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From Surinam to the Holocaust: Anton de Kom, a Political Migrant

Black Caribbean Literature (BCL)
Kinshasa,Kwando M. (Author)
Journal Article
Publication Date:
Barbados: University of the West Indies, Department of History
African American Research Center, Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject Term:
Colonialism, Slavery, Political participation, Expatriation, Suriname, Kom, Anton de
As anonymously as Anton de Kom began his life in 1898 in a small nineteenth-century Surinam village, it would be terminated forty-seven years later by forces beyond his control. His death, however, was not a singular event, but one representative of an entire generation of Surinamese migrants who, desiring to improve their lives, travelled northward to Holland, the "mother country", only to find a deeper sense of pain as unwanted and abused eacute;migrés. De Kom's migration to Holland occurred twice. First, as a youth he was pulled northward to understand better "her greatness". A decade later, he was forcibly pushed and exiled northward by the Dutch colonial authorities. On the second occasion, he became aware of his own illegitimate political birth as a colonial subject, and the psychological trap that awaited him when asked to defend the imperial country against an invading German army. His residence in exile exposed the serious dilemma of "two-ness", described by W.E.B. DuBois, when the colonized becomes psychologically and aesthetically committed to the colonizer's world, as well as that of the colonized. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT];