Erika N’Gando: forgotten black victim of the Nazi camps
The history of blacks in Nazi camps has been forgotten by history. To highlight the suffering of these men and women of color locked up in concentration camps during Germany, Serge Bilé made a poignant film.
Who was Erika N’Gando?
René Hautecoeur, a concentration camp survivor, tells the story of a young Cameroonian girl named Erika N’Gando in Serge Bilé’s film.
Erika N’Gando was deported at the age of 35 to the Ravensbrück camp. It is not known exactly why she was deported. All that is known is that this camp was set up to receive women who opposed Hitler’s regime.
How was life in the Ravensbrück camp?
Life was extremely hard for the women of Ravensbrück. According to survivor René Hautecoeur, there was no difference in treatment between whites and blacks. The beautiful Erika did the same work as everyone else. The women’s job was to make stumps, dry out the barrages and big stone wheels.
Difficult life for women – Ravensbrück camp
Erika was extremely shocked to find herself there. She was described as a fragile, crushed, traumatized woman. She kept repeating over and over again:
“I’m cold, I’m cold. “
She was cold all the time. Her classmates teased her by calling her “Snowy”.
A tragic death
Unfortunately, Erika never returned from the Ravensbrück camp. The cold, hunger, humiliation, hard work, mistreatment and overcrowded conditions got the better of her.
Death was walking around the camp. Every day people were dying. The fate of the children was even worse. They were taken from their mothers. They were left to die of hunger and thirst. Those who were 10 or 12 years old were condemned to tasks beyond their feeble strength.
Survivor Ginette Clément recalls a young pregnant woman who had to be kicked in the stomach to see how long the fetus would resist. The newborns were moyés or thrown in a bucket. Girls were sterilized as early as eight years of age after exposure to x-rays.
The testimony of Ginette Clément and René Hautecoeur shows how all life was forbidden in the Ravensbrück camp.