Why do Hispanic women like black men





Martha Mamozai

Women and Colonialism - Perpetrators and Victims

A historical journey of discovery

There are, in my opinion, many reasons why this issue is important right now; I would like to briefly address two of them:

First: The flood of books and articles about women and their participation in shaping the future, discussions about women and power, female values ​​- all just positive qualities, of course - as the basis for a new, better world is currently increasing. Women set to work to conjure up the "good woman", men jump on this bandwagon and, in the absence of their own concepts, adopt these new old prejudices. In my opinion, this is a disastrous development. Because reality is different, as we can experience with the example of this historical epoch: In the search for women in colonialism, we discover women who have sided with injustice and violence and thus become accomplices of the ruling (male) Ideologies that have become accomplices and accomplices, we track down the other women, those who disturb the unadulterated image of the "good woman" - in the harmony of the Song of Solomon create discordant notes about women as better people.

These disillusionment but, painful as it may be, it is necessary; It is important to leave the protective gardens of innocence, to give up the privilege of innocence - the role of victim in order to maintain an eternal good conscience - not to let women degenerate into abstract ideas, but to understand their undivided human potential, including the unloved to deal with repressed properties and thus to create the prerequisites for facing (co-) responsibility in the past and present.

Secondly: As Germans, we are at a historic turning point: With the accession of the former GDR to the Federal Republic, Germany will become bigger, stronger and more powerful. I fear that this will not be particularly conducive to our behavior towards other countries, both European and non-European. Since the revolution in the GDR at the latest, it has become public how we behave towards others, especially those who are economically weaker: In our relations with the former GDR, so much of the same paternalism, above-below-thinking, arrogance and arrogance comes to light as they have been common practice since the beginning of colonialism until today - also in what is now called "development cooperation". There must be something about the Quality of relationships to other countries, to change our attitude towards the "rest of the world".

So if we go on the search for traces of women in colonialism, as members of the conquerors as well as the conquered nations, we see them as an opportunity, and they will become a real "voyage of discovery".

1. Discovery:

Women from all walks of life were involved in colonialism, including the slave trade, from the start. They were just as greedy, brutal and racist as the men.

In current literature, colonialism is still presented, if not as a male domain, at least as a gender-neutral story. In reality, however, the women of the conquering nations were part of the party, in all areas, in all colonies, and they came from all social ranks, classes and classes.

At the beginning of Spanish conquista for example there was a woman: Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Castile and later Spain. Her marriage to Ferdinand II of Aragon in 1469 was a smart move; It united the two kingdoms of Castile and Aragon and thus strengthened the Spanish nation, which could only plunge into the colonial adventure on this basis. It was this Isabella on whose behalf the Genoese Christopher Columbus sailed to find a western sea route to India. On his third voyage west in 1497/98, Columbus took the first thirty Spanish women on board, which was soon followed by a steady influx of more women.

What Isabella was to the Spanish conquista, Elizabeth I, Queen of England and Ireland, was to the English slave trade. Officially she disapproved of it, but never forbade it, although she did Makes possessed to do so. On the contrary, Elisabeth shared it Profits from the slave trade with the sea robbers and human robbers and transferred important state offices to the most successful of them. Hawkins, one of her favorites, became treasurer and vice-admiral of the royal fleet, Francis Drake, like Hawkins knighted by her, even an admiral.

Let's remember this lucrative one "Triangular trade", in which people from Africa were exchanged for manufactured products from England for the plantations of America, paid for with sugar or bills of exchange, due in England, one of the Cornerstone of the growing industrialization of Europe was. Cautious historians estimate that in the four centuries of the European trade in "black skins" more than 10 million people were robbed, abducted and enslaved. About a third of them were women.

Even among the Slave traders there were women. Doña Maria de Crusz, for example, the daughter of a former governor from Calabar (now Nigeria), owned two slave ships and was still in business in 1826. Even if the evidence is thin here, we have no reason to hope that Doña Crusz would have been the "famous" exception who got their hands less dirty in this bloody business. In our historical consciousness, this chapter has been largely superseded by other dire events. Let us therefore hear what an eyewitness of a slave transport to America reports: "I saw pregnant women who gave birth to their babies while they were chained to dead bodies whose bodies our drunken overseers had not removed ... The younger women did better at first, since they were allowed to come on deck as companions for our crew ... By the end of the voyage, which lasted nearly six weeks, the high mortality had greatly reduced their numbers, and a number of women were driven down as company for them Men "(Falconbridge, cited in Philip S. Foner 1975, p. 121).

