History Podcasts

Where can I find information regarding the orphanages for mixed children in Nazi Germany?

Where can I find information regarding the orphanages for mixed children in Nazi Germany?

I cannot remember what they were called, and as a result I am unable to find basic information regarding them. From what I remember, a bunch of women from territories occupied by Nazi Germany were brought in for cheap, often domestic labor. A number of them became pregnant, and nearly all of their children were placed in very neglectful orphanages by the state. I want to say that there were tens of thousands of such children.

Does anyone have more information on those orphanages?

Thanks in advance.

You are asking about "Ausländerkinder-Pflegestätte", though many other terms where used. Pflegestätten were established after a decree by Heinrich Himmler in 1943.

The children where separated, shortly after birth, from their mothers so the mothers could return to their forced labor. The babies would be kept in abysmal conditions with systematic malnourishment (only a quarter liter milk a day) and neglect. There're estimates that 100,000 - 200,000 children died in these so called Pflegestätten.

The Pflegestätten were kept in an organizational chaos with unclear responsibilities. This way they fulfilled the role to systematically murder children, without anybody having to give explicit orders to that effect. The so called Pflegestätten were not secret, neighbors etc. must have known what was happening.

All this is cribbed from the German wikipedia page above. This document has an english language chapter about children of forced laborers.

Uncovering the truth

History meets horror: Allen M. Hornblum, who wrote Against Their Will with two co-authors, stands in front of St. Vincent’s Home for Orphans in Tacony. In 1907, more than 100 children were used for diagnostic tests at the facility. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

In 1947, the world watched as 23 German doctors were put on trial for monstrous medical experiments on human beings during World War II. They were found guilty of torturing concentration camp prisoners by immersing them in icy water, injecting them with plague, placing them in vacuum chambers and forcing them to swallow seawater.

Seven of the doctors were sentenced to hang others got long prison terms and Americans were horrified by their crimes.

They just didn’t know, or perhaps just didn’t care, that doctors right here in the United States also were using unwitting “volunteers” in their quests for wonder drugs and miracle cures, injecting them with diseases, tainting their food and exposing them to illnesses.

Their test subjects were children. Doctors had been experimenting on them for decades — not so much in secrecy, but very much out of public view.

That’s the assertion in Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America, a new book by Northeast Philadelphia resident Allen M. Hornblum and two co-authors, Penn State professor Judith L. Newman and medical issues writer Gregory J. Dober. We saw evil abroad, but not at home, they wrote.

“Few, if any, would contemplate why we so clearly saw a multitude of vices occurring in Nazi Germany’s medical establishment during the 1940s, but turned a blind eye to our own sins in the use of vulnerable populations as test subjects,” they reported.

Against Their Will, published June 25 by Palgrave Macmillan, is part history and part horror story. It’s a story that’s well-told, but in no way pleasant.

“It outrages me,” Hornblum said during an Aug. 22 phone interview.

It’s shocking to find out just how low doctors would go. Even some of the saints of modern medicine used children as test subjects, the authors wrote. And they used kids isolated in institutions because of physical or mental handicaps.

Simply because they were isolated from society. They were convenient, available and cheap. And, most important, not many people seemed to care about them.

“Doctors had discovered a use for those locked away in state institutions,” the authors wrote. “Children — mute, unwitting and desperate for affection — would increasingly become the front-line troops in the medical community’s quest to improve the world.”

Against Their Will contains chapter after chapter of accounts of experimentation on children.

For example, at the Catholic-run St. Vincent’s Home for Orphans in Tacony, more than 100 children younger than 8 years old were used in 1907 for a series of diagnostic tests in which a tuberculin formula was placed in their eyes. Walter Reed, the doctor famous for tracing yellow fever to mosquitos, used children in New York orphanages to study smallpox vaccines.

And Jonas Salk used kids in Pennsylvania institutions to test polio vaccine.

“Salk was working for years to prevent polio,” Hornblum said Aug. 22. “He needed a test population.”

He found it in “institutions perceived to hold damaged and defective humans,” Hornblum said. “If you were going to do something that was risky … you do it on people who are thought to have less value … so that you, the investigator, were less likely to face negative comment … and less likely to face a lawsuit.”

Besides, Hornblum said, “kids in orphanages have no rights.”

Such practices went on all over the country and were well-known in the medical community, the authors stated. Few doctors spoke out against the practice.

