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A man who served as managing editor of Ebony magazine, and who provided autobiographical insight into the Second World War, died over the weekend at his home in Jacksonville.
According to Hans Massaquoi's son, the elder man died on his 87th birthday. He had been hospitalized over the Christmas holidays.
Massaquoi, known as managing editor of Ebony magazine, also had a vivid past which nearly went unpublished.
Born the son of a German nurse and the son of a Liberian diplomat, he told an interviewer several years ago that it was only at the insistence of "Roots" author Alex Haley that he wrote his autobiography.
The result was "Destined to Witness: Growing up Black in Nazi Germany;" a re-telling of what it was like to grow up in Hamburg and watch Hitler's rise to power.
Massaquoi said in 1933, when he was in elementary school, he got his babysitter to sew a swastika onto his sweater. He said he wanted to show what a good German he was.
The Nazi symbol lasted only a day. His mother cut it off the sweater that evening, but not before his teacher snapped a class photo.
Massaquoi, the only dark-skinned child in the photo, was also the only one wearing a swastika.
His autobiography was a description of the paradox of being both an insider and an outsider in Nazi Germany.
He also described the 1943 Allied bombing of Hamburg, and what it was like to live through the waning days of the Second World War ... as well as the collapse of Nazi Germany.
Massaquoi said after the war, he joined his father's family in Liberia briefly, before moving to the U.S. to study aviation engineering.
While in America on a student visa, he was drafted into the U.S. Army..
Eventually, Massaquoi became a journalist.
His career path took him to the managing editor's office of Ebony magazine. He retired from that post in the 1990s.