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Growing up Black in Nazi Germany - Esther Anumu Fordham

23 Apr 2021

Esther Fordham was a Black woman who, born October 9, 1925 in Hamburg, Germany, came of age during the Nazi era. In this December, 1995 conversation with artist Frank Fitzgerald, Esther discusses her youth, schooling and the reaction of classmates and adult Germans to her specialness. As world conditions darken and war grows to become the norm, she finds discrimination, fear, sorrow and horror, but also generosity and hope.

After the bombings cease, amid the rubble Esther meets and marries an American soldier. Giving birth in an Army hospital, she wonders why she has a whole maternity ward to herself. Later, living in America, she slowly learns about prejudice, segregation and lynchings.

Throughout all, Esther Anumu Fordham strives to see "people as human beings" and succeeds.

In 1997, after having raised a family and worked 20+ years for an airline, Esther retired and returned to Germany. At age 94 years, Esther passed away in 2019.

Family photographs courtesy of Esther Fordham and Dominique Seidler Warias.
Photos of Esther years after the interview -

Two 8mm "home movies" made of Esther's nursery class outings to New York's Central Park may be of interest. She can be heard and seen briefly in each -

In the Magic Machine (1985)

Steiner School Nursery Class in Snowy Central Park (1985)

Hans Massaquoi: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany
Researched report of harsher life of Blacks in Germany


Being black in Nazi Germany

Black Germans Say It’s Time to Look Inward

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