This isn’t Hornblum’s first exposé of the excesses of medical research. In Acres of Skin, the Oxford Circle resident examined how Holmesburg Prison inmates were used in experiments.

Hornblum said he found “stunning” the public’s outrage over the Jerry Sandusky trial, in which the former assistant Penn State football coach was convicted of sexually abusing children, “as I was writing a book about most of the 20th century in which children were being used and abused.”

They were considered society’s flotsam and jetsam and “no one really gave a damn about them.”

Experimentation on children was mentioned in medical journal articles, Hornblum said. “Doctors did read about it and were not disturbed or bothered by it. … It was the culture of research.”

In the early 20th century, Hornblum said, acceptance of medical experimentation on institutionalized children was the result of a mix of public glorification of doctors and their research, about bettering mankind and the belief that mentally handicapped people were a burden society should not have to bear.

“I opened the book with this perfect storm that developed,” Hornblum said.

In the early part of the last century, books were lionizing doctors for their successes against disease, he said. Then there was eugenics, a theory developed in the late 19th century that humanity could be scientifically shaped by controlling breeding and cutting out bad traits — like mental and physical handicaps.

“On one hand, we were glorifying doctors who needed test subjects and would be doing very nasty things to people,” Hornblum said.

On the other hand, those with those handicaps were devalued and dehumanized, Hornblum said. They were people who had no connection to their communities and were considered an onus.

Putting them together “was an arrangement that proved helpful to research,” he said.

The irony is that the Nazi doctors were practicing eugenics, a theory developed by American doctors, Hornblum said. “Eugenics fit in well with the Nazis,” Hornblum said. “They wiped out millions of people.”

Fear also played a role. As the Atomic Age dawned, dread of nuclear war and its aftermath prompted medical experiments in which subjects were exposed to or injected with radioactive material.

The first example the authors cite is that of an institutionalized boy named Charlie Dyer who was offered the opportunity to join the “Science Club” at the Fernald State School in Massachusetts. In the 1950s, Dyer and other boys were offered incentives like special outings to join. But the perks proved few and far between, and Dyer later learned that he and the others were part of secret radiation experiments. Their oatmeal breakfasts were tainted with radioisotope-laced milk.

During the last 25 years of the 20th century, experiments were subjects to institutional oversight and review committees. As doctors, institutions and pharmaceutical companies became more aware of ethical constraints and restrictive codes, the authors wrote, abuses were reduced, but not eliminated in the United States.

Hornblum said he wouldn’t call drug companies evil, “but they are primarily motivated by profit. … It is important from a corporate perspective to develop new drugs … I will not argue that it is an inexpensive process … [drug companies] look for the quickest and cheapest and easiest ways to develop their lines of goods.”

So experimental subjects are still needed, and the profit incentive in finding cheap subjects moved testing overseas. The authors said 80 percent of all drug approvals are based in part on research data accumulated outside the United States.

“It’s cheaper to do research abroad,” they wrote, “where it is easier to recruit test subjects — many of them incorrectly believing they are being treated — and where there is less likelihood that negatively impacted individuals will seek legal counsel.”

And so, experimentation on vulnerable human subjects continues.

“Scientific progress and the medical advances it fosters is a process we can all celebrate,” Hornblum, Newman and Dober wrote, “but the attainment of such triumphs on the backs of children and other powerless groups makes their realization all the less impressive and praiseworthy.” ••

The write stuff

Allen M. Hornblum and Judith Newman, two of the co-authors of Against Their Will, will discuss medical research ethics at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at Lubert Commons Penn State’s Abington Campus, 1600 Woodland Ave. The authors’ guests will include Jonathan Marks, a bioethicist and former director of the Rock Ethics Institute Gordon Shattuck, a former child test subject and Karen Alves, sister of a test subject. For more information, visit www.hornblum.com

History meets horror: Allen M. Hornblum, who wrote Against Their Will with two co-authors, stands in front of St. Vincent’s Home for Orphans in Tacony. In 1907, more than 100 children were used for diagnostic tests at the facility. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

Nazi Germany – Hitler Youth

In the early 1920s, the Nazi party had established a youth movement led by Kurt Gruber, with the aim of attracting young men who could be trained to become members of the SA (Stormtroopers). On 4th July 1926 the group was renamed the Hitler Youth, League of German Worker Youth and became attached to and run by the SA.

The Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugend) wore uniforms and attended meetings and rallies where they were indoctrinated with Nazi views.

