War-babies in South Varanger: a testimony to widespread contact between Norwegians and Germans.

In the period 1941–46, around 200 children of Norwegian mothers and German fathers were born in the Finnmark municipality of Sør-Varanger. Given that the population of the municipality was 8,000, this is a strikingly high number, and probably higher than in any other place in Norway. The article discusses the reasons why Sør-Varanger seems to be exceptional. The analysis presupposes a clear relationship between the number of war babies in an area and the total degree of informal contact between German soldiers and the local Norwegian population.

The German military was spread over the whole of Norway, but the at least 10,000 war babies were not distributed equally across the country. The five most northerly counties are markedly overrepresented in the statistics. The exceptional situation in Sør-Varanger is explained by the relative number of Germans, the extent of work for the Germans and the use of private accommodation. The combination of prolonged physical proximity to an overwhelming number of German military and a relatively high tolerance for private association with them led to numerous friendships, courtships and babies.