The Washington Post

As intense debates over Germany's Third World immigration policies continue to erupt, and as Bonn grapples with a

disturbing rise in neo Nazis fervor, World War II historians and  .other scholars around the world are uncovering shocking details about a little notices aspect of the Nazi holocaust that claimed the lives of millions of Jews in the name of ethnic purity: An

equally brutal attempt by the Hitler regime to wipe out people of color.

 The effort was systematic and widespread ranging from

forcible encampment and likely murder of hundreds of mixed race

children in the Rhineland, fathered by African soldiers to




medical abuse committed in the German Colonies in African. But

unlike many Jewish victims of the period, the Africans and Black

martyrs remained nameless, faceless and uncounted by history.

 "There was a direct connection between the colonial racist

practices in Imperial Germany and the Nazi's ideology and

practices," said Annegret Ehmann, deputy director and director of education at the Wannsee Villa Memorial and Museum in Berlin.

    "The French and Swedish wrote extensively about the "disgrace upon the European community. They believed that Europe's pool of pure genetic blood was going to be polluted with this African mixture. So not only was Germany racist, but all of the European countries were."

At the conclusion of World War I, in 1924, black soldiers

from the French African colonies that were among French troops 

occupying the German Rhineland, fathered some 800 children to

local women. The Rhineland is the area of Germany that borders

France. The major political parties at that time issued a plea




to the government which stated: "For German women and children,

men and boys, these primitives are a ghastly danger. Their

honor, life and limb, purity and innocence are being destroyed."

The statement also accused black troops of attacking and killing.

German women who resisted their sexual advances. A major

newspaper asked the question "Are we to tolerate silently the

fact that in the future, the light hearted songs of white,

attractive, well built, intellectually superior and lively

healthy Germans are to be replaced by the croaking noise of

gray colored, syphilitic mulattoes?

 This period in German history was referred to as the

"Black Shame Along the Rhine" and the accepted reference to the

offspring of the black soldiers and German women were "Rhineland

Bastards" or " Rhineland Mischlingers (blood mixing with "alien races.")


The 800 children were automatically registered with   

government authorities at the time of their births and perilous

debate had started on methods to enact the removal of the "shame"

from German culture. Tracking the children and their families

was a simple process for the Gestapo and the Ministry of the

Interior. The parents and children were often castigated and

derided where ever they lived and neighbors felt obliged to

assist the government in upholding the Nuremberg Laws, in which Hitler signed in 1935. Hitler in union with the medical community believed the laws would further cleanse the German population of impure blood.






In 1937 the Rhineland children were approaching child bearing age. The plan to stop them from producing offspring was

swiftly implemented. A clandestine operation involving the Gestapo and the Ministry of the Interior despatched a commission of experts to Wiesbaden, Ludwigshagen and Koblenz. Initially, the plan called for the deportation of the children back to Africa with the assistance of the Catholic Church. Organizers believed this would draw worldwide criticism so the plan was soon scrapped. After locating the children, they were placed in specified hospitals where they were examined and some sterilized. The children were later sent to the University Clinic in Bonn and the Evangelical Hospital in Cologne‑Sulz. In 1978, research was to be done involving the 800 children, but not one was found. It is speculated that most if not all died in the camps under the Nazis euthanasia program. Under the Nuremberg Laws, the euthanasia program was designed to exterminated those who were considered genetically inferior.





"That work that was done under the Weimar Republic            .

represented the type of work that was going on in genetics at the

time, not just by the Germans but by other European countries and

North American countries," said Marc Micozzi, director of the

National Museum of Health and Medicine on 16th Street, Northwest..

"That was considered part of eugenics at the time. There were

many forced sterilizations going on in the south in this country

of blacks and poor individuals. It was done and brought about

much the same way it was done in Germany."

Between 1905 and 1912, by decree, it was forbidden for                .

German males to marry colored women in the African colonies.

Regardless of the law, the colonies had a sizable population of

mixed progeny. At any cost, the children were not to be

granted Germany citizenship. Today, remnants of the German

population can still be seen in Namibia and Togo

through its' lighter skinned residents. When mixed children were

born inside of Germany, special problems where created for the






Ehmann has rare access to East Germany's archives which

describe in vivid detail the military, missionary and scientific

campaigns that were conducted in the African colonies. In her

writings she said that special requests were made by German

scientists for black bodies to be used for research at major

German institutions. Unblemished African corpses were also in

demand in most of Europe for museum display. It was not uncommon

for German anthropologists to maintain private collections of

African skeletons.


African tribes would often confront the ensuing, heavily

armed German soldiers. The massive show of military force would

cause inhabitants to flee, abandoning their villages. The

anthropologists would then enter the sacred burial grounds and

unearth the graves. Relics and skeletons would be taken to

Europe for sale and research.


The concentration camps in the Southwest colony were mostly

populated by tribesmen who resisted the German occupation. The

camps had a 45 per cent mortality rate, according to Ehmann.

She also said that in 1907, the Hereros of the African colony

revolted against the German forces. When the battle was over,

the Hereros were herded into the desert and surrounded by German

encampments. Orders were given to the military forces not to

allow food or water to enter the camp. Women and children were

not to be spared. When the siege ended, only 18,000 of the

80,000 Hereros remained.


