February 20, 2001
BLACK GERMAN WRITER TO DISCUSS GROWING UP UNDER NAZISM
Hans Massaquoi to Speak at US Holocaust Memorial Museum
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will host An Evening With Hans Massaquoi on Tuesday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m. Hans Massaquoi was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1926 to a distinguished family. His father was Liberian, and his mother German. His paternal grandfather, Momolu Massaquoi was the Liberian Consul General. His 1999 memoir Destined to Witness-Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany (William Morrow and Co.) details the changes in Germany society as Hitler took control of the country and began his quest to create the perfect “Aryan” race.
Following Hitler’s 1933 rise to power, Massaquoi was subject to Nazi Germany’s discriminatory racial laws. While he excelled scholastically through the eighth grade, he was prohibited from attending secondary school or any of Germany’s universities. Instead, he served a three-year apprenticeship as a machinist. He worked in that capacity throughout World War II, narrowly surviving the destruction of Hamburg by Allied bombers.
Massaquoi immigrated to the United States in 1950, and served in 82 Airborne Division during the Korean conflict. After being honorably discharged from the Army, Massaquoi entered college to study journalism. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1956. In 1958, he joined JET Magazine as an Associate Editor, and within one year, was transferred to Ebony, where rose to the position of Managing Editor and became a senior member of the magazine’s editorial board. He retired from Ebony in 1997.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is America’s national institution for the documentation, study and interpretation of Holocaust history, and serves as this country’s memorial to the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust. Since opening in April 1993, the Museum has welcomed more than 15 million visitors. The Museum’s primary mission is to advance and disseminate knowledge about this unprecedented tragedy; to preserve the memory of those who suffered; and to encourage its visitors to reflect upon the moral questions raised by the events of the Holocaust as well as their own responsibilities as citizens of a democracy.