Adolf Hitler believed that the support of the youth was vital to the future of the third Reich and aimed, through the Hitler Youth programme, to produce a generation of loyal supporters of Nazi views.

Posters were used to attract more members and membership rose from 5,000 in 1925 to 25,000 in 1930.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933 other youth groups were forcibly merged into the Hitler Youth and by the end of 1933 membership stood at just over 2 million.

In December 1936, membership of the Hitler Youth became virtually compulsory for all boys and girls aged over 10 years – membership could only be avoided by not paying subscription fees, but this ‘loophole’ was relaxed in 1939 and membership increased to 8 million members by 1940.

There were separate Hitler Youth groups for boys and girls:

Boys aged 6 – 10 years joined the Little Fellows (Pimpf). They did mainly outdoor sports type activities such as hiking, rambling and camping.

Boys aged 10 – 13 years joined the German Young People (Deutsche Jungvolk). They still did sporting activities but these had a more military emphasis such as parading and marching as well as map reading. They also learnt about Nazi views on racial purity and anti-semitism.

Boys aged 14 – 18 years joined the Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugend). They were prepared to be soldiers by doing military activities.

Girls aged 10 – 14 years joined the Young Maidens (Jungmadel) where they were taught good health practices as well as how to become good mothers and housewives. They also learnt about Nazi views on racial purity and anti-semitism.

Girls aged 14 – 21 joined the League of German Maidens (Deutscher Madel) where they were further prepared for their roles as the mother of future Germans.

MLS, MS, and MCU of Romani and other children playing on a courtyard under the supervision of a nun (dressed in full habit) in Josefspflege orphanage in Mulfingen, Germany.

LS girls in a circle, playing an orderly game with the nun. Boys too. Some stare at camera. Girls in braided pigtails, bows, smocks. Crowding around camera (VQ: a bit softer). Lunchtime outside. Children wearing blue uniforms (color improves). CU of lovely faces, innocent, happy. They clown and compete for the camera. Boys play in courtyard, carry shoes. MCU playing with marble on board. Picking apples up in a tree.

A guide to compensation and eligibility for Holocaust survivors

By Sharon Gelbach

As the world marks World Holocaust Remembrance Day, out of some 200,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel and another 200,000 around the world, tens of thousands are living in poverty, according to Aviva Silberman, founder of the Aviv Association for Holocaust Survivors.

Silberman says this situation could be alleviated simply by helping them access what’s coming to them by law. “Holocaust survivors are entitled to various benefits and allowances from different world organizations however, many find it difficult to realize those rights, either due to a lack of awareness regarding what is due to them or an inability to navigate the complex paperwork,” she said.

The rights and benefits that are disbursed to survivors are updated periodically, but the relevant information is not freely accessible to all.

The following is a guide to the main rights and benefits that survivors all over the world can apply for.

Benefits from the Claims Conference

Article 2 Fund: Intended for survivors who spent time in the camps, ghettoes, in hiding, or who lived under a false identity, and who are not receiving a monthly health allowance (“renta“) from funds originating in Germany. Survivors recognized by the Claims Conference for this fund receive an allowance of €1539 ($1700), once every three months.

Note: in recent years, many cities in Bulgaria and Romania have been recognized as ghettoes. Therefore, many survivors from those cities who did not receive an allowance in the past, are now indeed eligible (To apply for this program (Download the Form).

Hardship Fund: A one-time grant for €2556 ($2800). This fund is intended for survivors who meet the following criteria: 1. They do not receive a monthly health allowance from funds originating in Germany 2. They did not receive in the past a one-time grant for being forced to wear the yellow badge, discontinuation of their studies or having their liberty revoked and 3. They did not receive payment from the Holocaust Victim Compensation Fund (HVCF) and provided that they experienced at least one of the following persecutions: fled from Nazi occupation, or wore the yellow badge, or lived under curfew or were subject to limited freedoms. Even someone who was still in utero at the time when their mother suffered any of the persecutions mentioned above, may be eligible for the grant.

Note: Also eligible for the grant are former citizens of Tunisia who suffered various limitations under Vichy rule, and who subsequently suffered persecution under Nazi occupation between October 1940 and May 1943 and former citizens of Morocco and Algeria who suffered various limitations under Vichy rule between July 1940 and November 1942, including anyone who was in utero during the aforementioned period. (To apply for this program Download the Form.)

