WHY VISIT GERMANY
Once again my love for all things GOD has given us, beautiful nature, and so many different cultures. With different cultures comes different architecture and history (good and bad).
Germany has it all and I found it a great place to visit on several occassions, by the way the BEST Beer I’ve ever tasted, one of the many things the Germans take pride in. When I would talk to friends back in the States I was often asked what could I as a Black man find interesting in Germany and of course that was my lead into giving a history lesson.
The history of black people in Germany goes back much further than most people think. One of the first Africans known to have lived in Germany was Anton Wilhelm Amo (1703-1759). Born in what is today’s Ghana, Amo came under the protection of the Duke (Herzog) of Wolfenbüttel in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) and grew up in the duke’s castle. He was both the first African known to attend a German university (Halle) and the first to obtain a doctorate degree (in 1729). As a professor, under his preferred name of Antonius Guilelmus Amo Afer, he taught at two German universities and published several scholarly works, including a Latin treatise entitled De Arte Sobrie et Accurate Philosophandi (1736, “On the Art of Philosophizing Soberly and Accurately”). Knowing the level of his achievements, it is all the more surprising to learn that Amo returned to Africa in 1747. Most accounts claim the reason for his return to his native Africa was the racial discrimination he encountered in Germany. Then as now, Africans in Europe were seen as something exotic and foreign.
After World War I, more blacks, mostly French Senegalese soldiers or their offspring, ended up in the Rhineland region and other parts of Germany. Estimates vary, but by the 1920s there were about 10,000 to 25,000 Afrodeutsche in Deutschland, most of them in Berlin or other metropolitan areas. Until the Nazis came to power, black musicians and other entertainers were a popular element of the nightlife scene in Berlin and other large cities. Jazz, later denigrated as Negermusik (“Negro music”) by the Nazis, was made popular in Germany and Europe by black musicians, many from the U.S., who found life in Europe more liberating than that back home. Josephine Baker in France is one prominent example. Both the American writer and civil rights activist W.E.B. du Bois and the suffragist Mary Church Terrell studied at the university in Berlin. They later wrote that they experienced far less discrimination in Germany than they had in the U.S.
A little know fact that I found out while in Germany was that Precisely how many Afro-Germans died in Nazi concentration camps is not known, but estimates put the figure at between 25,000 and 50,000. The relatively low numbers of blacks in Germany, their wide dispersal across the country, and the fact that the Nazis concentrated on the Jews were some factors that made it possible for many Afro-Germans to survive the war. One such survivor, who now lives in the U.S., published a book about his experiences as a black child growing up in Nazi Germany.
The more I researched the more exciting it became; Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi, the retired managing editor of Ebony magazine, was born in Hamburg to a Liberian father and a German mother in 1926.
Here are a couple of faces you might be familiar with.
Barbara Becker actress and model born in Munich, Germany once married to Tennis star Boris Becker.
Also Boris Kodjoe an Austrian born German actor and former model.
Enough of the history lesson and a closer look at what to expect from the great country and culture.
THE GERMAN ALPS
The German Alps are all that is romantic about Germany. These foothills are alive with romance (just ask Julie Andrews, whose classic love story, The Sound of Music, was filmed here!) Here, Germany’s Mad King Ludwig II built two unparalleled monuments to romance, Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein.
Warming up with a group of friends “Prost!”
I know that October is a few months away and I can not leave Germany without showing you the fun of Oktoberfest so I plan to cover more of Germany in my up coming post.
UNTIL THEN “PEACE!”