First memorial planned for African victim of Nazis

4th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

04 September 2007, Berlin (dpa) - A series of more than 9,000 mini-memorials in Germany to people killed by the Nazis is for the first time to include an African, Mahjub bin Adam Mohamed, organizers said Monday.

04 September 2007

Berlin (dpa) - A series of more than 9,000 mini-memorials in Germany to people killed by the Nazis is for the first time to include an African, Mahjub bin Adam Mohamed, organizers said Monday.

The 10-centimetre-square brass plaques have been cemented into pavements all over the country since 1997 by an artist, Gunter Demnig. They are placed outside apartment blocks where the victims lived before they were arrested.

Mahjub's extraordinary story has already been told in a book by German academic Marianne Bechhaus-Gerst. As a boy he served in the German colonial forces in Tanzania and moved to Germany in 1929, working as a waiter and an entertainer, with bit roles in films.

Blacks in Nazi Germany faced harsh restrictions though they were not routinely interned.

Mahjub, who refused to be submissive, was arrested in 1941 on an allegation of miscegenation and died in 1944 in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, an appalling disease-ridden detention centre near Berlin.

The Mahjub plaque will be cemented into the pavement outside Brunnenstrasse house number 193 in Berlin on September 14, Demnig's office said.

The plaques are known as "stumbling blocks," though this term is metaphorical, since they are always flush with the pavement. Each contains a name and a date of death for passers-by to read.

Demnig says the plaques thwart the Nazis' bid to wipe out all memory of the Jews, gypsies and outspoken people killed by the Hitler regime.

Very few blacks lived in pre-War Germany. Journalist Hans Massaquoi, 81, later wrote a best-selling autobiography, Destined to Witness, about what it was like to be shunned as a black German, including his vain attempts to enlist in the Nazi armed forces.

dpa

Subject: German news

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