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BlackAndWhiteCoexist50 karma

So the Nuremberg race laws were very explicit about their target, which was the Jewish population in Germany. The law was extended some time after with prohibitions on marriage or sexual relations that could interfere with the racial purity idea.

However, it was sometimes still unclear whether or not those laws also apply to other “non-aryans”. So what we find when we look at the history during the Nazi era is that decisions were made very locally and very subjectively by various people who happen to be in power in various positions. And this is why while it would have been impossible for a Jewish boy to enter the Hitler Youth we know of cases of black youth who joined the Hitler Youth. These rules whether or not they applied were always decided right on the spot because the law itself did not name black people as the target. But for black people there was this in-between position that they could navigate to make it through this.

And so all of the afro Germans that have left Memoirs or who have given video interviews discussing their time under the Nazis, all of them will talk about hardships that they face. They'll talk about their disappointment at not being allowed to join their classmates as members of the Hitler Youth. They'll talk about their disappointment in that but they will just as quickly turn to the stories of Germans who intervened on their behalf.

BlackAndWhiteCoexist36 karma

It is unfortunately very hard to name specific numbers since many paths weren’t traced. However, there is an estimate of about 20.000 - 25.000 black people in Germany during that time. Even today there are only rough numbers on the black German population as after WWII the collection of racial data was not pursued.

BlackAndWhiteCoexist30 karma

Black people were not specially a target of the Nazis at the beginning, especially because there were high hopes on winning back former German colonies. During the rise of the Nazi regime and the fear of racial impurity however, black people were either forced to go under the radar or they were accumulated into the arts helping German propaganda and stereotypes. How? They were performing a role. The role a white man saw in a black man - the “child-like uneducated African”. And that is the role they had to play in human zoos as well as propaganda movies. Else they were fearing being sterilized or sent to concentration camp.

BlackAndWhiteCoexist24 karma

Yes you are absolutely right. There were many other target groups, the Slavs, Sinti, Roma, homosexuals, disabled. In the case of blacks your mentioned point was definitely a thing. For the Nazis black people were easy to target because of their skin colour and they just didn’t fit into the racial purity ideology. But the colour aspect allowed them to accumulate black people easily. Mostly in the field of arts - posing as stereotype. Also the Germans always thought they might need black people again once they win back their colonies. But even historians are not certain what would have happened with black people in Germany if the Germans had won the war.

BlackAndWhiteCoexist22 karma

Yes, absolutely. I have one eye witness who was growing up in Hamburg. A city that was always used to seeing people of colour due to the harbour. Even though there were rarely any other black children around when she was growing up people protected her during that time. Whereas in other areas like the Rhineland black people were afraid of going to the doctors knowing they might come back sterilised. So decisions were often made locally and some were very lucky and were saved because of that.