Sunday, April 29, 2012
A Novel Dealing with an Afro-German Holocaust Victim
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan was an eye-opener for me because I had no previous exposure to Afro-German Holocaust victims. In fact, I was unaware that they existed. In this novel, Hieronymus Falk, an Afro-German musician is arrested by the Gestapo and disappears. The tale is told by an Afro-American musician who played with him. The narrator is both unreliable and increasingly unsympathetic. This caused me to dislike the book. I wish it had been written from Hieronymus Falk's viewpoint and that I had learned more about Afro-Germans in Nazi Germany.
As a result, I had to do my own research. About.com reveals that 25,000-50,000 Afro-Germans are estimated to have been killed in concentration camps.
Hans-Jurgen Massaquoi, a former managing editor of Ebony, was born in Germany in 1926. His father was from Liberia and his mother was German. Massoquoi wrote a memoir called Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany. There has been a German TV movie based on his book that aired in 2006. Whoopi Goldberg owns the English language rights to a film version of Destined to Witness, but has been unable to generate the interest to produce such a movie.
An essay by Eric Brothers states that 400 Afro-German children in the Rhineland were forcibly sterilized in 1937. A survivor in the movie Hitler's Forgotten Victims testified that no anesthetic was used.
Below is a photo from the Nazi period of an Afro-German child :
Here are a few links to assist you in learning more on this subject:
Black History in Germany on About.com
Destined to Witness by Hans-Jurgen Massaquoi on Goodreads
You Tubes on Propaganda Pravda Blog Please scroll down.
The first You Tube showing an Afro-German survivor of the Buchenwald concentration camp has not been translated into English. The second is a German documentary on Afro-Germans with English sub-titles.
Blacks in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust by Eric Brothers
Hitler's Forgotten Victims Documentary on IMDB