In the Children's Best Interests: Unaccompanied Children in American-Occupied Germany, 1945-1952

In the Children's Best Interests: Unaccompanied Children in American-Occupied Germany, 1945-1952

by Lynne Taylor


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Among the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons in Germany at the end of World War II, approximately 40,000 were unaccompanied children. These children, of every age and nationality, were without parents or legal guardians and many were without clear identities. This situation posed serious practical, legal, ethical, and political problems for the agencies responsible for their care.

In the Children's Best Interests, by Lynne Taylor, is the first work to delve deeply into the records of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and the International Refugee Organization (IRO) and reveal the heated battles that erupted amongst the various entities (military, governments, and NGOs) responsible for their care and disposition. The bitter debates focused on such issues as whether a child could be adopted, what to do with illegitimate and abandoned children, and who could assume the role of guardian. The inconclusive nationality of these children meant they became pawns in the battle between East and West during the Cold War. Taylor's exploration and insight into the debates around national identity and the privilege of citizenship challenges our understanding of nationality in the postwar period.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781487521943
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 11/21/2017
Series: German and European Studies Series
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Lynne Taylor is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Waterloo.

Table of Contents




1. UNRRA Gets Started

a/ Initial Planning

b/ UNRRA's Marginalization

c/ UNRRA's Mobilization

2. Unaccompanied Children

a/ Temporary Care Programs

b/ Child Search - Trial

3. Child Search Launched

a/ Child Search - Germanization discovered

b/ Child Search - Commitment

4. Legal Complications

a/ Mascots

b/ Illegitimacy and abandonment

c/ Age of majority

d/ Adoption

e/ Guardianship

5. The Infiltrees

a/ The Context

b/ Infiltree Children

6. Obstacle: Jugendamt

a/The Landesjugendamt and the vexacious matter of 'removal'

7. Obstacle: The ACA Directive

8. Child Search under the IRO

a/ Child Search Reprieved

b/ Limited Registration Plan

c/ The Evolving Debate: Legal Security

9. The Residual

a/ Resettlement

b/ Children's Courts

c/ Transfer into the German economy

d/ Closure of the IRO

10. Nationality

a/ The Jewish Displaced Persons

b/ The Baltic Displaced Persons

c/ The Yugoslavian Displaced Persons

d/ The Polish Displaced Persons

e/ The Ukrainian Displaced Persons

f/ The Stateless and the Doubtful or Undetermined

g/ Observations

11. Conclusion




What People are Saying About This

Adam Seipp

"Looking at a wide range of sources across several languages, Taylor keeps track of the multitude of bureaucratic agencies and sub-agencies across two continents. In the Children's Best Interests is rich in human stories, and Taylor does a fine job in tracing the shifting contours of refugee relief, keeping it embedded in the political context of postwar Europe."

G. Daniel Cohen

"In the Children's Best Interests is a solid marvellously documented narrative on the debates, struggles, and policies that shaped the lives of these children after the war."

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