In a little-known chapter of World War II, Black people living in Nazi Germany and occupied Europe were subjected to ostracization, forced sterilization, and incarceration in internment and concentration camps. In the absence of public commemoration, African diaspora writers and artists have preserved the stories of these forgotten victims of the Third Reich. Their works illuminate the relationship between creative expression and wartime survival and the role of art in the formation of collective memory.

This groundbreaking book explores a range of largely overlooked literary and artistic works that challenge the invisibility of Black wartime history. Emphasizing Black agency, Sarah Phillips Casteel examines both testimonial art by victims of the Nazi regime and creative works that imaginatively reconstruct the wartime period. Among these are the internment art of Caribbean painter Josef Nassy, the survivor memoir of Black German journalist Hans J. Massaquoi, the jazz fiction of African American novelist John A. Williams and Black Canadian novelist Esi Edugyan, and the photomontages of Scottish Ghanaian visual artist Maud Sulter. Bridging Black and Jewish studies, this book identifies the significance of African diaspora experiences and artistic expression for Holocaust history, memory, and representation.

SARAH PHILLIPS CASTEEL is professor of English at Carleton University, where she is cross-appointed to the Institute of African Studies, and a member of the Holocaust Educational Foundation’s Academic Council. Her most recent books are Calypso Jews: Jewishness in the Caribbean Literary Imagination (Columbia, 2016) and the coedited volume Caribbean Jewish Crossings: Literary History and Creative Practice (2019).

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