The Krull Brothers

From the series: Black Helvécia, Dom Smaz, Helvécia, Brazil, 2015. Courtesy the artist

The Krull brothers live in a small settlement in Bahia (in the northeast of Brazil) known as ‘Helvécia’. They are descendants of Ernesto und Frederico Krull, nephews of the Hamburg merchant Peter (Pedro) Peycke.
Some 200 years ago, Peycke and Swiss investors founded a large colony with coffee plantations which was named “Leopoldina” in honour of Maria Leopoldine of Austria, Empress of Brazil and Queen of Portugal. While Peycke later served as Hamburg’s consul in Salvador da Bahia, Ernesto and Frederico Krull took care of the administration of the farm and soon came into considerable wealth. Although the use of slave labour was officially forbidden, up to 125 slaves worked for the Krull family since the 1840s – more than on any other farm in Leopoldina.