"German policy in the colony stated that blacks had no right

to live and that in the end, African culture was doomed. Blacks

had no useful purpose and the missionaries agreed with this

ideology," said Ehmann


Nazi policy stated that German men who married or fathered

black mischlingers (mixed bloods), would automatically lose their

voting rights. As for the mischlingers, they only live as far as

their usefulness in assisting whites to oppress the indigenous

population. Once that mission was accomplished, the mischlingers

were destroyed as well.


In 1914, Germany lost its hold over her African colonies.

The racial hygienists, anthropologists and other scientists

turned their murderous research inward toward Germany's own

population. Scientists who were responsible for the atrocities

committed in the German colonies were now in charge of

governmental health agencies and research institutes.



************ A portion of Christian Pross' exhibition, "The Value of the Human Being, "Medicine in Germany 1918‑1945, depicts Germany's lethal science and anthropological practices in Africa. Pross is also a physician and medical historian in Berlin.


"The scientists and anthropologists who did the research on

the skulls and their so‑called racial characteristics in the

South‑West African colonies became leading anthropologists and

geneticists during the Third Reich," said Pross. "Their ideology

of racism was based on the work they had done on blacks during

the imperial period."


Pross' exhibition on medicine in Nazi Germany was on

display in 1992 at the National Museum of Health and Medicine

and is currently back in Germany. It will return to Washington

this year through a joint effort of the museum and the

Goethe‑Institute. After a brief stay in Washington, organizers

hope the exhibit will tour the United States.


Pejorative attitudes toward unwanted blacks in Germany were

in place and ingrained in the population long before the Nazi

era. The worth of blacks had been unquestionably defined through

years of scientific research. If it meant the advancement of the

superior German race, any harm that befell the Negro in the name

of science and the state was justified.


In Robert N. Proctor's book "Racial Hygiene," he writes that

Fritz Lenz, foremost in the field of racial hygiene concluded

that "the Negro is not particularly intelligent in the proper

sense of the term, and above all he is devoid of the power of

mental creation, is poor in imagination, so that he has not

developed any original art and has no elaborate folk myths. He

is, however, clever with his hands and is endowed with

considerable technical adroitness, so that he can easily be

trained in the manual crafts."

Lenz also concluded that the intelligence of the Negro is

appreciably enhanced when he is mixed with white blood. He said

that blacks, much like women, are at an intellectual low during

childhood because they suffer from developmental retardation.

The childlike behavior of the Negro accounts for his lack of

sexual restraint and should not be attributed to an exceptional



In 1923, Lenz was named Germany's first professor of racial

hygiene at the University of Munich.

Medical journals not only took note of the physiological

differences between the Negro and the European, but they also

talked about the offensive smell of the Negro, "even when he is

clean," according to Proctor.


There is little known information about the blacks that died

or were imprisoned in the Nazis death camps. Not like the Jewish

victims of the holocaust, the Negro prisoners had few names,

faces and stories attached to them. This writer's research began

with information provided by black strangers in Israel. Black

Polish Israelis shared freely what little they knew of their

ancestry in Nazi occupied Poland. It is uncertain where Poland's

black Jewish community originated but historians believe it is

possible they were descendant of a large Sephardim community that

was expelled from Spain 500 years ago. During this period, it

wasn't uncommon to have race mixing among merchants and their

families who traveled the spice routes of Africa, the Middle‑East

and Southern Europe.


Ephriam Isaac, director of Semitic Languages in Princeton,

New Jersey said that at some point in the early 1940's, Bonito

Mussolini became sympathetic to Hitler's cause and began his own

campaign in Ethiopia of extracting Ethiopian Jews. Isaac said

his father was taken to Mussolini's first camp called

"Allamalta," but before it became operational, his village was



Joseph Johan Cosmo Nassy probably has the most extensive

documentation of a black p.o.w. in Nazi Germany. The horrors of

Nazi imprisonment were captured on canvas by Nassy in his

collection entitled, "In the Shadows of the Towers." Nassy, who

died in 1976, was born in Suriname, South America. It is

uncertain when he became an American citizen, but records show

that he was given a U.S. passport in the summer of 1929. Nassy

was a black Jewish businessman living in Belgium with his wife,

Rosine. When the Unite States entered World War II, it led to

Nassy's arrest. He was shuffled from prison to prison throughout

Belgium and final spent the last four years of incarceration in

Germany's Laufen and Tittmoning camps. There were twelve other

blacks in the camps with Nassy who were keep separate from the

rest of the prisoners. Nassy taught art in the camps and was

released in May of 1946. Nassy's U.S. passport probably kept him

out of the more lethal concentration camps. Nassy's works will

be on exhibition in April when the Holocaust Memorial opens.


"When you've grown up in Germany during the post‑war period,

as a child and adolescent and as a university student you come

across this heritage everywhere," said Pross. "My teachers in

school, my professors in Medical school, they were all in some

way involved in these crimes. As a young person you started

asking questions and wanting to know the truth. You don't want

to grow up with all these black spots about the past of your












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