Child Survivor Fund: A one-time grant for €2,500 ($2780) for survivors born from Jan. 1, 1928 until the end of the persecutions in their location, and who were persecuted on the basis of being Jews in the camps or ghettoes, or who lived in hiding, or who assumed a false identity — for at least four months in areas under Nazi occupation, or 12 months in countries that were under German influence.

Note: Those who lived in cities only recently recognized as ghettoes are also eligible for this grant. (To apply for this program Download the Form.)

Kindertransport Fund: a one-time grant for €2,500 ($2780)— given from January 2019 — to survivors who between Nov. 9, 1938 and Sept. 1, 1939, were under the age of 21 and were sent or authorized to be sent, without their parents, from Germany or countries that were occupied by or annexed to Germany (Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia), to England in order to be rescued from Nazi persecution (To apply for this program Download the Form).

Note: The Claims Conference operates various services for Holocaust survivors in different world countries. For more information on the services available in your area, please contact the Claims Conference at P.O. Box 1215, New York, NY 10113. Tel: (646) 536-9100. Email: [email protected]

Benefits Available from Germany:

Health allowance (BEG): Today, it’s no longer possible to submit applications for this allowance. Those who do receive it are eligible for an annual subsidized convalescence, with the exception of those who in the past have signed a waiver for this benefit or those whose medical condition does not enable them convalescence according to criteria decided by Germany.

German Compensation Fund for Work in Ghetto (BADV): a one-time grant for €2,000 ($2780) from the German government. Intended for those who were kept in an open or closed ghetto (from the list of ghettos recognized by Germany), which was either under German rule or in an area annexed by Germany or in an area under German influence, and who performed unforced labor. We recommend that survivors who have received this one-time grant but did not apply for the monthly social allowance ZRBG for unforced labor performed in the ghetto, submit a claim for this allowance. For the list of recognized ghettos for the purpose of this allowance, please press Download. (To apply for this program Download the Form.)

For more information or to submit forms please contact:

Bundesamt für zentrale Dienste und offene Vermögensfragen
DGZ-Ring 12
13086 Berlin

Bundesamt für zentrale Dienste und offene Vermögensfragen

Tel: +49 30 187030-0

Fax: +49 30 187030-1140

Social allowance for labor performed in ghetto (ZRBG): This is a social allowance from Germany based on (among other things) age and time spent in a ghetto. Holocaust survivors may be eligible for this allowance on condition that they were kept in a closed or open ghetto under German rule or German annexation, or in an area under German influence, from the list of ghettos recognized by Germany and who performed unforced labor in the ghetto and received compensation for this labor (even a token compensation, and even if those funds were transferred to the Judenrat). In other words, if there was some degree of choice regarding the “if” and “how” of the labor, this amounts to unforced labor, done out of choice. Examples of this type of labor: kitchen jobs, cleaning jobs, administrative jobs, factory jobs, delivering packages, caring for children or the elderly, etc. Those who worked under threat of violence or at gunpoint are considered to have engaged in forced labor, and are therefore not eligible for this allowance.

Note: The list of ghettos is periodically updated. In 2019, for example, many Romanian cities were recognized as ghettos and added to the list. Therefore, many survivors who were previously ineligible for this allowance may now be newly eligible for it, as well as for the one-time grant for work in the ghetto (BADV). For the list of recognized ghettos please press Download.

Since this payment is actually a form of German national insurance, a precondition for eligibility for it is to meet the criteria of the minimum qualification period for this insurance. This period may be based on the criteria set by German national insurance, alternate insurance, or of the national insurance in countries that have a signed treaty with Germany.

We recommend that those who submit applications for this allowance include additional documents, such as confirmation of receipt of any other Holocaust-related compensatory allowance, documents attesting to time spent in a ghetto, etc. In addition to the application form for this allowance (Download) other necessary documents include a Life Certificate form (Download ) as well as adocument with the applicant’s bank particulars (Download)

For more information or to submit forms please contact:


Königsallee 71
40215 Düsseldorf

Ruhrstraße 2, 10709 Berlin

Tel: +49 30 8650

Fax: +49 30 865 27240

Compensation from France

Compensation for orphans from France: A one-time grant from the French government for about €31,000 ($34,500) or a lifetime monthly stipend for about €600 ($670). To be eligible for these funds: one of the survivor’s parents must have been expelled from France as a result of anti-Semitic persecution during Nazi occupation, and that parent must have died in the course of the expulsion or died within France as a consequence of persecution. The survivor must have been 21 or under at the time his parent was expelled. To submit requests for compensation from France, apply to your local French Embassy.

