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Invisible Woman: Growing Up Black in Germany (New Directions in German-American Studies) Paperback – May 29, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1433102783 ISBN-10: 1433102781 Edition: New

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Invisible Woman: Growing Up Black in Germany (New Directions in German-American Studies) + Showing Our Colors: Afro-German Women Speak Out + Blues in Black and White: A Collection of Essays, Poetry and Conversations
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Product Details

  • Series: New Directions in German-American Studies (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 163 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.; New edition (May 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433102781
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433102783
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #705,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The Author: Ika Hügel-Marshall has a degree in social pedagogics. She is teaching gender studies and psychological counseling at the Alice-Salomon-Fachhochschule für Sozialarbeit und Sozialpädagogik in Berlin. Trained as a counselor, she primarily works with intercultural teams and bi-national couples. Ika Hügel-Marshall has published various articles on anti-racist consciousness raising and is co-editor of Entfernte Verbindungen: Rassismus, Antisemitismus und Klassenunterdrückung (1993). In 1996, Ika Hügel-Marshall received the Audre Lorde Literary Award for the completion of Invisible Woman. She has given numerous readings in Germany, Austria, and the United States. An artist, she has designed book covers and exhibited her drawings and wood sculptures.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By hella e. langer on October 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read this book in the original German edition and thus don't know how well the English edition conveys this example of a very 'German' post-war destiny. Ika was a "Besatzungskind" - a very negative and subjective term for a child born to a German mother and a (most commonly) G.I. father from the "occupation forces". Her story is just one of a whole babyboomer generation of both white,and mixed-race children, and what a sad story it is, particulary of those little "Black Germans"! Ika's coerced removal from her mother and placement into a Christian institution was a common occurance for 'illegitimate' children of any description. The mothers of Black children were seen as nothing more than whores who were not fit to raise the children they should not have had in the first place. The racially motivated mental and physical abuse that Ika endured makes for painful reading - particularly since the abuse was carried out (as it often is)in the name of Christ and for her salvation. That Ika managed to grow up into the strong, beautiful person she is today is a testimony to her strength of character and indomitable spirit. I was so happy for her that she did manage to find her father and come to terms with her struggle over identity. With the growth in recent years of Afro-German organisations I hope that many more stories like Ika's will be published. They will give voice to that previously invisible 'Stolen Generation' who now, in middle-age are finally given a change to come to terms with their unique history and identity.
Postscript: As a white contemporary of Ika's I had many class/playmates who were black, with family backgrounds similar to hers. Certainly the Catholic institution (Jugenddorf Klinge in Seckach/Baden) were I spent some years, was not guilty of evil such as experienced by Ika. For a long time now I have wondered about the subsequent fates of my special friend Monika and the other girls I knew.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By hella e. langer on October 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read this book in the original German edition and thus don't know how well the English edition conveys this example of a very "German" post-war destiny. Ika was a 'Besatzungskind' a very negative and subjective term for a child born to a German mother and (most commonly) a G.I. father of the "occupation forces". Her story is just one of a whole babyboomer generation of both white, and mixed-race children - and what a sad story it is, particulary of those little "Black Germans"! Ika's coerced removal from her mother and placement into a Christian institution was a common occurance for 'illegitimate' children of any description. The mothers of Black children were seen as nothing more than whores who were not fit to raise the children they should not have had in the first place. The racially motivated mental and physical abuse that Ika endured makes for painful reading - particularly since the abuse was carried out (as it often was) in the name of Christ and for her salvation. That Ika grew strong, beautiful she is today is a testimony to her strength of character and indomitable spirit. I was so happy for her that she did manage to find her father and come to terms with her struggle over identity. With the growth in recent years of Afro-German associations I hope that many more stories like Ika's will be published. They will give voice to that previously invisible 'Stolen Generation' who now, in middle-age are finally given a change to come to terms with their unique identity.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By JB on July 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Soon after I began reading Ms Marshall's book I experienced a thrill of recognition. In the brutally honest account of her child and early adulthood in Germany, her stories of recognizing and overcoming her internalized racial self-hatred, I remembered and re-lived some of my own similar experiences growing up as a light-skinned, adopted black child in the black community in Baltimore Maryland.
Ms. Marshall's harsh treatment at the hands of the staff at the home she was sent to as a child sheds light on the brutal and uncaring treatment many children, especially children of color, still experience today. Her writing is both personal and informative (she quotes several government documents of her childhood that "institutionalized" the racist treatment of Afro-Germans) and draws the reader into her story so that one cannot help but become caught up with her as she tells it. I found it difficult to put it down.
That she survived such a childhood and has become both a strong woman and outspoken opponent of racism in Germany, is a testement to her inner power and strength, as well as to the love she received from her mother before she was taken from her at the age of six years old.
Ms. Marshall is still fighting the demons of racism in a country that carries its nationalism in it's breast pocket, as it were. It's not that bad in the US of A...yet.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By hella e. langer on October 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read this book in the original German edition and thus don't know how well the English edition conveys this example of a very 'German'post-war destiny. Ika was a 'Besatzungskind' a very subjective term describing an "occupation forces' child". Her story is just one of a whole babyboomer generation of both white,and mixed-race children of (mainly)U.S. soldiers - and what a sad story it is, particulary for those little 'Black Germans'. Ika's coerced removal from her mother and placement into a Christian (Lutheran)institution was a common occurance for 'illegitimate' children of any description. The mothers of Black children were seen as nothing more than whores who were not fit to raise the children they should have had in the first place. The racially motivated mental and physical abuse that Ika endured makes for painful reading - particularly since the abuse was carried out (as it often is) in the name of Christ and for her salvation. That Ika managed to grow up into the strong, well-balanced person she is today is a testimony to her strength of character and indomitable spirit. I was so happy for her that she did manage to find her father and come to grips with her struggle over identity. With the growth in recent years of Afro-German associations I hope that many more stories like Ika's will be published. They will give voice to that previously invisible 'Stolen Generation' who now, in middle-age are finally given a change to come to terms with their unique identity.
The book ideally should be read along with Hans Massaquoi's "Born to Witness: growing up Black in Nazi Germany".
The detailed social/historic context of his story paints a vivid backdrop to the arrival of the next generation of Black Germans like Ika.
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