The singer-songwriter and activist Fasia Jansen, born in Hamburg in 1929, fought all her life against racism, economic and social exploitation, against war and for emancipation and equal rights for women. As the daughter of a German mother and a Liberian father, she was forced to do compulsory service in the kitchen of the Neuengamme concentration camp as a teenager; from an early age, she had to confront everyday, racist violence. After the end of World War II, Fasia Jansen moved to Oberhausen, became active in the women’s movement and was actively involved, both locally and internationally, in numerous strikes, labor disputes and protest actions in the following decades. In 1991 she received the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany. Some fifteen years after her death in 1997, the municipal comprehensive school in Alt-Oberhausen was named after her.

The project “Homestory Germany. Black Biographies and the Present” quotes in his article from an earlier interview with Fasia Jansen:

“My songs were and are a way for me to keep myself alive and assert my dignity as a woman, as a black woman. When people ask me about my political motivation, I think it has to do with my history. Everything I have experienced must never happen again! Somehow I do it all to maybe give those who are younger a little picture of what you felt and – like a grain of sand on the beach looking at yourself as a grain of sand on the beach – experienced.”

Pictures and texts from and about Fasia Jansen can also be found on this extensive blog.

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