Archival material pertaining to the experiences of the small population of Black residents and their children living in Germany and occupied Europe during the period of World War Two is limited. Nonetheless, there is convincing evidence to suggest that over this period there was general escalation of violence towards Black men and women both collectively and individually. Now resident Blacks who drew the unwanted attention of local Nazi Party officials or who came into conflict with the law were more likely to face harsh punishments and internment. As Nazi policy towards Europe’s Jews and Sinti and Roma became increasingly unrestrained there are also hints that plans were being made within the upper echelons of the regime to assimilate Blacks to the Nazi’s murderous racial policies. An order issued in October 1942 by Heinrich Himmler, SS Reichsführer and Chief of the German Police, for the statistical registration of all Blacks living in Germany echoes a similar process of registration he initiated against the Sinti and Roma in 1938. This resulted in Himmler’s decision of late 1942 to deport most of the latter to the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Ultimately, the impact of Himmler’s order did not lead to the systematic imprisonment of Germany’s Black population, nonetheless from 1940 onwards over two dozen Black residents are known to have been incarcerated in various camps, prisons, and sanatoriums while a handful of others were sterilized or threatened with sterilization. Others still sought refuge outside of Germany while many of those remaining in the country were actively in hiding by late 1942.
Order for the Registration of all Negroes [Neger] from Reichsführer and Chief of the German Police* (Heinrich Himmler) within the Reich Interior Ministry, O-VuR R III 6859/42
The local police authorities are to ascertain information on all resident Negroes and their mixed race children living in their district and to pass the information on to Department V** (Reich Criminal Police Department, RKPA) of the Reich Main Security Office in Berlin C2, Werderscher Markt 5 by 1.11.1942. The following information is requested:
1) First and last name
2) Date and place of birth
3) Previous and current citizenship
5) Address, street and number
6) Marital status
7) First and last name, birth date and place of wife and children
Negative reports do not need to be sent
* This was Heinrich Himmler
**This was the Reich Criminal Police Department (RKPA) of the Reich Main Security Office
Source: “Order for Registration of all Negroes (10 October 1942),” Ministerialblatt des Reichs- und Preussischen Ministeriums des Innern, vol. 103 (1942), 1977. Translated by Robbie Aitken.
Heinrich Himmler’s ‘Order for Registration of all Negroes’ (1942) by Robbie Aitken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://blackcentraleurope.com/who-we-are/.