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

  • 1488426720_12-file Hans Massaquoi is confronted with a people show (ca. 1929) [English] [German]

Political activism and persecution


Seeking inspiration in “Negro” culture

  • 1488426720_12-file Carl Einstein praises Negro sculpture (1915)
  • 1488426720_12-file Hugo Ball exposes the myth of primitive authenticity (1916) [German]
  • 1488426720_12-file Carl Einstein finds inspiration in African fairy tales (1917) [German]
  • 1488426720_12-file Ivan Goll celebrates the Negroes conquering Europe (1926) [English] [German]
  • 1488426824_32 Carl Einstein champions the “primitive” (1925)
  • 1488426720_12-file Sunrise in Morningland (1930)
  • 1488426720_12-file Africans tell their own stories (1938)

Performance and propaganda


Everyday life in Nazi Germany


African Americans and the struggle against racism


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