On the study "Occupied Children ..." by the University of Leipzig from 2015
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should treat one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"The dignity of the human person is inviolable. It is the duty of all state authority to respect and protect it."
Article 1(1) of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Comment on the study "Fatherless and excluded? A Long-Term Perspective on the German Occupation Children of World War II" by Heide Glaesmer and Marie Kaiser, University of Leipzig from 2015.
The topic is urgent because Russian children have repeatedly asked us not to let ourselves be put in the mentally ill corner. And our impression is that we don't belong there either. That's why this text.
Whoever puts people in a mentally ill corner takes away their dignity. We have repeatedly pointed out that the study described below creates this impression on an unreal basis. Neither the rector of Leipzig University, Prof. Schücking, nor the makers of the study, Glaesmer and Kaiser, have reacted to this. On the contrary, they continue to disseminate the "results" of this study.
( Due to the development that has occurred, we were able to save text that was no longer needed at this point. We thank those involved! )
We have already referred to this study several times. Now we would like to summarise our criticism.
146 participants, of whom 123 = 84 % were born between 1945 and 1955.
The study consists exclusively of the evaluation of a questionnaire.
A first evaluation was later sent to the study participants in 2014.
There was a first meeting of Russian children in 2014, which was to develop into regular meetings.
The next meeting was organised in March 2015 after the evaluation of the questionnaires.
On the basis of the figures obtained, it was determined that occupation children were burdened with more mental illnesses, in some cases considerably more.
At this first presentation, I had expressed doubts about the results.
Glaesmer, the head of the study, assumes 200,000 children of occupation. This corresponds to a ratio of 0.07% of the assumed children of the occupation. In other words, not even a tenth of a percentage point.
The selection was arbitrary, not representative. From a statistical point of view, this is no basis for a reliable statement.
In 2014, participants were sent a first undated evaluation of the study.
Under "Today's mental and physical complaints" one can read:
"When we were preparing our study, we had long discussions about whether and which mental complaints we should record. In addition to adverse childhood conditions, we asked about other traumatic experiences, post-traumatic stress disorder, depressive complaints and physical complaints at the present time. These data were again compared with population-representative data. Again, this shows a significantly greater burden on the children of the occupation."
Now follow the data:
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Persons of the same age in the general population 1.4%
Occupation children 11.6
Persons of the same age in the general population 4.2%
Occupation children 20.4 %
In the finished 2015 study, there was the following:
"2. Current psychological stress and traumatic experiences.
(first indication occupation children, second indication general population).
PTSD ( 11.6% vs. 1.4%)
Depression ( 10.0% vs. 1.7%)
Somatoform disorders ( 7.4% vs. 4.0%) ..."
Of course, it is noticeable that the data on depression differ considerably. Why?
The deviation of the data from the age-appropriate general population is particularly astonishing. When I heard and saw this information at the presentation of the 2015 results, I immediately questioned this 1.7 %. Glaesmer's answer was that this figure had to be specially processed, randomised, etc., and she immediately presented other slides. Whereupon she immediately put on other slides and continued in the lecture.
For several years I carried out statistical evaluations in research institutes. Measured values were recorded and compared with generally valid data, i.e. a reliable source was sought and given and its figures compared. Here, in this case, the comparative figures are given without any indication of sources.
The Psychology Faculty of the same university states:
For the 65-69 age group, men with depression at 20.3% and women at 8.5%, i.e. substantially different figures.
The statement made above that children of occupation have a much higher susceptibility to mental illness could not be proven, so it is false.
A number of statements are made that are justified by higher incidence, but without providing any proof. No figures, no comparisons, no source, nothing.
"Occupied children were often exposed to difficult growing-up conditions (neglect, change of caregivers, stigmatisation and discrimination)".
Regarding change of caregivers, the following example shows that it has absolutely no connection with being a child of occupation:
Regarding the statement on "Occupation children are often psychologically burdened even decades later, in advanced adulthood" another personal example, which also has nothing to do with my being an occupation child. A rubric underneath is nonsensical and tendentious:
A personal example of the dubiousness of this statement:
"Neither in my childhood nor later did I experience any discrimination, degradation or other disadvantage as a result of being an occupation child. On the contrary, I may even have been encouraged by it.
