'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 (330 Responses)
  1. touble

    I say send the father back and call it even!!!!!

    November 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. wildlife11

    Lets also remember all of the kids we left in Vietnam.These kids where fathered by American GI and left in that country when we pulled out of there. Kind of like the same thing.

    November 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zugbu

      And yes let's not forget Philippines!

      November 21, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SokrMom

    Thousands of African-Americans fathered babies with German women after World War II? Really?

    November 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • DMH

      Yes, really. I am one of them. Born in 1959 and now live in the USA, but I was born and grew up in Germany with my German mom. Thank God she did not give me up, but it was very hard growing up among mainly white Germans.

      November 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • Karen Andersen

        Della ?

        November 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Where did it say "thousands" fathered children? I thought it was thousands of children were born...

      November 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • tbrnotb

        First sentsnce...second paragraph.....
        you who are so ready to dispute!

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

        5,000 "brown babies" were born between 1945 and 1955 ...

        November 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chris from Iowa

    God bless you, Geezer! I'm half Mexican and half German, too. Take pride! The only way we'd be any tougher is if we had some Irish in us.

    November 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris from Iowa

      So are my kids Chris !! Yeay to germatino's 😉

      November 21, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. personal_responsibility

    If you feel CNN is such garbage – why do you read it ?

    November 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. van

    This is the same story in Vietnam during the Vietnam War and after
    war is over. There are lots sad story like this in Vietnam.

    November 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      Korea too

      November 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katherine

      That's just what I was going to say. It's Viet Nam and Korea all over. And it's probably the same story with any occupying army throughout history. Same old same old. Yawn.

      November 22, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • carol

      the same is true with Filipinas and American GIs during the Vietnam war. A lot of GIs were stationed in the Philippines who fathered children.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jazzpianist

    You are a fool. Racism still exists and race is a factor in many instances. Sometimes it (race and racism) is a benign topic and other times it is poignant and volatile. But it is ALWAYS remarkable and worth mentioning.

    November 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Christine

    And if the mother doesn't want to be "brought home", do you give your sons the option to "stay home" with the mother? Or can they amicably separate and still remain in contact for the child's sake?

    November 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    No way were/are the Germans racist! What in their entire history would lead to such a story?
    (End Sarcasm: Now).

    November 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. LisaJoy

    Wow...that's a new one for me. I'm black, don't have a problem with ANY race...LOVE bi-racial babies (they're so cute!)-never knew that blacks are sometimes the majority when it comes to racism against bi-racial children...and I live in the DEEP south!!!! Wow...

    November 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Carole

    Reread the article, they do not know how many were born. It stated the 5000 were born between 1945-1955 and that by 1968 7000 had been adopted. That number probably includes the babies born after 1955. The article was addressing the number born right after the end of WWII.

    November 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. viv

    What are you smoking?

    November 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dave

    You are disgusting

    November 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dave

    You're disgusting

    November 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dave

    I find you to be ugly as well. Comments can not be made on wishy washy site without being removed. Opinions can not be heard unless they are PC. There are no white parents anywhere who want their white daughters dating black men. Does this make them bad? Not one bit!!

    November 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  16. missalex

    Yet to read the comments made on a story about a football players penalty yesterday...here in America..its like nothing has change wait nothing has changed except the racist don't have to hid their ugly faces behind a sheet, its called the internet. But seriously, does cnn really think these stories are helping?

    November 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Davef

    No, it hasn't changed. You might be why.

    November 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      You're darn right I am, just like the VAST majority of white people are

      November 21, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Emmaleah

    Well, seems like the person to whom I was replying has already had their ugliness removed from the conversation.

    November 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Dave

    If only it were that easy

    November 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Geezer

    I'm half German and half Mexican. My dad was a GI stationed in Germany in the 60s. Growing up there wasn't necessarily easy as mixed race kid. I was definitely an outcast.

    November 21, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • hawaiiduude

      uh.. mexican is not a race it's a people group consisting of spanish andsome natives who survived the spanish mixed together. Even mexican people groups are racist because the whiter ones (more spanish) think they are better than darker ones (more native)

      November 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • personal_responsibility

        Hawaii and Keith –
        Per the US FDA right now, there are 5 'Races' and only 2 'Ethnicity' options available for a person to be –
        Race =
        -American Indian or Alaskan Native
        -Black or African American
        -Native Hawaiianor Pacific Islander
        – White
        and the only two 'ethnic' options are
        -Hispanic or Latino
        -Not Hispanic or Latino

        If a person is of Mexican descent, the Race and Ethnicity they are classified to on IS THEIR INTERPRETATION ONLY (i.e – What do you consider yourself?).
        It is not legal or ethical for someone at a Medical Research Facility to determine their race or ethinicity for them.

        November 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • princeton1991

        race doesn't matter here any more than ethnic or cultural boundaries because of perceived color differences.

        November 22, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  21. milpitasguy

    I now realize a friend of mine from 20 years ago was a "brown baby" when he kept on referencing his mixed German-black ancestry. He was a USAF lieutenant colonel at NASA and Vietnam vet with a regular American name but he didn't look African-American, more like a tall Egyptian or middle easterner.

    November 21, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adelheide

      This is not just a reply to this comment but to the article as a whole: Hopefully the photos shown at the top of this article, providing names and some information, will be seen either by the one being searched for or by someone who knows the persons in them and the families can be reunited. Perhaps there ought to be a website so that can be done on a larger scale.

      November 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • LisaJoy

        TOTALLY agree:)

        November 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthrofreak

      "African-Americans" don't have just one look. Ever notice pictures of white families where almost everyone is the same color and in black families you will see a wide range of skin tones even with siblings? African-Americans are a mixed population to begin with, just like like blacks throughout the Caribbean.

      I am "African-American" and depending on the time of year, the deepness of my tan and the length of my hair, i have been pegged for Brazilian, Saudi, Dominican, Egyptian, Indonesian, Moroccan, Bi-racial(black/white) and even Indian a few times. Chances are that there is someone who looks like me in all those countries.

      November 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |

    I beg to differ sir "mischlinger" translates as "mutt". If you don't mind being called a mutt then I guess it's not offensive to YOU. No rebate on the electrons.

    November 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Seanan

    I live in Germany and have a brown skinned princess we adopted from Guatemala. In her Kindergarten (preschool) class are children of mixed African and German heritage, Chinese heritage, Indian heritage, etc. People often tell me that my daughter is beautiful, and she is popular at her school. I once went to the doctor's office and blond haired blue eyed little German girl had a dark skinned baby doll who she called Obama. Most Germans I know adore Obama. I say all this to say, I hope things have changed for the most part here in Germany. If you would go back to the time period of the 40's and 50's, we were in the dark ages of racial equality in the US. I hope all these adoptees find the information about their birth families they are looking for.

