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

    Source:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Massaquoi

     

     
  • John 10:35 am on December 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: arctic convoys, nazis   

    The Arctic Convoys of World War 2 

    The Arctic convoys of World War II were oceangoing convoys which sailed from the United KingdomIceland, and North America to northern ports in the Soviet Union – primarily Arkhangelsk (“Archangel”) and Murmansk, both in modern day Russia. There were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945 (although there were two gaps with no sailings between July and September 1942, and March and November 1943), sailing via several seas of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

    About 1400 merchant ships delivered vital supplies to the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease program, escorted by ships of the Royal NavyRoyal Canadian Navy, and the U.S. Navy. Eighty-five merchant vessels and 16 Royal Navy warships (two cruisers, six destroyers, eight other escort ships) were lost. The Nazi German Kriegsmarine lost a number of vessels including one battleship, three destroyers and at least 30 U-boats as well as a large number of aircraft.

    The convoys ran from Iceland (usually off Hvalfjörður) north of Jan Mayen Island to Arkhangelsk when the ice permitted in the summer months, shifting south as the pack ice increased and terminating at Murmansk.

    Summer Route from Iceland

    Summer Route from Iceland

    After September 1942 they assembled and sailed from Loch Ewe in Scotland.

    Summer and Winter Routes from Scotland

    Summer and Winter Routes from Scotland

    Outbound and homebound convoys were planned to run simultaneously; a close escort accompanied the merchant ships to port, remaining to make the subsequent return trip, whilst a covering force of heavy surface units was also provided to guard against sorties by German surface ships, such as the Tirpitz. These would accompany the outbound convoy to a cross-over point, meeting and then conducting the home-bound convoy back, while the close escort finished the voyage with its charges.

    The route was around occupied Norway to the Soviet ports and was particularly dangerous due to the proximity of German air, submarine and surface forces and also because of the likelihood of severe weather, the frequency of fog, the strong currents and the mixing of cold and warm waters which made ASDIC use difficult, drift ice, and the alternation between the difficulties of navigating and maintaining convoy cohesion in constant darkness or being attacked around-the-clock in constant daylight.

    For one particular convoy, only 11 of the 35 ships made it to their destination. It was the worst loss of the entire operation.

    Further Reading:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_convoys_of_World_War_II

     

     
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