Police rounded up thousands of political opponents, detaining them without trial in concentration camps. The Nazi regime also put into practice racial policies that aimed to "purify" and strengthen the Germanic "Aryan" population. Hitler had a vision of a Master Race of Aryans that would control Europe. He used powerful propaganda techniques to convince not only the German people, but countless others, that if they eliminated the people who stood in their way and the degenerates and racially inferior, they "the great Germans" would prosper. This included mandatory Sterilization for Black Youth.
They were subject to persecution, isolation, sterilization, medical experimentation, incarceration, brutality and murder.
After World War I and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles (1919), the French occupied the Rhineland--the coal belt of Germany. Among the French troops were black French colonial soldiers. Their presence--and propaganda about them--exacerbated anti-black sentiments in Germany. The propaganda presented black soldiers as rapists of German women and carriers of venereal and other diseases.
In the months and years that followed, Germany proceeded to oppress and murder Blacks and other non-Aryans. On July 14th 1933, they enacted a new law providing a basis for forced sterilization of handicapped persons, Gypsies, and Blacks. After the International Olympic Committee put concerns about the safety of Black athletes in Nazi Germany to rest, most African American newspapers opposed a boycott of the 1936 Olympics. Black journalists often underscored the hypocrisy of pro-boycotters who did not first address the problem of discrimination against Black athletes in the United States. Writers for such papers as The Philadelphia Tribune and The Chicago Defender argued that athletic victories by Blacks would undermine Nazi racial views of "Aryan" supremacy and foster a new sense of Black pride at home.
In the end, 18 African Americans 16 men and 2 women went to Berlin; triple the number who had competed for the United States in the 1932 Los Angeles Games. That all of these athletes came from predominantly white universities demonstrated to many Black journalists the inferiority of training equipment and facilities at Black colleges where the vast majority of African American students were educated in the 1930s. In his book Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote that he would eliminate all the children born of African-German descent because he considered them an "insult" to the German nation. "The mulatto children came about through rape or the white mother was a whore," Hitler wrote. "In both cases, there is not the slightest moral duty regarding these offspring of a foreign race."
There was intermarrying between the French black soldiers and German women. The children of these unions were called “Rhineland Bastards.” Adolf Hitler wrote of them in Mein Kampf. He charged that “the Jews had brought the Negroes into the Rhineland with the clear aim of ruining the hated white race by the necessarily-resulting bastardization.”
The "Rhineland Bastards" became an issue once Hitler took power. The leading publication that targeted Afro-Germans was the Neues Volk--with a circulation of 140,000--and an article in that publication of 1933 advocated the sterilization of the children of French black soldiers and German women. Another article in Neues Volk said, "...all inventions and discoveries were made by the white race. The black race has lived in the world as long as the white and has not yet invented or discovered anything."
In the "Nuremberg Laws" of 1935 marriages between Aryans and non-Aryans were banned, and black Germans and their spouses lost German citizenship and any right to claim state support such as unemployment insurance. In 1936, the "Law on the Hitler Youth" decreed that all German youth may be members of the Hitler Youth with the exception of black children.
An article in Neues Volk stated, "...we know of approximately 600 bastards on the Rhine, tomorrow it will be more. Their sorrow will be multiplied through their children--a sorrow that can never be overcome. Let this be said to open the eyes of those in whose hands it lies to prevent this suffering from increasing." (emphasis by the author)
The Nazis set up a secret group, Commission Number 3, to organize the sterilization of these offspring to keep intact the purity of the Aryan race. In 1937, all local authorities in Germany were to submit a list of all the children of African descent. Then, these children were taken from their homes or schools without parental permission and put before the commission. Once a child was decided to be of Black descent, the child was taken immediately to a hospital and sterilized. About 400 children were medically sterilized many times without their parents' knowledge.
Striped of citizenship and passports, black Germans had difficulty leaving Germany. Those who could did manage to flee. Some stayed because they felt that they were Germans and shouldn't be chased out of their country. Approximately 2,000 Afro-Germans perished in the concentration camps and death camps of the Third Reich. They were thrown into cattle cars and deported to the death camps. They were given the most horrible tasks--either in the crematoria or "hospitals" where medical experiments were performed on them.
The Black experience during the Third Reich is a missing one, mainly due to the comparatively small number of casualties compared to the so called Jewish loss. Yet the Black history of these times also includes the brutal treatment of the Herero people before WWII in the (then) German colony of southwest Namibia.
Additionally when African-American allied soldiers were caught behind enemy lines during the war racial abuse was inflicted on top of their prisoner-of-war status. In 1937, nearly 385 Black German children disappeared without a trace. In Europe the memory of the Third Reich still induces pain. Annually on Veterans Day millions of families all over Europe still mourn lost loved ones, many of whom were Black.
Strobl, Gerwin. The swastika and the stage: German theatre and society, 1933-1945. Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Hitler's Forgotten Holocaust Victims. Black Presence
Chimbelu, Chiponda. "The fate of blacks in Nazi Germany." Deutsche Welle. 10.01.2010
Boateng, Osei. "Black Germans do not exist." New African. May 2001.
Blacks During the Holocaust. Holocaust Encyclopedia. US Holocaust Memorial Museum.