Saturday, 24 January 2015


         BLACK     SOCIAL     HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                      


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Total population
Up to 817,150 estimated (2010)[1]
Regions with significant populations
GermanNiger–Congo languagesNilo-Saharan languages
Afro-Germans (GermanAfrodeutsche)[2] or Black Germans are an ethnic group which exists in certain parts of the Federal Republic of Germany such as HamburgBerlinFrankfurtMunich, and Cologne and in a variety of smaller settlements across Germany. Afro-Germans are as well indistinguishably defined as German citizens of Black African descent.
Cities such as Hamburg and Berlin, centers of occupation forces following World War II and more recent immigration, have substantial Afro-German communities, with a relatively high percentage of ethnically mixed and multiracial families.[citation needed] With modern TRADE and migration, communities such as FrankfurtMunich, and Cologne have an increasing number of Afro-Germans. As of 2005, there were approximately 500,000 Afro-Germans in a nation of 80 million. This number is difficult to estimate because the German census does not use race as a category, following the genocide committed during World War II under the "German racial ideology".[3] Up to 70,000 (2% of the population) people of Afro-German origin live in Berlin.[4]


African and German interaction 1600 to late 1800s[edit]

Inside Brandenburger Gold Coast. View in February 1884.
The first Africans in Germany were brought as household servants around the 17th century. [5] During the 1720s, Ghana-born Anton Wilhelm Amo was sponsored by a German duke to become the first African to attend a European university; after completing his studies, he taught and wrote in philosophy. Later, Africans were brought as slaves from the western coast of Africa where a number of German estates were established, primarily on the Gold Coast. After King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia sold his Ghana Groß Friedrichsburg estates in Africa in 1717, from which up to 30,000 slaves had been sold to the Dutch East India Company, the new owners were bound by contract to "send 12 negro boys, six of them decorated with golden chains," to the king. The enslaved children were brought to Potsdam and Berlin.[6]

Africans and German interaction between 1884 and 1945

Wandermenagerie – Paul Friedrich MeyerheimIn der Tierbude (In themenagerie), Berlin, 1894
At the 1884 Berlin Congo conference, attended by all major powers of the day, European states divided Africa into areas of influence which they would control. Germany controlled colonies in the African Great Lakes region and West Africa, from which numerous Africans migrated to Germany for the first time. Germany appointed indigenous specialists for the colonial administration and economy, and many young Africans went to Germany to be educated. Some received higher education at German schools and universities, but the majority were trained at mission training and colonial training centers as officers or domestic mission teachers. Africans frequently served as interpreters for African languages at German-Africa research centers, and with the colonial administration. Others migrated to Germany as former members of the German protection troops, the Askari.
Interracial couples in the colonies were subjected to strong pressure in a campaign against miscegenation, which included invalidation of marriages, declaring the mixed-race children illegitimate, and stripping them of German citizenship.[7] During extermination of the Nama people in 1907 by Germany, the German director for colonial affairs, Bernhard Dernburg, stated that "some native tribes, just like some animals, must be destroyed".[8]
Afro-German Ignatius Fortuna († 1789),Kammermohr
German colonial adventurer Ernst Henrici,c. 1880
Afro-German Askaric. 1914

Weimar Republic

Map of Africa in 1914 with regions COLONIZED by Germany shown in yellow.
In the course of World War I, the Belgians, British and French took control of Germany's colonies in Africa. The situation for the African colonials in Germany changed in various ways. For example, Africans who possessed a colonial German identification cardhad a status entitling them to treatment as "members of the former protectorates". After the Treaty of Versailles (1919), the Africans were encouraged to become citizens of their respective mandate countries, but most preferred to stay where they were. In numerous petitions (well documented for German Togoland by P. Sebald and for Cameroon by A. Rüger), they tried to inform the German public about the conditions in the colonies, and CONTINUED to request German help and support.
Africans founded the bilingual periodical that was published in German and DualaElolombe ya Cameroon (Sun of Cameroon). A political group of Africans established the German branch of a Paris-based human-rights organization: "the German section of the League to the Defense of the Negro Race".[citation needed]
Many of the Afro-Germans endured the Great Depression in Germany without being able to gain unemployment compensation, as this depended on German citizenship.[citation needed] Some Afro-Germans were supported through a small budget from the German Foreign Office.[citation needed]

Nazi Germany

Afro-German soldier of the Nazi Germany - Free Arabian Legion in September 1943.
The conditions for Afro-Germans in Germany grew worse during the Nazi period. Naturalized Afro-Germans lost their passports. Working conditions and travel were made extremely difficult for Afro-German musicians, variety, circus or film professionals. Based on racist propaganda, employers were unable to retain or hire Afro-German employees.
The Nazis speculated about gaining the support of Afro-Germans from former German colonies for pro-German colonial propaganda. They planned an "African colonial empire under German predominance".[citation needed] The legislation for a planned, apartheid-like system already existed in design in 1940, including laws for slaves and an Afro-German passport design.[citation needed] Nazi Germany never approached the realization of its colonial dreams.
Afro-Germans in Germany were socially isolated and forbidden to have sexual relations and marriages with Aryans by the racial laws.[9][10] In CONTINUED discrimination directed at the so-called Rhineland bastards, Nazi officials subjected some 500 Afro-German children in the Rhineland to forced sterilization.[11] Blacks were placed at the bottom of the racial scale of non-Aryans along with Jews and Gypsies.[12] The Nazis originally sought to rid the German state of Jews and Romani by means of emigration, while Afro-Germans were to be segregated and eventually exterminated through compulsory sterilization.[12]
For an autobiography of an Afro-German in Germany under Nazi rule see Hans Massaquoi's book Destined to Witness.

Afro-Germans in Germany since 1945

The end of World War II brought Allied occupation forces into Germany. United States, British and French forces included numerous soldiers of African American, Afro-Caribbean or African descent, and some of them fathered children with ethnic German women. At the time, the armed forces generally had non-fraternization rules and discouraged interracial marriages. Most single ethnic German mothers kept their "brown babies", but thousands were adopted by American families and grew up in the United States. Often they did not learn their full ancestry until reaching adulthood.
Until the end of the Cold War, the United States kept more than 100,000 U.S. soldiers stationed on German soil. These men established their lives in Germany. They often brought families with them or founded new ones with ethnic German wives and children. The federal government of West Germany pursued a policy of isolating or removing from Germany those children that it described as "mixed-race negro children".[13]
Audre Lorde, Black American writer and activist, spent from 1984-1992 teaching at the Free University of Berlin. In her time in Germany, often called "The Berlin Years," she helped push the coining of the term "Afro-German" into a powerful movement that addressed the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexual orientation. She encouraged Black German women like May Ayim to write and publish poems and autobiographies as a means of gaining visibility and writing themselves into existence. She wanted intersectional global feminism and acted as a fiery spark for that movement in Germany.
Cities with considerable population of Afro-German descent include the following:[14][15][16]
Berlin2% (70,000)
Hamburg3% (54,000)
Frankfurt2% (14,000)
Munich1% (14,000)
Dortmund2% (12,000)
Cologne1% (11,000)
Bremen1.5% (9,000)
Stuttgart1.3% (8,000)


Since 1981, Germany has had immigration from African states, mostly from Nigeria and Ghana, who were seeking work. Some of the Ghanaians also came to study in Germanuniversities.