HAVE YOU READ “Black Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust”? A Well-Kept Secret of World War 2

Got an e-mail from St Lucia, and the topic was rather mind-blowing, yet I was able to verify it with searches across the Internet;-

H-MasaquoiFascinating. We were every where. I had the opportunity to meet Hans J. Massaquoi, the author of “Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany“. I think that he was living in New Orleans at that time. I recommended his book to the S. Louis Holocaust Museum, as they said that hey had not heard of him or his book. His book was not well received by the European Jewish people and they continue to tell only of the European Jewish people’s Holocaust.


Black Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust,”

Black Historical Information

Subject: Blacks under Hitler – A must read….

BLACK GERMAN HOLOCAUST VICTIMS So much of our history is lost to us because we, African-Americans 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 of the Holocaust” (1997). Outside the U.S.., the film is entitled “Hitler’s Forgotten Victims” (Afro-Wisdom Productions) . It codifies another dimension to the “Never Forget” Holocaust story–our dimension.

Hans-MasaquoiDid you know that in the 1920’s, 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.

Like most West European nations, Germany established colonies in Africa in the late 1800’s in what later became Togo, Cameroon, Namibia, and Tanzania. German genetic experiments began there, most notably involving prisoners taken from the 1904 Heroro Massacre that left 60,000 Africans dead, following a 4-year revolt against German colonization. After the shellacking Germany received in World War I, it was stripped of its African colonies in 1918.

As a spoil of war, the French were allowed to occupy Germany in the Rhineland – a bitter piece of real estate that has gone back and forth between the two nations for centuries. Masaquoi-BookThe French willfully deployed their own colonized African soldiers as the occupying force. Germans viewed this as the final insult of World War I, and soon thereafter, 92% of them voted the Nazi party into power.

Hundreds of the African Rhineland-based soldiers intermarried with German women and raised their children as Black Germans. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote about his plans for these “Rhineland Bastards.” When he came to power, one of his first directives was aimed at these mixed-race children. Underscoring Hitler’s obsession with racial purity, by 1937, every identified mixed-race child in the Rhineland had been forcibly sterilized, in order to prevent further ‘race polluting,’ as Hitler termed it.

Hans Hauck, a Black Holocaust survivor and a victim of Hitler’s mandatory sterilization program, explained in the film “Hitler’s Forgotten Victims” that, when he was forced to undergo sterilization as a teenager, he was given no anesthetic. Once he received his sterilization certificate, he was “free to go” so long as he agreed to have no sexual relations whatsoever with Germans.

Although most Black Germans attempted to escape their fatherland, heading for France where people like Josephine Baker were steadily aiding and supporting the French Underground, many still encountered problems elsewhere. Nations shut their doors to Germans, including the Black ones.

Some Black Germans were able to eke out a living during Hitler’s reign of terror by performing in Vaudeville shows, but many Blacks, steadfast in their belief that they were German first and Black second, opted to remain in Germany. Some fought with the Nazis (a few even became Luftwaffe pilots). Unfortunately, many Black Germans were arrested, charged with treason, and shipped in cattle cars to concentration camps. Often these trains were so packed with people and (equipped with no bathroom facilities or food) that, after the four-day journey, box car doors were opened to piles of the dead and dying.
Once inside the concentration camps, Blacks were given the worst jobs conceivable. Some Black American soldiers, who were captured and held as prisoners of war, recounted that, while they were being starved and forced into dangerous labor (violating the Geneva Convention), they were still better off than Black German concentration camp detainees, who were forced to do the unthinkable- -man the crematoriums and work in labs where genetic experiments were being conducted. As a final sacrifice, these Blacks were killed every three months so that they would never be able to reveal the inner workings of the “Final Solution.”

In every story of Black oppression, no matter how we were enslaved, shackled, or beaten, we always found a way to survive and to rescue others. As a case in point, consider Johnny Voste, a Belgian resistance fighter who was arrested in 1942 for alleged sabotage and then shipped to Dachau. One of his jobs was stacking vitamin crates. Risking his own life, he distributed hundreds of vitamins to camp detainees, which saved the lives of many who were starving, weak, and ill – conditions exacerbated by extreme vitamin deficiencies. His motto was “No, you can’t have my life; I will fight for it.”

