May God bless you and your...
February 07, 2017
MIAMI (AP) - Hans Massaquoi, a former managing editor of Ebony magazine who wrote a memoir about his unusual childhood growing up black in Nazi Germany, has died. He was 87.
His son said Massaquoi died Saturday, on his birthday, in Florida. He had been hospitalized over the Christmas holidays.
"He had quite a journey in life," said Hans J. Massaquoi, Jr. "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 autobiogr aphy, "Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany," was published in the U.S. in 1999, and a German translation was 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.
Massaquoi recounted a story from 1933, when he was in school in Hamburg. Wanting to show what a good German he was, Massaquoi said he cajoled his baby sitter into sewing a swastika onto his sweater. When his mother spotted it that evening, she snipped it off, but a teacher had already taken a snapshot. Massaquoi, the only dark-skinned child in the photo, is also the only one wearing a swastika.
He writes that one of his saddest moments as a child was when a teacher told him he couldn't join the Hitler Youth.
"Of course I wanted to join. I was a kid and most of my friends were joining," he said. "They had cool uniforms and they did exciting things - camping, pa rades, playing drums."
Germany was at war by the time he was a teenager, and he describes in the book the near-destruction of Hamburg during the Operation Gomorrah bombing attack in the summer of 1943.
He wrote about becoming a "swingboy" who took great risks by playing and dancing to versions of American swing music, which was condemned by the Nazi regime. After the collapse of Germany at the end of the war, he said he was able to save his mother and himself from starvation by playing saxophone in clubs that catered to the American Merchant Marine.
Eventually he left Germany, first joining his father's family in Liberia, before going to Chicago to study aviation mechanics. He was drafted into the U.S. Army while on a student visa in 1951. Afterward, he became a U.S. citizen and eventually became a journalist.
He worked first for Jet Magazine before moving to Chicago-based Ebony, where he rose to managing editor before retiring in the late 1990s.
FREIDA FRISARO, Associated Press
Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
February 07, 2017
WHAT A DIFFICULT LIFE....WHAT A INSPIRATIONAL LIFE....THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR REMARKABLE LIFE WITH THE WORLD THROUGH BOOKS, MAGAZINES, MOVIES AND VIDEO INTERVIEWS... HOLDING YOU IN THOUGHT AND PRAYER....MANY BLESSINGS TO THE MASSAQUOI FAMILY
November 09, 2016 | Indianapolis, IN
Your book helped me a lot.I'm sorry for the family.Rest in peace.
May 14, 2013 | Göttingen
Dear Hans, thank you for living a life of dedication to diversity and joy. I know that your life has eternity and vision. Thank you
April 07, 2013 | Hamburg, CA
My condolences go out to the family an friends. What a person I read his book.
March 23, 2013 | Philadelphia, PA
My adoration to an inspiring human being and condolences to the family.
March 17, 2013 | Lübeck, Germany
Thank you!Baako Ye worldwide!
February 27, 2013 | Hannover, Germany
I'm very sad, that you gone..
Ruhe in Frieden,
Herr Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi...
February 26, 2013 | Istanbul
I translated his book into french and Hans-Jürgen Massaquoi became familiar to me. Although I never had any contact to him, as I heard about his death, it was as if a relative of mine died. May his soul rest in peace.
My sincerest condolences to his family.
February 22, 2013 | Evry, France