'Subhumans,' 'cattle car transports,' even the 'Final Solution' - all these and other Nazi concepts have their sinister antecedents in Africa in the early 1900s. And the list of the prominent Germans there who went on to shape Nazism is long and execrable....
Decades before the Nazis turned to the Jews, German colonialists in Southwest Africa – now Namibia – dehumanized, built death camps for, and slaughtered tens of thousands of tribespeople in a systematic genocide. Here, Edwin Black reveals the full horrors of an eerie and odious precursor of the Shoah, and its legacy in the USBlack also describes eugenics and forced sterialisations in the US prior to World War II. It seems that proponents of eugenics in Germany and the US were influenced by each other.
Black also mentions the an unintended consequence of the eugenics and discrimination programs in Germany and the US. Many highly skilled German Jews migrated from Germany to the US because of NAZI victimisation. However, at the time there was considerable anti-semetic feelings in the USA. Jews as well as blacks were often discriminated against. So many German Jewish academics ended up as teachers at black colleges.
The influx of German-Jewish academics offered an unexpected stimulus to many African Americans’ educational experiences during the formative years of the pre-Civil Rights era. Refugee professors helped set the stage for the intellectual movement to come.
Among the students who credit the inspiration of German-Jewish professors is Joyce Ladner, who went on to organize civil rights protests with Medgar Evers and who would later rise to the leadership of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] and the Congress on Racial Equality [CORE].
Ladner’s mentor was Ernst Borinski, a Jewish sociologist who arrived from Germany in 1938 and eventually taught at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. His sociology student Ladner excelled and ultimately became a board member of the American Sociological Association as well as interim president of Howard University. In 1996, Washingtonian Magazine named her “Washingtonian of the Year.”
As for Borinski, he is remembered for fighting Jim Crow all his years in Mississippi. When he died, he was buried on the Tougaloo Campus.
His tombstone reads simply: “Ernst Borinski, Inspiring Teacher.” Ladner remembered Borinski’s devotion to overturning segregation, recalling his “affinity with blacks because they experienced a similar persecution.” The Mississippi chapter of the ACLU still grants the “Ernst Borinski Civil Libertarian of the Year Award.”
Another African American student is Dr. Joycelyn Elders, who went from being mentored by a German-Jewish professor to a distinguished career in medicine. In 1993, she became Surgeon General of the United States. Later, Elders reflected on the indispensable years as student of a German-Jewish émigré. “I can read almost any German scientific literature,” Elders told the Wall Street Journal. “The German-Jewish professors had a tremendous impact on young blacks in the South,” summed up African American attorney Jim McWilliams, who attended Talladega College. “They exposed us to new music, art, and academic programs.”