Rhineland Bastard

Rhineland Bastard

Rhineland Bastard was a derogatory term used in Nazi Germany to describe children of mixed German and African parentage. Under Nazism's racial theories, these children were considered inferior to "pure Aryans" and consigned to sterilization.

History

The term "Rhineland Bastard" can be traced back to 1919, just after World War I, when Entente troops, most of them French, occupied the Rhineland. A handful of German women married soldiers from the occupying forces, while others had children by them out of wedlock (hence the disparaging label "bastards"). [ [http://www.press.umich.edu/pdf/0472113607-part1.pdf Race, Memory, and Historical Representation: Contextualizing Black German Narratives of the Third Reich] ] [The Body and Identity: Essential/Experimental/Constructed", Dr. Tina M. Campt.] Some of these troops were from France's colonies in Africa and were known locally as "Neger" (German: "negroes") or the "Black Disgrace"Fact|date=September 2007 because the Germans, who had been accustomed to having colonies in Africa before 1914 now felt they were being colonised themselves by "Negroes". The occupation itself had been regarded as a national disgrace. The fact that it was carried out by what were viewed as "B-grade" troops increased the feelings of humiliation. Whether these sentiments were racist (in the modern sense of the word) or merely "ordinary" European nationalism might be disputed. Nazis exploited these sentiments and gave them a racist direction and interpretation. In "Mein Kampf", Hitler described children resulting from marriages to African occupation soldiers as a contamination of the white race "by Negro blood on the Rhine in the heart of Europe." He disliked the German women who gave birth to these children, and referred to them as whores and prostitutes. He also implied that this was a plot on the part of the French, since the population of France was being increasingly "negrified". [ [http://www.mondopolitico.com/library/meinkampf/v2c13.htm Mein Kampf, vol 2, chapter 13] ]

However, most of the tiny non-white population in Germany at that time were children of German settlers and missionaries in the former German colonies in Africa and Melanesia, who had married local women or had had children with them out of wedlock. With the loss of Germany's colonies after World War I, some of these colonists returned to Germany with their "mixed-race" families. While the black population of Germany at the time of the Third Reich was insignificant (around 500-800 in a population of 60 million), the Nazis decided to take action against those in the Rhineland. They despised black culture, which they considered inferior, and even sought to prohibit traditionally black musical genres such as jazz. No official laws were enacted against the black population, or even against the children of mixed parentage, since they were the offspring of marriages and informal unions from before the 1935 Nuremberg laws which prohibited miscegenation. Instead, a group named "Commission Number 3" was created to resolve the problem of the "Rhineland Bastards" with the aim of preventing their further procreation in German society. Organized under Dr. Eugen Fischer of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, it was decided that the children would be sterilized under the 1933 Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring.

The program began in 1937, when local officials were asked to report on all "Rhineland Bastards" under their jurisdiction. All together, some 400 children of mixed parentage were arrested and sterilized. This order applied only in the Rhineland. Other African-Germans were unaffected. [Hans Massaquoi describes his experience as a half-African in Hamburg, unaware of the Rhineland sterilizations until long after the war. Massaquoi, Hans J., "Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany", Harper Perennial, 2001. He mistakenly states that they were later murdered in the Holocaust, p.2] According to Susan Samples, the Nazis went to great lengths to conceal their sterilization and abortion program. [Samples, S., "African Germans in the Third Reich", "The African German Experience", Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay ed., Praeger Publishers, 1996.]

ee also

*African Germans
*Hans Massaquoi
*Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics
*Nuremberg laws
*Nazi eugenics
*Nazism and race

References


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