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By Valerie D. Lockhart
SUN EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Shouts of outrage regarding atrocities inflicted upon Jewish victims of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime can still be heard years later. However, the voices of another group of victims remain muted – Blacks.
Figures vary on the number of Black victims of Hitler, but some say there could be as many as 25,000.
Hitler wrote that “It was, and is, the Jew who brought Negroes to the Rhine, brought them with the same aim and with deliberate intent to destroy the white race he hates by persistent bastardisation, to hurl it from the cultural and political heights it has attained, and to ascend them as its masters,” in his autobiography, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). “The sacred mission of the German people (is) to assemble and preserve the most valuable racial elements…and raise them to the dominant position. All who are not of a good race are chaff.”
Black victims were beaten, killed, thrown into concentration camps and sterilized.
Hilarius (Lari) Gilges was killed by the SS in 1933 for being a black man married to a German woman.
Children born to African men and German women were publicly humiliated and called “Rhineland Bastards”. They were isolated socially, barred from obtaining many jobs and banned from attending universities.
To stop the spread of bi-racial children, the Nazis created “Commission Number 3” that was led by Dr. Eugen Fischer, of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics.
In 1933, the group passed the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring that required all African-German children be sterilized. About 400 children were arrested and sterilized.
“Essentially these children were pulled from school, off the streets and bundled into vans, taken to medical facilities and sterilized," Nicole Brown, researcher said.
Hans Hauck, a Black survivor of Hitler’s sterilization law, explained in the film, Hitler’s Forgotten Victims how he was forced to get sterilized as a teenager and was given no anesthetic. Once he received his sterilization certificate, he was “free to go”, if he agreed not to engage in sexual relations with German women.
Women pregnant by Black men were forced to have an abortion under the Nuremberg laws of September 1935. They were considered to be an insult to the German people.
“The mulatto children came about through rape or the white mother was a whore. In both cases, there is not the slightest moral duty regarding these offspring of a foreign race,” wrote Hitler.
Hans J. Massaquoi, whose father was a prominent African man married to a German woman, was fascinated with the treatment shown to German children.
Wearing a swastika on the front of his sweater in a schoolyard in Hamburg, Germany, the naive boy wanted to be like the other children. However, his brown skin caused him to stand out among the other children.
"I was always pointed at because of my exotic looks. I just wanted to be like everyone else (boys in the Hitler Youth Movement)," Massaquoi wrote in Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany. "The Nazis put on the best show of all the political parties. There were parades, fireworks and uniforms — these were the devices by which Hitler won over young people to his ideas. Hitler always boasted that despite parents' political persuasion, Germany's youth belonged to him."
Massaquoi also learned how those that did not belong to Hitler were treated when he was prohibited from going to the local playground because he was "non-Aryan."
While many youth were confined to their homes and escaped being sent to labor and concentration camps, one bi-racial teenager was less fortunate.
Gert Schramm, 15, was euthanized in the Buchenwald concentration camp.
Non-aryan music was also banned in Germany, but African American entertainers attempted to by-pass those rules by performing for French troops in German-occupied Denmark. Male and female musicians, alike, were treated harshly when captured by the Nazis. Reports of starvation in such camps and prisons were also told by survivors.
Valaida Snow, a jazz musician who was called “Little Louis” for her extraordinary talent playing the trumpet, was among those arrested and imprisoned in Copenhagen. The undocumented abuses she endured left lifelong scars, when she was released in May 1942. Snow never healed from her emotional wounds and died in 1951 at 51 years old.
History books are filled with accounts of violence inflicted on Jewish victims of Hitler. Pages are blank on the atrocities suffered by Blacks. Reparations have also been paid to Jewish victims, while Black survivors go empty handed.
The lives of Black victims of Hitler are equally as valuable as Jewish victims. It’s time to restore pages deleted in history books and to expose the whole truth. Let the voices of the 25,000 Black Germans be heard throughout the world.