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5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Murder and Mistreatment of Black People During Nazi Germany

While much of the historical focus on Nazism has concentrated on the treatment of the Jews, in Nazi Germany and in German-occupied territories between 1933 and 1945, Black people also suffered a grim fate. Their treatment ranged from isolation to persecution, sterilization, medical experimentation, incarceration, brutality and murder, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia website, operated by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.


Africans Killed by Racist German Government

Both before and after World War I, many Africans came to Germany as students, artisans, entertainers, former soldiers or low-level colonial officials who had worked for the imperial colonial government. Hilarius (Lari) Gilges, a dancer by profession, was murdered by the Nazi SS in 1933, most likely because he was Black, according to the Holocaust Memorial Museum. After World War II, the German government paid restitution to Gilges’ German wife for his murder by the Nazis.



Valaida Snow

Valaida Snow

Africans and African-Americans Victimized by Nazis

Some African-Americans who were caught in German-occupied Europe during World War II were also victimized by the Nazi regime. Many, such as female jazz artist Valaida Snow, were imprisoned in internment camps. Some Blacks from Europe and Africa were also interned in the Nazi concentration camp system, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia. Lionel Romney, a sailor in the U.S. Merchant Marine, was imprisoned in the Mauthausen concentration camp. Bayume Mohamed Hussein from Tanganyika (today Tanzania) died in the Sachsenhausen camp near Berlin.

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