On the Holocaust: The Black Germans and the Nazi Sterilization Act

hans-hauck

• Hans Hauck

By Sumbu Temo

German-Algerian Hans Hauck joined the Hitler Youth as a young boy and fought for the Germans, although he was regarded as one of the Rhineland bastards, children fathered by African soldiers. He was a threat to the Aryan race.

Hitler described the children as a contamination of the white race “by Negro blood on the Rhine in the heart of Europe” and blamed the Jews for their existence. “Jews were responsible for bringing Negroes into the Rhineland, with the ultimate idea of bastardizing the white race which they hate and thus lowering its cultural and political level so that the Jew might dominate,” he wrote in Mein Kampf.

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• They were called the “Rhein bastards”

There were very few people of African descent in Germany prior to World War I. They few existing came mainly from German’s colonies in Africa and were students, artisans, entertainers, former soldiers or low-level colonial officials, such as tax collectors who had worked for the imperial colonial government. With the First World War arrived black soldiers from French African colonies that were amongst the French during the Allies occupation of the German Rhineland. Some of the soldiers got children with local women and the children became referred to as “Rhineland Bastards” or the “Black Disgrace.” These children were seen as a threat to the Aryan race and perceived by Hitler as a part of the ‘Jewish conspiracy.’

Undercover in uniform

Hitler was determined to end the ‘race polluting’ but ironically the youth organization of his Nazi party might have saved the life of one of these children. Hans Hauck, one of the children born of the Rhineland occupation was the son of an Algerian soldier and a White German mother. His father died when he was eight and he later managed to join the Hitler Youth without any problem in 1933, the year the Nazis seized power. “Even though it was well known- no problem. And that was something new for me. At thirteen you don’t think about politics. But the whole thing, the games and the marching and playing soldier, that was fun. That’s why I joined, Hauck said in an interview with professor Tina Campt.

• Hans Hauck as a boy

• Hans Hauck as a boy

Forced sterilization

In 1937, all local authorities in Germany were to submit a list of all the children of African descent. Children were secretly taken into custody by the Gestapo and put before the commission where it was decided if it was of Black descent and therefor should be sterilized or not. It is believed that around 400 children were sterilized without their parents’ knowledge.

“Of course after my sterilization, it was clear that it was over for me with the Hitler Youth, with the whole spirit of it, which I more or less understood at fifteen or sixteen, in contrast to the thirteen-year-old. In the contrast to the thirteen-year-old who enjoyed the whole Hitler Youth game, the fifteen-year-old didn’t anymore. He was able to think more about it, but he had to go along,” Hauck described his last years in the movement.

The 1933 Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring allowed compulsory sterilization of any citizen who in the opinion of a “Genetic Health Court” suffered from genetic disorders. The law also enforced sterilization on the “Rhineland bastards.” A secret group, Commission Number 3, led by Dr. Eugen Fischer, the director of a prominent race biology institute in Berlin, was created to organize the mass sterilization.

Hauck expressed gratitude for not being victim of euthanasia but added that he felt only “half human” after the forced incision he had underwent as a teen in 1935. “We had no anesthetic. Once I got my vasectomy certificate, I had to sign an agreement that we were not allowed to have sexual relations whatsoever with Germans,” he said.

Another victim was Thomas Holzhauser, interviewed in 1966 before his death: “My mother said, ‘Come on, my boy, it’s time to go to the hospital.’ The doctor was wearing a SA uniform. He belonged to the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party.. He made two cuts around my testicles. Sometimes I’m glad I can’t have children. At least they were spared the shame I lived with.”

Freie Universitaet, Berlin (formerly the Nazi Institute for the pure race propaganda research; now made into a regular education university)

Freie Universitaet, Berlin (formerly the Nazi Institute for the pure race propaganda research; now made into a regular education university)

‘Alien-blood’

The 1935 Nuremberg racial laws declared blacks to be a minority with ‘alien blood. This prompted some to leave the country that became more and more hostile; of those who stayed many remained in isolation. German propaganda depicted blacks as ‘rapists of German women and carriers of venereal and other diseases.’

“These mulatto children were either conceived through force or else the white mother was a prostitute. In both cases there is not the slightest moral obligation to these offspring of alien-race,” claimed Nazi Dr. Hermann Friedrich Macco in his tract Race Problems in the Third Reich.

Mixing races diluted the pure blood that only Whites had and would result in an international disaster he concluded in his studies. “If we calculate according to the so-called Mendel Rule which holds that the human genealogical line takes 300 years to purify itself from a single mixture with alien blood, the result is that the German race will be polluted for centuries by such a multiple and many-sided mixture as the colored occupation represents. But not only the German race, the entire white race.”

Dr. Macco’s studies were very influential in the legislation under the Third Reich. Marriages between Jews and Germans were forbidden under the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour. The law was later broadening to include ‘Gypsies, Negroes, and their bastards’ as well. Pregnant Afro-German women were forced to have an abortion.

Determined to prove his he was German, Hauck tried to join the army but was told that he was ‘unworthy’. Growing older, Hauck realized that the refusal actually was good, as the reveal of his African heritage could have costed him his life. Nonetheless, with the war progressing, the rules got loser with Germany becoming more desperate.

Hauck was informed, at the age of twenty-one, that he had to join the pre-military training, which was conducted by the SA. They would demand that he passed the compulsory Aryan ancestry test. Hauck who had grown up with the other kids at the Hitler Youth had silently passed as one of them despite his obvious background. SA was different. “I never had anything to do with them. Here, in the Hitler Youth, everyone knew me. No one would have- I can’t put it any other way- would have wanted to do me any harm.”

Near end

Nazi Rheinland

Nazi Rheinland

Seeing no way out he attempted suicide but was rescued last minute by a friend’s father who also managed to arrange matters so that Hauck did not have to pass the racial purity test. He so entered the army in 1942.

He was taken prisoner by the Soviet army in January 1945 while in Polish territory and released in April 1949. “I can’t really describe what it was like being a prisoner. Imprisonment isn’t easy- everyone knew that- But I was treated more humanely by the Russians than I ever was by my own countrymen.”

Hans Hauck moved to Canada after the war and died in lymphoma in October 2013.

Not all children of Rhineland were as lucky.

Dr. Fischer and his colleagues performed several experiments and analyzed 600 children; taking blood and measuring skulls. Nearly 385 Black German children disappeared with out a trace in 1937. Little remains known about the fate of these Afro-Germans.

This article was first published on Kalangu (under the heading "Of course after my sterilization, it was clear it was over for me with the Hitler Youth")

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Sumbu Temo is a 27 years old journalism student and dreamer from Stockholm. She is Editor-in-Chief of Kalangu Magazine.
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