#African History: The Fate of Africans During the Nazi Germany Era

Persecution of black people in Nazi Germany – Wikipedia – Even before World War I, Germany struggled with the idea of black Germans. While interracial marriage was legal under German law at the time, beginning in 1890, some colonial officials started refusing to register them, using eugenics arguments about the inferiority of mixed-race children to support their decision.[2] By 1912, this had become official policy in many German colonies, and a debate in the Reichstag over the legality of the interracial marriage bans ensued. A major concern brought up in debate was that mixed-race children born in such marriages would have German citizenship, and could therefore return to Germany with the same rights to vote, serve in the military, and hold public office as white Germans.[3]

After World War I, French occupation forces in the Rhineland included African colonial troops, some of whom fathered children with German women. Newspaper campaigns against the use of these troops focused on these children, dubbed “Rhineland bastards”, often with lurid stories of uncivilized African soldiers raping innocent German women. In the Rhineland itself, local opinion of the troops was very different, and the soldiers were described as “courteous and often popular”, possibly because French colonial soldiers harbored less ill-will towards Germans than war-weary French occupiers.[4] While subsequent discussions of Afro-German children revolved these “Rhineland Bastards”, in fact, only 400-600 children were born to such unions,[5] compared to a total black population of 20,000-25,000 in Germany at the time.[6]

In Mein Kampf, Hitler described children resulting from marriages to African occupation soldiers as a contamination of the white race “by Negro blood on the Rhine in the heart of Europe.”[7] He thought that “Jews were responsible for bringing Negroes into the Rhineland, with the ultimate idea of bastardizing the white race which they hate and thus lowering its cultural and political level so that the Jew might dominate.”[8] He also implied that this was a plot on the part of the French, since the population of France was being increasingly “negrified”.[9]

What happened to black Germans under the Nazis? – [theconversation.com] The 1935 Nuremberg Laws stripped Jews of their German citizenship and prohibited them from marrying or having sexual relations with “people of German blood”. A subsequent ruling confirmed that black people (like “gypsies”) were to be regarded as being “of alien blood” and subject to the Nuremberg principles. Very few people of African descent had German citizenship, even if they were born in Germany, but this became irreversible when they were given passports that designated them as “stateless negroes”. In 1941, black children were officially excluded from public schools, but most of them had suffered racial abuse in their classrooms much earlier. Some were forced out of school and none were permitted to go on to university or professional training. Published interviews and memoirs by both men and women, unpublished testimony and post-war compensation claims testify to these and other shared experiences. Employment prospects which were already poor before 1933 got worse afterwards. Unable to find regular work, some were drafted for forced labour as “foreign workers” during World War II. Films and stage shows making propaganda for the return of Germany’s African colonies became one of the few sources of income, especially after black people were banned from other kinds of public performance in 1939.

Black people in Nazi Germany – annefrankguide.net  – Black Germans – Around 5,000 Black people, mainly men, lived in Germany in 1933. Most of them came from German colonies in Africa. Some were married to German women and had children with them.

The Nazis were unsure how to treat their Black residents. Although they were considered to be inferior, they only formed a very small group of people. But Nazi propaganda was also aimed at Black people. Germans were told that marrying a black person was betraying one’s race.

Eventually, more than three thousand Black Germans were put into concentration camps. Most of them were not arrested because of the color of their skin, but because they were Communists or Jehovah’s Witnesses, or because they played forbidden jazz music.

The so-called « Rhineland bastards »

France occupied the German Rhineland after the First World War. The French occupation army included Black soldiers from the French colonies. Some of these men had children with German women. These children were known as the “Rhineland bastards.” The Nazis thought it was scandalous that White German woman could have children with Black soldiers from an enemy army. In 1937, 385 of these children were rounded up and sterilized in clinics. They would never be able to have children.

