Majub’s Journey

Majubs Reise

Majub’s Journey

Eva Knopf


»Almost all we know about [Mohamed Husen] stems from the archives of the National Socialists, from documents kept by the German Foreign Office and from his appearances in propaganda films. He has no surviving relatives and there is nothing that reflects him in his own terms. If we show these archive pictures and documents, we run the risk of repeating the degradations that Mohamed Husen had to go though. If we don’t show them, he will remain forever forgotten in the archives.«
– Eva Knopf

Born in the then colony of German East Africa, Majub bin Adam Mohamed Hussein went on to become a soldier for the Germans in the First World War. He was just nine years old. After the Germans lost the war, they didn’t give him his pay. Subsequently, some ten years after the war, Majub decided to collect his wages in person. Thus it was that in National Socialist Germany a colonial soldier from the First World War became an extra and bit player much in demand for the German film industry. Whenever a black person was needed in the films of the Nazi period, it was nearly always Majub who got the part. He was Zarah Leander’s chauffeur, Hans Albers’s servant and Heinz Rühmann’s lift boy. In her essayistic documentary film Majub’s Journey, director Eva Knopf relates the story of his childhood in the colonies, his life in Nazi Germany and his place in the colonial fantasies of the Germans.

Director / Script

Eva Knopf


Rainer Hoffmann


Anne Glossmann


Nadja Hermann, Anna Bartholdy


John Gürtler


Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Koproduktion mit dem SWR, dem Goethe-Institut und der Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung


Eva Knopf

Eva Knopf

Eva Knopf studied ethnology in Göttingen, rhetoric/ film theory at the University of California in Berkeley, film & television studies at the University of Amsterdam and documentary film direction at the Baden- Württemberg Film Academy in Ludwigsburg. She teaches visual and media anthropology on the MA programme at the Free University of Berlin and is an academic associate at the German Research Society (DFG) on the project entitled »History of the Documentary Film in Germany 1945-2005«. Majubs Reise was her graduation film for the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy.