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To redress the wrongs of the past – the case of the “war children” of World War II.

Ericsson, Kjersti
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) Papers presented at the Fourth Conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, “Restorative justice: An agenda for Europe”, Barcelona, Spain, 15-17 June 2006.

During World War II or shortly afterwards, an unknown number of children of German soldiers and native women from the occupied countries were born all over Europe. These births were considered a national shame. Women who had sexual relationships to German soldiers were frequently subjected to humiliating punishments at liberation. For many decades after the war, silence reigned concerning the fate of these children, who are now in their sixties. Together with Eva Simonsen I have carried out life story interviews with 100 Norwegians with German occupant soldiers as fathers. The interviews demonstrate that many suffered harassment and social exclusion in their childhood. The effects of the way they were treated as children have frequently lasted until this day. Is it possible to redress the wrongs of the past – 60 years after the end of the war? In Norway, there has been a public debate on this. In 2005 the Parliament passed a resolution to the effect that war children could apply for financial compensation from the state. (excerpt)


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