planet.

    December 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mixed Human

      My mtDNA test showed that I have a great (many) grandmother born in Africa thousands of years ago. There had to be just 2 at first if you believe in God. If you believe in evolution there still had to be just 2 at the beginning with a little help from the Aliens. In my search for family I have found that I am from my parents Hungarian, German, Scottish, English, Welsh, Irish, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Aquitainian (?), Norwegian, Turkish, Bulgarian, Castilian, Swedish, Polish & African (and probably a few more nationalities). I am also 8th cousin to Shirley Temple (guess what my name is – and we didn't know that until I started with genealogy) plus a distant cousin of John Wayne. So what's the big deal about the African Eve. Does it make you superior if you are pure white? I think not. The most you can say is that you are human.

      December 9, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel

      Mishka, your comment is disturbingly ignorant. How do you read about "brown babies" and somehow deduce that this is part of an attempt to promote the story that we all derived from one man and one woman, eg, "Adam" and "Eve"? On what basis (besides your own bigotry) do you declare that we should not mix ethnic markers or ethnic groups? You suggest this is a plot to erase your uniqueness. Seems to me that this would be a plot to erase genetic SAMENESS by increasing genetic diversity. Science tells us that diversity helps various species (including humans) to overcome certain genetic diseases. Do you have a problem with this? And, more importantly, are you so opposed to the natural rights of human beings that you would try to tell people whom they should and should not love and/or choose to procreate with? That would be disgusting and sad.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mishka

    The rulers of this psycho-reality all want us mixed up, don't they? What is it with them and pure ethnic groups? It's like they have a morbid fear of someone who ISN'T mixed-up.

    December 4, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Felston

    Great breakdown of most of our genetics! People migrated, conquered, inter-married and so on. We are a race of human beings because origin is very exhaustive to pinpoint. ;)

    November 30, 2011 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sabine

    Thank you! ... And the alien remark was priceless ! ;-)

    November 27, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mixed Human

      Sabine – I'm glad you enjoyed the alien possibility. I wasn't joking. You might enjoy watching "Ancient Aliens" on the History channel on Wednesday. Shown in the afternoon and evening. Both my girls were curly headed blondes and were claimed by both Jewish and Black people. I figured out when I was very young the that Adam & Eve had to be the parents of all of us so I didn't need proof but it's nice to have it. You might enjoy genealogy too. Look up Rootsweb.com for your family.

      November 28, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. JFritz

    Wherever I am asked for "race," I answer "human." I wish more of us would too.

    November 27, 2011 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Patti

      Such a good answer. I personally think if we are born in America then we are not African American. If I stated I was Irish American then I would be considered racist. Yet my black want to make sure they are classified as African American. This has always made me think they have an issue with me. I find most that say this I want little to do with. I work with many black American who have asked me how I feel about this issue and when I point out some of this they see a different point. My grandfather came from Scotland. I have blood from many cuctures in me. Yet I can not state the culture without sound racist but many blacks can say they are African American and their relatives came over here much farther back in history then mine.

      November 27, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mixed Human

        Patti – I have no problem telling people about that great grandmother from Africa and I am most happy when I have an opportunity to tell a Black person (usually a stranger) about her. I have had nothing but happy responses on these occasions. I do see a united humanity some day – unfortunately some people feel that being white makes them superior and they teach their kids & they pass that onto their kids; I made the effort to teach my kids the truth about equality of all humans.

        November 28, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
      • Felston

        Hi Patti,

        Blacks do not identify themselves as "African American" to offend or attack you. It has been a struggle to trace back roots to Africa, in which millions of African Amercian's have no idea what country on that very large continent their family originated. I am from a mixed heritage background. When I go to say Ancestry.com I can trace my european family back to Hamburg, Germany as well as the port they boarded and sailed from France. When I attempt to look up my African-American heritage, my great-grandmother who was born in Lousianna didn't even have a birth certifcate. So I can't go back any further. It is painful. On one hand I want to learn long held German customs and language and then I feel bad because I don't have that option on the black side. So African American has arrived out of an attempt to give our culture some roots. We don't know what corner of Africa we came from, nor their specific customs. So it is mitigated and settled upon with the African American moniker. So it is not to offend or attack anyone. It is a culture pieced together from the few hunderd years we've been in the U.S. More divisive is the use of immigrants who use Asian American, Muslim-American, German American etc.. because they have ancient cultural identification and African Americans can only trace back heritages sometimes only 3 generations. But understand I am an American first. I only use the term African American personally to be politically correct. I have no issues being; Black, White, Choctaw. Keep in mind I don't know what kind of Black, White I can specify German, French, Monagasque, Spanish, English, Irish, etc..