Compensation from Holland

A one-time grant from the Dutch railway company. The Dutch railway company provides Holocaust survivors/relatives who were transported by Dutch trains to a concentration camp with a one-time grant of €15,000 ($16,685) per survivor, and between €5,000 ($5,560) and €7,500 ($8300) in the event that the survivor has already passed away, and the payment will be transferred to the widow or orphans.

Note: Applications for this compensation can only be submitted until July 5, 2020.

See website for all information relating to compensation plans, including how to submit online applications: https://commissietegemoetkomingns.nl/en/faq

For telephone inquiries about the application process: 887926250(0)31+

For assistance with online applications, call the following organizations:

Stichting Pelita: +31(0)883305111

For additional information, email:

Press here to download application forms from the committee that deals with these claims.

Updated, reliable information for this compensation program is taken from the website of the committee that deals with these claims.

New Eligibility for Romanian Survivors

Few are aware that in July 2019, Holocaust survivors from Romania became newly eligible for compensation after Germany recognized 20 Romanian cities as ghettos (see list below). Consequently, thousands of survivors who spent time in ghettos in Romania and who are now living in various countries across the globe became newly eligible for live-changing benefits.

Aviv for Holocaust Survivors founder Attorney Aviva Silverman said that her organization assisted 3,013 Romanian survivors living in Israel, advising them regarding rights and benefits amounting to $17.6 million. “It’s vital that survivors all over the world are alerted to their rights and that they apply to the relevant agencies who can investigate their eligibility for additional compensation. The money involved can often be life-changing for these survivors.”

Romanian Cities Recognized as Ghettos: Jassi, Botosani, Targu Mures, Galati, Focasni, Teccuci, Roman, Piatra Neamt, Barlad, Vaslui, Alba Iulia, Constanta, Targu Neamt, Harlau, Buzau, Ramnicu Sarat, Stefanesti, Craiova, Pascani, Bacau

For more information, please visit www.avivshoa.co.il.

Sharon Gelbach is a writer, translator and editor who has been working for international Jewish publications for 20 years. She lives with her family in Jerusalem.

How did the Nazis use propaganda?

The Nazis used propaganda to promote their ideas and beliefs. Beginning in March 1933, the regime tried to centralize its propaganda efforts in a new ministry led by Joseph Goebbels. This ministry was called the Reich Ministry of Enlightenment and Propaganda.

The Nazis used a variety of propaganda tools to spread Nazi ideas. Examples of propaganda under the Nazis included:

  • Glorifying Adolf Hitler by using his image on postcards, posters, and in the press
  • Spreading negative images and ideas about Jews in magazines, films, cartoons, and other media
  • Making radios more affordable so that more Germans could listen to Nazi ideas and news
  • Broadcasting Nazi speeches on the radio and public loudspeakers
  • Organizing large and celebratory Nazi Party rallies
  • Creating groups, like the Hitler Youth and League of German Girls, that fostered Nazi ideals.

“Do not enter negotiations with the Germans”

After World War II many Israelis and Jewish Holocaust survivors were virulently opposed to the idea of reparations from Germany. They deemed it blood money and felt it would whitewash Germany’s crimes. In 1952, nationalistic opposition leader and future Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin begged prime minister David ben Gurion, who was fighting for reparations, not to “enter negotiations with the Germans.” He said:

“In this generation of ours that we call the last of bondage and first of redemption—in this generation that we have been privileged to gain back our dignity, in which we emerged from slavery to freedom—you are ready, for few millions of contaminated dollars and for impure goods, to deprive us of dignity that we have earned.”

Ben Gurion didn’t so much overcome this resistance as he forged on in spite of it. He believed the only way his fledgling state would survive was through German financial support, and managed to secure political backing for this view within the Israeli parliament. West Germany’s mea cuplas for Nazi crimes (pdf), beginning in 1951, followed by east Germany’s apology in 1990, also had a strong impact. Time, and the staunch support of Israel from modern-day Germany, helped change Israelis’ minds. In 2014, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation polled 1,000 Israelis on their views of Germany. Almost 70% of respondents had a good or excellent opinion of the country, making Germany their favorite European nation.