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

      Adore Obama, LOL. He's the most RACIST person there is! And the worst president this country has EVER had.

      November 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Alex Gessong

        @Ann: of course you have some evidence for Obama's "racism", right? No, you don't, because it doesn't exist. You're right, he's the worst President, if you eliminate all of the other Presidents. You conservatives gave us Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and various others. President Obama towers above them. My only regret is that there are term limits, else I'd be voting for him for the rest of my life. I thank God I lived to see his election.

        November 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lonewolf777

        You must have made a wrong turn at the intersection. The address you're looking for is FoxNews.com. You'll feel right at home there – with the other knuckledraggers.

        November 22, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • TxJim

        Ann Coulter?? is that you?

        November 23, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  24. Loopman

    Another group to consider while discussing the fates of Afro-German children are the Eur-Asian children left behind during and after the Viet Nam war. This group probably accounts for a much larger group of children just due to the length of that conflict and the number of US/French/Aussie GIs that passed through the country. These children are as physically distinquishable as Afro-German children. Like their peers, each group has been lost to the mainstream due to an attempt to hide them from the general populace. Neither country wants to fess up to the blatant discrimination they so carelessly exercise towards these children of mixed races, through no fault of their own. Not a pretty picture to paint but part of the realism associated with human nature.

    November 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • FlyGuyInSJ

      There's a certain amount of myth swirling around the "Eurasian babies in Viet Nam" issue. I lived in Viet Nam, got married there, had a neighbor down the street who was one of those babies. She ran a successful small business. I asked my wife about discrimination against mixed-race children from the war, and she looked at me like I was from another planet. She said there were a bunch of them in her Sai Gon neighborhood and many of them still lived there, and they had always been part of the group just like everyone else.

      I'm sure if you looked you could find some discrimination against them somewhere, but it seems like the story is kind of overblown.

      November 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Shannon

        Completely agree.

        November 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jennifer

        Your friend was very lucky. President Carter had to sign into law airlifts for these "dust of life" children. Your friend survived many of these children did not. They were cast out and not accepted by either race. Many were left to die in rice paddies others simply left in the street. Please try some research before claiming things are overblown.

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

      I think it was the Korean War where mixed babies were looked upon very, very negatively ...

      November 22, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sir Mixed Up

        I am a mix of Ohio and Michigan. I have suffered greatly for it.

        November 23, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  25. Sean

    It’s is only derogatory if a white person uses it. If an “afro” as Stephanie calls them uses it, then it’s alright. Just listen to their music.

    November 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  26. exkraut

    Losing WWs I and II certainly didn't end racism in Germany, they went right on bemoaning all their neighbors' ancient ways, languages and cultures as being "inferior" in some shape or form, best sent up the nearest chimney in a puff of smoke.

    November 21, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • liz48

      I was dating a German man in the 80s and visited southern Germany to see his parents. It was a small quaint town and the people called me "brown girl" in German. I did not understand German and smiled politely. After reading this article I am beginning to wonder if they were insulting me...lol!

      November 21, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ann

        Possibly but you have to understand the Germans are very literal, especially in their language- I wouldn't take it too personally or look too much into it.

        November 22, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      I'm second generation American of Italian descent. Back in the early 70's at college graduation, one of my friend's aunts (a first generation American of German descent) wanted to know which one of my parents was a "black" ... this woman hardly said a word to me that day. But she had no problems with some of our friends who were, in her mind, the product of two African-American parents. I think, even today there are still a lot of people that find the mixing of races objectionable.

      Live and let live ... Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

      November 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Alex Gessong

        @Deb: they find it objectionable because they're confused. There's really only one human race. What's really objectionable is ignorance about something so perfectly obvious. All human ancestry goes back to Africa. No matter what our skin color or hair texture, all 7 billion humans on this planet are the descendants of Africans.

        November 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  27. NVI

    What's interesting now, is that a lot of African-American children who aren't being adopted by US couples are being adopted by German, and many other European, couples.

    November 21, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  28. BGL

    It is just sad how color is used against people. Like any of us had a choice about what race we were going to be before we were born. Nobody chooses how, when, or where they come into the world and none of that should be used against anybody.

    November 21, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Now that’s just not fair.. we OWE them…


      November 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • nanaXaimihana

      Technically, Minority groups cannot oppress the Majority group. What I mean is the oppressed group cannot be "racist" because they don't systematically benefit from racism. Oppressed groups however can hold prejudicial thoughts and engage in discrimination.

      I agree with you that equal opportunity should be available to everybody, but we live in a society where there is the dominate group and the subordinate group. Complete equality is not really possible, a person or group of people will want to be the leader, and then there will be the rest who don't aspire for that or left behind in the dust.

      November 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Krista

      I could not agree with you more! Racism needs to stop. It's just inconceivable that people could hate others just because the colour of ones skin. Everyone is the same inside. Besides, the world would be a boring place if everyone looked the same.

      November 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dave

        No more boring than if we all got along

        November 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • WHOOSH

      Oh Please...give me a freakin' break idiot.

      November 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • No Whining

      You're right. You do deserve the same things blacks get. Things like under achieving schools, getting turned down for loans (even with a job and good credit history), exposure to sub standard housing and being called the N word.

      Most blacks don't want financial compensation, they want fairness and an opportunity. Things are much better today but please understand that racism persisted for most of our history and well into 80's and 90's. Unfortunately, after being subjected to poor treatment for such an extended period, some have given up. If they see no opportunity, then none must exist is their way of thinking. This is where the addiction, violence and abuse begins to permeate some communities. Some of them don't see a way out. Blacks living in more affluent areas tend to do well but those that need assistance, continue to struggle because they see no opportunity. this is a direct result of years of being labeled as less than equal. Things are better but more work needs to be done.

      I do say this in the most respectful way and hope that things continue to improve. If we can uplift any part of our society, then all of us will be uplifted.

      November 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • FlyGuyInSJ

        So, let me get this straight: are you saying that the underachieving schools are not the fault of the people who attend them (regardless or race)? My kids go to a Catholic school, and I can tell you that the funding level is less than what the public schools in my area get, yet the results blow the public schools away. Why? Because everyone involved – most especially the parents – are way more committed to education. You show me people who are committed and I'll show you good results – regardless of race. You show me people who aren't, and I'll show you poor results – regardless of race. If black schools are failing, only the black families in those schools can change it. I was a teacher, and I can tell you that students who come into your classroom not caring are so hard to reach. When you have a class where most of the students just plain don't care, it's really stacked against you. I was able to reach some, but for most, just getting them to not disrupt the class for those who wanted to learn was a major victory. That's so demoralizing that after a few years I gave up teaching and returned to my former/current occupation. Bottom line: if black schools are under-performing, only blacks can fix it. Everyone should help in every way we can, but the school's community has to take point.