        November 30, 2011 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
    • DoNotWorry

      I always answer "Heinz 57." My son did our geneology, and it was interesting to see all the the mixture we are. Before that, I knew that my grandparents on one side came directly from Ireland, and from Ireland via Germany on the other. It's a big laugh in the family that my dad's ancestors were exiled to Germany for being tribal chieftains in Ireland... then they hired them as Hessian soldiers to fight in America. Of course, when they got here they went AWOL and off to the wilderness... ours came west with Daniel Boone to Kentucky, and from there to Washington and Oregon. I love human diversity and who we are. Of course, the majority of humans on this planet have a case of racism, so I'm sure it was seriously important to know "us" and "them" for survival.

      November 29, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. A white girl

    Being an adopted white girl has all the same feelings and questions that any race goes through.
    Roots...it's a grounding that unless you don't know it or have you can't possibly understand the missing pieces.

    November 27, 2011 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Felston

      So true.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike Lenington

    When I was stationed in Germanyin 1968, I had to catch a German bus back to the base in Wiesbaden. I got on the bus and a German woman asked where I was from. I said Texas. She had a mixed race black child with her. She was trying to make friends and thinking that I was from Texas so I must have been a bigot, she started to hit the child and call him names. The little boy was crying and saying in German "Why do you hit me." I asked the little boy to come and sit with me. I placed him on my seat next to the window where his mother coundn't get to him. He held my had tight and cried. The mother was suprised because she must have been taught that "Texas" means that I was somehow against the blacks soldiers. I thought that when I got off the bus she would do this again. I felt sorry for both the mother and the little boy. She didn't know me and judged me without any knowledge of who I was. I still think of what happened to the little black boy. I hope he made it.

    November 26, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotWorry

      This story makes no sense and makes the woman sound psychotic.

      November 29, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • shimmy

        i understand the story. it makes me think about the people who suffered most during this time: the children. the mother, which i assume she is the mother or grandmother, wanted to fit in at the time. this woman was desperately seeking acceptance. after having a mixed race child with african american heritage, she was shunned by everyone. so desperate for acceptance, she even resorted to treating the child badly around those she thought would be against her for having a brown child. in that moment she showed cruelty to the child, just to get someone on her side. makes me wonder how this child was raised. seems like that woman would mistreat that child very badly just to get a white husband. no telling what she would have done to that brown baby just to get approval again. why did they choose to sleep with black men in the first place? even if the black men were attractive and nice, if they didn't want to take on the privilege of loving a brown baby, they never should have made that decision. stupid, careless, selfish, stupid.

        November 30, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ann

    I'm white but 7 of my 9 grandchildren are mixed – I love them all. I was rebuked when I asked one of the extremely dark fathers if his family was from Jamaica. I asked, "Isn't he allowed to have ancesters too?" I couldn't (and still don't) understand why the question was wrong. I can honestly say I don't know what my ancestry consists of – we've been here so long that my roots are a hodge-podge. Nothing wrong with that.

    November 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. retphxfire

    You can't be serious. Let's just look at one aspect...these men and women had just survived four brutal years, not they were still separated from family/home or living in such poverty that human comfort was like medicine. During the years following the war, well into the 1950's, Germans were still living a starvation diet and they had no home, Berlin was leveled by bombing and Russian troops were brutal to the inhabitants. So what is wrong with trying to find some small comfort in all this destruction? Like to see how you'd react.

    November 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • retphxfire

      ...the US troops had survived four years, the German women had been experiencing war and hardship a great deal longer.

      November 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. R.Yates

    Henriette....you were such an EXTRAORDINARILY beautiful kid....

    November 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anti-mulatto

    Am I the only one who finds the term "mulatto" as offensive as it was intended to be?? People of biracial heritage ("mixed") were referred to as "mulatto" because the term comes from a mule: half horse, half donkey, and unable to reproduce its own kind. Why is it even used still?

    November 24, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • rbenz

      Why do people think the term Mullato is the same as Mulato which means mule?
      Mullato was generated from the Spanish using the word Casta and Pardos to define biracial or mixed race people.

