Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss

(The Black Shame)

GOETZ, Karl: Germany, 1920, Bronze (cast), 58 mm
Obv: Caricature of Black soldier with earring, wearing French helmet with the monogram RF (République française, French Republic)   DIE. WACHT. AM. RHEIN!! LIBERTE ÉGALITÉ FRATERNITÉ 1920 (Watch on the Rhine!! Liberty Equality Fraternity)
Rev: Nude female captive, her arms tied behind her to a giant phallus, surmounted by a French soldier's helmet, all-seeing eye of God looking on. A broken lyre, further suggestion of violence, is beside her. DIE SCHWARZE SHANDE  (The Black Shame); below K. G.
Signed: K.G.
Ref: Kienast 79/262;  Weiss BW784

Karl Goetz was the most celebrated propaganda medallist of early 20th century Germany. This medal was one of several issued to protest the continued stationing of black French colonial troops in the occupied Rhine territory after the war. It is a scurrilous reference to their purported sexual excesses toward the German women.

The issuance of this medal was associated with mass protests in the United States and Europe. In Germany, Friedrich Ebert, who served as Chancellor of Germany and its first president during the Weimar period, called the presence of black Africans in Germany "a provocative offense against the laws of civilization." The offensive was international, involving the League of Nations, the Pope and several women's organizations, all calling for the removal of the colonial troops.

The reports of black colonial troops molesting German women seem to be grossly exaggerated, but served the German propaganda apparatus. French propaganda countered the Schwarze Schande offensive with their own on 'White Shame', a comment on the seduction of their soldiers by the local women!

For more on this topic see LINK to The Black Occupation of the German Empire

LINK to large collection of Goetz Medals (from KarlGoetz.com)

LINK to Goetz's medal on the Sinking of the Lusitania (from the British Museum)

LINK to article on Medallic History of Religious and Racial Intolerance (by Benjamin Weiss)