Interracial love in unlikely circumstances - WWII
People fall in love under strange circumstances. And if it were not for the mistreatment of African American women by the U.S. government during the WW II, this interracial couple never would have met.
He was a prisoner at the German prisoners of war camp in Arizona. She was a military nurse there. This is where Elinor Powell Albert (African American) met his husband Frederick Albert (White German) in 1944. The Army at the time didn’t want to recruit black nurses and the relatively few who managed to get in were allocated the least desirable duties. It was a time when the Army was resisting enlisting black nurses and the relatively small number allowed entry tended to be assigned to the least desirable duties. After completing her training, Ms. Powell together with a few other black nurses were sent to Florence, Ariz to tend to German prisoners of war.
After being captured in Italy, Frederick Karl Albert joined his fellow German prisoners who were detained in camps across the United States. Since most American men were away fighting, P.O.W.s were brought to the U.S. as unskilled laborers. Albert worked in the kitchen at the camp.
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“It was in the officers’ mess hall, and my father was working in the kitchen. He kind of boldly made his way straight for my mother and said: ‘You should know my name. I’m the man who’s going to marry you,’” says their youngest son Chris Albert explaining how their interracial love came to be.
Frederick used his cooking job to his advantage and wooed Elinor by preparing for her special meals. That’s how their romance blossomed. But just like most interracial couples during that era, they had to deal with acceptance issues after they married. “My dad was severely beaten by a group of officers [American Soldiers] when they found out about my mom,” says Chris.
After the war came the end of segregation. But this didn’t mean that the Albert’s had it any easier. According to Kristina Brandner, 70, a niece of Frederick Albert life in Germany was difficult. “My grandmother never had contact with black people so it was strange and uncomfortable for her with Elinor. Kids used to ask me how come there was a black woman living with us, and why is your cousin another color. Sometimes, I saw Elinor in the kitchen crying.”
Much as they moved to the U.S. in less than 2 years, things weren’t any better in the U.S. for Frederick, Elinor and their 2 sons Stephen and Chris. When they tried to enroll at a local public school, he was rejected after being told that the school was not open to black children.
Eventually, they settled in in Village Creek, an interracial neighborhood in Norwalk, Conn.. Frederick died in 2001 and Elinor in 2005.
Well, this is one remarkable interracial story; and Chris agrees.
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