      The word was first used 400 years ago to label children who had one black parent and one white parent. Mulus and Mulato was theoretically what people mistook Mullatto for since those terms meant the offspring of a horse and donkey.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Patti

      A true scholar does not use wikipedia

      November 27, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Felston

      I find it offensive as well. I also don't like mutt.

      November 30, 2011 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mikey

    You're certainly welcome to keep your stuff to yourself.

    November 23, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  16. John

    Anyone remember a M*A*S*H episode where american soldiers had babies with korean women. The children were shunned in Korea for not being "pure" and just like in Germany, the american military REFUSED to acknowledge these children as well. The shame is on the governments and both countries for refuse to accept responsibility for them. In the M*A*S*H episode, it was stated that the US military was the only one NOT accepting any responsibility.

    November 23, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Teararound

      yes, it did happen and many of those children were adopted in the US because one woman with a loving heart made that possible. Unfortunately, I have forgotten her name.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  17. oilfeilds

    im glad ccn covered this, its important to come to understand who we are. no matter what our parents done, it will not change the fact being"you" is important.god is not partial in this. if man would just put his weapons aside,and acept each other diference be it color, country, father,house, and heritage we would be a better world

    November 23, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Teararound

      You are right! Everyone has something to contribute to this world and we need them all. In our family, my father was white and had ancestors that came from England sometime in 1700s. My mother was white but was daughter of Swedish immigrants. The immigrants never invited the local people to their church or community and did not like my father to go with my mother. My father said to me, " I fooled them, I married one of their daughters!". They learned to love him. But there is predjudice everywhere. We need to try to stamp it out wherever we can by our own actions. In our family even though we are white there are several skin tones, hair color, and eye color. One of our sons is so pale that he "disappears" in pictures with the family and another has dark hair and darker skin tones. How can one color of one's outside be better than another?

      November 26, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  18. oilfeilds

    germany is a beautiful country. im glad my dad served there in the 60s. he was in ww2,but also my great great grand mother was german, know this im proud.i wish i had know her.understand no matter where out ancesters come from or where we come from, with out culture we are nothing

    November 23, 2011 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
  19. love

    the need for affection, especially in a foreign country and during war, is natural and undeniable.
    the "self-control & abstinence" mentality is too inhuman.

    November 23, 2011 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |
  20. deutsche001

    I was married to a black soldier. We have to children that are the same hue..lol. I now have six grand children that range from a dark beautiful black to blue eyed and blond. I love them all. My current and last husband is white. He believes that eventually there will be no more color barries because we all will be one human race instad of being judged by color. I am glad and proud to be part of this change.

    November 23, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Have you been to Sweden, China, India, Africa, Mexico, etc...? It may be a while before everybody is just "one human race".

      November 23, 2011 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • georgethedog

      @ john, i have been to sweden. i maybe saw 1 or 2 black people, but there were a bunch of Asians

      November 23, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  21. WhosGuilty

    Soledad would love it this way ... these half-blacks will keep pushing till the black genes are spread all over the planet ... stop it before it's too late ...

    November 23, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  22. Equality

    These posts have been interesting to read and I agree with many of them. My mother's family was white, my dad's family was Native American. I am dating an African American man (I have dated men from different countries, different religions, different ethnic backgrounds, etc), however we all have prejudices.

    I have found that words that African Americans find acceptable to use with each other are totally unacceptable to be used by a "white" person. (And I am not referring to the "N" word, which I find unacceptable for anyone to use.) We are all humans trying to survive in a world of so many issues that are much more important than the color of our skin.

    In regard to the Obama comment, I agree with the post that he is not "African American", he is mulatto. I have had some heated conversations with those from all ethnic backgrounds reminding them that his mother was white. We are all "mutts", and we need to appreciate each other. We are all in this together.

    I feel for ANY child/person that did/does not feel accepted, loved and unsure about their biological parents. I wish all looking for their birth parents success and hope that they find the answers they seek!

    November 22, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dante

      That's not a true statement. Do you know the story of Queen Charlotte?

      November 23, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Jhaye

      I don't know how you came to the conclusion that a son of a Black Kenyan man and an American white woman is not an African American. Though not the son of slaves, he is the quintessential African American!