        Turned down for loans because you're black? I don't think so. People get turned down for loans because of bad credit/no credit/high risk.

        Substandard housing? Lots of poor people have that, even white ones. It's not about racism. It's about poverty.

        I agree with many of your points, and agree that past racism created much of these conditions, but there are also a lot of people not working to fix it. Many of my family members and friends came here as refugees with quite literally nothing but the clothes on their backs, and speaking only the most basic survival-level English (or none at all) gleaned in refugee centers before being re-settled to the United States.

        They probably received fewer benefits than poor American blacks did then and do now, and they also experienced racism. Yet today, they all speak English, they all own homes in middle-class neighborhoods (with paid-off mortgages, mostly), they are all gainfully employed and most of their children have gone to college, are currently going, have entered a skilled trade, or are taking over the family business.

        What's different? Mainly, that they work harder than anyone I've ever seen. They can skimp and save like no one I've ever seen. They know what real hardship is like no one who was born here knows it. They risked their lives in unseaworthy boats to get out of Viet Nam. They saw people die on the journey. They know what it means to never give up. A few years ago, we watched a commemorative show about the 30th anniversary of the fall of Sai Gon, and the suffering of the boat people together. After all these years, they were still all moved to tears remembering the experience. They came through that, and they made it because they know what it means to never give up.

        If people want to give up, it's almost impossible to help them. If they don't, we can give them a hand up and they will succeed. Today, it seems like too many people are willing to blame everything on hardship and racism. Boat people know what hardship and racism are, too, but they didn't let it keep them down.

        November 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

         ˈreɪ sɪz əmShow Spelled[rey-siz-uh m] Show IPA
      1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

      Show me where it says being a minority or majority has anything to do with it.

      November 21, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • How soon we forget

      Blacks getting "benefits" is a way of America trying to compensate for discrimination when these things were available to whites only. Remember Jim Crow so called seperate but equal laws and so forth. You wanting the same benefits that were taken away is like black people saying we want white people on the plantation now. African Americans couldnt vote, weren't allowed on tv or in magazines or commercials, yet you believe you are missing out on benefits that African Americans receive? Times have changed some but racism is still plenty, maybe one day America will understand what true equality in the races means.

      November 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      How true!

      November 21, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mrmollygood

      Racists are born ugly on the inside. They're going to get left behind for sure.

      November 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • Maire

        Racists aren't born, they're created through socialization. What PC drivel.

        November 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Rashna Owens

    I am proud to be a Black German,Having to be brought here US I had the great opporrunity too meet,cry and share my some of My Story As a Black German. this Film gave us an Opportunity to Know we are Not alone and provided a healing and Open the door for those who never knew us To Know we are Your History ! Vielen Dank

    November 21, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  30. duh

    btw, my mother was german with strict upbringing and my father was white american and her parents still frowned upon them being together. Fortunately it all worked out in the end.

    November 21, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      my mom was 100% Italian (first generation American) and my dad was 75% Italian/25% Irish and English (first generation American) and still grandma didn't like the idea of a "mixed" marriage. i'm happy to say that grandma came around very quickly and realized what a wonderful man her daughter married!!!!

      i miss all three of them terribly ... Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!

      November 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  31. MC1966

    My husband was born to a white GI and him and his mother were abandoned by the GI in Germany. It's just as painful no matter what color you are.

    November 21, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      @ Johnny
      True, but that would go against human nature. Then again no one forced the women to sleep with the American soldiers ether.

      November 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  32. USMC Phrog

    Their children were deemed "mischlingskinder" – a derogatory term for mixed race children. Are you not reading the article? I only skim through and still have to correct you.

    November 21, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  33. harlequin

    Dude I've been living in Germany the past 22 yrs. as a civilian and was here 4 yrs. out 6 serving in the army. My wife is German. I speak the language as my own and all the local dialects. And mischling is a derogatory term when it's used to describe people of interacial origins. It's the same term they use to describe muts when it comes to dogs. They also call us zupfer which means cotton picker. Generally that's what they called afro-americans, but now it just means American in general and it is very derogatory also. The more educated here tend to be very tolerant, but the Arbeiter classes and not so educated use quite a bit of racial stereotyping.

    November 21, 2011 at 5:47 am | Report abuse |
  34. John

    To Martina: People who start a story with,"I'm not a racist" are usually what they say they are not.....

    November 21, 2011 at 4:02 am | Report abuse |
  35. JK

    I beg to differ Moribundman. I am an American (ex-GI) living in Germany the last 20 years, and yes "Mischlingskind" is not only derogatory, but also racist. I cannot for the life of me still believe that certain words (in German as well as in English) are used here in this day and age.

    November 21, 2011 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
    • nanaXaimihana

      I depends on how the term is used though. I'm half Asian and half European, and a Chinese term for "mixed children" is Hun Xun Er, which literally means Mixed Blood Child. It can be used as a derogatory term, but I have used it myself. Saying you're mixed isn't necessarily a bad thing, to me it's the same as someone identifying themselves as Asian, Caucasian, etc. Because when people are having a difficulty trying to figure out what ethnicity you are, it's easier to say "I'm a biracial", then get into personal details.

      November 21, 2011 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
  36. Sven

    Reminds me of someone who was born in the 20's in Germany to an American dad ( black ) and survived the Holocaust. He still lives near Berlin.

    November 21, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  37. brooks

    It's all about your "paint job"

    November 21, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Jzerm

      Not every "child of war" was labeled "mischlingskinder". Only the dark ones. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether oppresion is based on skin color or economic status. I agree that there are a vast amount of overlooked poor white people that deserve to be recognized, even reparated. However, the poor people of color got a double-, triple-, even triple-double whammy in terms of the hardships they face(d) in that Germany and here in America simpl because of "paint job" which is a pretty lame term to use.

      November 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Panopsis

    Although I'm no expert on the subject, it's worth pointing out as a footnote that anyone who closely associated themselves with allied soldiers in post-war Germany was subject to discrimination, irrelevant of ethnicity. No doubt those so-called war babies who were darker complected were easier to pick out and therefore subject to greater discrimination - for example, few people in Europe wanted to adopt such a mixed baby, and hence black American families picked up the slack - but any children of visiting soldiers at all were also discriminated against. There are conflicting reports on the number of children born to foreign soldiers in Germany in the ten years following the war, but the number seems to hover around 66,000, according to Maria Hohn, author of _GIs and Frauleins_. That's a lot of displaced and neglected kids. It's also worth noting that a good chunk of those children were the result of rape, particularly by occupying Russian soldiers. What an awful time in history.

    November 21, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  39. mm

    So sad, but you can't write English.

