In fact, the fathers of the mixed-raced children, the Negroes, that is, play a minor role in their lives. Apart from those cases in which there was only a fleeting affair with the mother to begin with, a relationship with the colored soldier mostly exists only as long as he is stationed in Germany. Until they return to America, some of the fathers take care of mother and child. For example, in 1953, Nuremberg reported this in 23 of 148 cases, which is 15.5 percent. It is rare for colored soldiers to continue sending meaningful amounts of support after that. From Fürth, we heard of two cases in which the father sends a monthly dollar amount equal to 200 DM. Sometimes, the parents of the soldier show an interest in their grandchild in Germany for a while, perhaps even with the serious intention of taking it in. Essentially, however, one can say that as time goes by, the mothers are increasingly left to their own devices.
A negative public reaction penetrates into the domestic sphere chiefly in an indirect way. There can be no doubt that the attitude of a mother toward her colored child would be influenced if she faced discrimination because of it. In fact, this has remained rare. A decidedly rejectionist attitude of the population toward the mixed-race children cannot be recorded. Thus, as long as the children only have occasional contact with strangers, that is, until they enter school, they are rarely exposed to difficulties. On the contrary, the passerby on the street is more likely to spoil the mixed-race children or act toward him with pity, at least not with unfriendliness.
4. School days
In 1952, as the time approached for the first segment of the colored occupation children to be enrolled in school, the ministers of culture of the West German states issued directives to the elementary schools calling for the tolerant treatment of the problem. An occasionally-mentioned plan to teach mixed-race children separately was dismissed. Decisive here was the view that the colored children must grow into their situation early and under the guiding hand of the teacher. In class, however, the mixed-race children should not receive any treatment that singles them out. A particularly felicitous formulation was included in the directive from the Bavarian minister of culture of May 20, 1952, which speaks of “inconspicuous care.” In addition, teachers were obligated to deal with the problem of the colored occupation children within the framework of parents’ evenings and to get the parents of white classmates to support their efforts. [ . . . ]
In fact, the educators have approached the problem without prejudice and have tackled it with as much skill as understanding.
It was clear from the outset that the behavior of the fathers and mothers of the white classmates would be the decisive factor in the entire calculation. For one, they could make the situation more difficult through direct protests, for another, their attitude would be reflected in the relationship of the white pupils to the mixed-race children. And in fact, occasional protest from the parents was voiced, especially in the beginning. On the whole, however, they have not shown any effect; public opinion was against them. By contrast, there was one case in which parents, after initial tolerance, complained that the unruliness of a colored classmate was leading their own children astray. Such a statement should definitely be taken seriously, since it springs not from prejudice, but obviously from a sense of responsibility. That the issue touched on by these complaints, namely the integration of the mixed-race children into the class community, is frequently not an entirely easy task for the teacher is something one must not overlook – but it has for the most part been mastered.
[ . . . ]