In both the case of Germany and the US, reparations call on a nation divided—made up of citizens who mostly didn’t directly participate in the crime—to apologize and pay for it. In 1985, German president Richard von Weizsäcker made the case for intergenerational responsibility and solidarity in a powerful speech. “The vast majority of today’s population were either children then or had not been born,” he said. “But their forefathers have left them a grave legacy. All of us, whether guilty or not, whether old or young, must accept the past. We are all affected by its consequences and liable for it.”

Last year, an Associated Press survey found only 29% of Americans supported the idea of cash reparations. But initial resistance isn’t necessarily predictive. In 1951, only 29% of West Germans believed they owed Jews restitution for the Holocaust.

For both the Holocaust and slavery, reparations could never measure up to the crime committed. In its 1951 diplomatic note to Allied governments demanding compensation from Germany, Israel acknowledged this. “There can be no atonement or material compensation for a crime of such immense and horrifying magnitude,” it read. But according to Judaism’s own religious and philosophical thought, “reparations are not punitive,” writes American rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, who makes the case for slavery reparations in Yes Magazine. “They’re restorative.”

While Germany’s reparations program was motivated by morality, it was also pragmatic. Germany was under immense pressure from Western Allied governments to pay reparations in order to rejoin what politicians after World War I began calling “the family of nations.” Similarly, activists argue that if the US wants to retain its standing in the world, it needs to account for the epic moral deficit in its history. In his influential Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations,” Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote that “reparations could not make up for the murder perpetrated by the Nazis. But they did launch Germany’s reckoning with itself, and perhaps provided a road map for how a great civilization might make itself worthy of the name.”

Anxiety and depression in children: Get the facts

Many children have fears and worries, and may feel sad and hopeless from time to time. Strong fears may appear at different times during development. For example, toddlers are often very distressed about being away from their parents, even if they are safe and cared for. Although some fears and worries are typical in children, persistent or extreme forms of fear and sadness could be due to anxiety or depression. Learn about anxiety and depression in children.


  • Anxiety and depression affect many children1
    • 7.1% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety.
    • 3.2% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 1.9 million) have diagnosed depression.
    • &ldquoEver having been diagnosed with either anxiety or depression&rdquo among children aged 6-17 years increased from 5.4% in 2003 to 8% in 2007 and to 8.4% in 2011&ndash2012.
    • &ldquoEver having been diagnosed with anxiety&rdquo among children aged 6-17 years increased from 5.5% in 2007 to 6.4% in 2011&ndash2012.
    • &ldquoEver having been diagnosed with depression&rdquo among children aged 6-17 years did not change between 2007 (4.7%) and 2011&ndash2012 (4.9%).


    When children do not outgrow the fears and worries that are typical in young children, or when there are so many fears and worries that they interfere with school, home, or play activities, the child may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Examples of different types of anxiety disorders include

    • Being very afraid when away from parents (separation anxiety)
    • Having extreme fear about a specific thing or situation, such as dogs, insects, or going to the doctor (phobias)
    • Being very afraid of school and other places where there are people (social anxiety)
    • Being very worried about the future and about bad things happening (general anxiety)
    • Having repeated episodes of sudden, unexpected, intense fear that come with symptoms like heart pounding, having trouble breathing, or feeling dizzy, shaky, or sweaty (panic disorder)

    Anxiety may present as fear or worry, but can also make children irritable and angry. Anxiety symptoms can also include trouble sleeping, as well as physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, or stomachaches. Some anxious children keep their worries to themselves and, thus, the symptoms can be missed.


    Occasionally being sad or feeling hopeless is a part of every child&rsquos life. However, some children feel sad or uninterested in things that they used to enjoy, or feel helpless or hopeless in situations they are able to change. When children feel persistent sadness and hopelessness, they may be diagnosed with depression.

    Examples of behaviors often seen in children with depression include

    • Feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable a lot of the time
    • Not wanting to do, or enjoy doing, fun things
    • Showing changes in eating patterns &ndash eating a lot more or a lot less than usual
    • Showing changes in sleep patterns &ndash sleeping a lot more or a lot less than normal
    • Showing changes in energy &ndash being tired and sluggish or tense and restless a lot of the time
    • Having a hard time paying attention
    • Feeling worthless, useless, or guilty
    • Showing self-injury and self-destructive behavior

    Extreme depression can lead a child to think about suicide or plan for suicide. For youth ages 10-24 years, suicide is among the leading causes of death 1 . Read about youth suicide prevention external icon

    Some children may not talk about their helpless and hopeless thoughts, and may not appear sad. Depression might also cause a child to make trouble or act unmotivated, causing others not to notice that the child is depressed, or to incorrectly label the child as a trouble-maker or lazy.

