HISTORY

How the Nazis Mistreated Afro-Germans

A look at the persecution of Black people in Nazi Germany.

Sal
Published in
7 min readNov 6, 2023

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

The era of Adolf Hitler as the Nazi Fuhrer is most significantly marked by the tragic Holocaust, where an estimated 6 million Jews were killed. However, as dark and devastating as the Holocaust was, the historical focus on the magnitude of the event often overshadows some of Hitler’s other atrocities.

Today, I’ll focus on the mistreatment of Africans in Germany under the Nazis and how, despite not being the primary target in Hitler’s crosshairs, they suffered incredibly harsh treatment at his hands.

The German-African Army Was Called the Schutztruppe

To understand the context of the mistreatment of Africans during Hitler’s era, we must understand how racism had already been deeply rooted in German society for centuries. The German Empire expanded its influence into Africa between the 17th and 19th centuries, colonizing various territories along the way.

A very common and accepted notion of the time was that only the white European man represented true civilization and progress, while Black people were seen as savages who needed to evolve in order to become more civilized.

The Schutztruppe was the name of the German-African army of colonial soldiers. It carried out many military operations on the African continent during WWI, and its soldiers traveled on camels.

They suffered greatly on the battlefield and gave their lives to defend the German empire. Yet, the German empire denied them their due recognition and benefits at the end of the war. If anything, living conditions for Black people in Germany only got progressively worse after the First World War.

Cavalry of German Schutztruppe | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

The Rhineland Bastards

The occupation of the Rhineland was the invasion of the Rhine region in Western Germany by the victors of WWI — mainly the French, the British, and the Belgians, amongst others. It began in December of 1918 and dragged on through the…

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Sal
Momentum

I am a History Educator and a Lifelong Learner with a Masters in Global History.