      November 24, 2011 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  23. xman51

    I agree with JB about how we call our president black when he is in fact a Mulatto but I also take issue with him (Obama) for identifying his self as Afican American instead of taking pride in both of his races. To me its an insult to his mother and grand parents that raised him and gave him his values. I take pride that my mothers Grand father Papa Cain (white) made it clear to all the racist in the town of Eupora,MS that if one of them touch one hair on my grand fathers head (black) that they would not live to see tomorrow. My mother was born in 1928 so that speaks volumes to me about my great grandfather to stand up for my grandfather like that.

    November 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dante

      Lol - He is African-American. His father is African and his mother is American, therefore he is an African-American as defined. He is mullato also because of the mixing of the white and black race, but this word does not only apply to the mixing of just blacks and whites, it can apply to other color peoples mixing with the white race.

      November 23, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  24. Chuck

    Alex,

    'Human' is not an ethnicity.

    November 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Alex Gessong

    @JB: President Obama himself refers to himself as "Black." Few of us are full-blooded Africans, so pretty much the majority of "Black" Americans are of mixed ethnicity to some extent. The correct term for a person of mixed ethnicity is "human." But until more of us figure that out, you're right, we will be have terms like "Mulatto."

    November 22, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  26. StationedInDarmstadt

    Agree with comment regarding strong attraction between Black GIs and German women. I saw it myself when I was stationed there back in 1971. On a Saturday night at the EM club, the Black GIs were the ones with female companionship, the rest of us were sh** out of luck. Oh well ............

    November 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Alex Gessong

    @SSGT: so, you were neutered. Congrats! Glad it worked out for you.

    November 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Alex Gessong

    @Bozo: no, President Obama is not a brown baby. He was born in Hawaii, not Germany, and his mother was an American, not a German. This "brown baby" thing is specific to children of mixed ethnicity born in Germany during the post-war occupation. Otherwise, most infants in the world are brown babies, since the majority of humanity has brown skin, whether light brown or very dark brown. Pink-skinned people are the minority on this planet.

    November 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Robot-Turkey

    After the end of WW2, the German people were starving and American G.I.'s had chocolate bars. G.I.'s were not supposed to fratinize but they did. The Russian soldiers didn't have any chocolate bars so their laisons were not quite as friendly. There were a lot of half-Russian babies born too. That's the sort of thing that happens to people who lose a war.

    November 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Robot-Turkey: I am so tempted to make a joke about "chocolate bars" right now! ;) Good post. It's a timeless truth about the aftermath of warfare.

      November 22, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • loyd roberts

      To the victors goes the spoils. The Germans brutalized the Russians, when the massive red army overran Germany, the Germans were toast. They were lucky to be in a relationship with an American regardless of the color. Better than a victorious Russian soldier with a memory of Stalingrad

      November 22, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patti

      "Maybe I should just be an American and just let it be with that." I agree with this in so many situations. Why do we put African American? These are people who want to know their parentage. We are to fixated on color. All people are people just that. When Germany lost the war why did the people who had the most to lose get hurt the most. Because they were kids no one stuck up for. Many of these mothers and father hearts were broken giving up their children and the love of another person just because their skin colors did not match. So sad.

      November 23, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Elke Duffy

      The Russians were bestial. I was there in 1945/1946 part of the civilian population that had to flee from the advancing Russian hordes. Although I was only 5 years old I remember how our mothers were raped again and again. The Russians were the most primitive people I, as a little girl, had ever seen. We were treated cruelly and I only hope that someday the crimes committed by the Russian soldiers against German civilians will be fully revealed.
      E. Duffy

      November 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  30. attucks1986

    I agree, Sal. Germans are inferior.

    November 22, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sal

      What's funny is that I purposefully avoided saying either race was inferior to the other because it isn't that one is worse than the other, it is that either race will produce better offspring within their own race than they will with another. Blacks are genetically just as fine as Germans, but a mixed breed of the two is inferior to either a pure Black or German child.

      November 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  31. MsNimitz25

    Occupying armies always leave children behind them. It's not just American soldiers – and it is not always an issue of race. For instance, white children born to white Norweigian mothers and white German soldiers during the German occupation of Norway were frequently treated like outcasts. One of the female singers in the group Abba is in this category and suffered tremendous scorn from her countrymen as a result.

    November 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • oilfeilds

      20 years from now would we wonder about some of the childern born during this war being american-iraqans?