    Treatment for Anxiety and Depression

    The first step to treatment is to talk with a healthcare provider, such as your child&rsquos primary care provider or a mental health specialist, about getting an evaluation. Some of the signs and symptoms of anxiety or depression in children could be caused by other conditions, such as trauma. A mental health professional can develop a therapy plan that works best for the child and family. Behavior therapy includes child therapy, family therapy, or a combination of both. For very young children, involving parents in treatment is key the school can also be included in the treatment plan. Consultation with a healthcare provider can help determine if medication should be part of the treatment.

    Managing Symptoms: Staying Healthy

    Being healthy is important for all children, and can be especially important for children with depression or anxiety. In addition to getting the right treatment, leading a healthy lifestyle can play a role in managing symptoms of depression or anxiety. Here are some healthy behaviors that may help:

    Martin Bormann

    FAMOUS FOR: Hitler’s private secretary and head of the Nazis’ home office. Died, most likely of suicide, in May 1945 (identity of his body not confirmed until 1972).

    SON: Martin Adolf Bormann Jr., born to Gerda Bormann on April 14, 1930.

    Martin Adolf Bormann Jr. was Adolf Hitler’s first godson. His father, as Hitler’s secretary, controlled all communication with the Nazi leader, making him extraordinarily powerful in Nazi circles.

    The elder Bormann was “extremely severe” with his son, and Crasnianski writes that there was “no connection or human warmth” between them.

    “Once, when Martin Adolf saluted the Fuehrer with a ‘Heil Hitler,’ his father slapped him the custom when addressing Hitler directly was to say, ‘Heil, mein Fuehrer.’ ”

    Martin Adolf was 15 and at boarding school when the war ended. His family having already fled, he went on the run and was taken in by an Austrian farmer who raised him as a Christian. As revelations about Nazi actions during the war came to light, they contrasted with his new Christian teachings. He realized that everything he’d learned about humanity and morality had been wrong.

    Martin Adolf never publicly condemned his father, believing only God can judge, and entered a Jesuit seminary in 1948. He was ordained a priest in 1958.

    He was injured in a car accident in 1971. When he awoke in the hospital, he immediately fell in love with his nurse. They were married later that year, and both became religious instructors. Martin Adolf retired in 1992 and died on March 11, 2013.

    'Brown babies' long search for family, identity

    Cardwell was a “brown baby” - one of thousands of children born to African-American GIs and white German women in the years after World War II. Inter-racial relationships still weren't common or accepted among most in the United States or Germany, and they weren't supported by the military brass, either.

    Couples were often split apart by disapproving military officers. Their children were deemed "mischlingskinder" - a derogatory term for mixed race children. With fathers forced to move way, the single mothers of the African-American babies struggled to find support in a mostly white Germany and were encouraged to give their kids up.

    Thousands of the children born from the inter-racial relationships were put up for adoption and placed in homes with African-American military families in the United States or Germany. Images of black, German-speaking toddlers with their adoptive American families were splashed across the pages of Jet and Ebony magazines and African-American newspapers.

    Their long-forgotten stories have recently been shared in new films, "Brown Babies: The Mischlingskinder Story," which was released last summer and "Brown Babies: Germany's Lost Children," which aired on German television this fall.

    The hunt for his biological parents - and his own sense of identity - has dominated the second half of his life. He has traveled the country in search of aging documents, tried hypnotism therapy, built relationships with distant family members and visited Germany several times.

    “Would I do it all again? Yes,” Cardwell said. “If only so others wouldn’t have to go through what I went through."

    Between 2 and 3 million African-American civilian personnel, military members and their families lived in Germany from 1945 until the end of the Cold War, according to the digital archive "The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GI's, and Germany."

    Many German women perceived the black soldiers to be kinder than their white counterparts, even admiring - a rarity after the brutal war. After so many years of scarcity, a gift of stockings or canned milk might as well have been a diamond ring.

    The soldiers wanted to seize the advantages of being away from Jim Crow America. In Germany, they could go to a biergarten, dance with a German woman at a bar and - if they ignored rules against fraternization - develop a relationship with her.

    The total number of children born from those relationships is unclear. Some 5,000 "brown babies" were born between 1945 and 1955, according to the book “Race After Hitler: Black Occupation Children in Postwar Germany and America," and by 1968, Americans had adopted about 7,000 of these German children, the book's author, historian Heide Fehrenbach, wrote. Still more of those kids remained in Germany.

