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The Sabac el Cher family


BACKGROUND: Please carefully follow the way people are depicted, and the relationships in the Mecklenburg-Strelitz family


















Sabac el Cher family




"Prussian Lovebirds" The story of a German family with African roots
Black European Studies 2005, provided by Hosted by Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Volkswagenstiftung
Date 2005/7/31 21:59:29 | Topic: Representing Black European History

The history of the Sabac el Cher family begins with a murder. Prince Albrecht of Prussia kills a man out of jealousy, in his beautiful palace in Berlin – but a brother of the King of Prussia does not go to jail. Instead, he is sent on a long journey, until the dust has settled. It is no accident that he chooses Egypt as his destination, since all Berlin is talking about the major archaeological expedition being led by the famous Egyptologist, Richard Lepsius. An initiative of Alexander von Humboldt's, it is being financed by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV himself. Prussia is the hotbed of "Egyptomania", which will soon have all of Europe in its grip.

In April 1843, Lepsius meets the Prince and his entourage by chance in Cairo, at the court of the powerful Viceroy of Egypt, Mehmet Ali. The famous scientist's diary contains the first written mention of a small, dark-skinned boy, who has been "given" to Prince Albrecht by the Viceroy. Abrecht calls him August Albrecht Sabac el Cher. "Sabac el Cher" means, in effect, "Good morning" and is a common greeting in Egypt. It was probably one of the first Arabic phrases which the Prince had learned and so it suited him to make a name out of it.

The family history of the Sabac el Cher is also the story of a family of soldiers in three different German armies: under the Kaiser, Hitler and Chancellor Adenauer. Just as the dark hue of their skin became diluted from generation to generation, so their own history was gradually forgotten. The last member of the Sabac el Cher still alive has never heard of Prince Albrecht, nor of his adjutant, Freiherr von Reitzenstein, to whom he is related, nor even of the clock given to the first Sabac el Cher by the Russian Tsar in St. Petersburg. The research done by staff of the German Historical Museum shows him his roots for the first time.

A wealth of interesting textual and visual material makes the story of the Sabac el Cher one of the best-researched family histories of the "African diaspora" in Germany. Travel sketch-books, photos and photograph albums, letters and other documents, objects, newspaper cuttings and a tape recording were all discovered scattered throughout the country in archives and people's homes.

"The search began with the painting entitled "Prussian Lovebirds" from 1890. It shows the dark-skinned son of August Sabac el Cher in Prussian uniform, tenderly embraced by his white-skinned fiancée. The young woman nestles at his shoulder and his face reflects happiness and pride. To many viewers, this seems to be an Arcadian scene of trust and love, a sensitively-painted allegory of a better world. Only now has research done by staff at the museum shown that its subject was real."

The story of the Sabac el Cher is closely interwoven with the fate of Germany during the last one hundred and sixty years. As members of the court and soldiers, they were affected directly by political changes. The post-war partition of Germany also severed the bond between two branches of the family. The East German line died out in the nineteen-eighties, unkown to the last member of the West German line, who is still alive today. His death will mark the end of the line of the Sabac el Cher in Germany.

Translated from the German Wiki:

August Sabac el Cher

August Albrecht Sabac el Cher (c. 1836 in Kordofan ( Egypt , today Sudan ), † 21 September 1885 in Berlin ) was a chamber servant of the Prussian Prince Albrecht . He is regarded as the earliest prominent representative of the African Diaspora in Berlin and next to Anton Wilhelm Amo one of the first socially integrated African Germans.







August Sabac el Cher was about 1836 in the then southern Egyptian province of Kordofan (in the adjoining map with Kordofan called) was born. According to the family legend He came from a Nubian Sheikh dynasty. His father is said to have fallen into a rebellion against the Egyptian occupation forces, which is why his mother - according to an old custom - committed suicide. The son of this compound is of the victorious Egyptians to Cairo have been spent, in order to attend a military school to be educated. Due to time inconsistency of the truth of this tradition is controversial.

Prince Albrecht of Prussia , the youngest brother of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV , arrived in February 1843 with two officers and a few servants about Genoa to Egypt. A few months before the Egyptologist had Karl Richard Lepsius began archaeological excavations. The interest in the Orient was in the Prussian capital in vogue , which is why Prince Albrecht opened to an expedition. On 25 February 1843 met the Prussian delegation in Alexandria in order to Cairo travel further. Egypt was at this time as Ottoman viceroyalty under the rule of Muhammad Ali Pasha , who strengthened his position by absolute power upgrades inside.

In March 1843 Prince Albert was in the Cairo Citadel received by Muhammad Ali with full honors. At the end of the audience the Viceroy bestowed his guest with a small Nubian Bedouin boy who had previously received education at the Egyptian court. The giving of " Mohr children "was at that time not uncommon. The Prussian Prince chose to name the only Arabic phrase, which he knew: Sabac el Cher from the Arabic which means something like good morning.

1876 August Sabac el Cher different from the service of the court of - probably for health reasons. On 25 October 1882 he received that had witnessed all German wars of unification, the naturalization certificate of the Berlin police. He was legally equated as a Prussian citizen.

On 21 Sabac el Cher died September 1885 in Berlin. The church book called gastric cancer as a cause of death. His grave in the cemetery of Trinity Church no longer exists. His wife, Anna, 42 years old and widowed, not married second time His son, Gustav (1868-1934) was the German Empire a famous military musician and media star. Until now live the "little Nubian boy" in Germany descendants.

August Sabac el Cher was one of the first socially integrated African Germans in Berlin. In the history of the African diaspora in Germany it is therefore of particular importance. His life story paints a picture of a Prussian patriot who could never step out of the shadow of his employer. Since 2006, a posthumous tribute to his eventful life takes place, which brought numerous publications on African and a German work on the Sabac el Cher family with him.


Gustav Sabac el Cher;

Gustav Sabac el Cher (* March 10 1868 in Berlin, † October 4 1934 ) was an Afro-German military musicians in the Kingdom of Prussia .
Gustav's parents were August Sabac el Cher and his wife Anna née Young. Up to 14 Age he attended the public school higher. At eight, he began violin lessons to take. At 17, he became a military musician in the Prussian army in the chapel of the Fusilier Regiment No. 35 Prince Henry of Prussia, in Brandenburg (Havel) . In 1893, he moved into the Royal. Academy of Music in Charlottenburg. In 1895 he received the post of conductor of the first Grenadier Regiment "Prince" in Königsberg in Prussia . There he soon became a city known personality, which is reflected in numerous newspaper articles. El Cher composed and arranged several pieces of music even Mozart - Overtures for military music.










In 1901 he married the daughter of Gertrude Pearly teachers. Eight years later, he resigned from the army and moved with his wife and two sons, Horst and Herbert returned to Berlin. He worked as a civilian bandmaster and participated in engagements in various German cities. During the Weimar Republic , he joined repeated in the new media broadcasting as a conductor of major orchestras.

In the late 1920s, the family opened near King Wusterhausen a garden restaurant. As a result of the takeover by the Nazis from the guests stayed, so the El Cher had to close her years thriving tourist restaurant. They moved back to Berlin and opened in the Oranienburger Strasse 39 a cafe. This they did have to give up a few months later under pressure from the authorities as well.

When El Cher had died in Berlin, his widow received a telegram of condolences exililierten Kaiser Wilhelm and Crown Prince Wilhelm , in whose regiment Königsberg her husband had once served. And she died six months late, she was buried with her husband in Berlin. Later they were transferred there by her sons, who had re-established in Kingswells,. The son Horst (1908-1943) died as a medic in the Caucasus, Herbert (1903-1963) survived the war.





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