      November 23, 2011 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
      • Anthrofreak

        Very interesting thought. However, I somehow think that considering that Iraq is a Muslim country and the controls on women's activity and whereabouts, access to Iraqi women was probably quite limited. But I'm not saying it didn't happen. Where there is a will, there is a way.

        November 25, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  32. Dave

    Dorthy. shut your mouth

    November 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  33. South Miss

    NO his mother was just a regular white woman from Kansas, proabably just like yours.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  34. Stephanie Siek

    At this point I'd like to remind some commenters of the Rules of Conduct set forth in this site's Terms of Service: http://www.cnn.com/interactive_legal.html

    In particular, please acquaint yourself with this section:
    (B) Community Guidelines. If you submit any User Content or participate in an Interactive Area within or in connection with CNN.com, you agree to abide by the following rules of conduct:

    • You agree not to upload, post or otherwise transmit any User Content that violates or infringes in any way upon the rights of others, including any statements which may defame, harass, stalk or threaten others;

    • You agree not to upload, post or otherwise transmit any User Content that is offensive to the online community, including blatant expressions of bigotry, racism, abusiveness, vulgarity or profanity.

    Your comments and discussion are welcome and appreciated, but please try to maintain a civil tone and stay on topic. Most of the comments presented here have been great, and have generated a healthy discussion. But people who try to derail that discussion into an abusive slugfest are better off expressing their opinions elsewhere.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Slap on Dave's hand

      Thank you Stephanie that was way overdue...he's been doing it for days and to everybody. Can he be blocked? Cause a lot of the hateful spits he posts has nothing to do with freedom of speech anymore, he attacks everyone
      Thank you

      November 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Jungg

    Why refer to blacks as "African Americans" when you refer whites as whites?

    Oh, right, double standard.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • OldGoat

      How about if we refer to whites as "Euro-Americans?"

      November 22, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Black Americans are not African. Never were, never will be. They are not African nationals. They are not African citizens. True Africans would never accept them. They use the term "African American" because the word "Black" sounds so ugly. It's funny how Whites don't mind being called White however

      November 22, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • outawork

      I just want to be called an American....period.

      November 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      Guess you've never heard of Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, German-Americans, Greek-Americans, Polish-Americans ...

      November 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sabine

        ...agreed. And this works everywhere. In Germany there are Russian-Germans, Turkish-Germans, Polnish-Germans, ect

        November 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sal

      I'd assume it would be more offensive to dub a Black Haitian-American an African-American than it would to simply refer to them as Black. Why assume anyone darker than brown to hail from Africa when there are many places on Earth with indigenous Blacks outside of Africa? I had a Jamaican friend who would adamantly oppose being referred to as African-American.

      November 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      I love your reply. Well said....

      November 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Dave

    Dorris you fool. Who are you talking to? What a tool

    November 22, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  37. Neveramazedattheworld

    Very well put, I agree.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  38. Tina

    Who made that rule, that people need to get married first? I never saw that law. Please enlighten me as to the basis of your insensitive comment.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  39. Robert

    Proud Caucasoid. Differences are not just skin deep.

    November 22, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  40. AJ

    You obviously didn't read correctly.. Some of them couldn't help it and didn't have much choices.. smh, people

    November 22, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  41. Wayne

    People do look different though.

    November 22, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • gensrchr645

      Yes...pretty people can be nasty...ugly people can be nice, etc. etc. etc. It's behavior that counts.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  42. Phil

    I'm so sick of the term "African American". You're black. Get over it and stop trying to shine (no pun intended) yourself up.

    I'm white. I'm don't call myself "Croatian, German, Irish American".

    You're black and were born in......Australia. You aren't an African Australian.

    November 22, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Tommy

      I am Black and don't like the term African-American either. I am an American PERIOD. HOWEVER many white Americans see me as Black and Black ONLY. They seem to think they are the only ones with the right to call themselves whatever-Americans.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Paula

      Phil I am totally with you. I detest being labled as African-American because I am not African. I was born in the Bronx and have been Black for 43 years and will be Black until I leave this earth.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  43. Tim

    That is an ignorant statement. This is a common and often condoned form of racism against white people. You are just as bad as the people you criticize. Grow up.

    November 22, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  44. John

    Stupid.

    November 22, 2011 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
  45. Ezo

    Another lost individual who confuses racial hatred and prejudice with facts...Idiot!

