Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Abderrahmane Sissako, Effie Brown and More Invited to the Academy as Diversity Push Continues David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Abderrahmane Sissako, Effie Brown and More Invited to the Academy as Diversity Push Continues Review: Arriving on Netflix TODAY, Definitive Nina Simone Documentary, 'What Happened, Miss Simone' Review: Arriving on Netflix TODAY, Definitive Nina Simone Documentary, 'What Happened, Miss Simone' Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film Fried Chicken & Drugs: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Writer Charla Lauriston Creates the Anti-­Strong Black Woman in 'Clench & Release' Fried Chicken & Drugs: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Writer Charla Lauriston Creates the Anti-­Strong Black Woman in 'Clench & Release' A Muscle-Bound Michael B. Jordan Hitting a Speed Bag w/ Stallone's Encouragement in Pic from 'Creed' A Muscle-Bound Michael B. Jordan Hitting a Speed Bag w/ Stallone's Encouragement in Pic from 'Creed' Greetings From 'The Walking Dead: Season 6' Set as Daryl Plants an Unexpected Kiss on Michonne Greetings From 'The Walking Dead: Season 6' Set as Daryl Plants an Unexpected Kiss on Michonne Taraji P. Henson Books Lead in 'Hunger Games' Producer's Directorial Debut, ‘The Best Of Enemies’ Taraji P. Henson Books Lead in 'Hunger Games' Producer's Directorial Debut, ‘The Best Of Enemies’ PBS Yanks Ben Affleck 'Finding Your Roots' Episode + Puts Off 3rd & 4th Seasons Until Editorial Standards Improve PBS Yanks Ben Affleck 'Finding Your Roots' Episode + Puts Off 3rd & 4th Seasons Until Editorial Standards Improve Casting News - Teyonah Parris Is Spike Lee's Lysistrata + NWA Biopic Casts its Tupac, Jussie Smollett Heads 'Underground' Casting News - Teyonah Parris Is Spike Lee's Lysistrata + NWA Biopic Casts its Tupac, Jussie Smollett Heads 'Underground' Here's Your First Look At Taye Diggs in the Title Role in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' Here's Your First Look At Taye Diggs in the Title Role in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' Teaser: Marques Houston, Keshia Knight Pulliam and Draya Michele Star in TV One Original Movie, 'Will to Love' Teaser: Marques Houston, Keshia Knight Pulliam and Draya Michele Star in TV One Original Movie, 'Will to Love' Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Watch: 'Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany' - Hans J. Massaquoi's Story

Shadow and Act By Wendy Okoi-Obuli | Shadow and Act July 28, 2014 at 5:05PM

Hans Massaquoi died at 87 years old in January 2013.
3
Hans Massaquoi – Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany

"Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany" is based on the biography of the same name by Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi, former Managing Editor of Ebony Magazine, who was born in Germany in 1926 to Bertha Nikodijevic, a German nurse, and Al-Haj Massaquoi, son of the Liberian Consul General in Hamburg, Germany.

It seems the book was first published (in English, anyway) in 1999 and was so popular in Germany, where it was entitled "Neger, Neger, Schornsteinfeger" ("Negro, Negro, Chimney Sweep") that the autobiography remained on top of the bestselling list of the German weekly news magazine, Der Spiegel, for a couple of months. A screenplay of "Neger, Neger, Schornsteinfeger" was adapted from the book and a two-part film aired on German ZDF TV channel in 2006.

We’re all aware of the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany but, owing to the tiny minority of black people (most of them mixed race children of African WWI soldiers from the French colonies), other than being conferred second class citizenship, black Germans were by and large spared a similar fate. Having said that, in Rhineland, where most of the aforementioned WWI soldiers settled and had families, a secret program of sterilization and abortions on black and mixed race Germans was enforced.

While Massaquoi was spared from this indignity, he did suffer racial abuse and, despite being and considering himself German, was denied the dream of many young German children of the time, joining the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth Movement) and was also deemed unsuitable later on for service in the German military due to his racial “impurity.”

You can go to the Library of Congress website, where Audrey Fischer gives an account of Massaquoi’s life, from his privileged beginnings when he “associated black skin with superiority, since our servants were white,” to a more impoverished lifestyle after his grandparents and father returned to Liberia but his mother insisted he stay with her in Germany; how black American athletes, boxer Joe Louis and Olympic runner Jesse Owens, engendered pride in his African heritage; through to his emigration to the US where he served in the army, studied journalism and later went on to become Managing Editor of Ebony Magazine.

Hans Massaquoi died at 87 years old in January 2013.

Below are the first 60 minutes of what I’m assuming was the film that aired on German TV in 2006. If you’re anything like me, then you’ll be searching out the second 60 minutes, and will want to learn more about, not only Hans Massaquoi’s extraordinary life, but also that era of Afro-German history. One of the things I particularly liked in what I watched below are the two black American GI’s coming across the young Hans Massaquoi (played by Thando Walbaum) and being both delighted and surprised that he isn’t a soldier, but a German.


Destined to witness: Growing up black in Nazi... by Mariposalinda


Destined to witness: Growing up black in Nazi... by Mariposalinda


Destined to witness: Growing up black in Nazi... by Mariposalinda


Destined to witness: Growing up black in Nazi... by Mariposalinda


Destined to witness: Growing up black in Nazi... by Mariposalinda


Destined to witness: Growing up black in Nazi... by Mariposalinda


Destined to witness: Growing up black in Nazi... by Mariposalinda

This article is related to: Watch Now


Shadow & ActNewsletter