Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2017-03-07 01:51Z by Steven

Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law

Princeton University Press
March 2017
224 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
7 halftones
Hardcover ISBN: 9780691172422
eBook ISBN: 9781400884636

James Q. Whitman, Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law
Yale Law School

Nazism triumphed in Germany during the high era of Jim Crow laws in the United States. Did the American regime of racial oppression in any way inspire the Nazis? The unsettling answer is yes. In Hitler’s American Model, James Whitman presents a detailed investigation of the American impact on the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi regime. Contrary to those who have insisted that there was no meaningful connection between American and German racial repression, Whitman demonstrates that the Nazis took a real, sustained, significant, and revealing interest in American race policies.

As Whitman shows, the Nuremberg Laws were crafted in an atmosphere of considerable attention to the precedents American race laws had to offer. German praise for American practices, already found in Hitler’s Mein Kampf, was continuous throughout the early 1930s, and the most radical Nazi lawyers were eager advocates of the use of American models. But while Jim Crow segregation was one aspect of American law that appealed to Nazi radicals, it was not the most consequential one. Rather, both American citizenship and antimiscegenation laws proved directly relevant to the two principal Nuremberg Laws—the Citizenship Law and the Blood Law. Whitman looks at the ultimate, ugly irony that when Nazis rejected American practices, it was sometimes not because they found them too enlightened, but too harsh.

Indelibly linking American race laws to the shaping of Nazi policies in Germany, Hitler’s American Model upends understandings of America’s influence on racist practices in the wider world.

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First Look: Amandla Stenberg, George MacKay in Amma Asante’s ‘Where Hands Touch’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Posted in Articles, Arts, Europe, Media Archive on 2017-02-11 20:21Z by Steven

First Look: Amandla Stenberg, George MacKay in Amma Asante’s ‘Where Hands Touch’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety
2017-02-08

Leo Barraclough, Senior International Correspondent


Courtesy of Tantrum Films/Pinewood Pictures

Variety has been given exclusive access to the first-look image from Amma Asante’sWhere Hands Touch,” which stars Amandla Stenberg (“The Hunger Games”) and George MacKay (“Captain Fantastic”) in a story of forbidden love in Nazi Germany.

Fifteen-year-old Leyna (Stenberg), daughter of a white German mother and a black father, meets Lutz (MacKay), the son of a prominent SS officer, and a member of the Hitler Youth. “They fall helplessly in love, putting their lives at risk as all around them the persecution of Jews and those deemed ‘non-pure’ slowly unfolds,” according to a statement. “Does their love stand a chance amidst violence and hatred?”…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Germany: The Making and Unmaking of a Diaspora Community, 1884–1960

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2014-01-20 07:44Z by Steven

Black Germany: The Making and Unmaking of a Diaspora Community, 1884–1960

Cambridge University Press
September 2013
379 pages
18 b/w illus.
235 x 158 x 22 mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781107041363

Robbie Aitken, Senior Lecturer in Imperial History
Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom

Eve Rosenhaft, Professor of German Historical Studies
University of Liverpool, United Kingdom

This groundbreaking history traces the development of Germany’s black community, from its origins in colonial Africa to its decimation by the Nazis during World War II. Robbie Aitken and Eve Rosenhaft follow the careers of Africans arriving from the colonies, examining why and where they settled, their working lives and their political activities, and giving unprecedented attention to gender, sexuality and the challenges of ‘mixed marriage’. Addressing the networks through which individuals constituted community, Aitken and Rosenhaft explore the ways in which these relationships spread beyond ties of kinship and birthplace to constitute communities as ‘black’. The study also follows a number of its protagonists to France and back to Africa, providing new insights into the roots of Francophone black consciousness and postcolonial memory. Including an in-depth account of the impact of Nazism and its aftermath, this book offers a fresh critical perspective on narratives of ‘race’ in German history.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. The first generation: from presence to community
  • 2. Should I stay and can I go? Status and mobility in the institutional net
  • 3. Settling down: marriage and family
  • 4. Surviving in Germany: work, welfare and community
  • 5. Problem men and exemplary women? Gender, class and ‘race’
  • 6. Practising diaspora – politics 1918–33
  • 7. Under the shadow of national socialism
  • 8. Refuge France?
  • Epilogue
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Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Europe, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs on 2011-05-27 21:41Z by Steven

Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany

HarperCollins
480 pages
2001
ISBN: 9780060959616

Hans J. Massaquoi (1926-2013)

This is a story of the unexpected. In Destined to Witness, Hans Massaquoi has crafted a beautifully rendered memoir—an astonishing true tale of how he came of age as a black child in Nazi Germany. The son of a prominent African and a German nurse, Hans remained behind with his mother when Hitler came to power, due to concerns about his fragile health, after his father returned to Liberia. Like other German boys, Hans went to school; like other German boys, he swiftly fell under the Fuhrer’s spell. So he was crushed to learn that, as a black child, he was ineligible for the Hitler Youth. His path to a secondary education and an eventual profession was blocked. He now lived in fear that, at any moment, he might hear the Gestapo banging on the door—or Allied bombs falling on his home. Ironic, moving, and deeply human, Massaquoi’s account of this lonely struggle for survival brims with courage and intelligence.

Prologue

To write of ones self, in such a manner as not to incur the imputation of weakness, vanity, and egotism, is a work within the ability of hut few; and I have little reason to believe that I belong to that fortunate few.
—Frederick Douglass

I could not agree more wich the above sentiments, expressed so eloquently over a century ago by the great abolitionist in the preface to his autobiography, My Bondage, My Freedom. If, like Mr. Douglass, I nonetheless decided to risk being thought of as weak, vain, and egocentric by making public the story of my life, it was mainly because of the persistent urging of persons whose literary judgment I felt was above reproach, such as my longtime friends Alex Haley, the author of Roots; Ralph Giordano, of Cologne, Germany, author of Die Bertinis; and my former employer and mentor. Ebony publisher John H. Johnson. Each convinced me that my experiences as a black youngster growing into manhood and surviving in Nazi Germany—an eyewitness to, and frequent victim of, both Nazi racial madness and Allied bombings—followed by my years in Africa were so unique that it was my duty as a journalist to share this rather different perspective on the Holocaust. Alex felt that because I was both an insider in Nazi Germany and, paradoxically, an endangered outsider, I had a rare perspective on some of the Third Reich’s major catastrophic events. He also urged me to record my equally unique experience of finding my own African roots.

Four fundamental aspects set the private hell I endured under the Nazis apart from both the pogroms suffered by my Jewish compatriots in Germany and from the racial persecution inflicted on my African-American brothers and sisters in the United States.

As a black person in white Nazi Germany, I was highly visible and thus could neither run nor hide, to paraphrase my childhood idol Joe Louis. Unlike African-Americans, I did not have the benefit of inherited survival techniques created and perfected by countless ancestors and passed down from generation to generation of oppressed people. Instead, I was forced to traverse a minefield of potential disasters and to develop my own instincts to tell me how best to survive physically and psychologically in a country consumed by racial arrogance and racial hatred and openly committed to the destruction of all “non-Aryans.”

Nazi racists, unlike their white American counterparts, did not commit their atrocities anonymously, disguised in white sheets and under the protection of night. Nor did they operate like some contemporary American politicians who advance their racist agendas by dividing black and white Americans with cleverly disguised code words about “unfair quotas,” “reverse discrimination,” and “states’ rights.” Racists in Nazi Germany did their dirty work openly and brazenly with the full protection, cooperation, and encouragement of the government, which had declared the pollution of Aryan blood with “inferior” non-Aryan blood the nation’s cardinal sin. For all practical purposes—except for the courageous and unflagging support I received from my German mother, who taught me to believe in myself by believing in me and my potential—I faced the constant threat that Nazi ethnic-cleansing policies posed to my safety alone. I faced this threat without the sense of security and reeling of belonging that humans derive from being members of a group, even an embattled one. Because of the absence of black females and the government-imposed taboo of race mixing, I had no legal social outlet when I reached puberty. Unlike the thousands of Africans and so-called “brown babies”—children of black GI fathers and German mothers—who reside in the Federal Republic of Germany today, there simply was no black population to speak of in Germany during the Hitler years, certainly none that I encountered. Not until long after the war did I learn that a small number of black Germans—the tragic so-called “Rhineland bastards” fathered by World War I French and Belgian colonial occupation troops—were exterminated in Hitler’s death camps.

