With 1,895 seats, the Friedrichstadt-Palast serves as Europe’s largest and most modern show theatre. The Berlin institution has a hundred years of history behind it and was rebuilt in 1984 – on a gigantic scale. The Friedrichstadt-Palast is home to the largest theatre stage in the world. Every year, for two weeks, the theatre is transformed into a “film palace” for The Berlin International Film Festival (German: Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), also called the Berlinale.

German ‘Brown Baby’ Documentary: Open Souls


(Film: 2011) In the women’s prison in little Bavarian town Aichach, 1954/55, right in the course of the German Economic Miracle known as the Wirtschaftswunder, two women deliver their babies behind bars. But both boys – literally part of a golden generation – are not born into a motherhood-apple-pie world. Oppression, misery and the quest for a home will define their paths through life.

Besides carrying the stigma of being born in jail, the kids have a more far-reaching thing in common: they are ‘children of shame’ – descendants of German mothers and coloured GIs; German Brown Babies, Mischlingskinder.  Open Souls chronicles the winding roads in the lives of Udo Ackermann and Herbert – or Rudi Richardson and Alberto Seixas Santos, as they are known these days. Alberto endured years of suffering at the hands of his German grandfather, in foster homes and special schools. Rudi was sent to the still racially segregated US for adoption, beginning a 30-year downward spiral of drug abuse and crime after he learned of his adoption in his late teens. Open Souls is a movie about spiritual and physical homes – and the struggle to grow roots without a family tree.

Documentary: Brown Babies: The Mischlingskinder Story


(Film: 2010) Brown Babies: The Mischlingskinder Story reveals a little known chapter of Black history! The film documents an era during post WWII Germany when African American soldiers fathered children with German women. The children became known as ’brown babies’ and/ or Mischlingskinder. These biracial, bicultural, mostly illegitimate babies were often unwanted and placed in orphanages, foster care, or adopted. A must-see film that is not just African American history, it is not just American history, it is world history. Brown Babies: The Mischlingskinder Story is a film that poignantly chronicles the lives of six ‘brown babies’ born in postwar occupation Germany.

Short Film: Our Rhineland

In 1937, under the Third Reich, Germans of mixed race are being rounded up and rendered sterile. The looming threat is dangerously close, yet two sisters struggle over how to react – Sofia yearns to fight, while Marta says cope. Their bond must be stronger than their differences if they are to overcome the horror of the Reich. A Student Emmy winner, A Student DGA winner, Copyright 2009. All rights reserved by the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts. Official Website:

Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany


BOOK: DESTINED TO WITNESS: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany by Hans Massaquoi: In a unique addition to the literature of life under the Third Reich, Massaquoi, a former managing editor of Ebony magazine, chronicles his life as the son of a German nurse and Al-Haj Massaquoi, the son of the Liberian consul general to Germany.

(Film: 2009) Massaquoi, of mixed African-German parentage, came of age in Nazi Germany; he depicts the trauma of his childhood, and his improbable survival of it, in a nuanced, startling memoir. As a small boy, Massaquoi was “fascinated and moved” by Hitler and seduced by Nazi busywork and organized pageantry. Thus he felt exceptionally betrayed upon realizing that there was no place for a “non-Aryan” such as himself in the Reich.

Destined to Witness can be seen in its entirety in 20 parts at DailyMotion

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