AMIE is forbidden

Fraternization prohibited, was the order of the Allied High Command. Nevertheless, there were thousands of love affairs between the Allied occupiers and German “Fräuleins” in Berlin after 1945

by Tania Greiner

It hovers ominously over a sea of ​​faces. The strong, clumsy hand covers a crowd, a collective of guilty parties. From the off, certain words can be heard: “This is the hand that murdered Jews, killed and crippled American soldiers. Don't take this hand! ”Every US soldier who started his service in Germany after the end of the war received this call. No fraternization! - No fraternization with the Germans - the propaganda film "Your job in Germany" impressed the members of the American military.

Sixty years later, visitors to the Allied Museum can enjoy this US propaganda machine right at the entrance - only to find out in the rooms behind that the brainwashing obviously had little success. “It started with a kiss” is the name of the new special exhibition in Dahlem. It documents German-Allied love affairs in Berlin.

Long before the end of the war, there were contacts between US soldiers and the German civilian population. In autumn 1944, the first GIs made marriage proposals - categorically rejected by the military leadership. But neither propaganda nor legislation could regulate everyday life. The fraternization ban - imposed by the American Commander-in-Chief Eisenhower on September 12, 1944 - could not be maintained for long. The law was repealed on October 1, 1945.

The exhibition shows in detail how the regulation gradually relaxed. At first, friendly contacts with children were allowed. Later, conversations with adults in public places were tolerated. The governments of France, Great Britain and the USA continued to campaign against intimate encounters with German “Fräuleins”. "VD" was the new enemy, "Venereal Disease", sexually transmitted diseases.

Indeed, the occupation of Berlin had led to a worrying rise in sexually transmitted diseases. Every third woman from Berlin was raped or forced into sexual contact when the Soviet troops conquered the city. According to current estimates, every tenth woman at that time seems to have been infected with a sexually transmitted disease. A spate of propaganda therefore warned the soldiers of the Allied forces of the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.

As long as the Allies opposed fleeting relationships, long-term alliances also remained officially unaccepted. British soldiers were only allowed to marry a “German girl” from August 1946, US soldiers from December 1946. French soldiers had to be patient even longer. For them, marriages were only possible in exceptional cases from August 1948.

Nonetheless, there was always fraternization. German-Allied love relationships are difficult to quantify. Around 20,000 women in Berlin are said to have emigrated to the USA as fiancés or wives by 1949. By 1950, around 10,000 German-British couples tied the knot in Berlin.

But the individual fates weigh more heavily. They tell of longings, of the common struggle against administrative hurdles, of painful separations and, last but not least, of children who never met their fathers. Facets of lived history.

At the beginning of their two and a half years of work, the curators assumed that the constructed enemy images played a central role in German-Allied couples. However, the numerous conversations with contemporary witnesses only partially confirmed this assumption. The exhibition organizers therefore did well to focus on individual fates. Twenty of these love stories are now documented.

The aura of the love story that has been glorified over the years, however, sticks to them tenaciously. A cultural phenomenon that the curators could not fight against. Conflicts are forgotten over the years - inconveniences fade. Each pair of lovers formulates and lives their own romanticized founding myth in post-war history.