    November 21, 2011 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  40. john smith

    dude spent $250K of his money trying to find his parents. What the hell does this guy do for a living? Obviously, his fragmented childhood didn't hurt his ability to succeed in life!

    November 21, 2011 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  41. Fiona

    Male soldiers always leave children in their wake. It's an old, old story. It becomes an issue only when the kids are mixed race. Think of all the Vietnamese, Thai, Filipino mixed-race kids with American fathers. They don't get treated too well, either. What is it with CNN these days? Way too much hand wringing going on here over Being Black in America. Get over it already.

    November 21, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  42. Newfamilyguy

    I wanted to reply to this comment, but I caught myself.

    November 21, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  43. L. Davis

    My dad had a white G.I. friend who had befriended a German woman and had two kids with her. He had a wife and a daughter in the U.S. He came to Fort Lee, VA with both women and the three children. The white community ostracized them. My dad, an African American, let the wife and daughter stay with us, since they had no where to go. The girlfriend and her two kids were put up in a hotel. Eventually, he got quarters and the women and the children lived with him like hostile camps. Eventually, the girlfriend left. I have no idea where she and the two kids went. The wife died. The husband remarried. He was grateful for the favor my dad had done for him and they kept in touch. His daughter, who is grown now, is an acquaintance of mine. I have often wondered if she knew that she had two siblings, but I just can't bring myself to ask her. As someone said above, soldiers of many/all countries leave a lot of children behind.

    November 21, 2011 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Dcal

      No, you twit. His father took in the wife and daughter of the GI until the GI could secure a place to live. His father didn't "destroy two families." He was sheltering a woman and her child. Acquire some reading comprehension before insulting someone's father from the safety of internet anonymity.

      November 21, 2011 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
    • tumbleweed

      She (he) is not talking about her dad, but a friend of her dad's. No need to get insulting.

      November 21, 2011 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Willie12345

      They choose to leave them behind. Nothing stops them from going back and getting them or supporting them. It's the fathers that need to be called down on this.

      November 22, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  44. Q-bert

    You know I have noticed that the ever liberal CNN has been leaning to the far right recently. What happened?

    November 21, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Alex Gessong

      CNN doesn't lean right or left. CNN reports objectively, so many perceive it as liberal on that basis. The "In America" series is only a reminder of how diverse our country's population is. The "brown babies" story provides insight into the history of some of that diversity. Ultimately, this story just points out what everyone needs to keep in mind: we're all just humans, and love has no color. You won't find stories like this on Fox News.

      November 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Stephanie Siek

    According to many of my Afro-German friends (people of mixed German and African descent), it is considered to be, at best, a condescending or patronizing term. It is no longer considered polite or politically correct. "Mischling" is often translated as "half-breed," or "cross breed" – terms usually reserved for animals, which is why many people of African and African-American descent in Germany now see it as perjorative:

    November 21, 2011 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
    • harlequin

      Sports commentators also refer to players on the field as " Farbig " when they are of African heritage. They'll say stuff like
      "Der dunkel farbiger Stürmer aus Kamerun..." That's stuff you'd never hear on American TV.

      November 21, 2011 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan B

        Yea; too bad

        November 21, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  46. ep tor

    Illegitimate child ??? That disgusting 19th century term is still part of the Military's rules? ? That term goes hand in hand with the "n" word. How disgraceful. A child is either biological or adopted. Either way, it should have every right to know everything about it's parents.

    November 21, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Texan

      I was born in 1948. My father was a GI, my mother a German woman. My father acknowledge paternity and tried to marry my mother before I was born. He could not get permission. The military – especially the military chaplain – tried to convince my dad to forget about my mother and me. My birth certificate is stamped "illegitimate" even though my father is listed as my father. After my parents were married several months later it was stamped "legitimized".

      November 21, 2011 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
    • s. Lutz

      Yes. you are right. It is so disgusting. So is the term "mischlingskinder". human beings always look for ways to put other people down. It is a game of power that I refuse to play.

      November 21, 2011 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Face

      Uh, this was many many years ago. Hello?

      November 21, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Sunflower

      I just can't seem to wrap my head around the military being so bold, so arrogant and so cruel as to tell ANYONE whom they can and can't marry...and whether they can claim a child as their own, and raise it as they see fit. That is the most disgusting thing I've heard about the military yet. I'm appalled.

      November 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maire

      Back in the dark ages 19th century, illegitimate children were stigmatized. Thank heaven we live in the 21st century, where problems like that are usually "take care of" in the 1st-2nd trimester.

      November 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Dannyp

    Nice ! lol

    November 20, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  48. halaluya

    There are no brown babies, amerasian babies or any other racially mixed babies...they are all little babies that belong in one race: the human race

    November 20, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texan

      Very true.

      November 21, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Finally, a sensible comment. Thanks.

      November 22, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  49. Donald

    for people who have been comparing this issue to kids who look white... in the words of cris rock "If you are white the skys' the limit, if yor are black the limits the sky"

    you don't hear of white kids in this mess because they are more accepted and have a better chance in a mostly white society...

    November 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Q-bert

      I think people just do not make as big of a deal about it when it happens to white kids.

      November 21, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
      • jenny

        Q-Bert, the white kids did not suffer racism on top of the adoption issues. So yes, the effects were less pronounced for the white kids.

        November 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      I have to agree with Q-bert. You hear about it because you are only a ‘victim’ if you are a minority. If you are white it is assumed you are privileged in some way and ignored. Last I checked an orphan was still and orphan regardless of their color.

      November 21, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Donald

        the black community's family support structure has been shatter over centuries and now they dont even have a healthy support structure to get out of this rut... yes, yes i know look!!! the President is black and we have finally over come this "black" problem we have always been criticised about all along... and please "people-in-denial" dont throw exceptions (Obama, Oprah, etc; funny they both begin with O) into the argument and make the "problem" go away... i agree that the intensity of the problem is the same irrespective of color, but it is a bigger problem for kids of color...

        btw, try getting people to treat individuals based on who they are as a person...

        if you want to vent your frustration... work at getting the bankers who crusted the world economy put in jail... the best that has been done so far is put Martha Stewart, a woman, (which is even more annoying) for getting a stupid stock tip...
        also, please dont include madoff, he did not crush the world economy... while i am off topic in this last paragraph... and yeah, "Jose" ruined the economy as well, by plucking tomatoes and mowing your lawn...

        November 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Bklyn OG

    Don't you realize, those same Black Fathers never were give tho opportunity to raise their children because of Race in this world. Where in the world have you been, not to see this fact. Don't damn all black men, check your facts.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Dianna Topper

    So very many babies were left behind in so many countries. I'm sure some of the fathers cared for and grieved their lost children, but I can't help wondering how many of them ever tried to track down their children. As an adoptee myself, it's what I would wonder in their shoes. By the way, one tiny detail made me smile. Post WWII, there was no such thing as pantyhose, only stockings, and post-war, usually silk until nylons came in.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texan

      You are correct. I think pantyhose were invented somewhere in the 60s.