    But after the babies were born and the soldiers' superiors discovered the romances, they often transferred the black soldiers to other bases. The U.S. military's policy at the time was to reject any claims of paternity made by German mothers. Black soldiers who wanted to marry their white girlfriends were often forbidden from doing so.

    Life wasn't simple for the mothers, either - they were sometimes judged unfit by child welfare officials based solely on the fact that they had a relationship with an African-American man. Some Germans condemned the mothers as "negerhueren" - Negro whores.

    German authorities doubted the children would thrive in the country, where national identity was strongly tied to white German heritage. It became common for the babies to be adopted to couples living in the United States, where the children’s roots were hidden, often for years. Many didn’t know of they had been adopted until they were adults.

    Cardwell remembers his adoptive parents as cold and distant. He spent years at boarding schools, then later returned to their home, where he worked on their farmland. He can't remember being hugged, or told that they loved him.

    It wasn't until he began trying to find his biological parents that he discovered his mother was actually a half-German refugee from Poland. She thought she was leaving him at an orphanage temporarily, and had searched for him for years. He learned, too, that his father was described as “colored” in official papers, and was a mixture of Portuguese, native Hawaiian, Japanese and Puerto Rican ancestry.

    Regina Griffin, a Washington-area journalist, was inspired to make "Brown Babies: The Mischlingskinder Story,"after a "brown baby" and family friend wrote a book about her search for her parents. Griffin realized most people had never heard the adoptees' remarkable stories, so she interviewed "brown babies," German mothers, historians, and the African-American fathers.

    “It’s a part of our history,” Griffin said. “It’s not just African-American history, it’s not just American history, it’s world history. There were a lot of people who were caught between two countries, two warring nations. And we allowed those children to be abandoned, and people should know that.”

    For the thousands of children who are now adults and seeking their biological families, time is running out. Henriette Cain, a "brown baby," from Rockford, Illinois, knows this all too well.

    “People’s mothers are passing away, their fathers are passing away, and people are starting to wonder who they are,” Cain said from her home. “Now even we are passing away, and it’s a story that needs to be told.”

    Since beginning her search in the 1970s, the 59-year-old retiree has been fortunate - she located and met her biological sister, who was living in Darmstadt, Germany, and her biological mother, who had married a white U.S. soldier and moved to Virginia. The family now enjoys a close relationship. She tracked down her biological father, as well, but he died before they could meet.

    Cain discovered that her mother had never really wanted to give her up. Her biological father had been reassigned to another military base, and promised to return to bring his family to the United States, but they never heard from him again.

    Her mother found herself alone and impoverished in post-war Germany, with two young daughters, an unsupportive family and a choice to make: Keep the children and face poverty and scorn, or put them up for adoption in hopes of giving them a better life.

    Cain’s older sister was adopted by the family with whom they had been living while Cain was sent to a local orphanage. When she was 2, she was adopted by an African-American couple living at a U.S. base nearby.

    Her adoptive parents doted on her, and she was happy, but she always sensed she was different. Her adoptive parents were much darker in skin tone. They didn't reveal that she was adopted until she was 12. Children she grew up with taunted her and called her “Little Nazi.”

    Soon after reuniting with her birth family, Cain began helping other adoptees. She now runs Sunco Public Records Research, a firm that helps black German adoptees, American fathers and German mothers find each other.

    Cain said about 25 of her last 40 searches ended with a reunion or positive identification. She has about seven cases that remain open.

    “Since I’ve been in their position, I understand how they feel and I know it’s important to get the answers for them,” Cain said.

    Cardwell is still looking for answers.

    After years without all the information he's looking for, he now sees America and Germany’s obsession with skin color as a destructive force in his life.

    “My mother couldn’t marry my father because of color. I couldn’t stay in Germany because of color. Here in America they couldn’t figure out my color,” Cardwell said. “Maybe I should just be an American and just let it be with that. They won’t let me be German.”

    Nevertheless, he continues to search for more clues about his father’s identity. Because he’s officially an illegitimate child, he can’t view his biological father’s military records and other papers until they become available to the general public. He's working on a book about his life. He helps other adoptees in their searches.

    “My whole objective in this thing is to minimize the pain that I felt for so long,” Cardwell said. “I have come to know that there were a number of mothers that did love their children, and a number of fathers who did want those children, but because of color they weren’t allowed to have them.”

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