    November 22, 2011 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
    • art

      what oes racism and predjuice(spell) have to do with taking care of an off-spring of yours. black men have used that as an excuse for too many years when it comes to having babies out of wedlock. getting someone pregnant should not be a goal in life without responsibility.in this day in time nearly 7 of 10 black females are having babies with men who don't love them enough to marry them. check the numbers, do the math and you will find that the majority of young black men in jail came from a family with no father in the household. not too long ago i was talking to a brother about army service in germany and he said fathered a child over there but does not have any contact with the child or mother. are you serious? brothers will not man-up.

      November 22, 2011 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
  46. TDM1979

    Passing is not about merely identifying with European heritage. It is about DENYING your black heritage to the point of insult–i.e. feeling superior to dark-skinned people, taking advantage of being mistaken for white, and joining in or sitting in silence as white people denigrate black people thru such laws as Jim Crow. In Imitation of Life, we saw a young girl treating her mother HORRIBLY so that everyone would think she was white. She considered it the utmost insult to be considered black. THAT is the problem people have with passing. You can identify with your European heritage WITHOUT insulting or denying your black heritage. And yes, I say that as someone who has family members (they aren't biracial, they are simply light-skinned black people) who passed for white in the days of Jim Crow–going to sit in whites-only theaters while watching their darker skinned siblings sit on the back of the bus or denied entry, all while saying NOTHING. They loved how society treated them in a superior manner by mistaking them for white, and held it over their darker-skinned siblings heads. It caused a painful divide in my family for generations.

    November 22, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  47. Dave

    Sabine you dipstick, are you talking to yourself again?

    November 21, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Dan B

    American Indians. Remember that story. It's true.

    November 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  49. sonja

    well, that thing still is kind of going on. there are thousands of kids born in the late 60s and seventies and eighties... i'm one of those "kids" grew up in 16 different orphanages had 14 different foster families. not white german, the US does not care about us either and do not want us at all...

    anyway, that really is not just a story of right after WW2 at all. its going on, and it is, pretty painfull to see that we are not welcome in the US either. Mischlingskinder means btw the SEEM and in the seem term like mixed race children. just here in the US people have allways to cross a field in forms that they are mixed race (i allways wonder WHY to hell people asking you for a RACE at all... thats already boxing people in...)

    November 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Mary

    This is a sad story but we must remember the times. Overt racism was the norm "back in the day" and unfortunately, children were caught up in it. The world has moved past this legacy of racism. This is another legacy of hatred that everyone can learn from.

    November 21, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • logicareason

      the world has moved past racism? Really. well someone forgot to mention that little tidbit to the patient who screamed out he didn't want no n' doctor when i tried to take his patient history and physical.

      November 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • Iheartyou

        James – that's not an acceptable justification. No matter if he wanted a black doctor or not, to use the 'n' word is offensive and racists no matter what the context. And there are bad white doctors too – I've had plenty of them. Just because a person is black and may have gotten admitted to med school through affirmative action, does not mean that they are a bad doctor. As with everything – you need to do your research. Check out ANY doctors history, call the AMA and check their record, ask questions, etc. The color of their skin tells you absolutely nothing about what kind of a doctor they are.

        November 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • cosign w/ Logic

        Sounds like a similar experience I had on the job site. A customer wouldn't take the meal they ordered from me, but they DID take it from a white co-worker. But yeah, *adds sarcasm* racism is a thing of the past*end sarcasm*.

        November 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • erica

        Why is it assumed that a black person or other minority got to med school thru affirmative action? I was the butt of such comments but I was an early acceptance based on merit alone. Prejudice ia alive and well.

        November 22, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Shelley Farrell

      You HAVE GOT to be kidding? Right? "The times..." have been every time, and everywhere US troops are stationed! Viet Nam... Philipines.... Korea... Germany.... Okinawa... it's EVERY time.

      November 21, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Elizabeth

        I bet it won't be the case in Iraq or Afghanistan.

        November 22, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
      • Anna

        Um, this isn't a military policy, it's a social policy. And the military decision to separate those families was influenced by social stigma.

        November 22, 2011 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
  51. Juanita

    Amen.

    November 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Peter

    I agree – the hope for the future of mankind is for people to come together and share experiences, viisons, and, yes, genes.

    November 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Roger Stillman

    Patrick you truly exemplify the rock bottom worst of a human being. Walking talking dark cold vileness. Live long cold and lonely.

    November 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
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