      November 21, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Q-bert

      Even worse, how many soldiers do you think did not even know about their children.

      November 21, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
    • rmsbl4

      Technically this is still post WWII as it is still after the end of WWII.

      November 21, 2011 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
  52. Hawaii

    Dad fathered a son in the Korean War. He showed me a photo of a little boy and his mom. He didn't tell me his name, or the mother's name. I have no way of finding him. I don't know if he has father's last name. He's lost. I'm crying. Where is my brother:( He would have been older than me by 5 years. He would be 60 and never knew his father. This is horrible and I have a hole in my heart. Worse still I can't ask dad. He died 5 years ago.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  53. gwats

    I 'm Black, my wife is Asian. Our son has grown up in a World with almost no racial barriers, and I forget how things were in the 50s and 60s when I was a kid. We really have made strides, but were not finished, by a long shot.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • BecDel

      You are making assumptions about Mississippians based on our geography – how do you differ from a racist that makes assumptions based on color of the skin?

      November 21, 2011 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
  54. Al

    Kurt Vonnegut wrote a short story "D.P.", which can be found in his short-story collection "Welcome to the Monkey House". It inspired an award-winning drama "Displaced Person" which addresses this issue. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Displaced_Person_(TV)

    November 20, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • kareny

      Remember back then American men were drafted. Obviously, you didn't read the article. The soldier fathers were forced by military brass to leave their children & their white german mothers.

      November 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chris

        ...on the other hand,they wren't forced to -conceive- them,either...

        November 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • anna

        all this hullabaloo because the men couldnt keep their pants zipped.

        November 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Joe

    What part of – the families were forced apart – did you not understand? You want to blame the father just because he's black, racist.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  56. dallas.alphonso

    It was war and blacks were still being discriminated against in this country, even after fighting for it, maybe these guys thought it would better for their children in Germany. Racism is to blamed for all of this nonsense, it is a cancer an hopefully one day it will be eliminated but I doubt it

    November 20, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  57. veritas

    Yes, the African-American servicement fathers weren't there, but obviously you can't read. It stated clearly in the article that as soon as the military brass would learn about these relationships, they would transfer the African-American servicement to different bases. The reason that they were absent was because of the racist U.S. policies of the white military establishment that deliberately broke up these families.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lacey

      And what happened to these fathers after they were discharged? Why did so many not make any effort to try and find their girlfriends and children. They share the responsibility as well because once they were out of the military, they had the option of taking care of their families or walking away. Seems like too many chose the latter.

      November 20, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Itsreald

    ...I THINK IT'S A FUNNY SENTENCE: "Many didn’t know of they had been adopted until they were adults"...

    November 20, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • reggie

      of is a typo, as you may know both 'i' and 'o' are next to each other on the keyboard..anyway it's not just brownies...war and oversee stationing always results in mixed race babies (pick any combination you like, depending who went where)
      Americans (why;'pol

      November 20, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hawaii

      It's NOT funny. When you are not told anything–most of the parents didn't want to cause chaos in the home and waited until the child was old enough to understand. Back in the 60's they didn't talk about such things as they do now.

      November 20, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Itsreald


        November 20, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  59. C Being

    Let's focus on adoptees who need to know much about their ancestry. It's not simple curiosity. Even with broken families and children scattered between parents and step-parents, adults grow up knowing their family, seeing people who look like them, hearing family stories that track back generations. Adoptees do not. It becomes very important when emergency room personnel ask, "Is there a history of {fill in the blank of any disease} in your family?" and the answer is not available. It becomes even more important should there be a need for bone marrow therapy. Searching is very personal, but once the decision is made, the searcher needs all the help they can obtain.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Megan

    Great editing...."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." 5000 born, 7000 adopted?

    November 20, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      Possibly: "5,000 born between 1945 – 1955 and 7,000 adopted [ of those born after 1945 and ] by 1968." This is how it seems meant but was not written clearly so could also be an inaccurate impression.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • PrlJns

        I am a "Brown Baby" born in 1956, why is 1955 the cut-off year? My parents actually were married a month before my twin and I were born. It was illegal for them to get married when my older sister was born in 1951. I actually have a couple of friends who were adopted by Americans and horribly mistreated (but that's another story, no isn't it?)

        November 21, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
    • nighthawk

      Also, "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"; 2 and 3 MILLION? If there were between 2 and 3 miilion african american soldiers/families after the war, how many white families were there? 10 Milllion? How many soldiers did we have over their? I think the figures in this story are extremely inflated.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • Adam

        Consider that the 2-3 million African-American soldiers in Germany was over the course of the entire Cold War. (1945-1989). That is quite a few but certainly possible.

        November 21, 2011 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
      • tumbleweed

        It's actually quite possible for that time period. I grew up in a German town in Souther Germany in the 60s and 70s. We had 7 US military installations in the area. I knew how to sing the American anthem long before I ever even heard the German one.

        November 21, 2011 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie Siek

      Hi Megan,
      Thank you for catching this – yes, as written, it is a bit confusing. There are very few statistics available concerning these children, and often the dates do not match up completely so it's hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison. This is why there was one figure given for babies born 1945-1955 – there was a data set for that time period, but not beyond that. There was a separate study done in the late 1960s/early 1970s that counted the number of children that had been adopted by American families by 1968 – which includes 13 years' worth of children beyond that first study. I hope this clarifies things a bit.

      November 21, 2011 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
    • carolyn

      I work with a 58 yr. old black never married female...who has two children.......these children..have in return have never married ,but have 14 kids between. the two of them.All of these kids have different fathers and mothers..Way to go!

      November 22, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Jacob

    GI's, period, leave babies all over the world..race doesn't matter...it's heartbreaking that being "black" makes you one of the most feared and or hated....my advice is to focus on making the green...the green tends to lessen the effects of our brown and black skin..

    November 20, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  62. amadeo122

    you are their enemy, what did you expect? this is not Rocky IV where the russians chanted rocky's name in the end, this is real life. Americans are responsible for the deaths of a million Germans from starvation after WW1.

    November 20, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  63. JomoDaMusicMan

    Quit watching so much TV and Big Screen Movies from Hollywood. Because all these so called inter-racial affairs on the screen is always White Men Screwing Black Women. But in reality 80% of inter racial affairs is Black Men with White Women. The big Screen don't show it this way because White Men gets offended when they see Black Men with White women, so Holllywood caters to these Southern Racists

    November 20, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Valno

    And you would know? You moron. There are poor white people out here. What about about them?

