According to some historians the first significant influx of Africans to Germany originated from Germany's African colonies in the 19th century. Like all other West European countries, Germany established colonies in Africa in the late 1800s which later became Namibia, Cameroon, Togo, and Tanzania. Some Afro-Germans living in Germany today can assert lineage dated back five cohorts to that time. Hitherto German’s colonial experiences in Africa from 1890 to 1918 were relatively limited and concise, far more self effacing than that of the British, the Dutch, the French, or other European powers.
But German colonies in South West Africa were the spots of the first mass genocide committed by Germans in the 20th century. German genetic experiments set in motion there especially involving hostages taken from the 1904 HERERO mass execution that left 60,000 Africans dead, followed by a subsequent four year rebellion of German colonization. In the year 1904 German colonial company had to counter a rebellion with the mass execution of three quarters of the Herero inhabitants in what is now Namibia. Now after the passing of a full century to that incident Germany reluctantly issued a formal apology to the Herero in the year 2004 for that act of violence, which was aggravated by a German annihilation order (Vernichtungsbefehl). But Germany still turns down the appeal to pay any reimbursement to the Herero survivors, even though it agrees to make available foreign assistance to Namibia. Subsequent to the shellacking Germany received in World War I, it was stripped of its African colonies in the year 1918. (Dollard, 89-90)
The history of Africans, living in Germany, dates back further than most people assume. Anton Wilhelm Amo was probably the first Africans known to have resided in Germany. In the year 1703 he was born in what is today's Ghana, Amo was taken to Europe where he came under the shelter of the Duke (Herzog) of Wolfenbüttel in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) and grew up in the duke's castle. Later he became a respected philosopher and professor at the universities of Jena and Halle in Germany He was not only the first African known to get admission in a German university (Halle) but also the first to achieve a doctorate degree in the year 1729.
As a professor, he had taught at two German universities and created a number of scholarly works, a Latin dissertation entitled as De Arte Sobrie et Accurate Philosophandi published in 1736, On the talent of Philosophizing Soberly and precisely. According to the assembled information, he encountered severe racial discrimination in Germany and had to return to his native land Africa in 1747. Thus there lies the unavoidable fact Africans in Europe were always considered as something unusual and alien. (King, 433)
The Second World War was a mid-20th century clash that swallowed up much of the globe and is considered as the biggest and deadliest combat in human history. As a mess up of war, the French were permitted to take up Germany in the Rhineland, an astringent portion of territory that has gone back and forth between the two countries for centuries. The French deliberately set out their colonized African territorial army as the inhabiting force. Germans took this as the ultimate abuse of World War I and almost immediately after that 92% of them voted in the Nazi party. (King, 434)
Many of these African Rhineland based soldiers intermarried with German ladies and brought into being their offspring as Black Germans. When Hitler came to authority, one of his first commands was meant to torture these mixed children. Giving emphasis to his obsession with ethnic limpidness, by the year 1937, every identified mixed race child in the Rhineland had been by force sterilized to put a stop to further “race polluting” as he named it. According to the records thousands of Africans were immigrated to Germany during the past 500 years, many of them were transported to Germany as living curiosity or as slaves. With the establishment of German colonies in Africa during the end of the 19th century made greater than before the instances of encounter between Africans and Germans, but earlier to World War II, their numbers were comparatively less. Countless of them became victim of the Third Reich's racial hypothesis and its consequential crusade of enforced sterilization and murder. (Dollard, 90-91)
Even though most Black Germans tried to escape their fatherland, going for France where persons like Josephine Baker were gradually assisting and supporting the French subversives, but unfortunately many of them ran into troubles reaching somewhere else. Each and every country was shutting its doors to the Germans, as well as the Black ones. Some Black Germans however managed to make out a living during Hitler's reign of fright by performing various roles in vaudeville shows. But many Black Germans, unwavering in their principles that, first they were Germans by blood, mind and sole, afterwards partly African by blood, choose to stay behind in Germany. Some waged battles against the Nazis, a few even became Lutwaffe pilots. Unluckily, many Black Germans were put into detention, charged with subversion, and dispatched in cattle cars to concentration camps.
Over and over again these trains were so charged with people, with provision of no food or bathroom facilities carried people, after the four day ride, when box car doors opened, piles of the dead and dying were decanted out. In the concentration camps Afro-Germans were forced to do the worst jobs imaginable. Some Black American soldiers who were taken into custody and held as prisoners of war gave an account of the situation while they were kept ravenous an forced into hazardous labor, even violating the Geneva Convention, they were still in better condition than Black German concentration camp prisoners who were forced to do the unimaginable jobs, such as managing the crematoriums and working in labs where genetic experiments were carried out. (Lamb, 245)
As an ultimate let go, these Blacks Germans were killed after every three months, so that they would never be able to make public the internal mechanism of the Final Solution. In each case of Black subjugation, regardless of the fact how incarcerated, en-shackled or beaten they may be they always find a way to continue to exist and at the same time set others free. Suppose consider the case of Johnny Voste, a Belgian confrontation combatant who was taken under arrest in 1942 for sabotage and taken to Dachau. (Dos, 441) One of the jobs assigned to him was loading up vitamin crates. Putting his own life in danger, he disseminated large numbers of vitamins to camp captives, which helped many of them to stay alive, for the reason that they were ravenous, feeble, and in poor health, conditions became worse by acute vitamin insufficiency.
