BBC ON THIS DAY | 27 | Russians and Americans link at Elbe
But neither America nor Vietnam wanted the kids known as Amerasians and South Vietnamese soldiers and civilians gathered at the site, some to help, others In she met another Amerasian orphan, Nguyen Anh Tuan, who said to her, .. Russian Federation, Scotland, Slovakia (Slovak Republic), Slovenia, Spain. War children are those born to a native parent and a parent belonging to a foreign military . Estimates of the number of war children fathered by German soldiers during . During the wartime, there were about 69, Soviet POWs in Finland, .. The "Brown Babies" became an international concern, with the Black American. By the spring of , most American soldiers being killed in combat had been born in or after. us well or ill, that we will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, Why Were the Russians in Vietnam?.
The first autobiography by the child of a German occupying soldier and Norwegian mother was The Boy from Gimle by Eystein Eggen ; he dedicated his book to all such children.
It was published in Norway.
During and in the aftermath of war, women who have voluntary relationships with military personnel of an occupying force have historically been censured by their own society. Women who became pregnant from such unions would often take measures to conceal the father's status. They commonly chose among the following: Arrange a marriage with a local man, who would take responsibility for the child Claim the father was unknown, dead, or had left, and bring up the child as a single mother Acknowledge the relationship; bring up the child as a single mother Acknowledge the relationship; accept welfare from the occupying force see the German Lebensborn Place the child in an orphanage or give the child up for adoption Emigrate to the occupying country and claim that identity Have an abortion After the war, it was common for both mother and child to suffer repercussions from the local population.
Such repercussions were widespread throughout Europe. While some women and children suffered torture and deportation, most acts against them fell into one or several of the following categories: German whore and German kid were common labels Isolation or harassment from the local community and at schools Loss of work Shaving the heads of the mothers frequently done in the immediate aftermath of the war in order to publicly identify and shame them Temporary placement in confinement or internment camps While repercussions were most widespread immediately after the war, sentiments against the women and their children lingered into the s, 60s, and beyond.
Mothers tended to hide such pregnancies for fear of revenge and reprisal by male family members. Lower estimates range in the hundreds of thousands, while upper estimates are much increased, into the millions. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
December Learn how and when to remove this template message A Lebensborn birth house Lebensborn was one of several programs initiated by the Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler to try to secure the racial heredity of the Third Reich.
The program mainly served as a welfare institution for parents and children deemed racially valuable, initially, those of SS men. As German forces occupied nations in northern Europe, the organization expanded its program to provide care to suitable women and children, particularly in Norway, where the women were judged suitably Aryan.
The organization ran several homes where pregnant women could give birth. Facilities also served as permanent homes for eligible women until the end of the war. Additionally, the organization paid child support on behalf of the father, and covered other expenses, including medical bills, dental treatment and transportation.
War children - Wikipedia
Of the estimated 10,—12, children born to Norwegian mothers and German fathers during the war, 8, were registered by Abteilung Lebensborn. In 4, of these cases, the father is known. The women were encouraged to give the children up for adoption, and many were transferred to Germany, where they were adopted or raised in orphanages. As a result of later recognition of their post-war mistreatment, the more diplomatic term krigsbarn war-children came into use and is now the generally accepted form.
The children and their mothers were often isolated socially, and many children were bullied by other children, and sometimes by adults, due to their origin.
The same year the Ministry of Social Affairs briefly explored the possibility of reuniting the children and their mothers with surviving fathers in post-war Germany, but decided against this. Some children were left to state custody, during a time when such care was marked by strict rules, insufficient education, and abuse. Approximately 20 children ended up in a mental institution indue to lack of space in other institutions and unsuccessful adoption attempts. Some remained there past their eighteenth birthdays.
Another option was to send them to Sweden. Australia was also considered after the Swedish government declined to accept these people; the Norwegian government later shelved such proposals.
As of such payments were made. Child support from fathers living in East Germany was kept in locked accounts until diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in Supporters claim the discrimination against them equated to an attempt at genocide. In Decemberwar children filed a claim in the Norwegian courts for the failure of the state to protect them as Norwegian citizens.