    November 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Valno

    Watch your mouth, you idiot, we hate this story because if focuses on only some of the victims instead of all of the victims. Black bias in the media is evident, can you get that? Be fair or don't even try is what is being said.

    November 20, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ami

      The article clearly states that the parents were often split apart, so their separations were often times not by choice but by force. "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."

      November 20, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  66. shucknjive

    Love how CNN has become BET....

    November 20, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Geoff

    Um... it says that the higher ups in the military didn't approve and that they were forced to leave... learn to read.

    November 20, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Dawn

    Tragic for all concerned.

    November 20, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  69. robert

    all the cowardly racists come out now

    November 20, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeMark


      No sir the problem here is you and people like you who open their mouths and spread hate. No matter what race you are you can be a great person, being black, white, asian, etc doesn't define who you are. The things you go through in life do to people that spread hate like you do however influence who you become over time. Yet, it's people like you who honestly drive and motivate a lot of people to become a better person. You sir are sad and I honestly feel bad for your family, friends and children that are raised by someone like you. It's not telling the type of lies and hate you spread to people around you. God bless you sir and one day I pray that Lord shines his light on you and washes away that hate you have build up within.

      November 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nique_mil

      Oh, man. You need a therapist.

      November 20, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • evergreen

      The same thing happened during the Viet Nam and Koren wars. Babies born to vietnames and koren women by American G.I.s were ostracized, abandoned, put in orphanges and a very few were adopted by American families. It;s not just a black thing.

      November 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • jameriqueen

        I once dated a man who told me that in his 2 tours in Vietnam, he had fathered at least 2 children by different women. The interesting thing is that I now have a Vietnamese student whose skin color is darker than mine. I would suppose that because many minority young men did not have the option of getting a "student deferment" from the draft in the late sixties/early seventies ,they were the ones impregnating willing Vietnamese women.

        November 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Alexandra

    What is wrong with you.

    November 20, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  71. RememberThis

    You're not thinking or you are not very bright. The difference is babies born to white American fathers in the 1950s and 1960s could be kept. They blended in and so there wasn't as much social scrutiny. Furthermore, the mothers could be brought back to the states. This is over 50 years ago. No way was the military allow black men to bring back European wives. You didn't really start seeing that until the late 60s/early 70s.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  72. adam

    Interesting comments. Al lot more info could have been offered about the rape of German women by US troops and also I was VERY surprised that there weren't a lot of comments about Vietnam. Many, many babies were created by French and then American troops. The ones that were left behind had a very difficult life.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  73. RememberThis

    I don't know how many of you remember Milli Vanilli, but Rob Pilatus was a "brown baby". His father was an American GI and his mother was forced to give him up for adoption. He OD'd/killed himself in 1998.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • s

      Yep, I remember Milli Vanilli cause I was a little 7th-grader at the time they were popular and they were a pretty big deal for a couple of years! That is really interesting about Rob Pilatus, thanks for sharing that. I hope his personal demons weren't related to being a brown baby, but I guess it doesn't matter. Demons are demons and it sounds like he must have had a few.

      November 22, 2011 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
  74. Rose

    A major news source like CNN should probably learn some positive adoption language. "Put Up" is not an acceptable term and it does not honor adoptive children. Try "placed". Positive adoption language isn't new, and it gives value to adoptees. There is no reason for you not to use it.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      "Put up" and "placed" are not interchangeable terms. Someone who has been "put up" for adoption is available to be adopted. Someone who has been "placed" has been adopted. Two totally different things.

      November 20, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • KeithTexas

      There is always someone looking for a way to be offended, they are never disappointed.

      November 21, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Beautiful Country

    There is a very touching movie called "Beautiful Country" about a boy born to a Vietnamese mother and an American GI during the Vietnam conflict. Nick Nolte stars as the GI. I recommend this movie highly.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      What do you think Ms. Saigon was about!?!

      November 21, 2011 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  76. Dee

    God bless each and everyone of them. Truly a war tragedy. Every child should have a loving family, but that is not always the case.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Time Lord

    And now, 60 years later, it's a story on CNN. For some reason.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • RememberThis

      I know... All after the fact when most of the people involved have a foot in the grave. This is not the first time I've heard stories similar to this. It is important to know your roots. But, CNN is weird sometimes.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  78. tattootheearth

    Plenty of white males had children ( that were abandoned ) with german women.I'm all for shedding light on race, but CNN really reaches these days.Every day they do some report or editorial on race.Jesus.Enough.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norvy

      They also had many babies with Phillipinos and other Asians...

      November 20, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Framed

      @john Perhaps the reason they talk about the race so much is because of the way it was treated. When a race has policies devoted to holding them back there is a problem. Yes, every person is responsible for their own lives, BUT what do you do if you are FORCED to come to a country and not allowed to be treated as an equal and work towards bettering your life. I say that all the light shed on race is not needed so much today but your comments are over-the-top. You're an idiot

      November 20, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • ginamero

      Framed – the Irish had policies against them...they do not get special treatment. All the policies are now pro black and it gets so old. This is all a non issue. These men walked. They had addresses and phone numbers and names and they vanished...most probably asked for a different assignment...don't fool yourselves into thinking they mattered. They could have stayed with these women...they chose to blame brass and run.

      November 20, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  79. cas

    Stories like these attracts the lowest life forms of humanity to broadcast the garbage that is their thoughts....

    November 20, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  80. unowhoitsme

    Actually, no different than the "brown babies" that were born in America during the time of slavery when the white men raped black women.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  81. JC

    So much for all those guys being the "greatest generation". Way to abandon your children!

    November 20, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Victor

      Many of the fathers weren't allowed to marry or stay with the mothers.

      November 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  82. aasdasd

    This comment could not be more correct

    November 20, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  83. aasdasd

    good luck finding the father lol

    November 20, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  84. BlackDynamiteNYC

    Plenty of shame, and blame, to go around, on both sides
    Given the countries involved, hard to be surprised with the depth of the racism endured

    November 20, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    I was stationed there at the time of such events and it was not only startling but it was EPIDEMIC...........to see these blond German girls dating these black American G.I.'s..........it was frowned upon by MOST German families and DECENT German girls but the war did cause this event to happen. Girls were HUNGRY to marry ANYBODY so they could come to the USA after the war! I watched it and thought it was disgusting!

    November 20, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • aasdasd

      Isnt it about time you kicked off?

      November 20, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Susan

    Wow, you're really terrible.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  87. The Other View

    So how many white male soldiers left behind half American half German babies during that same time frame. It's interesting that no one studies that phenomena in context, while i understand that the "brown babies" stood out like sore thumbs so to speak, it is a tragedy when any child does not know their birth parents or heritage. BTW – Caucasian men had the same lack of control in a foreign land.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chrystel

      That is exactly what I was thinking!!!!!!!!

