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The Illegitimate Children of Members of the Occupying Forces in the Federal Republic and in West Berlin (1956)

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Of significance for the social situation of the children are the conditions under which they must live. The statistical survey from the spring of 1955 has shown that just under 73 percent of illegitimate children by members of the occupation forces live with their mothers. Another 13 percent live with the mother’s immediate relatives, which probably refers mostly to the parents of the mothers. This leaves, fortunately enough, only 14 percent of children who have been placed with outside families or in homes. Compared to these overall numbers, the situation is somewhat less favorable for children of colored background: here only 65 percent of the children live with their mothers and 10 percent with the mother’s closest relatives, while nearly 25% are in outside families or homes. Of the illegitimate children by members of the occupation forces, a total of 4.9 percent had been offered by the mothers or selected by the Child Welfare Offices for adoption. Among the illegitimate children of colored members of the occupation forces, the relevant rate was 13 percent.

Another positive finding from the results of the special survey on the illegitimate children of members of the occupation forces is that nearly 70 percent of all recorded children are fully supported by the mother or relatives, which means that public aid is not required in these cases. This number also includes those children for whom the father provides all or some of the support; however, the number of those cases was not separately recorded. In addition to support from mothers, relatives, or fathers, public welfare had to get involved in 8 percent of the cases, while in 22 percent of the cases, the support for the children had to be completely paid from public funds. All told, then, public welfare was drawn on in 30 percent of the cases (Table 4 – without Bremen). Here, too, the corresponding rates are somewhat less favorable for the children of colored members of the occupation forces. The situation of support is also quite different among the children of fathers of various nationalities. The number of acknowledgments of paternity seems surprisingly low at only 6.7 percent of all illegitimate children of members of the occupation forces. Of the fathers of colored children, 6.1 percent have acknowledged paternity. [ . . . ]

Source: Federal Office of Statistics, Wiesbaden, Statistische Berichte [Statistical Reports], o. VI/29/6, Octboer 10,1956.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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