The fate of blacks in Nazi Germany | Germany | DW.COM | 10.01.2010 — Most of the light-skinned blacks living in Germany during the Third Reich were of mixed blood, and a good number of them were the children of French-African occupation soldiers and German women in the Rhineland. The existence of these children is and remains common knowledge because they were mentioned in Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”). In Nazi Germany, the derogatory term, Rheinlandbastard (Rhineland Bastard), was used to describe them.
Deutsche Welle spoke to leading German historian Prof. Reiner Pommerin to find out what happened to these children. “I published a book in the 70s, which told the reader about the sterilization of mixed blood children. These were children who had been fathered by occupation forces – mostly French occupation forces,” he said. His book, “Sterilisierung der Rheinlandbastarde. Das Schicksal einer farbigen deutschen Minderheit 1918 – 1937” (“Sterilization of the Rhineland Bastards: the fate of a colored German minority 1918 – 1937”) publicized the sterilization of the Black minority in Nazi Germany.

Black history in Nazi Germany, a brief story | African American Registry – Police rounded up thousands of political opponents, detaining them without trial in concentration camps. The Nazi regime also put into practice racial policies that aimed to “purify” and strengthen the Germanic “Aryan” population. Hitler had a vision of a Master Race of Aryans that would control Europe. He used powerful propaganda techniques to convince not only the German people, but countless others, that if they eliminated the people who stood in their way and the degenerates and racially inferior, they “the great Germans” would prosper. This included mandatory Sterilization for Black Youth.

Prior to World War I, there were very few dark-skinned people of African descent in Germany. But, during World War I, the French brought in Black African soldiers during the Allied occupation. Most of the Germans, who were very race conscious, despised the dark-skinned “invasion”. Some of these Black soldiers married White German women that bore children referred to as “Rhineland Bastards” or the “Black Disgrace”. On May 13, 1931, the International Olympic Committee, headed by Count Henri Baillet-Latour of Belgium, awarded the 1936 Summer Olympics to Berlin. The choice signaled Germany’s return to the world community after defeat in World War I.

In the months and years that followed, Germany proceeded to oppress and murder Blacks and other non-Aryans. On July 14th 1933, they enacted a new law providing a basis for forced sterilization of handicapped persons, Gypsies, and Blacks. After the International Olympic Committee put concerns about the safety of Black athletes in Nazi Germany to rest, most African American newspapers opposed a boycott of the 1936 Olympics. Black journalists often underscored the hypocrisy of pro-boycotters who did not first address the problem of discrimination against Black athletes in the United States. Writers for such papers as The Philadelphia Tribune and The Chicago Defender argued that athletic victories by Blacks would undermine Nazi racial views of “Aryan” supremacy and foster a new sense of Black pride at home.

The Black Victims of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany | Black Girl with Long Hair – The Holocaust of 1938 to 1945 resulted in the murder of an estimated six million Jews. However, the Nazi terror did not stop there.

As part of Black History Month, we remember the often forgotten black victims of the Holocaust.

The black population prior to the Nazi regime

The black population in Germany consisted of African immigrants, many of whom came at the ending of the First World War, and blacks who were among the French troops sent to occupy a western region in Germany, called Rhineland. Troops, white and black, went on to have children with the local women but it was the racially mixed children — the product of black African soldiers and white German women — who were frowned upon heavily. These biracial children would be derogatorily named the “Rhineland Bastards [1,2].”

Blacks during the Holocaust – After World War I, the Allies stripped Germany of its African colonies. The German military stationed in Africa (Schutztruppen), as well as missionaries, colonial bureaucrats, and settlers, returned to Germany and took with them their racist attitudes. Separation of whites and blacks was mandated by the Reichstag (German parliament), which enacted a law against mixed marriages in the African colonies.

Following World War I and the Treaty of Versailles (1919), the victorious Allies occupied the Rhineland in western Germany. The use of French colonial troops, some of whom were black, in these occupation forces exacerbated anti-black racism in Germany. Racist propaganda against black soldiers depicted them as rapists of German women and carriers of venereal and other diseases. The children of black soldiers and German women were called “Rhineland Bastards.” The Nazis, at the time a small political movement, viewed them as a threat to the purity of the Germanic race. In Mein Kampf (My Struggle), Hitler charged that “the Jews had brought the Negroes into the Rhineland with the clear aim of ruining the hated white race by the necessarily-resulting bastardization.”

 

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