This "they were allowed to come on deck" is not a privilege, as the eyewitness might suggest, but the provision for rape. Rape and sexual exploitation continued on the plantations. While the principle was initially called "it is cheeper to buy than to breed" (it is cheaper to buy than to breed), this attitude changed over time. The female slaves were now assigned to other slaves in order to bear as many children as possible - the most important commodity produced on the plantations.

And on the Plantations they stood face-to-face, the mistresses and their slaves, whether as members of the ruling society they only benefited from the exploitation of the slave economy, indulged in feudal luxury, kept "negroes" as "toys" or managed the huge estates themselves.

A spanish wife was the highest status symbol for the conquistadors. As a result, many of the married men had their wives join them, sometimes even after they had been away from home for 15 or 20 years. Young Creole women, women of Spanish origin born in the "New World", liked to marry battle-marked conquistadors whom they would soon leave behind as rich widows. As such, until a remarriage that could only increase their possessions, they could manage their estates themselves.

Many of these women had a reputation for being even more heartless and cruel to their slaves than their husbands. They included women like Maria de Escobar, who lived in Peru in the 16th century, or Doña Catalina de los Rios de Lisperguer from Chile. The latter had many lives on her conscience, including her father and one of her lovers, but also 40 Indians, many of whom suffered the marks of barbaric torture. She was charged but the sentence was mild, she only had to leave her lands and was under house arrest in Santiago. When she died five years later, she was buried in the Augustinian church in the habit of a nun. During her lifetime she had been a generous donor and benefactress of the church, and this church was itself part of the society of slavery.

Also in the American southern states racist men's society gave white women their ruling class very special opportunities to manage huge plantations. The white mistresses used their hour, which had usually struck when the husband gave the time, which was not so rare in a time with countless military skirmishes. The fact that the slave armies without rights, both men and women, black were allowed - entirely in keeping with the logic of this settler patriarchy - that white women could dispose of them as labor. On the other hand, women who commanded white men as workers were less popular.

But even the women, who committed themselves to a kind of "philanthropic-Christian" slavery, did not question this in principle and could dispose of the considerable ones without remorse or scruples Income from the possession of slaves and plantations.

The history of the Spanish conquest is also full of examples of Women who actively supported their husbands struggles, they encouraged and took care of the sick and the wounded. On the occasion of his visit to Arequipa, Peru, on September 19, 1580, Philip II expressed his gratitude in a speech especially to the women of this city who responded to his appeal for donations to cover the enormous costs incurred in the wars against Turks, pagans and infidels had complied generously. They had sacrificed not only money but also their personal jewelry.

With the army of sailors, soldiers, traders and other adventurers, the urban culture of the Spaniards in South America had a pronounced effect Brothels developed. It seems like there is some sort of it Division of labor given between Indian and Spanish women. While Indian women were mainly used for sexual services to men, Spanish women took over the neglected cultural side. Many of them were entertainers, singers, musicians.

We do not know if Ceuta was conquered as early as 1415 Portuguese women were part of the party. Evidence of their presence comes later when they appeared in the various fortresses of the conquerors in the occupied Moroccan territories. It was mostly about the Wives of the fortress commanders and around poor relatives from Portugal. At the side of their husbands, the women took an active part in the numerous attacks and defensive skirmishes against the "Moors", as the Muslims were called at the time - and that at a time when women hardly appeared in public life in their Portuguese homeland stepped and the customs and morals of those days were that of a strict society of men. Only with the Succession, which was only important for the haves, the women of that epoch got off well: They inherited in equal parts as men and had the right to decide on their own property, their dowries and inheritances. These laws were important for maintaining Portuguese rule in the gigantic looted overseas holdings.

And this leads us to the next great discovery.

2. Discovery:

The gender-specific role of white women of the conquering nations lay in securing racial rule; they have embraced and actively supported this role intended for them by men.

