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  • John 8:45 am on January 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: hans massaquoi, hitler, , swastika   

    Growing Up As A Black Kid In Nazi Germany 

    It is not the fault of the child, for we are products of our own environment. I read somewhere that the present Pope was in the Hitler Youth back in those days. It was compulsory for kids, I believe.

    ~~RIP Hans – He recently passed away on Saturday, 1/19/13~~

    Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi (January 19, 1926 – January 19, 2013) was a German American journalist and author. He was born in HamburgGermany, to a white German mother and Liberian Vai father, the grandson of Momulu Massaquoi, the consul general of Liberia in Germany at the time.

    Chillin' with his posse. This photo is not photoshopped and is mentioned below.

    Chillin’ with his posse. This photo is not photoshopped and is mentioned below.

    In his autobiographyDestined to Witness, Massaquoi describes his childhood and youth in Hamburg during the Nazi rise to power. His biography provides a unique point of view: he was one of very few German-born biracial children in all of Nazi Germany, shunned, but not persecuted by the Nazis. This dichotomy remained a key theme throughout his whole life.

    Massaquoi lived a simple, but happy childhood with his mother, Bertha Nikodijevic. His father, Al-Haj Massaquoi, was a law student in Dublin who only occasionally lived with the family at the consul general home in Hamburg. Eventually, the consul general was recalled to Liberia, and Hans Massaquoi and his mother remained in Germany.

    The daily life of the young Massaquoi was remarkable. He was one of the few mixed race children in Nazi Germany, and like most of the other children his age, he thought about joining the Hitler Youth. There was a school contest to see if a class could get a 100% membership of the Deutsches Jungvolk (a subdivision of Hitler Youth) and Massaquoi’s teacher devised a chart on the blackboard which showed who had joined and who had not. As this was filled in after each person joined, Massaquoi felt left out, and he recalled saying, “But I am German…my Mother says I’m German just like anybody else”. He then persuaded his mother to let him join the Jungvolk. He went to register at the nearest office but he faced hostility.

    As a non-Aryan, Massaquoi was unable to pursue a professional career and instead was encouraged by his mother to embark on an apprenticeship with a view to becoming an expert machinist. A few months before finishing school, Massaquoi was required to go to a government-run job centre where his assigned vocational counsellor was Herr von Vett, a member of the SS. Upon seeing the “telltale black SS insignia of dual lightning bolts in the lapel of his civilian suit”, Massaquoi expected humiliation. Instead, he was surprised when he was greeted with “a friendly wink”, offered a seat and asked to present something which he had made. After showing von Vett an axe and discussing his experience in running a local blacksmith shop, Massaquoi was surprised to be informed that he could “be of great service to Germany one day” because there would be a great demand for technically trained Germans, who would go to Africa to train and develop an African workforce when Germany reclaimed its African colonies. Before Massaquoi left the interview, von Vett invited him to shake his hand which was another source of confusion to Massaquoi.

    Massaquoi dated a white girl but they had to keep their relationship a secret, especially as her father was a member of the police and the SS. To keep the relationship secret, they met only in the evenings, when they would go for walks. As he dropped his girlfriend off at her house one night, he was stopped by a member of the SD, the intelligence branch of the SS. He was taken to the police station as he was believed to be “on the prowl for defenceless women or looking for an opportunity to steal”. Fortunately for Massaquoi, he was recognised by a police officer as living in the area and working: “This young man is an apprentice at Lindner A.G., where he works much too hard to have enough energy left to prowl the streets at night looking for trouble. I happen to know that because the son of one of my colleagues apprentices with him”. The SD officer closed the case and gave the Hitler salute, and Massaquoi was allowed to leave the station.

    Increasingly, however, he realized the true nature of Nazism. His skin color made him a target for racist abuse. However, in contrast to German Jews orRoma, Massaquoi—an Afro-German—was not persecuted. He was “just” a second-class citizen, which was actually a blessing in disguise. During World War II, his “impurity” spared him from being drafted into the German army. As unemployment, hunger and poverty grew rampant, he even tried to enlist, but he was rejected by the officers. In this time, he befriended the family of Ralph Giordano, a half-Jewish acquaintance of their swing kid age, who survived the war by hiding and ended up being a journalist as well.

    Singer-songwriter and peace activist Fasia Jansen was Massaquoi’s father’s half-sister. She was three years younger than Hans-Jürgen and was the illegitimate child of their grandfather Momolu and German consulate employee Elle Jansen. Hans-Jürgen knew nothing of her existence before her death in 1997 even though they had lived only a few meters apart in their childhood.




