Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany by Hans J. Massaquoi

By Hans J. Massaquoi

This is a narrative of the unexpected.In Destined to Witness, Hans Massaquoi has crafted a fantastically rendered memoir -- an astounding actual story of ways he got here of age as a black baby in Nazi Germany. The son of a renowned African and a German nurse, Hans remained in the back of together with his mom while Hitler got here to energy, because of matters approximately his fragile overall healthiness, after his father again to Liberia. Like different German boys, Hans went to college; like different German boys, he rapidly fell less than the Fuhrer's spell. So he was once overwhelmed to profit that, as a black baby, he was once ineligible for the Hitler early life. His route to a secondary schooling and an eventual career was once blocked. He now lived in worry that, at any second, he may pay attention the Gestapo banging at the door -- or Allied bombs falling on his domestic. Ironic,, relocating, and deeply human, Massaquoi's account of this lonely fight for survival brims with braveness and intelligence.

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When my mother asked a zoo guide whether there were any Indians to be seen, he told her they were fresh out of Indians but that there was an equally interesting African exhibit, just a few minutes’ walk away. ” Ingeborg and I were disappointed, as we had looked forward to seeing Indians attired in resplendent feather headgear, but we agreed to settle for the African exhibit although none of us had the slightest idea of what to expect. I was totally unprepared for what we found. ” Like the animal exhibits, the “village” was bordered by a chest-high wooden fence to keep the viewers out and the viewers in.

There we would join thousands of spectators to watch the legendary World War I flying ace Ernst Udet risk his life in breathtaking aerial stunts and parachute jumps. When, only a few years later, Udet emerged as one of the major architects of the vaunted Luftwaffe, the weapon that emboldened Hitler to embark on his conquest of the world, I often thought back to the carefree time I spent in Fuhlsbüttel under a cloudless sky, thrilled to the core by one of the first heroes of my early years. The constant stares of people that followed us wherever my mother and I went didn’t bother me in the least.

Once she had reached her apartment, she wouldn’t leave the house until it was time to go back to work. When she returned from work in the evening, her tall, angular figure draped in a heavy, dark green loden cape and hood that gave her the silhouette of a capuchin monk, she was always trailed by a flock of urchins. They had discovered the strange old lady’s kind heart and were never disappointed when they asked her for candy, which she always carried in a brown paper bag beneath her cape. While she loved children, she had little use for grown people—nor they for her—and consequently kept her contact with them to a bare minimum.

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