The king and government in Lisbon disapproved of the connections between Portuguese men and African women; because the rule in the conquered areas should not be endangered by an "Africanization" of the elite. So they developed a special strategy: the government awarded large lands as "Crown land" to Portuguese women on the condition that they marry a white Portuguese. Only the daughters from such "pure white" Portuguese marriages should be entitled to inheritance - but only if they in turn married a white Portuguese. Violations should result in the loss of the crown land. In the area around the Zambezi River, these eminently rich women who exploited their African slaves under inhumane conditions were called the "Doñas de Zambesia". The economic and political power, which was linked to their presence on the Zambezi, seems to have increased their self-confidence towards their husbands enormously. We have received numerous testimonials about this. However, there were too few white Portuguese, and if the Doñas wanted other men, they would also marry Indo- or Afro-Portuguese. The families of the Doñas darkened from generation to generation without the Lisbon authorities being able to check or even prevent this.

The Lisbon bureaucracy invented yet another variant of the racist securing of rule in the colonies, the so-called. "King's Orphans". These were specially selected marriageable young Portuguese women from the orphanages of the capital Lisbon and the port city of Oporto. Each of them got one dowry in the form of a medium or smaller Colonial civil servant post for the Portuguese who decided to marry her. This system was used systematically and successfully, particularly in the Portuguese conquests of the Indian subcontinent.

The same problem arose in the German colonialism. With the increasing economic development of the colonies after their military pacification, the colonial lobby asked itself more and more urgently for one reliable way of securing power. If one wanted to exclude the indigenous peoples permanently from the participation in power, rule and wealth, then nothing was better suited than them because of them "Race" to exclude. In this case, however, the watchword was not just to be "white", but to be "white and german".

The "problem" got its highly explosive explosiveness from the steady growth of a "mixed race population". All children born in wedlock who had German husbands with wives of the colonial peoples would automatically have become Germans and would therefore have had all the civil and civil rights of Germans. Theoretically, one day a "colored man" would have had the opportunity to become a general of the "Schutztruppe", police prefect, judge or even governor of a colony. Such ideas seem to have terrified the German colonial lobby. Therefore it became a so-called "Prohibition of mixed marriages" enact. But it was clear to all those involved in the discussion: The so-called "cessation" of the male colonial elite was ultimately only possible through one sufficient "supply" of white German women be solved.

The first unmarried women who were allowed to travel through the women's immigration program of the "German Colonial Society" arrived in the colony "German South West Africa" ​​at the beginning of 1898. They were all married in no time.

In contrast to the situation in the Portuguese colonies, however, it was clear to the German colonial women: "... it is out of the question that a German woman does not unite in the same blood!" (Zieschank 1918, p. 108). However, this in no way ruled out that German women were not attracted to local men - on the contrary, there are plenty of references to this in their books. But if they did not want to be excluded from participation in colonial rule, they had to strictly insist on racial segregation.

There was no shortage of applicants for a free crossing, on the contrary, only a small number of the women interested could be considered and "sent" after a strict selection. If we now pursue the question of why the colonial system was so attractive to the colonialists, we are already approaching the third discovery.

3. Discovery:

The stay in the colonies meant social advancement for the colonial women and a tremendous appreciation of their status - compared to that at home.

As we have seen, the Portuguese colonial rulers had opened the way to colonial honors for later daughters or poor orphans.And most of the German women in overseas "protected areas" came from the lower classes, at least those who were placed through the immigration programs: They were mostly servants or girls from the country, but also kindergarten teachers, teachers or office workers in old age between 20 and 35 years. For them, staying in the colonies almost always turned out to be one of them social advancement. Some took advantage of the opportunity and went into business for themselves as tailors, café owners, laundresses or seamstresses, got into the leisure business for members of the "Schutztruppe" or speculated on the Lüderitzbucht diamond exchange. Most, however, got married and thus rose to the class of the highly respected "planter's wives". One of them, Maria Karow, who lived in Okambahe, South West Africa, said: "Here the German woman has the opportunity to work in her own area, that of the housewife and mother. Nowhere does housekeeping play a greater role than in one such new settlement land ... "(Karow 1911, p. 139). And another, Margarethe von Eckenbrecher, enthused: "Nowhere else in the world are we German women given so much veneration by the masters of creation as in our colonies" (von Eckenbrecher 1940, p. 45). That the Participation of German women in power and fame related only to the subjugated colonized population was evidently ousted. Because where important colonial political decisions were made, they had nothing to report, these were purely male bodies such as the Agriculture Council in the colony of South West Africa, in which only women were entitled to vote who ran a farm "in the absence of men". Mission statement and But ideal was the German Christian housewife and mother, the reward for their submissiveness too "Guardian of Culture" was stylized and experienced an unusual upgrade in this role. How women dealt with it leads us to the next discovery.

