This article says that so much of our history is painful that we shy away from hearing it, and that is so true.
But a lot of our history is buried, too. I thought this was important to pass on and I'm going to read the referenced
BLACK GERMAN HOLOCAUST VICTIMS
So much of our history is lost to us because we often don't write the
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).
the U.S.., the film is entitled "Hitler's Forgotten Victims"
(Afro-Wisdom Productions). It codifies another dimension to
"Never Forget " Holocaust story--our dimension.
Did you know that in the 1920's, there were 24,000 Blacks living in
Neither did I. Here's how it happened, and how many of them
were eventually caught unawares by the events of the Holocaust.
most West European nations, Germany established colonies in
Africa in the la te 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
the two nations for centuries. The French willfully
deployed their own colonized African soldiers as the occupying
Germans viewed this as the final insult of World War I, and,
soon thereafter, 92% of them voted in the Nazi party.
of the Afric an Rhineland-based soldiers intermarried with
German women and raised their children as Black Germans. In
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 st erilized, in order to prevent
further "race polluting", as Hitler
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,
for France where people like Josephine Baker were steadily
aiding and supporting the French Underground, many still encountered
lems 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, Black
second, opted to remain in Germany. Some fought with the Nazis (a
became Lutwaffe pilots)! Unfortunately, many Black Germans
were arrested, charged with treason, and shipped in cattle cars
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
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
they were still better off than Black German
concentration camp detainees, who were forced to do the unthinkable--
the crematoriums and work in labs where genetic experiments were
being conducted. As a final sacrifice, these Blacks were
every three months so that they would never be able to reveal the
inner workings of the "Final Solution".
every story of Black o ppression, 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,
exacerbated by extreme vitamin deficiencies. His
motto was "No, you can't have my life; I will fight for it."
to Essex University's Delroy Constantine-Simms, there were
Black Germans who resisted Nazi Germany, such as Lari Gilges,
founded the Northwest Rann--an organization of entertainers that
fought the Nazis in his home town of Dusseldorf--and
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
& gt; Nazi sterilization
project and Black survivors of the Holocaust
are still alive and telling their story in films such as "Black
of the Nazi Holocaust", but they must also speak out for
justice, not just history.
Unlike Jews (in Israel and in
Germany), Black Germans receive no war
reparations because their German citizenship was revoked (even
though they were
German-born). The only pension they get is from
those of us who are willing to tell the world their stories and
their battle for recognition and compensation.
After the war, scores of Blacks who had somehow managed to survive
Nazi regime, were rounded up and tried as war criminals. Talk
about the final insult! There are thousands of Black Holocaust
from the triangle trade, to slavery in America, to the gas
ovens in Germany.
We often shy away fr om hearing about
our historical past because so
much of it is painful; however, we are in this struggle together for
and, yes, reparations for wrongs done to us through
the centuries. We need to always remember so that we can take steps
ensure that these atrocities never happen again.
For further information, read: Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black<
BR>in Nazi Germany, by Hans J. Massaquoi.