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Portraits of war’s children

Lebensborn – an insidious Nazi scheme to preserve Aryan blood by aiding or forcing desired couplings. Kriegskinder is the photographic work of Einar Bangsund and Fantom e.V.: showing these Lebensbornkinder as they are today.

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From left to right: Alios Schmit, Björn Arne Drivdal, Tove Strand. Photos by Einar Bangsund.

Brits across the world were wearing their red poppies last weekend, and the US continued its interminable prostration to the ‘warriors of salvation’ this week (the US holiday Veterans Day was observed on November 11). But the lasting ramifications of war that don’t get draped in patriotic bravado have been on display at Galerie Hektorstr. Kriegskinder put faces to stories of children born in Norway during and after the German occupation in World War II. The mothers were local women. The fathers, German soldiers likely never heard from or seen again.

Fantom, e.V., a Berlin-based organization established in 2008, put on the show of photographs taken by Einar Bangsund. Each portrait reveals a story, a look of uncertainty and independence. Some children were sent to Germany, some ended up in foster homes. They all share a common bond to the war that few people can imagine. They have had many questions about who they are and who their parents were. The answers have not been easy to find and sometimes not easy to hear.

Fantom’s work to make these stories a part of recognized history continues. The victims of war who must live their lives not belonging anywhere, finally have a room of their own.

While the actual exhibition is officially over, the photographs can still be viewed by appointment through November 17. Check the gallery website for phone numbers.