4. Discovery:

The colonial women thanked for the unusual social recognition with the utmost loyalty and ardent nationalism.

We have already seen above how Spanish and Portuguese colonialists approach the Distribution of the conquests involved. We encounter the same phenomenon in the German colonies. There the German women were the "mistresses", partakers of power. And that's why these women were ready to defend "their" colony skin and hair. Some of them excelled with particularly spectacular heroic pieces. No one has dedicated statues and books to them, but their reputation and that of their heroic deeds have penetrated the wider public and at least achieved topicality in politics. To one of the early Heroines Margarethe Leue was, for example, "a simple girl in a deaconess' robe". When an uprising broke out in the colony of Cameroon in 1893, Margarethe Leue was locked in the pharmacy with some men. "The brave little troop stayed in the poorly built little house for a whole day: the sister, as the only woman, carried the ammunition with prudent bravery under the constant rain of bullets and took care of the wounded. But the dire situation did not prevent her, to move back into her completely devastated and shot-down ward after the uprising - (and alone, because the second sister had fallen ill with a fever shortly before the uprising and died) - and later, married, to live a long time in the colony. Self-sacrificing, brave and able to cope with any situation, they are pioneers as the fatherland can use them outside "(Nießen-Dieters 1913, p. 70). The picture and story of the heroine went through the entire imperial press. In such unusual situations, women were accepted even if they left their traditional place. But that was, how could it be otherwise, determined by the three big Ks, children, kitchen, church. And by examining the everyday situation of colonial women, we are getting closer to the next discovery.

5. Discovery:

There is a specifically female racism of colonial women, the roots of which are rooted in their identity, the identification with the values ​​of an extremely male-dominated, Christian-occidental culture.

Since the days of the Conquista it was Superiority of the Christian-occidental culture the most widely used argument to justify the overseas conquests. Then the Europeans set out to bring culture and the right faith to the "savages". Equipped with this Christian sense of mission, hosts also poured out Missionaries of all faiths in all corners of the earth.

But there is also another whole specifically female variant this Philosophy of superiority. In the history we are familiar with, women were and are "the opposite sex" to distinguish them from men. But this is rarely reflected in their consciousness. Rather, women essentially identified themselves with their cultural origins, especially in colonialism. The "Be different" The women of the conquering nations almost always put them on the same footing in colonial history "Be better" on yourself and with "Inferiority" related to the "other" women of the conquered nations. As legitimation had to be hers pedantic housekeeping serve. The Prejudices, which the German colonialists disseminated in numerous popular publications, for the most part persisted to this day. Let's take a closer look at some of them.

First claim: "They are dirty and stink".

While Clara Brockmann never allowed "her" girl Elli to do anything else in the kitchen than making tea ("she wasn't even allowed to stir the dough while baking a cake") and never drank from a cup or a glass that had already been cleaned by "the native", had not been rinsed again under running water, "native women" stared for Lydia Höpker with dirt and "smelled a few meters away". Should anyone have any doubts, they stated - as a trump card, so to speak - "that with black skin you cannot always exactly determine the presence of uncleanliness". Such assertions were made by German women again and again and in endless variations. At home this prejudice could fall on fertile ground, especially with women, because most German housewives also value cleanliness, because one "proper housekeeping" was her whole pride and from it she was hers Identity as a woman based. The examples could therefore make sense and the prejudice could easily be adopted. "With you it looks like the Hottentots!" was a widespread saying that came up occasionally in my own school days.

Second claim: "You are ugly".

It is a special feature of our male-dominated society to rate women on the attribute "beautiful". As dependent, dependent appendages of their husbands, women must at least be beautiful. Women have internalized these norms. Every woman becomes a possible one Competitor reduced by the man - in the position in which the colonial settlers found themselves, from their point of view a situation that could threaten their existence: Every woman who is eliminated as a competitor due to her "ugliness" increases the judge's self-esteem and secures it their status. Even if they run out of arguments, such as Frieda Zieschank, who followed her husband, a doctor, to Samoa and couldn't help but find the island population beautiful, at least it is still true that women of "colored tribes" are as beautiful as they are like, "cannot stand the comparison with the white woman, both individually and as a whole ...". (Zieschank 1918, p. 23)

Third claim: "You are stupid".

