CBOW Summer Newsletter 2023

Summer Newsletter 2023 Coming up…

Updates & highlights
Recap of recent events
Team news
Other news


Congratulations Jakub We are delighted to share the news that oral historian and CBOW Project Affiliated Expert, Jakub Gałęziowski, has won the Polish historical book prize in the category ‘Debuts in scientific and popular science works’ for his book: Niedopowiedziane biografie. Polskie dzieci urodzone z powodu wojny (“Unsaid biographies. Polish children born because of war”). This is an important milestone in the discourse about children born of war in Poland, shining a light on their struggles and experiences. You can read more about the presentation of the award here and buy a copy of the book (currently only in Polish) here.

Photos: Leszek Zych/POLITYKA

Updates from our grant recipients

Youth Leaders for Restoration and Development

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Photo: YOLRED/shared with permission
We funded Youth Leaders for Restoration and Development (YOLRED) apprenticeship program for Providing Economic Empowerment for Children Born of War. YOLRED is an organisation that supports former child soldiers, child mothers, persons with disabilities, and other war-affected communities to obtain a better future through skills development, capacity building, and training to access information on fair justice, agriculture, land rights, and livelihood opportunities. This pilot apprenticeship project created opportunities for socio economic empowerment, professional development and livelihood training to a child born of war. The programme has been instrumental in being able to empower the apprentice to provide for her own basic social amenities and counter the discrimination and stereotypes held against children born of war. The apprentice was able to learn skills in reporting, administration, writing, Microsoft Office, professionalism and communication, and she was able to gain a certificate in record management. Check out their work here. Global Welfare Association Cameroon We supported Global Welfare Association Cameroon (GLOWA) in a project to promote and protect the rights of children born or war, in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon. Specifically, with our funding, GLOWA was first able to identify 20 committed community actors to serve Project Animators. These were people who had been affected by conflict related sexual violence (CRSV) and were motivated to fight against it. They were trained on the phenomenon of children born of war and the crime of CRSV, with particular emphasis on concepts of consent and the vulnerability of women and girls in situations of armed conflict. The team then developed tools  for the identification of all children born of war and for selecting those without birth certificates. Project Animators were then able to return to their respective communities and collect data on 314 children; including the father, the status of the mother and/or care giver, whether the child was registered and finally to determine the vulnerability of the child and caregiver. With this funding, GLOWA were also able to deliver community education and awareness campaigns and some of the most vulnerable mothers of the CBOW were supported with livelihood activities, such as sewing, administration and dry cleaning services. Finally, the funding from the CBOW Project has enabled GLOWA to engage in further projects and partnerships, with one of their most important upcoming tasks being to establish birth certificates to already-identified CBOW and those in the future. Read all about GLOWA here. War Love Child We supported Dutch organisation ‘Oorlogsliefdekind’ (War Love Child) to optimise content and functionality of their website to ensure long-term preservation and access. This included adequate archiving of older posts, back-end maintenance, financing website hosting and modernisation. War Love Child is an organisation that supports the search for fathers and relatives of children born to Indonesian mothers and Dutch fathers during the colonisation of Indonesia by the Netherlands from 1946-1949, and documents their stories. Check out their new and improved website hereGrassroots Reconciliation Group We funded Grassroots Reconciliation Group (GRG) to support children born of war and aged between 14 years to 17 years. These are children who were born during the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict in northern Uganda that lasted over 25 years and left devastating impacts in the community including both social and economic problems. The funding was used by GRG to identify children in need and then train 20 peer counsellors to deliver 5 trauma recovery sessions to 104 children across 4 different communities. These children attested to an improvement in their psychological wellbeing as well as an ability to deal with daily stressors of life because of the new skills learnt (including emotional awareness, gratitude and how to build hope). Children were also given the opportunity to join community theatre activities which enabled the children to showcase their talents in singing and dancing. Finally, GRG was able to deliver anti-stigma trainings to 200 people in local communities, with the aim of sensitising and advocating for inclusivity of children born of war. Check out their amazing work here.

