Finja Haehser

Finja Haehser | Photo: private
Finja Haehser | Photo: private

"Illegitimate children of SS-Soldiers and the difficulty of historical research" (2015)

In October 2016, twenty-four award winners from EUSTORY competitions met at a History Camp in Georgia. For this occasion they prepared posters about their projects and findings which were displayed in the National History Museum in Tbilisi.

My competition entry was about the illegitimate children of SS-soldiers after the Second World War. I asked my grandfather and his half sister because they are both illegitimate children of the same SS-soldier. I wrote about their childhood and how they handled it, that their father was an SS-soldier. I wrote about how the people, especially their families, treated the illegitimate children. The two met for the first time in 2007 and it is a really interesting story how they found out about each other. I also compared the situation of illegitimate children from the past and today.

How did you decide on your topic?
I remembered that my grandfather is an illegitimate child of an SS-soldier. I knew that he has a half sister and that they have the same father. During my research I recognized more and more commonalities. Very early in my research I realized that it will be difficult to get enough information because a lot of people don’t like to talk about their past – especially if the past was very hard.

How did you react when you came upon surprising points during your research?
There were not so many surprising points. It was really difficult to find people who have similar fates as my grandfather and his sister. Furthermore, it was sometimes very difficult to get all the information I needed.

Take a closer look at Finja’s poster here.
Click here to read Finja's full research paper (in German, pdf)

For her project on illegitimate children of SS-soldiers, Finja was awarded first prize in the German history competition

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