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It's hard to imagine an issue or image more riveting than Black Germans during the Third Reich. Yet accounts of their lives are virtually nonexistent, despite the fact that they lived through a regime dedicated to racial purity.
Tina M. Campt's Other Germans tells the story of this largely forgotten group of individuals, with important distinctions from other accounts. Most strikingly, Campt centers her arguments on race, rather than anti-Semitism. She also provides an oral history as background for her study, interviewing two Black German subjects for her book.
In the end the author comes face to face with an inevitable question: Is there a relationship between the history of Black Germans and those of other black communities?
The answers to Campt's questions make Other Germans essential reading in the emerging study of what it means to be black and German in the context of a society that looked at anyone with non-German blood as racially impure at best.
". . . highly recommended to those interested in the theory and practice of oral history, memory, and identity formation. Although it is not always an easy read, it is a highly stimulating and challenging volume which makes a considerable contribution to the study of Afro-German history. The postscript, in which Campt reflects on the diaspora paradigm in the light of her experience as an African-American woman studying and interviewing Afro-Germans in Germany, deserves special mention in this context."
—Bulletin of the German Historical Institute (London)
"Tina Campt's study of Black Germans in Other Germans is an extraordinary exploration of one of history's ignored corners. It is a marvelous blend of theory and fieldwork analysis. It breaks new ground in the reading of oral history testimony and in the process raises important questions about race, gender and memory. It also directs our attention to the ways in which a close and inventive reading of oral narratives can lead to new ways of looking at and understanding historiographical debates, in particular diaspora studies and the intersection of politics and demographic categories."
—Ronald Grele, Professor Emeritus, Columbia University
"A solid, engaging history of the experience of Afro-Germans from the 1920s through the Third Reich. Campt's critical work is enhanced by her extensive interviews and by her wide-ranging critical intelligence. Other Germans illustrates the creation of Afro-Germans as a 20th-century undertaking with ramifications in today's Germany."
—Sander L. Gilman, University of Illinois, Chicago
". . . a winning social and political history of black Germans, offering both fieldwork and political analysis to consider the politics of race and gender in the Third Reich. Accounts of black German lives are almost nonexistent in studies of German history and culture, making Campt's Other Germans an exceptional and unusual treatment."
"Tina M. Campt makes an original and insightful contribution to this new literature in Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender, and Memory in the Third Reich. The book, a close analysis of oral histories taken from two Afro-Germans who lived during the Third Reich, both demonstrates the importance of Afro-German studies to the history of Nazism and also reveals some of the pitfalls that await scholars in this new area of research."
—Central European History
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