Austro-Hungarian Web Site

 

Germans and Austrians looking for their American Fathers

© by Felix. G. Game

Introduction

After World War II. Germany and Austria were divided into four zones of military occupation: the American, the British, the French and the Russian. During the ten years following the end of hostilities in 1945, large numbers of military personnel were stationed in Germany and Austria. Inevitably there was interaction between the soldiers and the local residents. Many of these servicemen fathered children in Europe. Many arranged to bring to the USA the mother and their child where they lived normal lives. But many did not. The soldier may not have been aware that he was a father, or he may have had a family in the US already. Some of those in the latter category made financial arrangements, others decided to do nothing about the situation.

Many children of American servicemen grew up never knowing who their father was. Some were told by their mother - if she indeed had that information. Often families did not want to talk about it. Consequently, many of these occupation babies never had an opportunity to make contact with their natural father. We must not assume that everyone wanted to make contact, but we do know that  many would have liked to. Now, 50 some years later, many of those occupation babies have adult children of their own, and some are grandparents. There are now more inquisitive minds, more budding genealogists wanting to fill blank spaces in their pedigree charts, while at the same time many are too late to meet the man who gave them some of their genes back in the 1940s and 1950s. Most of the soldier-fathers would be at least in their 70s now, and many have already died.  But there could be half-siblings living in the US, children from the servicemen's American marriage(s). The American father could have had siblings of his own, and these brothers and sisters would be uncles and aunts to the German occupation baby, and would love to welcome him or her into the extended family. These Americans could easily be the closest blood relatives the Europeans have, and vice versa, the European could be the closest blood relative the Americans have.

Our Definition of an Occupation Baby in the context of this web site:

A child fathered in Austria or Germany by an American serviceman during the period of May 1945 to December 1955. Children of American Servicemen produced after 1955 may also use the services of our associate tracing expert, but the special rates designed to help the children produced during the actual 10 year occupation period may not apply to them.

Your options - If you want to find your American father

1. Do it yourself

Regardless which method you use to locate your father or his relatives, the very first thing you must do is to gather and write down all the information you can possibly find. When you have written down everything you know, go and ask others who should have additional details. The mother who bore the American's child, the mother's parents, the mother's best friend at the time, her employer at the time, her coworkers at the time, her neighbors at the time, her doctor or midwife involved in the pregnancy and delivery. Obtain documents from the authorities, especially the child's registration of birth, and copies of documents prepared by any of the authorities involved with the birth of a single mother's child. If you have not already done so, obtaining a copy of all these documents is not going to be a waste of time.

At the very least you must know the correct name of the American and his age when he fathered the child. Other information you should have: His physical description, race, color of his skin, of his hair, of his eyes, his exact birth date, place of birth, place of residence in the US, unit of the American forces he belonged to, his rank, his job in the army, where he was posted and which barracks he was quartered in. His occupation as a civilian, his education, where did he go to school, who were his parents, did he have siblings, was he married, did he have children in the US. What special skills or hobbies did he have, did he play an instrument, was he a singer, a good cook, an athlete, did he belong to organizations or clubs. These seem to be many questions, but often when people meet, much of this type of information is learned during the first few hours of conversation.

If you are comfortable using a computer, you can check telephone books, speak or write to people who have the same name, contact officials and organizations that could be expected to have information about the man you are looking for. Keep adding bits of information to your list, keep a record of what you do, make a note of ideas you get for further research. Work at it, keep at it.

2. Hire an expert

The preferred way to find people is to hire someone who knows how to find people. Such a person will have expert knowledge about available avenues, and records, and their location, accessibility. Knowledge of repositories of specific documents, how to obtain information and documentation, how the country is divided into political and legislative districts, and which level of government maintains which documents.

Experts do not work for free, they are neither magicians nor mind readers. You must first do your home work and accumulate every scrap of information as detailed in section "1. Do it yourself" above - before you contact an expert about finding a person. And you must provide all the information you have to this expert at the time you make contact to discuss the probability of success and the associated costs. For research in the U. S. A. we have formed an association with Susan LeDuc a talented American genealogy researcher who has already achieved some astounding results locating fathers and/or family members for European clients. She can be reached by e-mail (she speaks English only).

There is another way: "Wanted" Ads can also be published through the German site www.suchmeldung.de These are particularly suited when the ad is to be published in the German language.


To Table of Contents meter Last changed 5 Aug 2007