1945-1989 English

The arrival of African American GIs liberating concentration camps and restoring towns and villages across western Germany and Austria shifted white-black relations in Central Europe. Although applauded and venerated by some, they were also feared and loathed by others. The wives, girlfriends, and lovers of African American soldiers experienced social shaming and stunning, especially if the result of their relations ended in the birth of a child. Trying to decide what to do with these “occupation babies,” many German officials encouraged adoption or for the children to be placed in orphanages and children’s homes. In the meantime, African-American servicemen and veterans settled and set up Black institutions and political organizations, and African students and activists in exile made West Germany a site for diasporic political organizing. These activities are not widely known, but they form an important component of Black activism and community-building in postwar West Germany. 

In communist East Germany, the state established a message of solidarity with the continents of Africa and Asia and with the plight of African Americans in the United States who were part of the Civil Rights movements. The experiences on the ground of Black people in East Germany, however, often contradicted the East German State’s own message of socialist solidarity and racial equality.

Beginning in the 1980s, with the encouragement of Black feminist Audre Lorde, the children of this generation of “occupation babies” established the Afro-German movement that is still with us today. Through the foundation of organizations such as ADEFRA and ISD, Afro-Germans began to collectivize in great numbers to articulate their positions as Black Germans.

We are regularly developing new content. If you see an entry below without a link, that just means we working on the material, and we will make the page live when it is complete. If you would like information on these topics ahead of time, just email us and we’ll be happy to provide what we have ready.

Children of the occupation in West Germany

  • White Paper Three Little Negroes (1951)
  • White Paper Academic Success of “Negermischlinge” (1956)

Solidarity of the peoples in East Germany

Creating Black spaces and communities

Activism and protest

Everyday racism

  • White Paper Defining blackness (1980)
  • White Paper May Ayim, “afro-german I” (1985)

African Americans in West Germany

German views of the American Civil Rights struggle

Cultural representations

  • Photo white with black 1 Berlin-Harlem (1974)

Commemorating and forgetting

2 thoughts on “1945-1989 English

  1. Hello, I’m trying to access some of the content above, but the hyperlink doesn’t appear and allow me to click for all the materials. Is there a reason for this?


    1. Hi Melissa, sorry for the inconvenience on this. The items listed are still in progress and so haven’t been completed yet. But if you let me know what particular ones interest you I can provide you with what we have, with the proviso that they’re in progress of course. Best, Jeff


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