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Mixis Living Trailblazers

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HANS J MASSAQUOI, was born January 19, 1926 to a German mother and Liberian father, the grandson of Momulu Massaquoi, the consul general of Liberia in Germany at the time. His childhood and youth in Hamburg occurred during the Nazi rise to power. At the time he was only one of a few mixed race children living in Germany. Growing up, he was not allowed to join the German army because of his “non-Aryan” background; he was not persecuted but treated as a second-class citizen. His recount, “Growing up Black in Germany” is thought to be the sole biography of the Nazi era from a black viewpoint. The work came out of the longtime journalist's memories of his experiences during the Nazi era, which began in the 1930s when National Socialist Party leader Adolf Hitler took control of Germany and soon put in motion a plan to dominate Europe. That plan also included the elimination of all Jews, and other segments of the European populace--such as gypsies and gays--were also targeted for death.

He left Germany and immigrated to the US and became a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. With his GI bill he studied journalism at the University of Illinois followed by a career at Jet magazine and then Ebony magazine, where he became managing editor. His position allowed him to interview many historical figures of the arts, politics and civil rights movement.