The concept children born of war (CBOW) was first used by R. Charli Carpenter in her research project on children born of sexual exploitation and abuse (Carpenter 2005, 2007). Mochmann (2006) suggested to apply the concept to all children born of war who fall in the definition of children used by the War an Children Identity Project “a child that has one parent that was part of an army or peace keeping force and the other parent a local citizen”  (Grieg 2001). Furthermore Mochmann (2006, 2008) introduced four different categories according to which children born of war may be classified: children of enemy soldiers, children of occupation soldiers, children born of child soldiers and children born of members of peacekeeping forces. The validity of the CBOW definition and the categories introduced by Mochmann in 2006 was reconfirmed by Lee/Glaesmer in 2021.

In 2016 the definition of Children Born of War was slightly reformulated at an expert meeting on the occasion of a decade of research on children born of war organized by Elke Kleinau and Ingvill C. Mochmann to adapt to modern warfare (SINTER University of Cologne and GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences 2016). Instead of referring to “army” Children Born of War here refers to “those children who, in the context of an armed conflict, have a local civilian woman as a mother and are fathered by a foreign soldier, para-military officer, rebel or other person directly participating in hostilities”.

For a summary on the evolution of the concept, definition, categories and research field in general see Mochmann (2017) and here.


Carpenter, Charli R. 2005. Protecting Children Born of Sexual Violence and Exploitation in Conflict Zones: Existing Practice and Knowledge Gaps. Findings from Consultations with Humanitarian Practitioners, December 2004 -December 2005.

Carpenter, R. Charli, ed. 2007. Born of War. Protecting Children of Sexual Violence Survivors in Conflict Zones. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press.

Grieg, Kai. 2001. The War Children of the World. Bergen: The War and Children Identity Project. Report.

Lee, Sabine Lee and Heide Glaesmer. 2021. Children Born of War: A Critical Appraisal of the Terminology in: Children Born of War. Past, Present and Future. Edited By Sabine Lee, Heide Glaesmer, Barbara Stelzl-Marx. Routledge.

Mochmann, Ingvill C. 2006. Consolidating the evidence base of children born of war. ZA-Information 59: 198-9.

Mochmann, Ingvill C. 2007. Minutes of the expert meeting, “Consolidating the Evidence Base of Children Born of War”, unpublished protocol.

Mochmann, Ingvill C. 2008. Children Born of War. OBETS – Revista de Ciencias Sociales (2): 53-61.

Mochmann, Ingvill C. 2017. Children Born of War – A Decade of International and Interdisciplinary Research. Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung Vol. 42, No. 1 (159), pp. 320-346.

SINTER University of Cologne and GESIS-Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. 2016. Key outcomes following the Expert Meeting “Children Born of War in a Comparative Perspective: State of the Art and Recommendations for Future Research and Policy”, March 3-4 2016, in Cologne, Germany

Ongoing research projects:

ERC Consolidator Grant ‘EuroWARCHILD’ project, 2021-2026 (Project Leader: Inger Skjelsbæk, University of Oslo; Partners: Ingvill Constanze Ødegaard, GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany; Torunn L. Tryggestad, Peace Research Institute, Oslo).

EuroWARCHILD aims to study explore the experiences and needs of three generations of children born of war in Europe: children fathered by enemy soldiers during World War II, children conceived through conflict-related sexual violence during the Bosnian war, and children born of European foreign fighters to ISIS/Daesh.

For more information, please see here.

Widow Marta B. (1948) with two daughters and son Winfried, who comes from the rape of an allied soldier.