World War II occupation "misalliances": any happy outcomes?

With seemingly endless interest on SDMB, in a great variety of aspects of World War II – often seeming to feature in GQ, though the issue I’m raising here strikes me as highly “general” in a fundamentally non-specific sense; mods, please do as you see fit… I sometimes wonder as follows – including wondering whether anyone else does similarly.

There was a considerable incidence in German-occupied Europe, of occupying German soldier [sailor, airman] / local girl relationships / liaisons, of various shades; on the whole, not well-regarded by the occupied populace in general – this of course all being stuff which has been happening throughout human history. In wars overall (not re 1939 - 45 alone) by no means all members of the armed forces of, even, an evil power, will be individually evil. In “occupation” situations – as well as variations on the theme of people making capital of what they can get from each other – there will come about, couples falling in love with each other and wishing to stay together in the future; not, I gather, a particularly rare thing in WWII “occupation” conditions.

From accounts of the German occupation 1940 - 45, of the British Channel Islands (the only instance in that war, of German occupation of British territory): I gather that in a very few cases there, German armed forces guy / local girl romances had happy endings; in that after the end of the war, the two of them got married. Rather unusual circumstances, in that the Channel islands episode was (though nasty enough) probably the least nasty such, of German occupation of European territory; and even so, usually the bride’s compatriots were not happy with the outcome: in most instances, the couple emigrated – in the “faraway continents” sense.

Elsewhere in occupied Europe, I understand that the great disfavour received by women who “consorted with the enemy”, meant that any such relationship – on whatever basis – would ultimately have bad consequences. Am wondering whether anyone here knows of any instances at all on record, from occupied Continental countries, of happy endings against all the odds; i.e. the pair ultimately marrying (I have never heard of any such). Am thinking, by the way, definitely of “conquering-forces member when still conquering / local girl”: pairing-up and marrying between local girl and German or Italian POW was, in Britain anyway, far from unusual.

I had a very elderly set of clients several years ago. He was in the army during WWII and met and married a young German girl during the occupation. Not quite what you were looking for as they’d married in 46 - began seeing each other in 45 - but they’d been together ever since.

Hell, her father was Wehrmacht, for heaven’s sake. But still, long, LONG marriage. Kids, grandkids, the whole works.

I haven’t read it, but the book Children of World War II seems to be well researched and on-topic. You can read substantial parts of it on the Google Books site. doesn’t sell it, but does. You can buy the e-book on Google Play

There’s a fundamental logistical difference though. A German member of the occupying forces either had to retreat or was captured and in neither case is he going to be allowed to bring his French girlfriend with him. So such a couple would have to go to pretty great lengths to reconnect.

Anni-Frid Lyngstad of ABBA was the outcome of one such relationship. She turned out pretty well, so I’ll call that a happy outcome.

Her parents didn’t stay together though, so it’s not the happy outcome the OP was asking about.

She, the product of the union, turned out to have a successful life, sure.

But her mother, the Swedish woman in question who had the wartime liaison with the occupying soldier - he left her when his unit was evacuated back to Germany and never kept in contact, and she died at age 21 about 2 years after the war after being forced to move due to local hostility to her “involvement”, so that’s not a very happy outcome, is it?

Nitpicking but it was Norway not Sweden. The Germans didn’t invade Sweden. Lyngstad’s family moved from Norway to Sweden after the war, which is where Lyngstad grew up.

I know of 2 cases somewhat similar to this.

A US soldier, of German heritage, who was with the invasion force in Germany and then occupied there for a while. Happened to be fairly near the part of Germany where his family had emigrated from, and had relatives there. During the occupation, he met a German girl, and ended up marrying her and bringing her back to the USA. (Actually, he came back when his service ended; it took several months for them to get her over here. They actually had a second wedding ‘renewal’ at the local Lutheran church on their 1st wedding anniversary.)

Second case was a German POW held at a camp in Minnesota. Paroled from the camp to work on a local farm (the available farmhands had all gone into the US army). He ended up meeting a local girl, and after Germany surrendered, he declined to be repatriated to Germany, but stayed in the US, married her., and lived the rest of his life here. Though they did visit West Germany eventually, and met some relatives.

Thanks to all responders. I’m afraid I suck at “multi-quoting”, so:

bibliophage’s giving a pointer to book Children of World War II; and discussion of Ms. Lyngstad – as per the way that humans are, WWII’s occupation situations resulted in lots more children, than inter-enemy-nations marriages. One would hope that whatever the opprobrium visited by their own communities on the women concerned; folk were mostly, decent enough not to harshly victimise the innocent kids.