Significantly, these claims are almost entirely based on examples relating to the Skills of German housewives relate to sewing, rinsing, blueing, starching, hanging and laying the laundry, flattening, etc. Your knowledge and skills were not questioned, but considered to be generally valid. The question of how the German settlers would have done when building a pontok, weaving baskets, making pottery, brewing beer or making bark materials - all crafts that African women mastered like a master - did not even arise.

Fourth claim: "They are lazy, bold, insidious, they lie and steal ...".

These are all claims that have been measured against the false ideals and pseudo-morals of colonial society. Because in reality it was the Germans who invaded foreign countries without being asked, stole land, cattle and natural resources from the peoples living there, who had pillaged and murdered, enslaved people. As part of the colonial elite, the colonial women openly turned the truth upside down. And so is the alleged one idleness not understood as what it really was, namely Refusal to work and thus a form of the Resistance, as it was practiced especially by women.

Fifth claim: "They are flirtatious, go after white men and ruin them in every way".

Here is the Sexual competition clear, which sometimes increases to open hatred. Here is a sample: A white "gentleman" meets "indigenous women", he "shrank back from the stinking bodies that had never washed and on which the breasts fell like black peelings of a fruit". This is how the writer, Margarete Kierstein (1935, p. 6) would have liked to have it. The reality, however, looked completely different, otherwise there would never have been a need for a ban on mixed marriages! But the German colonial women did not agree to this reality either.

The foreign women represented a threat and a challenge at the same time for them: They were "wild" women, that is, they had not gone through the patriarchal-bourgeois school of women's oppression and therefore did not correspond to the ideal of the tamed woman who had her own oppression internalized and shrunk to housewife, wife and mother. Where they refused to bear children to the colonial rulers as future work slaves, they denied the colonial rulers control over their female productive power, the ability to bear children. As a result, they inevitably had to remind German women that they had long since ceased to have control over their own bodies. And while the white world took note that the women of the colonial peoples used the birth strike as a means of resistance, knew and used abortion means and methods, there was only one thing for the white German women in the colonies: to bear as many children as possible. A challenge that white women did not rise to; on the contrary, they repressed it and responded with insult, contempt, enslavement and abuse of local women. The numerous descriptions of the missionaries also show that the main aim was to tame the nudity and sexuality of the women who were subjugated.

We find out what incredible methods this sometimes happened with Margarethe von Eckenbrecher as an example. She tells of a special Sunday custom from South West Africa: "For the young girls in the village, making them beautiful consisted of putting on a white linen bandage around their foreheads. This bandage represented the symbol of chastity, it was introduced by a missionary. A virgin owed herself something come, which aroused public annoyance, then the council of Ouderlinge (church elders) met under the presidency of the missionary. The following Sunday the white bandage was removed from the girl's forehead in front of the devout, morally indignant congregation. She had to go to school and church stay away until she repented, she had six weeks to do so. She was never allowed to wear the white bandage again "(von Eckenbrecher 1940, p. 48).

Yes, they saw themselves as the measure of all women: white German housewives. The narrow, narrow-minded, provincial, reactionary view of what was good and bad, orderly, moral, feminine, let other women humiliate, even destroy them. Whatever fanatical, sexist and racist hatred they had to offer, it was above all the women of the colonized peoples on whom they poured it. And it never occurred to them to reconsider their situation as women, to recognize their own unworthy situation. Because, no question about it, in their families and in their society the men set the tone. By yourself though identified with the goals and values ​​of their masters, They not only suppressed their own oppression, but also robbed themselves of the chance to use their stay among foreign peoples as a learning process for themselves. Instead they brought mischief and injustice, they made themselves complicit in the subjugation and exploitation of colonies, the destruction and fall of entire peoples and cultures. And all for that little bit of recognition from her white men who betrayed her a hundred times over.

How far the colonial women in theirs Identification and complicity with men and their values went, and how they confronted their victims, I would like to illustrate with an example.

"If I had been a man ..."

The year is 1913. It is the 25th year of Kaiser Wilhelm II's reign. Europe's new belief in progress is celebrating triumphs. Art and culture flourish. The social contrasts continue to intensify; While a large part of the population can no longer afford meat due to the enormous rise in prices, luxury restaurants for the nobility and bourgeoisie are flourishing, in Berlin for example Kempinski, Adlon or Café Kranzler. The threatening lightning of an approaching world war is looming on the political stage. The rivalry between the European colonial powers for raw material sources and sales markets is intensifying. The German (men's) Reichstag, in which the Social Democrats have formed the strongest parliamentary group with 110 seats for the first time since the 1912 elections, approves an increase in the defense budget. Anti-Semitism is taking shape: in the German Reich there are already 17 associations that require their members to confess non-Jewish descent. Across Europe, there is fierce fighting for equality and the right to vote for women, which only exists in two countries, Finland and Norway. In South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi demonstrates with over 2,000 supporters against racism and apartheid. In 1913, the book by the German farmer Ada Cramer from the "Südwest" colony was published in Berlin ...