  • John 10:19 am on August 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: afrika korps, hitler, soldier,   

    A Wounded Young Soldier in Hitler's Afrika Korps 

    These are excerpts from the Memoirs of Werner Mork, who was a young soldier in Hitler’s Afrika Korps. We often see biographies of allied soldiers on television, but what was it like to actually be a soldier in Hitler’s armed forces? How patriotic were they? How were they treated? It was such a bizarre time in history, and questions abound.

    Find out now.


    Injured and Leaving Africa

    For me it was, “Adieu Africa!” But the parting was not painful, what was painful was what was to
    come next and it became very painful very quickly. My great good luck was that I was loaded into the very last aircraft to leave Derna. After us no plane got out, and no one else in the hospital could be evacuated. The Tommies quickly entered the city. All of the German and Italian solders in the city and in the hospital were taken prisoner. I was one of the very few soldiers who got to the airport and got into the air on one of the brave little JU-52’s. We took off and headed to Crete without incident. Once again my very good luck held.

    The flight in the brave little JU-52 went smoothly, something that was not necessarily the norm in these times. We crossed the Mediterranean to Crete. We landed there and sat for a very long time while it was decided if we should stay there or be sent on to Greece. Finally, we were sent on to Athens and from there by ground transport to Piraeus, the famous port. Because of the lack of beds in the wards, we new arrivals in the army hospital were placed in the ward for sexually transmitted diseases, or what in army jargon we referred to as “Ritterburg.” It wasn’t very nice there but it much better than what we would have experienced in Derna. The main thing for us was that we managed to get out of Africa; we didn’t give a damn about anything else.

    The events in Africa were also having their effects here in Greece, the clinic was overflowing.
    Competent and professional care of the sick and wounded was no longer feasible. No wonder, this was a rear echelon facility that was only used to treating ‘normal’ cases such as in the “Ritterburg” where we were situated. We could only wait and see what was going to happen to us. Rumors were rampant that we were going to be sent back to Germany. These were only rumors and for the merely ‘sick’ there was only the slightest chance of transport back to the Reich. The wounded, without question, had the first place in line and after them only the most critically ill. So we were at the mercy of only what was possible with the local medical knowledge and care.

    I was examined by a young staff physician, who was apparently on active military duty. He was not particularly interested in my jaundice, it was too ordinary a case for him to waste his time with. He was much more interested in my right arm. It was covered with countless sandflea bites and the inflammation so advanced that it was quite deformed, thick with swelling and ulcerated. It was extremely painful and I could hardly move it.

    The staff doctor studied it with great intensity then gave instructions for its care. He followed that by saying that if it did not get better in a few days, and he doubted that it would, then my right arm would have to be amputated. It would have to be a total amputation, right up to my shoulder. He gave me the impression that amputation would be the only option and that he was more or less looking forward to doing the surgery himself. It was in keeping with the motto, “Learn by doing.” Apparently in his previous practice he did not have anywhere near the opportunities for ‘learning’ as he did as a doctor in the army.

    Hearing that was a great shock, but I also felt a certain calmness rather than horror. When I looked at my arm, I too, thought that the knife was the answer to the problem. To lose an arm would not be
    good, but in the balance it would be a fair trade for not becoming a “Dead Hero.” The possible loss of
    an arm seemed better to me than a hero’s death on any of the many fronts developing in this war.

    The earlier euphoria of conquest was fading. In the short time I was with the Afrika Korps I got to
    experience and live the true horror of war. I also had the uncomfortable feeling that victory for Greater Germany was not so sure any longer, and the possibility that the war could come to a good ending was becoming more and more doubtful. I could not see victory for us on any of the many fronts we were fighting on. Such doubts were taking hold of me and my enthusiasm and confidence in victory wasdampened. Now I saw an amputation as my chance to spend the rest of the war not as “kv,” [Kriegsverwendungsfäig: Combat Capable] but as a soldier in a garrison back home.

    Obviously this was not a very good attitude. It was not very patriotic, but I was not alone, I was not the only one in the godawful world of war to think like this, even if I was still not yet totally against the war and nationalism. In spite of all of these bad thoughts there was still the idea that the loss of my entire right arm would leave me forever a cripple. How could I continue my profession [radio sales and installation] with only one arm and hand? That thought was very disturbing and I fell into a depression. The loss of an arm was not a trifle and the loss of a right arm even worse, but I could think of no way to prevent it. I railed at my fate which no longer seemed to mean well for me.

    Read the entire memoir here:  http://home.comcast.net/~dhsetzer/Mork/Halberstadt.pdf


    Excerpts from the “Memoirs of Werner Mork”. Retrieved at the above link, 8/23/12.   


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