The special exhibition BLACK AUSTRIA. THE CHILDREN OF AFRICAN AMERICAN GIs, which took place at the Volkskundemuseum in Vienna from April 27 to August 21, 2016, presented the forgotten history of the first generation of Black Austrians in the Second Republic. These were the people who were born in the years 1946 to 1956 as children of African American GIs and Austrian mothers. The exhibition was based on the on-going research and interview project LOST IN ADMINISTRATION and was visited by more than 15,000 people.
The exhibition was narrated to a large degree by those affected, who also provided numerous objects which had never been seen before. A Viennese municipal politician, a truck driver from Idaho, a hairdresser from Salzburg, and an author from Texas – all of them are part of this forgotten generation who were born in the first ten years after the war to Austrian women and African American GIs. Many of these children were separated from their mothers, were placed in homes, or given up for adoption. In Austria, the integration of those affected was made as difficult as was their education. In the 1950s and 1960s, a part of them ended up in adoption abroad in the USA. There, too, many of those affected found themselves in a difficult situation due to language problems, their often murky legal status, and the frequent unsuitability of their adoptive parents.
A video installation created by Tal Adler structured the exhibition, protected the anonymity of the contemporary witnesses where necessary, and connected the history of the first Black generation of the post-war era in Austria with the present-day Black population of the country.
The exhibition took place under the protection of honor of President Heinz Fischer.
A comprehensive catalog of the exhibition was published, entitled: SchwarzÖsterreich. Die Kinder afroamerikanischer Besatzungssoldaten, Löcker, Vienna 2016, ca. 200 pages.
Niko Wahl, Philipp Rohrbach, Tal Adler
Regina Fritz, Marion Krammer, Ulrich Palzer, Vanessa Spanbauer, Robert Vorberg, Daniela Wolowiec
Tanja Kuschej, Christa Leutgeb, Lennert Pfeiffer
Copy-Editing and Translation:
Katharina Kniefacz, Thomas Rennert, Joanna White
Carolin Adam, Stefan Gutternigh, Stefan Maasz, Bernhard Rausch, Daniel Szöke
Georg Schrom, Nikolay Hristov Ivanov
Exhibition Graphics and Book Design:
Black Austria was made possible by:
The Future Fund of the Republic of Austria, FWF – Austrian Science Fund, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Shift, Dunapack Mosburger Packaging, Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI), RD Foundation Vienna, SPÖ Klub, Center for Jewish Cultural History at the University of Salzburg