Because Germans of my generation were expected to be fair skinned and of Aryan stock, it became my lot in life to explain ad nauseam why someone who had a brown complexion and black, kinky hair spoke accent-free German and claimed Germany as his place of birth. So let me state here once again, for the record, that I was born in 1926 in Hamburg, Germany’s second-largest city, because my grandfather, then consul general of Liberia to Hamburg, had brought with him his sizable family. His oldest son became my father after an intense courtship with my mother, a German nurse. Shortly before Hitler’s rise to power, my grandfather and father returned to Liberia, leaving my mother and me to fend for ourselves in an increasingly hostile racist environment…

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Race after Hitler: Black Occupation Children in Postwar Germany and America

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2011-02-24 04:36Z by Steven

Race after Hitler: Black Occupation Children in Postwar Germany and America

Princeton University Press
2005
288 pages
6 x 9, 17 halftones, 1 line illustration, 2 maps
ISBN13: 978-0-691-13379-9

Heide Fehrenbach, Presidential Research Professor of History
Northern Illinois University

When American victors entered Germany in the spring of 1945, they came armed not only with a commitment to democracy but also to Jim Crow practices. Race after Hitler tells the story of how troubled race relations among American occupation soldiers, and black-white mixing within Germany, unexpectedly shaped German notions of race after 1945. Biracial occupation children became objects of intense scrutiny and politicking by postwar Germans into the 1960s, resulting in a shift away from official antisemitism to a focus on color and blackness.

Beginning with black GIs’ unexpected feelings of liberation in postfascist Germany, Fehrenbach investigates reactions to their relations with white German women and to the few thousand babies born of these unions. Drawing on social welfare and other official reports, scientific studies, and media portrayals from both sides of the Atlantic, Fehrenbach reconstructs social policy debates regarding black occupation children, such as whether they should be integrated into German society or adopted to African American or other families abroad. Ultimately, a consciously liberal discourse of race emerged in response to the children among Germans who prided themselves on—and were lauded by the black American press for—rejecting the hateful practices of National Socialism and the segregationist United States.

Fehrenbach charts her story against a longer history of German racism extending from nineteenth-century colonialism through National Socialism to contemporary debates about multiculturalism. An important and provocative work, Race after Hitler explores how racial ideologies are altered through transnational contact accompanying war and regime change, even and especially in the most intimate areas of sex and reproduction.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Democratizing the Racial State: Toward a Transnational History
  • Chapter One: Contact Zones: American Military Occupation and the Politics of Race
  • Chapter Two: Flaccid Fatherland: Rape, Sex, and the Reproductive Consequences of Defeat
  • Chapter Three: “Mischlingskinder” and the Postwar Taxonomy of Race
  • Chapter Four: Reconstruction in Black and White: The Toxi Films
  • Chapter Five: Whose Children, Theirs or Ours? Intercountry Adoptions and Debates about Belonging
  • Chapter Six: Legacies: Race and the Postwar Nation
  • Abbreviations of Archives Consulted
  • Notes
  • Select Bibliography
  • Index

THE MILITARY occupation of Germany by American troops elicited two striking responses that were organized around irony and issues of race. One came from Germans, who noted with incredulity and derision that they were being democratized by a nation with a Jim Crow army and a host of anti-miscegenation laws at home. The second came from African American GIs who, in their interactions with Germans, were stunned by the apparent absence of racism in the formerly fascist land and, comparing their reception with treatment by white Americans, experienced their stay there as unexpectedly liberatory. Both responses criticized the glaring gap between democratic American principles and practices; both exposed as false the universalist language employed by the United States government to celebrate and propagate its political system and social values at home and abroad. Yet both also suggested the centrality of intercultural observation and exchange for contemporaries’ experience and understanding of postwar processes of democratization…

Read Chapter One in HTML or PDF.

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