EVENTS Ukraine Lecture
Left to right: Prof. Ødegaard, Prof. Kreß, Prof. Senatorova
On Monday 22 May,  at the University of Cologne, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dr. h.c. Claus Kreß LL.M, Chair for German and International Criminal Law at the University of Cologne, director of the Institute for International Peace and Security Law and Special Adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), hosted a special event together with Prof. Dr. Ingvill Constanze Ødegaard, GESIS-Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Cologne, Germany and Professor II at Centre for Gender Research at the University of Oslo, Norway and CBOW Project Managing Director and Chairwoman, on “Children  – the forgotten victims of war”. Prof. Kreß gave opening remarks on current international humanitarian and criminal law of relevance to children in situations of armed conflict, and was joined by Prof. Dr. Oksana Senatorova, Director of Research Centre for Transitional Justice, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Ukraine, and presently at the IOS Leibniz-Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung in Germany, who further specified the war crime of unlawful deportation of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation and the arrest warrant issued by the ICC. Prof. Dr. Ingvill Constanze Ødegaard closed the session with a presentation on children born of war in Ukraine and discussed this in the wider historical perspective by looking both at CBOW and other groups of children that have been stolen and deported in various conflicts. Lund workshop In early May, CBOW Project Managing Director and Chairwoman, Ingvill Constanze Ødegaard as well as board members Inger Skjelsbæk, Lina Stolz and Norman Mukasa, Research Manager Kimberley Anderson and our CBOW Affiliated Experts Jakub Gałęziowski, Elke Kleinau and Martina Koegeler-Abdi,  joined other researchers from across Europe to discuss comparative perspectives on European children born of war.  The international workshop was hosted by postdoctoral researcher Martina Koegeler-Abdi, Department for Human Rights Studies, University of Lund, and was a chance for research experts on children born of war to discuss their comparative perspectives in more detail. Presentations and discussions focused on the hidden histories of CBOW, probing CBOW definitions and documenting their vulnerabilities across different disciplines. Participants were also fortunate enough to attend a talk between Patricio Galvez, author of the book “Amanda – Min dotters resa till IS”, (the grandfather who brought back his 7 orphaned grandchildren from the Syrian Al Hol camp) and Dan-Erik Andersson, senior lecturer in Human Rights at Lund University. The workshop also featured a roundtable discussion between Arne Øland, participant researcher and co-founder and former president of the Danish War Child Association (DKBF), Henny Granum, former DKBF vice president, international spokeswomen and representative in BORN OF WAR international network; and activists for the repatriation of children from Syria Natascha Rée Mikkelsen and Knud Foldshack, co-founders of the NGO ‘Repatriate the Children – Denmark’.  Prof. Ødegaard gave the closing keynote speech, entitled “We know more than we think! What is needed to secure the rights of children born of war”, giving a short history of the research to date on the lives and experiences of CBOW, and ending with some recommendations for the international community on ensuring their rights are secured. These included the need for various political commitments and to expand and consolidate the evidence base. We are very grateful to Martina for the opportunity to attend and look forward to continuing these discussions!

International Women’s Day 2023 In March this year, CBOW Project Managing Director and Chairwoman Ingvill Constanze Ødegaard was invited by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) to speak about Children Born of War and their mothers on the occasion of the International Women’s Day. PUBLICATIONS Books Flavia Guerrini “From the enemy a child. Descendants of Allied Soldiers Narrate.” Recent estimates suggest that in the first years after World War II, 30.000 children were born fathered by members of the Allied forces stationed in Austria. Nevertheless, public as well as academic interest in the situation and life stories of so-called “occupation children” in Germany and Austria was low for a long time. Voids remained both in the collective historical memory as well as in the individual life stories. For many of these “children”, who are now in their 70ies, numerous questions about their origins have remained unanswered to this day. Flavia Guerrini, an educational and social scientist from Innsbruck, invited nine former “children born of war” for interviews. The result of these narrative interviews are detailed biographical accounts that form the core of this book. They show the difficult family and social circumstances, marked by silence, stigmatization and exclusion, but also the strength of the individuals in their ways of dealing with their heritage. The author embeds the biographies in their historical context and illustrates the social and political background. A detailed picture section complements the book. Last week, Flavia’s book was presented at the Volkskundemuseum Wien at an event in cooperation with Wiener Wiesenthal Institut für Holocaust-Studien. You can buy the book in German, here.  Rafaela Schmid “Father Decentredness. Psychoanalytic countermeasures to the professional discourse on ‘Occupied Children’” In ‘war child’ research, the absence of the biological father and growing up only with the biological mother is postulated as a problem for the psychological development of children. The absent biological father moves to the centre, and the child’s mental health stands and falls with him.  Rafaela Schmid establishes a new level of reflection in the research discourse on (war-related) ‘fatherlessness’. She approaches the problem exemplarily by means of a hermeneutic reading and interpretation of the research literature on so-called ‘occupation children’. Through this reading, Schmid is able to identify a dominant narrative, which she conceptualises as the ‘discourse on fatherlessness’ of ‘occupation children’. The main aspects of this discourse are the centering on the absent biological father and the pathologisation of ‘fatherlessness’. The biological father is considered essential for the psychological development of the ‘occupation child’: Without him, the ‘occupation children’ would suffer from ‘identity crises’. Only more knowledge about the biological father or getting to know him could help the ‘occupation children’ to overcome this crisis-like state and to perceive themselves as whole and complete. According to Schmid, that focus on the biological father is based on an argumentation based on trivialised (developmental) psychological and psychoanalytical concepts, which identify the triad father-mother-child as the ‘adequate constellation’ for a ‘successful’ (identity) development of the child. The trivialised psychoanalytical concepts contained in the ‘discourse on fatherlessness’ are made visible by Schmid through an examination of the position of the father in Freud’s theory. Moreover, Freudian theory enables her to decenter the biological father. Schmid’s approach not only makes it possible to question the common one-dimensional narrative of ‘fatherlessness’ as a ‘state of deficiency’, which is determined by patriarchal structures. It also challenges common concepts of identity that link identity with postulates of completeness and identity development with biological origin. You can buy the book in German here and read a review here.   Blogs  “Don’t forget about the children born of war in Ukraine” Earlier this year, CBOW Project Board members reminded us that the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, by Russian forces, has likely resulted in children being conceived through sexual violence, some of whom may have already been born, and some who will be born in the future. As we know from historical and current conflicts, children who have a biological parent on each side of an armed conflict are often perceived as children of the enemy. Being perceived in this way can have huge consequences for these children; socio-emotionally, psychologically etc. It is important for (inter)national authorities to secure the rights of these children. Specifically, that children fathered by Russian soldiers are allowed to remain with those mothers, or other family members who want to keep them. Both mothers and children must be allowed to retain their Ukrainian citizenships, and the children must have birth certificates. In many conflicts, children born of war are denied such certificates, either because the father’s identity cannot be confirmed or because the father is on the enemy side. You can read more on this here (in english), here (in Norwegian) or here (in German). TEAM NEWS Welcome Kimberley! As of May 2023, we welcome Dr. Kimberley Anderson to the team. Kimberley will be joining as Research Manager, supporting the Managing Director and Board with the development of new projects and acquisition of funding, as well as managing social media channels. Kimberley has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Leipzig, where she explored the psychosocial outcomes of conflict-related sexual violence, with a specific focus on children born of sexual violence. Kimberley is also a postdoc researcher at the University of Amsterdam, and research consultant on a range of projects relating to CBOW. Congratulations Norman! In January, 2023, CBOW Project Board Member Dr. Norman Mukasa joined the Global Fellows Programme at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). PRIO’s mission is to conduct research concerning the conditions for peaceful relations between nations, groups, and individuals. Norman was selected for this fellowship on the basis of his scholarship and a strong commitment to the peace and conflict research agenda. His research interests include topics linked to peace and conflict transformation— particularly children born of war, gender issues and social inequality. Congratulations Gabriella! On 12 May 2023, our CBOW Project Administration Manager, Gabriella, gave birth to a baby girl. Both are doing very well and we wish Gabriella a wonderful maternity leave! Kimberley will be taking over her tasks during her leave.

