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Watch Fundraising Footage For 'Rheinland' - New Film On Afro-German Tragedy Under Nazi Rule

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by Tambay A. Obenson
October 13, 2013 6:17 PM
12 Comments
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UPDATE 10/13 - Promo footage for the film which will be used to raise money to complete the feature has been released online, and is embedded below, with one caveat however. As I was told by one of the film's producers... "It is a mere fundraising teaser shot with zero (literally...) budget and therefore does not stand for the final movie - it is to show to people what we can do without money so they donate and support to help us make a fully funded budget movie..."

So what you're looking at is, again, just a promo, shot to help raise funds for the feature. If you'd like to make a contribution to their fundraising campaign, click HERE. The campaign goal (which represents about 10% of the film's full budget) is 29,900 Euro, or about $40,000.

Also on that page, you can read up on each of the filmmakers behind the project.

Here's the initial post...

It was over the summer that I featured a well-made short film titled Our Rhineland, directed by Faren Humes (a filmmaker to certainly be aware of and watch), which is set in 1937, under the Third Reich, as Germans of mixed race were being rounded up and rendered sterile. It followed the struggles of 2 sisters with opposing views on how to respond to this act - one wanting to fight; the other just wanting to live.

I recently learned of another film - this one a feature - set during the same time, place and circumstances.

Titled Rheinland, the film hails from Mokoari Street Productions, and is being written and directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese

Described as a drama/thriller, here's a synopsis for Rheinland

During the first World War the French government forced African men - many coming from Senegal or Cameroon - from their colonies to fight for the French army in the Rheinland. ​In 1919, there were between 25,000 and 40,000 African soldiers from the colonies based in the Rhineland. After Germany's defeat, some of the soldiers stayed and founded families. Their lives, which were already scarred by discrimination and racism were threatened existentially when Hitler and the Nazi-Party seized power. In 1937 the so called Commission Number 3 was instated which had the secret order to sterilise all so called "Rheinlandbastards", a derogatory term used for the offsprings of white German women and African men. Local officials reported the "Rheinlandbastards" living under their jurisdiction and with their help a vast number of children were forcefully sterilised or disappeared forever. In "Mein Kampf" Hitler referred to them as contaminators of the white race "by Negro blood on the Rhine in the heart of Europe." RHEINLAND tells the story of the so called "Rheinlandbastards" through the eyes of 12-year-old Joachim, the son of the Senegalese Awa and the German Annemarie. Joachim is forced to deal with his identity when the village his family lives in becomes more and more hostile.

The film's cast includes Vicente Januario, Lewis Otoo, Judith Seither, Christian Wagner, Jan Philipp Jarke, and Matthias Hinz, and it's produced by Hannah Stockmann, Christian Wagner, and Julius Franklin.

It's a subject that I can't say has been thoroughly tackled on film, and certainly deserves to be. So, even though I haven't seen a single frame of this film, and I'm not at all familiar with the filmmaker or the production company behind it, I can say that it definitely has my attention.

A first teaser for the film is expected to be unveiled this month, although at an event in Berlin, according to the project's Facebook page. I assume the teaser will eventually find its way online, so that we can share it here.

In the meantime, check out a few poster art images above and below.

Something I'll certainly be keeping my eye on now that I'm aware of it.

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12 Comments

  • No | October 13, 2013 11:37 PMReply

    Shadow & Act/IW had showcased a short film of a similar theme" Afro-Deutsche citizens and the Third Reich a few months back. Shadow & Act even had an article about a young Afro-Deutsche actress who was doing a series of films in postwar Germany, so obviously there is something going on about the African presence in Germany that really needs to be explored. I'm interested in this exploration of the African Diaspora -- in Deutschland.

  • AFRICIATE! | October 13, 2013 9:50 PMReply

    Oh wow this is such a poweful story that I would definitely love to see. I think it is time the black holocaust be shown to the world. It breaks my heart to know that black people faced and still face these kinds of discrimination today. This sort of killings of black people is also going on in West Papua. I hope to learn from this work! All the best!!

  • mintoto | October 12, 2013 5:34 PMReply

    I lived in Germany for almost 7 years (this was over 20 years ago) and this is certainly an aspect of the Nazi regime that was NEVER spoken about. There was (is) constant talk by the Germans about 'dealing' with their past, but always in regards to the Jewish holocaust. For me personally, the hostility was still there, simmering under the surface of politeness and tolerance. I still have family there but when I boarded a plane for the US to leave that country, not once did I look back.
    I await this movie - thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  • Phyllis | October 12, 2013 11:02 AMReply

    I have read several books on this subject. When I hear about how the jews were tortured, I always wondered why the blacks were never addressed. Their history with Hitler started BEFORE the jews, and yet it was always always pushed into the background. He got away with killing the Blacks, which led him to believe he could do the jews next. THANK YOU for this movie. Please keep me posted as to when it will be released. I can't wait to see it. I have heard about all the atrocitys. By the way, my Great Grandmother was a slave until the age of 9. I was able to talk to her since she lived past 100. She told me that when the slaves were freed, they lived in the woods for a year because the slave owners would rather kill their slaves. They had them dig ditches and shot as many as they could. I never saw this in any history books until I read "Before the Mayflower". That book was also excellent!