According to Essex University’s Delroy Constantine- Simms, there were Black Germans who resisted Nazi Germany, such as Lari Gilges, who founded the Northwest Rann – an organization of entertainers that fought the Nazis in his home town of Dusseldorf – and who was murdered by the SS in 1933, the year that Hitler came into power.

Little information remains about the numbers of Black Germans held in the camps or killed under the Nazi regime. Some victims of the Nazi sterilization project and Black survivors of the Holocaust are still alive and telling their story in films such as “Black Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust,” but they must also speak out for justice, not just history.

Unlike Jews (in Israel and in Germany), Black Germans, although German-born, have received no war reparations because their German citizenship was revoked. The only pension they get is from those of us who are willing to tell the world their stories and continue their battle for recognition and compensation.

After the war, scores of Blacks who had somehow managed to survive the Nazi regime, were rounded up and tried as war criminals. Talk about the final insult! There are thousands of Black Holocaust stories, from the triangle trade, to slavery in America, to the gas oven s in Germany.

We often shy away from hearing about our historical past because so much of it is painful; however, we are in this struggle together for rights, dignity, and, yes, reparations for wrongs done to us through the centuries. We need to always remember so that we can take steps to ensure that these atrocities never happen again.

For further information, read: Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany, by Hans J. Massaquoi.

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3 Responses

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  1. Wonderful book, I read it some 5 years ago. There are loads of interesting books that do not get read. But I fail to see the Jewish community not knowing of this book existence.

  2. Wow!! I never knew about this…but I’m not surprised about it either. We Afrocoids have endured a LOT of crap through thick & thin. We must also highlight the great Tuskegee Airmen (a black US Air Force squadron http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_Airmen ) who fought valiantly in WW2 — despite a racist America that still saw them as lesser beings. There are pics on the Net showing black Army squadrons in Europe arresting highly trained German soldiers in surprise ambushes, etc.

    Anyhow, I think the biggest problem in our community is that we (not me!) seek validation from outside entities who don’t look like us. We don’t need to. We never needed to. We just gotta keep “being” and forget what others think about our COLOUR. Be proud of your black skin.

    Just remember peeps like Michael Jordan (greatest athlete in the history of sports? http://bit.ly/9OjyGQ ), Jackie Robinson, Carl Lewis, great thinkers and Pan Africanists like Malcolm X, Booker T. Washington, W. E. Duboise, the late great Dr. John Henrik Clarke ( http://bit.ly/c3OYj1 ) leaders with a conscience like Patrice Lumumba, Nelson Mandela, Dr. King and Tanzania’s great social democrat, Julius Nyerere. Of course, our great performing artists need no introductions. Right?

    Also, don’t forget our great black inventors (the real McCoy, Standard, and lots more: http://bit.ly/9FEsnS ).

    Most importantly, ALWAYS remember the burning of Greenwood (aka Black Wall Street), Oklahoma 1921:
    “…After the civil war many African-Americans settled in Oklahoma because of employment opportunities from the oil fields. Around 1908 the community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma was established. The Daily Tulsa Star was an African-American owned newspaper. Businesses owned by African-Americans flourished. Their communities were the best. Their schools were excellent. Greenwood was coined the Black Wall Street. However, because of jealousy, deceit, and discrimination, Greenwood was burned to the ground by white racists on June 1,1921…” source: http://www.timbooktu.com/spence/burning.htm

    Also see: http://blackwallstreet.org/bwshistory/1830-1921.bwstulsa.htm , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwood,_Tulsa,_Oklahoma.
    YouTube: Black Wall Street “Tulsa Oklahoma 1921” pt 1 of 12

    Quite frankly, I don’t see anything “inferior” in us — except our stinking thinking.

  3. A book worth reading on how diverse the Third Reich was ethnically. Asians, Africans, joined the SS in Hitlers army.


    ” Black Nazis! A Study of Racial Ambivalence in Nazi Germany?s Military Establishment “


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