1914-1945

The interwar years were marred with tension as more Black people came to Central Europe to live, study, and work. Josephine Baker, Louis Douglas, and the Chocolate Kiddies represented, for better and for worse, a new, glamorous, and titillating era of transatlanticism and “primitivist modernism.” But events such as the Black Horror on the Rhine campaign also point to the rise of a far-right nationalism and racism that wanted to expunge all Black elements from German and Austrian life. Into the mix we find Afro-Germans themselves, articulating in a 1919 petition their desires to be recognized above all as Germans. Nonetheless, as the Nazi party came to power, all Black people had to find new ways to manage their lives in light of extreme racism. Many fled, others hid, and some died in concentration camps. The lives of all were changed by the onset of Nazi rule and the growing numbers of German-born Blacks in particular faced the very real threat of sterilisation.


The First World War and its aftermath


Everyday life in Weimar Germany

  • White Paper Hans Massaquoi is confronted with a people show (ca. 1929) [English] [German]

Political activism and persecution


Seeking inspiration in “Negro” culture

  • White Paper Carl Einstein praises Negro sculpture (1915)
  • White Paper Hugo Ball exposes the myth of primitive authenticity (1916) [German]
  • White Paper Carl Einstein finds inspiration in African fairy tales (1917) [German]
  • White Paper Ivan Goll celebrates the Negroes conquering Europe (1926) [English] [German]
  • Photo white with black Carl Einstein champions the “primitive” (1925)
  • White Paper Sunrise in Morningland (1930)
  • White Paper Africans tell their own stories (1938)

Performance and propaganda


Everyday life in Nazi Germany


African Americans and the struggle against racism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s