I’d think that in likelihood, the logistics would be difficult, but often not impossible if the couple were determined enough. If the guy ended up as a POW of the Western allies, one takes it that they could probably stay in touch by writing to each other – a matter of waiting it out until he was released. If he were in Soviet captivity, things would not look hopeful in any way or shape.

Nobody has yet come up with an example of a relationship which actually began when the man was one of the Axis occupying military force, and the woman a citizen of the occupied country (or I suppose it could, just conceivably, have been the other way around – German female military auxiliary, and local man). It would seem clear that such couples ultimately beating the odds and marrying, was vanishingly rare if it ever did happen; other than in the somewhat exceptional Channel Islands circumstances mentioned in my OP.

Finland and Holland would have seen marriages (did see marriages), and no reason to expect that none of those marriages would have been successful.

Not doubting you for a moment – or suggesting that a marriage which the parties concerned, were so determined should happen; would be unlikely to be successful: out of pure interest, though, I’d be glad to know more about the Dutch instances. It would, I feel, have been a rather different situation in Finland; which was a “co-belligerent” on the Axis side, not occupied against the national will.

No, I would not assume that even Western allies made German POW mail delivery much of a priority. That’s even allowing that a French civilian would be able to find out which POW camp her German boyfriend was in, which is also doubtful.

“Were there any happy outcomes if we restrict ourselves to cases where there were no happy outcomes?”

In Finland there was a transition from peaceful occupation to enemy occupation. But it didn’t end peacefully. From Wikipedia "The Germans adopted a scorched-earth policy, and proceeded to lay waste to the entire northern half of the country as they retreated. Some 100,000 people lost their homes, adding to the burden of post-war reconstruction. "

And then there was Holland. Although it was an enemy occupation, with starvation and forced labour, it was fully collaborationist. Representing on point on the range of natural responses. The French hated being occupied, co-operated with the governing authority on a case-by-case basis, and hated the Germans on a personal and social level. The Dutch hated being occupied, co-operated fully and deeply with the Germans, and generally didn’t have a problem with the German people or with their religion. The Greeks extended their deep cultural tradition of non-co-operation with the occupying Turkish government to natural non-co-operation with the occupying German government. And you wouldn’t marry a German any more than you would marry a Turk.

There is a natural continuum: people who were more likely to have successful marriages are also the people who are more likely to have married are also the people who had a more co-operative experience of occupation.

I’m not so sure: if memoirs by Allied guys who were POWs in Germany during the war, are to be believed, they were allowed to correspond – subject to censorship, of course – with their folks back home. Am I very naive in imagining that the victorious Western allies – the “virtuous” element among the belligerents – would refuse the same facility to the POWs whom they held after the war was over?

And, the practicalities – presumably he’d know her home address; or they might make “poste restante” arrangements in her country?

Illuminating info – thanks. I’m surprised by what you write about Holland; but I’m no great expert on this whole subject: am going by random reading – folks’ memoirs, and other odds-and-ends read. I had the impression that Holland had a truly horrible time under German occupation; resulting in, for many decades (lingering on today, in some cases) bitter hatred on the part of the Dutch, for anyone and anything German – though pre-1940, they had been quite OK with same – and hatred on the part of those Dutch who did not whole-heartedly collaborate, for those who did.

And – whatever the country concerned – there are rare “maverick” individuals, and / or those crazily in love, who are prepared to go against the overwhelmingly prevalent national spirit, no matter what it costs them in hate and rejection coming from their own people.

Maybe I should have a shot at writing a novel on this theme – choosing the most difficult milieu imaginable, for the putative lovers…

My uncle who was a POW in Germany during WWII wrote home a few times. (The time lag on delivery was huge, of course.) They were written on those single sheet envelope-stationary combos. My grandmother kept the letters and I’ve read them. They are indeed censored, but only with a black maker. Holding the letter to the light at the right angle allows the censored part to be read. Yeah, the censors mainly just randomly picked passages to black out so anyone looking over their shoulder could tell they were “doing their job”.

Meanwhile, back at home, two German POWs were assigned to my grandparents farm. Given the leeway these had, I don’t see the US keeping them from mailing home. In fact, such letters describing their relative freedoms, etc. would be considered a propaganda boost.

Extraordinary claim. Do you have extraordinary proof? While there were pre-war Dutch Nazis, who cooperated enthusiastically, and even provided volunteers in disappointingly large numbers for SS duty, that is a long way from fully collaborationist. While most resistance was passive and not violent, there also was armed resistance, and the passive resistance came with serious consequences. But maybe I misunderstand what you mean by fully collaborationist.

Someone hid Anne Frank’s family.

During the war, yes. But German POWs after the war had a very different situation. The Allies could barely even feed and shelter the sudden large uptick of POWs. I could be wrong but like I said, I doubt mail service for POWs was a very high priority after the war.