I was divorced at the end of 1976, had to leave my two children to the divorcee. I got heart pains. My family doctor found no organic causes and sent me to a prophylactic cure. The GDR had set up such cures for cases like mine. It meant three weeks of switching off, some sport, group discussions, exercise in nature, a small cultural programme. The group talks showed me how to deal with it. There were people with other psychological problems who had to cope under difficult circumstances. I changed my attitude to my problem, my zest for life returned, the heartache disappeared."
"German Occupation children are less comfortable with closeness and have less trust in the reliability of others."
Evidence? None. How could there be.
If one takes into account that 87% of the study participants were born before 1955, one must of course take into account the social circumstances of the time and the different social developments. As already described with the example of the change of reference persons and places of residence.
In West Germany, later the Federal Republic, there was a tendency for a long time to retrospectively glorify the war of aggression that the Germans had ignited and lost. Likewise, the Cold War left its mark on people's minds. This can still be experienced today in the occupation children's scene. Anyone who stands up for the interests of the Russian children is ostracised. Even the University of Leipzig with its study directors H. Glaesmer and M. Kaiser participate in this.
There is simply a lack of objectivity.
In East Germany/GDR there was a rapprochement with the Soviet Union. The social and atmospheric conditions were completely different from those in the West.
Since only 23% of the occupation children came from Soviet army personnel, some of whom had gone to the West or grew up in West Berlin, the study is West-heavy.
Since this was not taken into account in the Leipzig study, it is ahistorical, undifferentiated and does not take into account the living conditions.
We had taken the trouble to search the net on the question of how to diagnose mental illnesses. We know this from experience - a conscientious doctor does not make a diagnosis without seeing and talking to the patient. In the posts found that were written by psychologists, the first priority is the personal trusting conversation. Then the exclusion of organic problems. Everywhere the use of questionnaires was seen as helpful.
The Leipzig University exclusively uses questionnaires and makes diagnoses. The remark is allowed, Glaesmer is after all a lecturer. This is an unsound approach.
No useful conclusions can be drawn from the study by Glaesmer and Kaiser with regard to statistics. The data basis is not meaningful enough to be able to draw conclusions, and falsifications of data that are actually fixed are not respectable. Whether they were done out of ignorance or wilfully remains to be seen.
We have pointed out these discrepancies from the beginning. Neither Glaesmer and Kaiser, nor the rector of Leipzig University have given an explanation.
This study is unsound. The data produced do not stand up to proper scrutiny, and the statistical data that is supposed to lead to the result of increased psychological stress is not substantiated.
The rector of Leipzig University, Prof. Dr. Beate Schücking, said in her reply to my letter in 2015: "Dr. Glaesmer assured me that the study was carried out absolutely correctly from a scientific point of view and that in the meantime there have also been several publications about it, including in an internationally recognised peer-review journal."
German universities warn their staff not to publish in such peer-reviewed journals, as there is no proper scientific peer review and thus the studies end up in a pseudo-scientific environment and ruin the reputation of the workers and their universities.
Here this study did not fall into a pseudo-scientific environment, here this study represents that environment itself. Qed.
Finally, a comment on this, written by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche "Morality of Scholars".
At the University of Birmingham there is a research programme "Children Born Of War" with the website of the supervisors: "https://www.chibow.org/supervisors".
Included, of course, are the director of the study, Heide Glaesmer, and Marie Kaiser.
Glaesmer has appeared and is appearing with occupation children assisting her at various events and presenting her study in the media. When selecting the Russian children involved, she naturally had to make sure that the results of her study, higher psychological damage in occupation children compared to the normal population, were also obviously presented.
To accuse occupation children of a higher mental illness means, if it cannot be proven, to violate their dignity. An unethical attitude on the part of the scientists involved.
German children of occupation have lived their lives in both German states, contributed to their development and now for almost 30 years to a united Germany. This unsubstantiated claim that we are more mentally ill than the normal population is an insult. It devalues our lives.
Who protects our dignity?
We have been fighting this battle for four years now. We have approached public figures, political parties, members of the Bundestag, scientists, the Federal President and others. There is no help for us.
So if we don't do it ourselves, there is no one to protect our dignity. Therefore, we will not rest in opposing this mystification and misrepresentations.
Berlin, 29. 12. 2018 / 14. 1. 2019
The authoritative German version at:
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)