His determination was to fight for his own life as well as save others lives. According to information collected by Essex University's Delroy Constantine-Simms, there were Black Germans who refuse to give in to Nazi Germany, such as Lari Gilges, who brought into being the Northwest Rann, an association of entertainers that struggled against the Nazis in his home town of Dusseldor and who was put to death by the SS in 1933, the year in which Hitler came to supremacy. Very little information could be collected about the numbers of Black Germans captivated in the camps or put to death under the Nazi rule.
Some sufferers of the Nazi sterilization mission and Black survivors of the Holocaust are still living and acquainting with their story in films such as Black Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. But they are also required to say their piece for justice, not just history. Dissimilar to Jews living in Israel and in Germany, Black Germans were given no war compensations for the reason that their German citizenship was invalidated, instead of the reality that they were German born. The only allowance they received is from those who are prepared to put in the picture of their stories before the world and go on with their combat for recognition and reimbursements. (Fletcher, 188)
After the end of the war, numbers of Blacks Germans, who had by hook or by crook managed to continue to exist the Nazi rule were rounded up and convict as war criminals. Have a discussion about the final insult. There are thousands of Black Holocaust narrations from the triangle trade, to slavery in America, to the gas ovens in Germany. The comparatively less numbers of blacks in Germany, their extensive scattering from corner to corner of the country, and the information that the Nazis concerted on the Jews were some aspects due to which many Afro-Germans managed to survive the impediments of the war.
One such survivor Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi, the retired managing editor of Ebony magazine in United States, who was born in Hamburg to a Liberian father and a German mother in 1926, published a book about his experiences as a black child growing up in Nazi Germany. (King, 435) The social and cultural problems of concern that black Germans have to face still today and the way their experiences can enhance our analysis of historical and present day racial issues have been considered at UB at a symposium titled as "Not So Plain as Black and White: A Multidisciplinary Examination of the Afro-German Experience." (Kar, 77)
After World War II with the occupation of Americans of Germany, came the next influx of Africans to Germany. After 1945, as African-American GIs were stationed in Germany, Afro-Germany again thrived from increasing associations between black American GIs and German women. African-American black GIs, especially those from the South, instead of few cases of resentments, were given full liberty. Their positions puffed up further becoming several hundred thousands of immigrant human resources from countries like Mozambique, Angola and Namibia were brought in to encounter with East Germany's never ending scarcity of manual labor. Even the African students and persons in exile, who settled in Germany, have added to the spilling over depth and extensiveness of the Afro-German cultural blend. (Kar, 78)
Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi, who now lives in the United States, in his autobiography “Destined to Witness”, describes his childhood and youth in Hamburg during the rise of Nazi power. His biography makes available an exceptional viewpoint, for the reason that he was one of very few dark-skinned inhabitant Germans in all of Germany under Nazi regime, turned away from, but not Nazi mistreated by the Nazis. This dichotomy remained a key theme all through his whole life. When the war approached to Germany, Hans-Jürgen had more, other than the Nazis, to be concerned about.
Heavy associated bombing required him and his German mother Bertha Baetz to run away from Hamburg. He credits his endurance to good luck and the help of his mother and German friends. In 1947 he went to Liberia prior to immigrating to the United States and joining the army as a paratrooper and afterward studying journalism at the University of Illinois. That show the way to his career at Ebony. In Germany Massaquoi had luckily stayed away from the awful destiny of many blacks during the Nazi era, but it was more often than not more easier said than done for adult blacks. The fortunate ones were forcibly sterilized but permitted to live. Others were captivated and sent to concentration camps. Some associated prisoners of war, together with black French colonial soldiers and African Americans, were incarcerated in Stalag-III-A at Luckenwalde near Berlin. (Dos, 442)
The experiences of Afro-Germans in today's Germany offer imminent look into the conversion of that nation-willing or not-into a multicultural society," Blacks living in Germany today are classified into several categories. German-born blacks are sometimes called "Afrodeutsche”, this category comprises of people of African inheritance born in Germany, with either of the parents African. Another class is blacks from Africa, the Caribbean, the United States, or some other place, who are living and earning their livelihood in Germany, sometimes for decades. Unlike many other countries, German citizenship is based on the citizenship of one’s parents, and is received in inheritance by blood. Thus the blacks born in Germany, and grew up there, are not German citizens if not they have at least one German parent. However, in the year 2000 a new German naturalization law provided blacks and other foreigners the permission to submit an application for citizenship after living in Germany for three to eight years. (Kar, 79)
In conclusion it should be mentioned that history helps out us to identify ourselves, recognize who we are and be acquainted with the origin where we come from. We over and over again shrink back from hearing about our chronological times of yore for the reason that so much of it is excruciating. On the other hand, this has brought the black Germans together in their great effort for rights, self respect, and yes, compensations for wrong done to them in the course of the centuries. But at the same time they need to remember the past until the end of time, so that they can do something to make certain that these treacherous occurrences on no account come to pass for a second time. (Dollard, 92)
Dos, M; Fundamentalist Thought Process: The Dark Side of Human Intellect. (Mumbai: Alliance Publications; 2005) pp 441-442
Dollard, John; Nazi Frustration: A look into Holocaust. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 2000) pp 89-92
Fletcher, R; Swastika: Beliefs and Knowledge: Believing and Knowing. (Mangalore: Howard & Price. 2003) pp 188
Kar, P; History of the Third Reich (Kolkata: Dasgupta & Chatterjee 2001) pp 77-9
King, H; Skin Color: Texture & Torment in Germany (Chennai: HBT & Brooks Ltd. 2001) pp 433-5
Lamb, Davis; Cult to Culture: The Development of Civilization on the Strategic Strata. (Delhi: National Book Trust. 2004) pp 243-245