      November 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • MC

      Well, there are a few differences here, of course. 1. The mothers of white babies didn't face scorn or social pressure and did not likely give the babies up for adoption. 2. The white GI's who fathered the babies were not transferred by the military, and could build a relationship with the mother or even marry if they wanted to. 3. If the white father abandoned the kid, the kid was probably still raised in Germany would be my guess. So there are probably a bunch of white Germans who have American GI fathers, but maybe nothing so unusual about their experience?

      November 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diane from Ohio

      Excellent point!

      November 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lynn

      "The lack of control by white men" attributed to the brutal rapes and hangings of black women and men. Then if that wasn't enough, the mutilation and poisoning of many Jews. Lack of control....that's an understatement.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Margaret Bonack

        I have never understood racism. As though being born 'white' was a 'personal achiement' & not just a biological event. People are not only cruel, but, stupid as well! Look in the mirror & tell me what YOU did to acomplish your white skin color?! BTW; I'm white, by the luck of the draw, nothing more.....

        November 20, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donald

      People of color get treated like s**t all the time, even by the so called "non-racists" who are not racists because they have a "best friend" who's is colored. I am not even from the US and I see it all the freakin time. For people who think that they are over the race issue, look in the mirror, you ARE a racist in denial...

      November 20, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ellen in CA

        Donald, You did not state your country, but your post does not make sense. The United States has had a black man as president for almost three years! Please try to keep up! Thanks.

        November 21, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
      • John

        To Ellen in CA A Black President for three years.... out of over 200 years the USA has been in existence...

        November 21, 2011 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Evelyn Connaway

      The other view-Not only did caucasian men leave children in other countries-In the south during the days of slavery and
      after-the good christian men used the young black women and impregnated them-not once but several times and went on
      their marry way-guess who kept their children-the Mother. I remember the expression used-"they're high yellow." Many
      of the men in the US have been the worst and the good christian's hide all of it and never talked about it. Actually most of
      our history has been a lie. I think we should stop living behind our smoke and mirrors world and let it all come out-No more
      hiding the worst of the MEN in the world. I remember hearing a elderly man say,"The worst woman in the world is better than the best man." At 84 I know this to be true. We need to change our political mixture to half and half. Love our black/white president.

      November 21, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Evelyn Connaway

      The other view-Not only did caucasian men leave children in other countries-In the south during the days of slavery and
      after-the good christian men used the young black women and impregnated them-not once but several times and went on
      their marry way-guess who kept their children-the Mother. I remember the expression used-"they're high yellow." Many
      of the men in the US have been the worst and the good christian's hide all of it and never talked about it. Actually most of
      our history has been a lie. I think we should stop living behind our smoke and mirrors world and let it all come out-No more
      hiding the worst of the MEN in the world. I remember hearing a elderly man say,"The worst woman in the world is better

      than the best man." At 84 I know this to be true. We need to change our political mixture to half and half. Love our

      black/white president.

      November 21, 2011 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  88. Michael MacDonald

    I really hope the DNA projects that have cropped up around the world will be put to good use for everyone, at a reasonable cost, to find out their true lineage. Regardless of the emotional baggage, there is a real need for people to find out who their biological family really is – and to 'connect' to that lineage. Once we get past the 'family problems' of discovering their true lineage, the better off we all are going to be – I'm waiting for a DNA kit to arrive right now to resolve an issue about who I really am........I'm actually comfortable with who I am, but it would be GREAT to know who I really AM defined by lineage, as confirmed by DNA.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Richard

    When I was stationed in Thailand during the Viet Nam War, many American GI's left children there to poor single women, the US government did nothing to hold GI's accountable for their actions.. most of these children ended up on the street begging for food and later became outcasts and prositutes to survive... Our government had a responsibility, they failed

    November 20, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • what?

      rediculous statement. what responsibility do the males have? a country is not responsible for a persons' immoral behaviors.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • MC

        Ever heard of child support? You may disagree, but the law is what it is – fathers are indeed responsible for their children. Use a condom.

        November 20, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • MC

      Same story in Philippines, where the children were denied the right to come to the U.S. because only the father, not the mother, was a citizen ...

      November 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Karla

    Race is not what defines a person, it is the upbringing and culture. I am a latin lady of Spainiard decent , no mix, my family came to a south american country in the 1500, I married after college an American Jew, I raised my children Catholics and very American, they speak correct Spanish and when we go to my native country they are very natives.
    But we live here.
    Black Americans are americans first, and many when they go to Africa they see there is nothing in common with Black Africans.
    I have friends from my country married with Germans and their children are German first.
    I work with RN that are Black and Africans and they cant stand each other, not to mention also Africans are not all the same.
    Even that I am Spaniard decent, I am more influenced by my native culture of my country than Spain.

    November 20, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  91. E.B.

    This is none sense. Do NOT subscribe to these lies. No such thing happens in Germany. I lived in Germany for many years and see very many different looking Germans. This is nothing more than yet another media trick to say "blacks" are dead beats which is not true either. Oh and by the way, there is no such thing as an "African-American". You can't be both.

    November 20, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • idiot

      Africa is not a country.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Valno

        Africa is a Continent and last time I checked you could not be a continent. Stop telling people what who they are. There is not such thing as an African Race. It is racist to say there is an "African Race" for the longest time there have been white people in Africa. Look at Egypt Libya and other north African Countries, look to South Africans. There are white people in Africa.

        You are either White Black or Mongol or a mixture there in, there has never been or never will be an African Race... or any other Continental race.

        November 20, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • hawaiiduude

        neither is america.. it's a continent.

        November 21, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • y

      Germans discriminated against Germans. Are you trying to rewrite history? There were as many ways to discriminate as anywhere else. For example, Germans from different regions spoke different dialects. Guess how that affected people who moved from one area to another.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anna Bush Birch

      Yes now there are Gemans of many appearances. In 1947 not so much. In addition at the time Germens had been living under Nazi propoganda for over 12 years and there was a lot of recism in Germeny at the time especially when it concerned mixed race children. Germany in 1947-1955 was an entirely different country than it has been for the last 20 years. IT really mattered at the time for a child who would have been raised there.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • MC

      Yes, I'm sure in 1945 Germans accepted all races. They just changed overnight?

      November 20, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norvy

      Really, E.B.? But, it's okay to be Irish-American, Italian-American, and Polish-American, huh?

      November 20, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • tiredofstupidity

        I agree. I do not understand why there can't be someone that is an African-American. Our country is not "America" but it is "The United States of America" We live on the continent "North America" which is where the "americans" term comes from. It has certainly been used to only include people from the United States but my point is that saying someone is African is not different then saying someone is American. People kill me with their "ignorant intelligence" and their attempts to correct someone before they even know/research what they are really saying.