The case was to test the boundaries of the law; seven persons signed the claim. The courts have ruled such suits as void due to the statute of limitations. In July the government expanded this compensation program to include war children who had experienced lesser difficulties. The Norwegian government contested the claim that the children were abused with the consent of the government. In Norway, trials involved volunteer patients under a protocol after traditional medical treatments had proved unsuccessful.
The government of Norway has acknowledged its neglect of them. As adults, the former Lebensborn Children are suing for reparations and damages from the Norwegian government for failing to protect them and discriminating against them. Norway[ edit ] German forces invaded Norway in and occupied the country until At the end of the war, the German forces stood atIt is estimated that between 10, and 12, children were born to Norwegian mothers with German partners during the occupation.
Their Lebensborn organization encouraged it. After the war these women especially, but also their children, were mistreated in Norway. Mention Amerasians and people would roll their eyes and recite an old saying in Vietnam: Children without a father are like a home without a roof. The massacres that President Ford had feared never took place, but the Communists who came south after to govern a reunited Vietnam were hardly benevolent rulers.
Many orphanages were closed, and Amerasians and other youngsters were sent off to rural work farms and re-education camps. The Communists confiscated wealth and property and razed many of the homes of those who had supported the American-backed government of South Vietnam.
Mothers of Amerasian children destroyed or hid photographs, letters and official papers that offered evidence of their American connections. Hoi Trinh was still a schoolboy in the turbulent postwar years when he and his schoolteacher parents, both Vietnamese, were uprooted in Saigon and, joining an exodus of two million southerners, were forced into one of the "new economic zones" to be farmers.
He remembers taunting Amerasians. It was really a matter of following the crowd, of copying how society as a whole viewed them. They looked so different than us They weren't from a family. They mostly lived on the street and didn't go to school like us. When I first met him, inhe was 28 and working out of his bedroom in a cramped Manila apartment he shared with 16 impoverished Amerasians and other Vietnamese refugees.
He was representing, pro bono, or so Amerasians and their family members scattered through the Philippines, negotiating their futures with the U. For a decade, the Philippines had been a sort of halfway house where Amerasians could spend six months, learning English and preparing for their new lives in the United States.
Vietnam would not take them back and the Manila government maintained that the Philippines was only a transit center. They lived in a stateless twilight zone. But over the course of five years, Trinh managed to get most of the Amerasians and scores of Vietnamese boat people trapped in the Philippines resettled in the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway. When one of the Amerasians in a Philippine refugee camp committed suicide, Trinh adopted the man's 4-year-old son and helped him become an Australian citizen.
If we are treated fairly and with tenderness, we will grow up being exactly like that. For Amerasians the journey to a new life would be much tougher.
About of them left for the United States with Hanoi's approval in andbut Hanoi and Washington—which did not then have diplomatic relations—could not agree on what to do with the vast majority who remained in Vietnam. Hanoi insisted they were American citizens who were not discriminated against and thus could not be classified as political refugees. Washington, like Hanoi, wanted to use the Amerasians as leverage for settling larger issues between the two countries.
Not untilin secret negotiations covering a range of disagreements, did Washington and Hanoi hold direct talks on Amerasians' future. But by then the lives of an American photographer, a New York congressman, a group of high-school students in Long Island and a year-old Amerasian boy named Le Van Minh had unexpectedly intertwined to change the course of history.
It broke my heart. Minh's mother had thrown him out of the house at the age of 10, and at the end of each day his friend, Thi, would carry the stricken boy on his back to an alleyway where they slept.
On that day inMinh looked up at Tiernan with a hint of a wistful smile and held out a flower he had fashioned from the aluminum wrapper in a pack of cigarettes. The photograph Tiernan snapped of him was printed in newspapers around the world. The next year, four students from Huntington High School in Long Island saw the picture and decided to do something.
They collected 27, signatures on a petition to bring Minh to the United States for medical attention. They asked Tiernan and their congressman, Robert Mrazek, for help. Mrazek recalls telling the students that getting Minh to the United States was unlikely. Vietnam and the United States were enemies and had no official contacts; at this low point, immigration had completely stopped. Humanitarian considerations carried no weight. State Department and someone from Vietnam's delegation to the United Nations willing to make an exception?
