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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



                                                         
                                                       












2 comments:

  1. I did not know this, either. Now I can add this piece of information to my "knowledge notch."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting, I didn't know about Afro-Germans either.

    ReplyDelete