Windhoek, capital of the colony of German South West Africa, on April 4, 1913: At 11 o'clock in the morning, the court of appeal issued the following judgment: "The farmer Ludwig Cramer, Otjisororindi, is committed to natives for 4 months because of dangerous bodily harm with coercion Imprisonment and a fine of 2,700 marks, and sentenced to pay half of the court costs ". [1]

As a result of this judgment, the sentence of 21 months imprisonment given in the first instance was considerably lessened in favor of the defendant. This closed a case that not only violently moved the minds of those affected and the white farmers, but also made waves in the German and foreign press. What was it about?

After various economic failures and speculations that went wrong, Ludwig Cramer tried his luck in the colonies. In 1907 he embarked with his wife Ada - the four children initially stayed in Germany - on the "Adolf Woermann", course: German South West Africa. There they buy a farm, 20,000 hectares in size, at that time one hectare cost thirty to fifty pfennigs.

"The land is more than expected beautiful and fertile, partly heavy wheat soil, dense, lush pasture and lots of tree growth everywhere," enthuses Ada Cramer. "But the fact that a large number of people had inhabited the country a few years ago could no longer be felt in the slightest". The once "numerous people" were the Herero. The Germans, headed by General Lothar von Trotha, waged a "total war" against them, who were fighting for the freedom and independence of their people: "Within the German border, every Herero, with or without a rifle, with or without cattle, is shot . I no longer take in women or children, drive them back to their people or have them shot ", he announced in his proclamation of October 2, 1904. In 1884 the Southwest colony was declared a German" protected area "; In 1892 the Herero were estimated to be around 80,000. According to official statistics from 1909/10, 19,962 of them were still alive. About 3,000 had managed to escape to Bechuanaland. All the others were either shot or driven into the desert and perished miserably there.

There was a chronic shortage of labor throughout the German colonies. This was based on the one hand on the massive refusal of the local population in the occupied territories to work for the new masters, on the other hand the consequences of the violent and bloody colonial wars had an impact, as well as the high rate of flight and death among the abducted, uprooted slave laborers . But the birth strike, which many of the colonized women used as their very own weapon of resistance, is also showing its effects. So one of the most important problems in the German colonies was the recruitment of a sufficient number of workers.

The Cramers were also faced with this problem: "We had great difficulty getting the natives we needed from the district office. In the end we received three men, Hereros, five women and six children between the ages of 7 and 3/4 years. These people were just had been captured, had defended themselves and shot, killing 7 people by the shipyard ".

In the colonial scene it was called the "Workers Question", and the Germans came up with a few special methods to answer it. In all German colonies, forced labor was the rule for the local population. The German colonial administration found many ways and means to enforce it; often enough on the "clean" administrative route. For example, on August 18, 1907, ordinances were issued in colonial South West Africa, which included the following measures, among other things: From that day on, the African population was prohibited from acquiring land and keeping livestock, as well as introducing passport laws and "regulated" contract work . These "native ordinances" were the nucleus of apartheid. The Africans were settled in ghettos close to the homes and workplaces of the whites; passports and registration requirements abolished their freedom of movement. The ban on land acquisition and livestock farming robbed them of their independent traditional livelihood. So they had to become wage slaves for the whites.

Part of the strategy to solve the problem of the prevailing, everywhere noticeable labor shortage, was the use of prisoners of war. Prisoners of war were assigned to mining companies, plantations and farms as labor and also used for public works. The proportion of women and children among them was high. With the Herero in South West Africa, for example, the women and their children accompanied the men into battle according to an old tradition. They were captured by the Germans just like their men. Often, however, women and children were deliberately robbed or held hostage in order to blackmail the related men either additionally or on their behalf as workers. Through escape (attempts), refusal to work, sabotage, the forced recruits attempted to revolt, to defend themselves, to offer resistance.