Mrazek began making phone calls and writing letters. Mrazek had found a senior Vietnamese official who thought that helping Minh might lead to improved relations with the United States, and the congressman had persuaded a majority of his colleagues in the House of Representatives to press for help with Minh's visa. He could bring the boy home with him. Mrazek had hardly set his feet on Vietnamese soil before the kids were tagging along.
Some called him "Daddy. Another 60 or 70 Amerasians were camped in the yard. The refrain Mrazek kept hearing was, "I want to go to the land of my father. There were lots of these kids, and they were painful reminders to the Vietnamese of the war and all it had cost them.
Let's bring them all back, at least the ones who want to come. They took him to orthopedists and neurologists, but his muscles were so atrophied "there was almost nothing left in his legs," Nancy says. Minh wondered if his father was among the 58, names engraved on it.
He was very resistant to school and had no desire to get up in the morning. He wanted dinner at midnight because that's when he'd eaten on the streets in Vietnam.
Minh, now 37 and a newspaper distributor, still talks regularly on the phone with the Kinneys. He calls them Mom and Dad. Mrazek, meanwhile, turned his attention to gaining passage of the Amerasian Homecoming Act, which he had authored and sponsored.
In the end, he sidestepped normal Congressional procedures and slipped his three-page immigration bill into a 1,page appropriations bill, which Congress quickly approved and President Ronald Reagan signed in December The new law called for bringing Amerasians to the United States as immigrants, not refugees, and granted entry to almost anyone who had the slightest touch of a Western appearance.
The Amerasians who had been so despised in Vietnam had a passport—their faces—to a new life, and because they could bring family members with them, they were showered with gifts, money and attention by Vietnamese seeking free passage to America. With the stroke of a pen, the children of dust had become the children of gold. It was like we were walking on clouds. We were their meal ticket, and people offered a lot of money to Amerasians willing to claim them as mothers and grandparents and siblings.
Bribes for officials who would substitute photographs and otherwise alter documents for "families" applying to leave rippled through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Elbe Day: A handshake that made history
Once the "families" reached the United States and checked into one of 55 transit centers, from Utica, New York, to Orange County, California, the new immigrants would often abandon their Amerasian benefactors and head off on their own. It wasn't long before unofficial reports began to detail mental-health problems in the Amerasian community. But in a survey of Vietnamese Amerasians nationwide, Bemak found that some 14 percent had attempted suicide; 76 percent wanted, at least occasionally, to return to Vietnam.
Most were eager to find their fathers, but only 33 percent knew his name. In Vietnam, they weren't accepted as Vietnamese and in America they weren't considered Americans. They searched for love but usually didn't find it. Of all the immigrants in the United States, the Amerasians, I think, are the group that's had the hardest time finding the American Dream.
The dark shadows of the past are receding, even in Vietnam, where discrimination against Amerasians has faded. They're learning how to use the American political system to their advantage and have lobbied Congress for passage of a bill that would grant citizenship to all Amerasians in the United States. And under the auspices of groups like the Amerasian Fellowship Association, they are holding regional "galas" around the country—sit-down dinners with music and speeches and hosts in tuxedos—that attract or "brothers and sisters" and celebrate the Amerasian community as a unique immigrant population.
His grandmother in Vung Tau took him in while his mother served a five-year sentence in a re-education camp for trying to flee Vietnam. He says his grandmother filled him with love and hired an "underground" teacher to tutor him in English. At age 22, inhe came to the United States with a third-grade education and passed the GED to earn a high-school diploma.
It was easy convincing the U. He had a picture of his father, Sgt. Miller II, exchanging wedding vows with Jimmy's mother, Kim, who was pregnant with him at the time. He carries the picture in his wallet to this day. Jimmy's father, James, retired from the U. Army in after a year career. Inhe was sitting with his wife, Nancy, on a backyard swing at their North Carolina home, mourning the loss of his son from a previous marriage, James III, who had died of AIDS a few months earlier, when the telephone rang.
On the line was Jimmy's sister, Trinh, calling from Spokane, and in typically direct Vietnamese fashion, before even saying hello, she asked, "Are you my brother's father? She repeated the question, saying she had tracked him down with the help of a letter bearing a Fayetteville postmark he had written Kim years earlier.
She gave him Jimmy's telephone number.