Black People and the Nazi Regime


Black People and the Nazi Regime

On Persecution and Liberation

According to historical research, the number of concentration camp killings of people of African descent is estimated to be at 2,000. This number "does not, however, reflect the numerous victims such as African-Americans detained as Prisoners of War and African soldiers from the French, Belgian and British colonial troops," as stated by the Black German historian Nicola Lauré al-Samarai.

The largely forgotten history of Black people during the Nazi regime draws attention to an enormous complexity: most of the Black people living in Germany became victims of the regime. In 1935, when the Nazi's so-called 'Nuremberger Race Laws' were put into effect, most of them lost their German citizenship. For many of them, the entertainment business became a means for survival; as there was a high demand for extras in racist colonial and adventure films.

At the same time, millions of Black people in the USA and the former European colonies in Africa and the Caribbean became active as soldiers for the allied troops. Especially in Europe, they fought for the demise of the Nazi regime and were greeted with discrimination and deprived of their rights. The American historian Raffael Scheck showed in his 2009 book 'Hitler's African Victims' how the German Armed Forces, the Wehrmacht, perpetrated a massacre against the French army's Black soldiers and Prisoners of War. Almost all of them were recruited in France's West African colonies and erroneously labeled 'Tirailleurs Sénégalais'. This racistly-motivated crime perpetrated by German soldiers was pursued neither by France, Germany or any other countries involved after the end of World War II.

With ten documentary and feature films, this series examines the realities of Black people during National Socialism in Germany and in Nazi-occupied Europe. Characterized by the dominant, white European experience, the history books portray National Socialism as a short 'rupture' in civilization; from a Black perspective, however, it can be viewed as a mere fragment of a greater continuity throughout history. As part of the series, experts have been invited to share with us their knowledge on three different evenings. All screenings will be hosted by the series curator J. Enoka Ayemba.

Black People and the Nazi Regime took place within the framework of the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN's ongoing film series WorldWideCinema from October 10 to November 14, 2013.


October 10, 2013: Und wir waren Deutsche / Black survivors of the Holocaust
October 17, 2013: Peace, Memories of Anton Kom / Josephine Baker
October 24, 2013: Buffalo soldiers
October 31, 2013: Oubliés et trahis / L'ami Y a bon
November 7, 2013: Schwarze im NS-Staat / Pagen in der Traumfabrik
November 14, 2013: Befreien Sie Afrika