This was also the situation on Cramer's farm, and it came to a head: the Cramer felt threatened. Allegedly the local servants wanted to poison the Cramer family and their cattle. There was talk of a root called Okukaikai. There was also constant cattle theft. In order to "clear up" these incidents, Cramer beat up brutally with the shambock, the hippopotamus whip. With a few exceptions, the victims were mostly women and some of them were pregnant.

The trial expert, Dr. Holländer, at the first hearing on September 12, 1912:

"In my opinion, the Konturu had a miscarriage (...) I cannot say with certainty whether it can be traced back to the beating. In any case, it is not impossible that the psychological effect of the beating caused the miscarriage. Maria had There were welts on her face as well as from blows with a stick. During her major injuries she had had severe wound fever and had been in mortal danger for a long time. At present the woman - who had groaned and groaned on the floor when she appeared in the courtroom - is undoubtedly exaggerating. The large skin defect caused by multiple blows falling next to each other could not be eliminated (...). Amalia had a 20 x 12 cm skin defect, but better healing skin when she was young; it has been restored and should not suffer any adverse consequences (. The Auma had a skin defect measuring 20 x 18 cm with fly maggots and burned skin on the edges, as well as smaller skin defects on the shoulder and breasts. She was obsolete and died. A connection between the blows and death cannot be proven. Magdalene also had many ulcer wounds, also on her breasts, the fever she had was evidently not a wound fever, the woman must have been missing something else ... ".

Nine months later, on April 3, 1913, the public prosecutor made his plea and additionally stated:

"The consequences of the Maria case turned out to be the most difficult. Perhaps those involved who were present at the last appointment remember that the witness, a weak, broken woman, could no longer stand upright at that time, was carried into the courtroom had to, and at that time one dared to claim that the witness was simulating. Today the woman is dead. That the witness died as a result of the bodily harm has not been proven. Fortunately for the defendant nothing could be established in this regard (. ..). Most of the injured had open wounds 9 months after the crime (...). "

During the trial, the accused's wife, Ada Cramer, was also heard as a witness. The "Südwest Bote" reported in detail. She claims not to have known anything about some of the beatings at first. The trial drags on - until an incident occurs: "The chief judge breaks off a piece of the root known as okukaikai and smiles at it, saying to the witness:" You see, it works for me quite well. "Then stands up the witness suddenly leaves the chair and calls with clenched hands in front of the judge's table, moving in a tear-choked voice: "Oh, Herr Oberrichter, don't mock, don't mock our need! You don't know what we went through! "In the further course of the negotiation, the chairman vigorously protests against the fact that he somehow wanted to ridicule. Ms. Cramer describes the pain that she only had after drinking the poisoned senna tea:" Just as if a poor sinner was being braided onto a bike, that's what I felt. The whole back was straight as if smashed into small pieces. "

The negotiation continues. "When she said that she had cut open the women's outer garments before the beating, and that her husband's hands were trembling too much with excitement, the chairman lifted the shamrock and said:" He was not able to untie the clothes, but he could beat ! "Witness:" My husband has never beaten inhumanly. "President:" I am sorry, Madam, if you take the point that these women were treated humanely. For myself, I take the position that they have been treated inhumanely. "Witness (crying):" I want to see the man who loves his wife and children and who doesn't, and I want to see the woman who loves her husband went through what I went through ".

Mrs. Cramer, the "madam", has no word of pity for the tortured victims. On the contrary. She assists the thug, her husband. Cut the women's clothes so that he can strike better. No trace of regret, no sense of injustice. But Ada Cramer goes even further. In the same year she wrote and published her defense paper and in it she said: "If I had been a man, I would have shot all women over."

Ada Cramer was not an isolated incident. On September 17, 1911, the farmer Elisabeth Ohlsen killed the "Klippkaffer" Deubib with a branch. She was acquitted. Marie von Weiher from the Omaruru district was also found guilty of premeditated murder "under attenuating circumstances". She was sentenced to either a £ 300 fine or eighteen months in prison. However, these spectacular cases, which were reported in the "Windhoek News" and in the "British Blue Book", are only the tip of an iceberg under which everyday violence and structural injustice were concealed, with German women claiming to be reliable accomplices of their racist men proven.

6. Discovery:

Women were always "children of their time" and have consciously and unconsciously adopted and spread colonialist and / or racist prejudices. How much women - even if they were not directly entangled in colonialism, but remained trapped in colonial and racist thinking, we learn from numerous relevant examples from women in the German Reich.