  • sheree | October 12, 2013 2:52 AMReply

    Amazing! You found the very subject I was referring to. I grew up in germany (im 32) and I know about the hatred towards non whites and why only jews are given screen time and no other race who survived the Holocaust. Thank you for sharing!

  • Ava | October 11, 2013 4:48 PMReply

    I'm really curious to see what the reception for this film will be when it debuts in Berlin. Would that someone could blog directly from there!

  • Sydney Levine | October 11, 2013 3:17 PMReply

    This is all so interesting! Including the comments. I can't wait to see the film!

  • Milton Davis | October 11, 2013 2:13 PMReply

    Interesting. A good friend of mine acted in a short film with the same name done by Florida State last year. Check out FSUfilm: Our Rhineland.

  • Andre Seewood | October 11, 2013 1:26 PMReply

    Although this film will be interesting as it reveals the African presence in Europe during both World Wars and the aftermath of discrimination and hatred that followed for those that stayed and settled in Germany (a subject that the great R.W. Fassbinder tackled so eloquently in films such as KATZELMACHER, ALI FEAR EATS THE SOUL and THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN), I have to take issue with the opening line from the description. "During the first World War the French government forced African men - many coming from Senegal or Cameroon - from their colonies to fight for the French army in the Rheinland." During the first World War the French government did not force African men to fight for the French army, but instead they lied to these soldiers, promising them full French citizenship and veteran's pay if they fought for France. (e.g. the Sengalese Tirailleurs) It was a promise that France did not keep and in many cases these soldiers were killed by the French army as one means of not paying them or fulfilling the promise of French citizenship. There's a very interesting film on the subject of the French army during WWII called "Indigènes" which focuses on the treatment of African and North African soldiers who fought for France. The African presence is modern day Europe is one of the greatest untold stories of cinema. This new movie, RHEINLAND, coming also twenty years after Fassbinder's groundbreaking and provocative work should help in bringing these stories to a wider audience. But of course, I have the reservation that such films (provocative in the fact that they challenge the simplistic assumptions of who actually fought during WWI and WWII) will not be given sufficient distribution and thus these great stories will remain unseen to wider audiences.

  • ron | October 11, 2013 8:59 PM

    That is not true! i don´t know what is your agenda in supporting french colonialism and and telling lies about africans world war veterans but france did indeed coerce and force africans to fight for her, although they were treated as subhumans in their country by the colonial power. It is clear that since france, was occupying these countries, she didn´t ask the permission from the " indigènes" to fight for her. They must do it, because they were subjects of the colonial empire and the ones who failed to do so, were treated harshly. Many villages were burnt, people massacred in public and tortured so that , they didn´t really have the choice. It was an order to do it! but some individuals did in fact go there without being coerced. That is true , for the people who were staying in the colonial cities and were exposed to the colonial propaganda and also were fearful. French didn´t need to promise the french nationality and money. These people were already subjects of the french colonial empire but were just treated as subhumans, like their brothers in the US , and just didn´t enjoy the same rights as white french. They had a special status in the french empire: "statut de l´indigénat". As for money: everyone who fought for the "motherland" should receive payments so the french didn´t propose it. It has to be done. In top of that France didn´t have enough money for the war. So their colonies had to make efforts, that meant a really big amount of money , natural ressources through taxes and free forced labour flowed from the colonies to france, and the africans peasants and other deshumanized people , who didn´t pay it, would pay a terrible price for not obeing. It was possible Because: although the french were in war, the still had colonial troops in their colonies to maintain terror and power.
    As for the soldiers who were killed by france, it was not after the "world war" one but WWII and it is known as the "camp thiaroye massacre", where the veterans who wanted their pensions were murdered.
    Last point: cameroon was a german colony till 1919 where germany lost its colonies in africa and these colonies were given to the colonial powers by the former UN (before UNO) to uk and france. It was the case with cameroon.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | October 11, 2013 12:02 PMReply

    Something about this feels so fresh. Definitely high for it.

  • Jim | October 14, 2013 11:05 AM

    I should imagine it's not a very effective policy to force someone to fight for you; morale and loyalty would be non-existent. I'm sure no general would want unwilling soldiers coerced into their army. First thing they would do is drop their rifles and surrender - a sure recipe for defeat!

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