  Affiliated experts We are pleased to share news of our growing network of experts: Jakub Gałęziowski, social and oral historian focused especially on Polish history of WWII and its consequences. In 2021 he received PhD in history from the University of Augsburg and the University of Warsaw for the dissertation about Polish children born of war (recently published as Niedpowiedziane Bografie. Polskie dzieci urodzone z powodu wojny, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Krytyki Politycznej, 2022, and 2023 history book prize winner). Currently affiliated with University of Warsaw (Faculty of Culture and Arts), Jakub teaches oral history and biographical methods and is author of many articles in this research field. He is co-founder of the Polish Oral History Association and its President (2022-2025), and is member of editorial board of the “Wrocławski Rocznik Historii Mówionej” – the Polish academic journal devoted to oral history. Elke Kleinau, is a Professor for the History of Education and Gender at the University of Cologne. Her main research interests are the history of girls’ and women’s education, childhood history, travel narratives, German colonial history and biographical research. She studied Education, Sociology and Psychology at the University of Bielefeld in Germany, where she received her PhD in 1985. Her habilitation also took place in 1994 at the University of Bielefeld and she received a venia legendi for General Education and the History of Education. She first worked at a Research Associate at the Faculty of pedagogy, University of Bielefeld and then as an Assistant professor at the Institute for Social- and Economic History at the University of Hamburg. After several Substitute or visiting professorships at the Universities of Bielefeld, Graz (Austria), Duisburg and Cologne she got a full professorship for the History of Education/History of Gender at the University of Cologne. Martina Koegeler-Abdi is a researcher at Human Rights Studies within the History Department of Lund University. She is currently the PI in the FORTE funded project “Historical perspectives on Scandinavian children born to IS foreign fighters.”  Her project explores the similarities and differences in the perceptions of Scandinavian children born to German soldiers after WWII and children of IS foreign fighters detained in Syria after 2019. Martina holds degrees in women’s and gender studies, comparative cultural studies and English from the University of Graz, SUNY Stony Brook and the University of Copenhagen. Her research focuses on how children born of war and their families use different secrecy practices to manage vulnerabilities and claim agency within the changing historical conceptualizations of nation, race, gender, and childhood – with a special focus on the relations between self-representation, family memory and socio-cultural norms. OTHER For our followers in Germany, at the Sandbostel Camp Memorial in Lower Saxony, Germany, a research and exhibition project affiliated with the title “Children from Forbidden Relationships between Germans and Prisoners of War or Forced Laborers” is open for viewing. It is sponsored by the Foundation “Memory, Responsibility and Future” in Berlin and is dedicated to the offspring from relationships between Germans and so-called foreign national workers or prisoners of war. These relationships, with different characters, were forbidden under Nazi law. This exhibition works in particular with the biographies of the children and their descendants. The history of their parents’ persecution and their children’s experiences of discrimination and exclusion, also after the war´s end, were often a taboo or a stigma and have so far been absent from the culture of remembrance and hardly researched scientifically. You can find more information here

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