        November 21, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Doris

      I am one of those children, I lived in Germany until I was 21 and I am 61 now. How can you make a comment based on your fathers experience. You have not experenced it. My grandmother used to tell me that the white commanders warned the Germans about the black soldiers. As for the kids fathered by white soldiers, they just blended in. Again, my Oma could point them out in our neighborhood.

      November 20, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Thank you Doris

        to make it clear I consider myself a german native, although my mom was the daughter of a white G.I. and my sicilian grandmother. My father was from portugal. Although looking different than most kids, growing up I never experienced negativity towards me. My mom 30some yrs earlier wasn't so lucky. Remember her father was considered white, still everybody was able to point her out of the crowd – "War-baby"or "GI-Baby" these kids were called in my home town, referring to children fathered by U.S. G.I.'s. ...oh and by the way, he too never bothered to ask about his daughter born out of wedlock in germany, once returned to the US. My mom now almost 60 yrs of age is still wondering about him.

        November 21, 2011 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
  92. German and Black

    Your comment is really stupid and this is how ignorance is perpetuated I happened to be German and Black and my father did not rape my mother. I was born in Germany and my German family has accepted be and loved me and my race did not matter. Thank God they arent as ignorant as you.

    November 20, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • E.B.

      Agreed. I lived in Bavaria for many years and am yet to see a so called "black or brown baby" considered anything else but a German. I have never known a White German family disown a "Brown baby". I have never known a German family to be against a black Man by virtue of his skin. This is a flat out LIE. The Media ALWAYS is out to attack the Black American.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • Beth

        Do you think the same was true just after WWII? I would think times have changed quite a bit. Hitler and many in Germany didn't even want any Jews or Gypsies, etc in Germany, never mind black people. I don't think it is crazy to think that this story is very true and that there was wide-spread discrimination and racism in Germany in the 40s and 50s against these couples.

        November 20, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • JomoDaMusicMan

        Idiot, after the death of Hitler and when American Troops occupied Germany: The Racist White Soldiers told these German Women that the Black Men had tails like apes. But it didn't take the women long to see that the White Soldiers lied to them and besides the Black Men treated these woman very well and would have married some of them if the racist White Officers didn't keep transferring them from base to base. Many of these women were in love with these black soldiers. There were cases when Black soldiers were actually sent to military stockade (jail) for having relationships with White German Women and impregnating them. There was at least one Black Soldier who was court martialed and executed for having an affair with a White English Officers Wife in England. This affair between them had been going on for over a year but Racist White Americans schemed with White English comrades and called it rape

        November 20, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • NeiceeB

        Your comment is spot on! Given the racial problems in the US, I believe the officers and higher ranking White troops would do what ever possible to transfer Black troops or jail them to keep them from dating German women. Many of these men probably don't even know their child survived. Some may not have known of the pregnancy. So now that there is some light shed on the Black troops, what about the White ones? Not expecting you to know the answer, but men of many races left behind children during and after war time in many countries. I foung love letters and photos in my father's files from women in Germany and Vietnam. I have wondered over the years if one day a long lost sibling will knock on my door. I highly suspect someone somewhere is related to me! So, I certainly sympathize with the forgotten children and hope they find their families in the United States. Thank for your truthful comment!

        November 21, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
      • Hawaii

        That may be true now, but back in the 40's and 50's it was NOT.

        November 20, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  93. SocialistZero

    So there's only 5,000 "Black babies" that where born. Who know how many are actually still alive, is it really a "Crisis?"

    November 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  94. unwanted white baby from German mom and white GI dad.

    I am a product of a GI man and a German mother. I too was put up for adoption and raised in the USA.
    I've met a few like me, but i do see the difference between me and those with African American fathers.
    My skin color never mattered, yet like an adopted kid, we yearn to find out who we are and why we were given up for
    adoption. That is a pain shared by many, because you know early on you are "different". My adoptive family shut the door
    on me when I was 17 because i wanted to find my bio parents. I found them, they too shut the proverbial door on me.
    Now I have no one. There are those of us out there with no one at all. Maybe i should write a book called "Wanted by No one". I am grown and have done well for myself, but it is lonely.

    November 20, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beth

      I'm sorry you had such horrible experiences with your adopted family and birth family. My heart goes out to all those involved with this. The mothers who wanted their children but weren't allowed to raise them, the fathers who wanted to marry their German girlfriends but were not allowed and the children sent away from their parents. Very sad. I'm glad you have done well for yourself.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl

      Im sorry. Anyone who shuts the door on a child they raised and on their flesh and blood is not worth it. Hopefully one day you can start your own loving family.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Elliot

    @ M in Oz: SOME soldiers are slime, but let's not forget who's keeping the hateful words you speak your right and not your offense. MY FAMILY was a black family stationed in Germany many times between 1960 and 1985 and they behaved in the manner expected of them as representatives of the United States. You fail to acknowledge that most of those men would probably liked to have a family but were prevented by BOTH sides. While you're at it, why don't you consider how many white children were left behind by white men? Are these men slime because they're black or are they slime because they couldn't date outside their race except in, of all places, a country picking up the pieces after being devastated by NAZIS? I don't know what soldier screwed you over or how, and nor do I care. Your few words speak volumes for both the breadth of your mind and the capacity of your intellect. Take the advice of the others and "let the healing begin" (whether it's downstairs or upstairs).

    by the way: I'm a sailor who sees an average of 5 different countries each year. I stay faithful to my spouse and I don't have any children outside of my marriage. Hope your burning downstairs heals soon.

    November 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Love is Love

      Well said Sir! Things that we do on behalf of someone else for thier best interest...I can't understand why people can't just get a long and understand love genuine love from anyone is love..Obviously it fills their hearts to be together and that is all that matters!

      November 20, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • M in Oz

      I grieved for my father who didn't exist years ago. That why I can call him a loser without any feelings attached (because he was a loser). I wish I could know my family member too and there are plenty more over there who are missing out because of men like my father. Reality may make you feel unconfortable, but it's reality.

      November 20, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • M in Oz


      November 20, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  96. M in Oz

    He wasn't being shot at, he was in transportation. BTW I'm not bitter, I got over that loser a long time ago. "Getting him some" = lying to a teenager in Vietnam (he never existed as a real person).

    November 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Luise

    I agree is time for healing,I hope and pray the majority of us can find their loved ones as I hope I can find mines, before it's too late.

    November 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  98. lj

    i hope that these "children" find their birth families before it is too late for them

    November 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  99. teddy

    great article. I hope more people are reunited with lost ones before time runs out. Blacks have suffered enough as it is. Its time for the healing to beginn.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • salman

      i agree with every word you've said. let the healing begin, my friend.

      November 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
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