Destined to Witness

Black German Holocaust Victims

 

 

So much of our history is lost to us because we often don’t write the history books, don’t film the documentaries, or don’t pass the accounts down from generation to generation. One documentary now touring the film festival circuit, telling us to “Always Remember” is ” Black Survivors ofthe Holocaust” (1997). Outside the U.S., the film isentitled “Hitler’s Forgotten Victims” (Afro-Wisdom Productions). It codifies another dimension to the “Never Forget” Holocaust story – our dimension.

Did you know that in the 1920s, there were 24,000 Blacks living in Germany? Neither did I. Here’s how it happened, and how many of them were eventually caught unawares by the events of the Holocaust.  click here to read the entire article

Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany 


In a unique addition to the literature of life under the Third Reich, Massaquoi, a former managing editor of Ebony magazine, chronicles his life as the son of a German nurse and Al-Haj Massaquoi, the son of the Liberian consul general to Germany. Soon after his birth in Hamburg in 1926, the author’s father returned to Liberia to bolster his family’s failing stature in national politics, leaving his wife and son to grapple with everyday life amid the rise of fascism in Germany. The Reich’s racial politics were so steadfastly drummed into German schoolchildren that the young Hans quickly acquired an anti-Semitic outlook only to realize that he was also subject to discrimination as a non-Aryan. He sought intellectual escape from German nationalism through reading books by Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle and James Fenimore Cooper; in his idealization of African-American athletes Joe Lewis and Jesse Owens; and by learning how to play jazz and his involvement with the “swingboys” officially condemned as purveyors of “degenerate” music and dance. Massaquoi and his mother survived both Nazi rule and the devastating 1943 British bombing of Hamburg. He tells of life after the war, of befriending black American soldiers, of moving to Liberia in 1948 and of his subsequent move to America in 1950, where he came to feel that racism was as prevalent as it had been under the Third Reich. Thoughtful and well written, Massaquoi’s memoir adds nuance to our comprehension of 20th-century political and personal experience. 

Read an excerpt click here

Hitler’s Black Victims: The Historical Experience of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans

and African Americans in the Nazi Era

The Nazi era in Germany and all of its accompanying atrocities is one of the most documented periods in history. However, this documentation is incomplete in one important area: the history and experiences of people of African descent in Nazi Germany. Did Afro-Germans and other blacks suffer under Nazism? The answer to this question, to the degree it has been asked at all, remains vague even for those scholars and researchers familiar with the Nazi era and the Holocaust in particular.
Drawing on interviews with the Black survivors of Nazi concentration camps and archival research in North America, Europe, and Africa, this book documents and analyzes the meaning of Nazism’s racial policies towards people of African descent, specifically those born in Germany, France, England, the United States or Africa, and the impact of that legacy on contemporary race relations in Germany, and more generally, in Europe. The book also specifically addresses the concerns of those surviving Afro-Germans who were victims of Nazism, but have not generally been included in or benefited from the compensation agreements that have been developed in recent years.

Click here to read an excerpt

Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender, and Memory in the Third Reich (Social History, Popular Culture, and Politics in Germany)

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It’s hard to imagine an issue or image more riveting than Black Germans during the Third Reich. Yet accounts of their lives are virtually nonexistent, despite the fact that they lived through a regime dedicated to racial purity. Tina Campt’s Other Germans tells the story of this largely forgotten group of individuals, with Important distinctions from other accounts. Most strikingly, Campt centers her arguments on race, rather than anti-Semitism. She also provides an oral history as background for her study, interviewing two Black German subjects for her book. In the end the author comes face to face with an inevitable question: Is there a relationship between the history of Black Germans and those of other black communities?

Visit The Black Past  for there overview of the Blacks in Germany click here

BlackPast.org, an online reference center makes available a wealth of materials on African American history in one central location on the Internet. These materials include an online encyclopedia of over 1,500 entries, the complete transcript of over 125 speeches given between 1789 and 2008, over 100 full text primary documents, bibliographies, timelines and four gateway pages with links to 50 digital archive collections. Additionally 75 major African American museums and research centers and over 400 other website resources on black history are also linked to the website. The compilation and concentration of these diverse resources allows BlackPast.org to serve as the “Google” of African American history.

Great Resource

 Blacks living in Hitlers Germany

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