First there are those open propagandists, who aggressively represent the "colonial idea" such as in the "Women's Association of the German Colonial Society", founded in 1908 by Adda von Liliencron and other "colonial friends", or in the "German Women's Association for Nursing in the Colonies", later renamed "German Women's Association of the Red" Cross for the Colonies ". In addition to the recruitment of women interested in overseas, these women promoted "the colonial idea" through exhibitions, speeches, fundraising and publications of all kinds. Most of these women came from families who had a direct interest in owning and maintaining German colonies.

But also the women motivated women At that time, at their international congresses, they accepted without contradiction that European women presented themselves as "representatives" of the women of other - the subject - nations, that to relax after the heated strategy discussions, so-called "peoples' exhibitions" were attended together, such as the colonial exhibition in Berlin in 1896 which, in addition to products, also showed people from the colonies, or a year later the "Congo Exhibition" at the Brussels Congress. Hagenbeck's Völkerschaustellungen were a generally accepted offer of amusement that "exerted the greatest attraction on the broad masses," as contemporary newspapers wrote - so it was entirely acceptable for the otherwise rebellious women.

They were children of their time too social democratic women, including the first female MPs. Marie Juchacz, for example, who was temporarily responsible for the editing of the women's newspaper "Die Equality", openly sided with the proponents of German colonial ownership in her essay "Peace treaty and colonial work": "Even in our ranks, the idea got through" , she wrote, "that a people of seventy million with strong industrial development need colonies (...)." And Clara Bohm-Schuch, a colleague of Marie Juchacz's parliamentary group, rejected capitalism and imperialism, but only in order to appoint the socialists as chosen "bearers of culture". A socialist state, she said, could not do without colonial property. But, she continued, "socialism alone is (...) also called to carry out the cultural work that has to be done in foreign parts of the world (...)". This took place at a time when Germany had already lost its overseas territories after the First World War. With the colonial possession, so the prevailing sense of the time, the defeated Germany should be reintegrated into the ranks of the strong European states and the injured national feeling of the Germans rehabilitated.

Although the proper names of the peoples living under European violence were well known through ethnographic and other colonial sciences, the people of the South Seas became in the popular usage to "Kanaken", the South West Africa to "Kaffirs" or "Hottentots", always used as synonyms for backwardness, stupidity, "subhumanity". "We don't want to be Kaffirs any more", that's why the Jewish poet Else Lasker-Schüler, who later had to flee from the racist Nazis herself, can shout out unabashedly in 1920 when she and her poet colleagues were thrown out of their regular café because of insufficient consumption. Relics of this popular colonialist-racist linguistic usage have survived to our day, as has the equation of black equals evil, bad and ominous.

Another addendum: The takeover of power by the National Socialists finally brought the colonial women's association the understanding that it had always wanted. And that, so read in his annual report 1933/34, he owed only "our Führer Adolf Hitler". The incorporation of the federal government into the National Socialist "Reichskolonialbund" went off without a hitch. For women who had declared themselves "master men" in the colonies, the thought category "sub-human" was nothing new, they simply expanded it and, in addition to the "Kanaks" and "Kaffirs", it now also included Jews, Poles and Sintis ...

So let's summarize: There was one in colonialism gender-specific inclusion of women on the part of both the colonialists and the oppressed nations. While the women of the formerly colonized countries are still suffering heavily from the consequences of this historical epoch, we, the heiresses of the former colonial powers, have largely suppressed this chapter of our history. It is time we took responsibility.




Cramer, Ada (1913). White or black, the years of apprenticeship and suffering of a farmer in the Southwest in the light of racial hatred. Berlin.

Eckenbrecher, Margarethe von (1940). What Africa gave and took from me, the experiences of a German woman in South West Africa 1902-1936. Berlin.

Foner, Philip S. (1975). History of Black Americans, From America to the Emergence of the Cotton Kingdom. Westport / London.

Karow, Maria (1911). Where else the warrior's foot stepped. Farm life in the southwest after the war. Berlin.

Kierstein, Margarete (1935). Drums sound through the wilderness. Wroclaw.

Mamozai, Martha (1989). Black woman, white mistress. Reinbek near Hamburg.

The same (1990). Accomplices. Reinbek near Hamburg.

Nießen-Deiters, Leonore (1913). The German woman abroad and in the protected areas. Berlin.

Zieschank, Frieda (1918). A decade in Samoa. Leipzig.

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