Postwar responses to black occupation children represent a formative moment in the racial reconstruction of post-fascist Germany.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2013-08-13 22:56Z by Steven

Postwar responses to black occupation children represent a formative moment in the racial reconstruction of postfascist Germany. Military occupation between 1945 and 1949 produced some 94,000 occupation children. However, official and public attention fixed on a small subset, the so-called “farbige Mischlinge” or “colored mixed-bloods,” distinguished from the others by their black paternity. Although they constituted a small minority of postwar German births—numbering only about 3,000 in 1950 and nearly double that by 1955—West German federal and state officials, youth welfare workers, and the press invested the children with considerable symbolic significance.

The years after 1945 were constituent for contemporary German racial understanding, and postwar debates regarding “miscegenation” and “Mischlingskinder” were central to the ideological transition from National Socialist to democratic approaches to race. The term “Mischling,” in fact, survived the Third Reich and persisted well into the 1960s in official, scholarly, media, and public usage in West Germany. But its content had changed. Rather than refer to the progeny of so-called mixed unions between Jewish and non-Jewish Germans as it had during the Third Reich, immediately after the war it came to connote the offspring of white German women and foreign men of color. Thus “Mischling” remained a racialized category of social analysis and social policy after 1945, as before. But the definition of which races had mixed, as well as the social significance of such mixing, had fundamentally altered.

Rita Chin, Heide Fehrenbach, Geoff Eleym and Atina Grossmann, After the Nazi Racial State: Difference and Democracy in Germany and Europe, (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009). 31-32.

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After the Nazi Racial State: Difference and Democracy in Germany and Europe

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2013-08-12 15:25Z by Steven

After the Nazi Racial State: Difference and Democracy in Germany and Europe

University of Michigan Press
272 pages
6 x 9
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-472-03344-7
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-472-02578-7

Rita Chin, Associate Professor of History
University of Michigan

Heide Fehrenbach, Presidential Research Professor
Northern Illinois University

Geoff Eley, Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History
University of Michigan

Atina Grossmann, Professor of History
Cooper Union, New York

An investigation of the concept of “race” in post-Nazi Germany

What happened to “race,” race thinking, and racial distinctions in Germany, and Europe more broadly, after the demise of the Nazi racial state? This book investigates the afterlife of “race” since 1945 and challenges the long-dominant assumption among historians that it disappeared from public discourse and policy-making with the defeat of the Third Reich and its genocidal European empire. Drawing on case studies of Afro-Germans, Jews, and Turks—arguably the three most important minority communities in postwar Germany—the authors detail continuities and change across the 1945 divide and offer the beginnings of a history of race and racialization after Hitler. A final chapter moves beyond the German context to consider the postwar engagement with “race” in France, Britain, Sweden, and the Netherlands, where waves of postwar, postcolonial, and labor migration troubled nativist notions of national and European identity.

After the Nazi Racial State poses interpretative questions for the historical understanding of postwar societies and democratic transformation, both in Germany and throughout Europe. It elucidates key analytical categories, historicizes current discourse, and demonstrates how contemporary debates about immigration and integration—and about just how much “difference” a democracy can accommodate—are implicated in a longer history of “race.” This book explores why the concept of “race” became taboo as a tool for understanding German society after 1945. Most crucially, it suggests the social and epistemic consequences of this determined retreat from “race” for Germany and Europe as a whole.


  • Preface
  • Introduction: What’s Race Got to Do With It? Postwar German History in Context / Rita Chin and Heide Fehrenhach
  • CHAPTER 1: Black Occupation Children and the Devolution of the Nazi Racial State / Heide Fehrenhach
  • CHAPTER 2: From Victims to “Homeless Foreigners”: Jewish Survivors in Postwar Germany / Atina Grossmann
  • CHAPTER 3: Guest Worker Migration and the Unexpected Return of Race / Rita Chin
  • CHAPTER 4: German Democracy and the Question of Difference, 1945 1995 / Rita Chin and Heide Fehrenhach
  • CHAPTER 5: The Trouble with “Race”: Migrancy, Cultural Difference, and the Remaking of Europe / Geoff Eley
  • Notes
  • Select Bibliography
  • Index
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