Inspired by true events, The Zoo is a short film highlighting the black experience during the Holocaust.
This film gives us a taste of what was going on in the European mind as it pertained to black men in Nazi Germany. In this story we follow our hero Benjamin, an Afro-German captured by the Nazi regime and taken to the concentration camp Mathausen Gussen, which at the time was the only level III extermination camp.
Benjamin quickly discovers the other inhabitants of the camp coined “The Zoo” - Black men from all over the world: captured Africans to American, French and British PoW’s. This is Benjamin’s first encounter with “Negro” men.
This psycho-thriller sets Benjamin on the ultimate quest for survival.
1. Africa was drawn in at a number of levels. Hitler wished to
regain the German colonies which had been confiscated after
the First World War. Hitler's ally, Mussolini, the Italian leader,
had invaded Ethiopia in 1935, arousing much indignation
2. Since the early 1800s many European countries, specifically
the UK and Germany, were fascinated by their inability to
colonize and conquer many of the countries in Africa.
3. In an attempt to understand what they were missing they
would often kidnap African families, men, women and
children, in the hopes of being able to crack some kind of
“genetic code” that would give them the key and access to
return to Africa and dominate the cultures.
It never ceases to amaze me how the full breadth of the black experience across the globe is often minimized if told at all. As we are taught about mainstream world history from the beginning of time to now, black people tend to make their appearance around the time of colonial slavery; or the civil rights era. But the thing is, we've always been here during every major period of history around the world.
The inspiration behind this film came after I watched Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List", and I had an awakening of the magnitude of the Holocaust. This then triggered an even bigger question within me. Of the 6 million Jews persecuted, where were all the black people? Black Germans? Black POW's? Why have I never heard their stories? Furthermore, who else's story is never told as it pertains to the Holocaust? I felt this was an opportunity to go deeper and explore. After all, Europe was a mecca of technology, business, and education; naturally families would go there looking to start a better life.
Once I began investigating, it became my personal mission to expose this gruesome truth that black people across the diaspora were definitely involved in the Holocaust. It was now a responsibility to give voice to those that suffered at the hands of the third reich and have been forgotten.
The purpose of The Zoo, is to educate, inform and pay homage to those forgotten voices. Thank you for taking this journey with us.