How do Europeans see African Americans
African diaspora in Germany
Nicola Lauré al-Samarai
Nicola Lauré al-Samarai, born in 1969. The historian and cultural scientist is currently doing her doctorate at the Center for Research on Antisemitism at the TU Berlin on the subject of "Black Germans in the former GDR". Her numerous publications also include the book "Die Macht der Demokratie" (The Power of Representation) (2001).
The history of Black people during National Socialism could be presented very simply: as a history that could result in social isolation, sterilization, or possible physical annihilation. However, this point of view neither reflects the historical facts, nor does it do justice to the complex and often winding paths of people's lives. Research over the last few years makes it clear that only the inclusion of different perspectives allows a differentiated description.
Colonial migrants and their relativesThe group that has lived in Germany for the longest since the end of the 19th century are the colonial migrants who call themselves "compatriots". Their presence is linked to the violent occupation of German colonies on the African continent in the course of the Bismarck Conference in 1884/85, which initiated a migration movement in which mainly African men moved their center of life to Germany, established communal networks and founded families.
From the beginning, their position in the majority society was determined by their difficult status as immigrants. This not only meant a gradual tightening of the legal situation, which resulted in the loss of German citizenship for members of this group after the Nuremberg Laws came into force in 1935. The situation on the labor market made matters worse. One of the few niches in which many colonial migrants were able to ensure their survival for themselves and their relatives were humiliating appearances in national shows and colonial films.
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