AFRICANGLOBE – Thirty years before Adolf Hitler seized power as Germany’s chancellor, German soldiers murdered up to 105,000 Herero and Namaqua in its Southwest Africa colony, now the state of Namibia.
While the final number of deaths was far less than the victims of the Nazi war machine, the genocide in Namibia featured some startling similarities with the WWII tragedy: the application of scientific theories of racial superiority, the formation of concentration camps; the meticulous recording of details of the mass killings; the need for “lebensraum” (living space) for the German people; demand for reparations; and a lengthy silence over German complicity in such crimes.
It was not until 2004 (a century after the massacre) that Germany formally apologized for the atrocity.
At a commemoration in the Namibian city of Okokarara, Germany’s Minister for Economic Development and Cooperation, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, stated: We Germans accept our historic and moral responsibility and the guilt incurred by Germans at that time.
Germany has learnt the bitter lessons of the past.
She characterized the killings in Namibia as a “genocide.”