MIAMI (AP) — Hans Massaquoi, a former managing editor of Ebony magazine who wrote a distinctive memoir about his unusual childhood growing up black in Nazi Germany, has died. He was 87. His son said Massaquoi died Saturday, on his 87th birthday, in Jacksonville. He had been hospitalized over the Christmas holidays. “He had quite a journey in life,” said Hans J. Massaquoi, Jr., of Detroit. “Many have read his books and know what he endured. But most don’t know that he was a good, kind, loving, fun-loving, fair, honest, generous, hard-working and open-minded man. He respected others and commanded respect himself. He was dignified and trustworthy
. We will miss him forever and try to live by his example.” In an interview in 2000, the elder Massaquoi told The Associated Press that he credited the late Alex Haley, author of “Roots,” with convincing him to share his experience of being “both an insider in Nazi Germany and, paradoxically, an endangered outsider.” His autobiography, “Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany,” was published in the U.S. in 1999 and a German translation was also published. Massaquoi’s mother was a German nurse and his father was the son of a Liberian diplomat. He grew up in working class neighborhoods of the port city of Hamburg.
Der in Hamburg geborene Autor des Bestsellers “Neger, Neger, Schornsteinfeger” ist kurz vor seinem 87. Geburtstag in Florida gestorben.Hamburg. Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi, in Hamburg geborener amerikanischer Journalist und Buchautor, ist in Florida gestorben. Das erfuhr das Abendblatt von dessen Freund Ralph Giordano. Massaquoi, schwer erkrankt, hätte am 19. Januar seinen 87. Geburtstag feiern können.
Er, der Deutschland 1948 verlassen hatte, wurde der deutschen Öffentlichkeit 1999 bekannt, als er den ersten Band seiner Lebenserinnerungen veröffentlichte, die zum Bestseller wurden: “Neger, Neger, Schornsteinfeger” heißt das Buch nach den Spottrufen, mit denen die hellhäutigen Kinder den dunkelhäutigen Sohn eines liberianischen Diplomatensprosses und einer Hamburger Krankenschwester hänselten. Sein Großvater war liberianischer Generalkonsul in Hamburg, seinen Vater hat er nie kennengelernt.
A five-year-old girl suddenly appears on the doorstep of a well-to-do Hamburg family. The members of the multi-generational, white household react differently to the arrival of Toxi, who is black, the daughter of an African-American G.I. and a white German woman who has died. Eventually Toxi works her way into the hearts of this German family, but then her father returns, hoping to take Toxi back to America with him.
At the time of the film’s release in 1952, there were between 3,000 and 5,000 children of Allied paternity born since WWII living in West Germany. Toxi was the first feature-length film to explore the subject of “black occupation children” in postwar Germany and premiered when the first generation of these children began entering German schools, creating a public awareness of this situation. Robert A. Stemmle, one of the most popular West German directors and known for his unique blend of social realism and melodrama, brought together an exceptionally renowned set of classic German actors with diverse experiences of the Nazi era, including Paul Bildt, Johanna Hofer and Elisabeth Flickenschildt.