Among the crimes the German Nazi regime first embarked upon after invading France was the mass killing of Senegalese soldiers who were serving with the French army, a new report notes. The Chasselay massacre involved the machine-gunning of soldiers who had surrendered. They were targeted for being African, a victim of the Nazi incitement campaign against black troops that had been a part of the rise to power of Hitler’s movement in the 1930s.France 24 recently ran an article looking at research by Julien Fargettas called “Juin 1940, combats et massacres en Lyonnais,” which documents the battles in Lyon and the massacres after. African soldiers serving in the French army were murdered across France by the Germans, including in the Somme, according to the report. This was not due to orders from “high up,” but rather it illustrates how the racism and antisemitism of the German war machine had permeated down to the lowest levels by 1940, enabling regular troops to kill prisoners of war. French troops recruited from Africa were targets of Nazi party propaganda in the 1930s, including claims they were the “black horror of the Rhine” during the French administration of the Ruhr and Rhineland. Propaganda portrayed Senegalese as abusing Germans in these areas that had been run by France in the wake of the First World War.In scenes that now appear to foreshadow the role of the German Einsatzgruppen murdering Jews in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, the African soldiers were divided from the white soldiers in 1940 when they surrendered. “The French on one side, the Africans on the others.” The black soldiers were then taken to a field and machine-gunned. Their white comrades were, according to the report, also killed trying to intervene.The bodies of the soldiers were initially left but a local official named Jean-Baptiste Marchiani helped push for a burial and a cemetery incorporating red ochre and architectural styles that would have apparently appeared in the Sahel. The cemetery is today called the Tata of Chasselay. The burial plot was built during the Vichy collaborationist period and completed in 1942. “Vichy officials said they were killed in battle and carefully avoided any mention of the massacre,” the Fargettas account notes.Another research by Raffael Scheck titled “Hitler’s African Victims: The German Army’s Massacre of Black French Soldiers” also shows details of 15 sites of massacres. It notes that the first recorded massacre of black soldiers took place on May 24, 1940, at Aubigny near the Somme. Some 50 African soldiers were murdered, according to the account. The executions were carried out by regular German units, including the 7th Panzer in another incident, the account notes. The 2nd and 46th infantry divisions of the regular German army were also implicated.The massacres of African soldiers, as recounted by France 24 and other accounts, provides an important window into how the machine of mass murder that targeted Jews and other minorities was vast in scale and took in numerous groups.