Germans, Extermination, Herero, and Nama

The Herero and Namaqua Genocide is considered to have been the first genocide of the 20th century, taking place between 1904 and 1907. This preceded the Jewish Shoah (aka Holocaust) of the Second World War.

In the old South West Africa, ruled by Berlin from 1884 to 1915 the Herero people launched a January 1904 revolt, killing 123 German civilians over several days. The Nama tribe joined the uprising in 1905.

In retaliation General Lothar von Trotha signed an extermination order against the Hereros. From the estimated 80,000 Hereros living in Nambibia when the uprising began only 15,000 were left.[1] Surviving Herero who fled the violence, or were driven into the Omaheke desert were prevented (shot), from returning, and many died from starvation and thirst. Some sources claim the German colonial army systematically poisoned desert wells.[2]

Herero Survivors after an escape through the arid desert of Omaheke (E1)

The captured natives were kept in prison camps and many died from malnutrition and poor conditions. Many were beheaded after their death and their skulls sent to German researchers in Berlin for racial, and scientific experiments.

Herero/Nama Captives: 1904-1908 War ; Namibia Archives

This past week ending 93011, twenty skulls were returned to a delegation of Namibians .

Germany has repeatedly refused reparations, saying that its 600 million euros ($818 million) in development aid since Namibia’s independence in 1990 was “for the benefit of all Namibians”.

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