Before Hitler: Germany Admits To Genocide In Namibia During Colonial Rule, Tens Of Thousands Killed

Before Hitler: Germany Admits To Genocide In Namibia During Colonial Rule, Tens Of Thousands Killed


Hitler: Germany Admits To Genocide in Namibia During Colonial Rule, Tens of Thousands Killed (AP Photo/Brandon van Wyk)

Germany has admitted to genocide in Namibia during its colonial rule of the African nation.

The European powerhouse has also agreed to reparations. It will fund projects in Namibia worth more than a billion euros over 30 years to atone for its role in genocide and property seizures in its-then colony more than a century ago, a Namibian government spokesman told Reuters.

Between 1904 and 1908 German colonial forces killed thousands of Herero and Nama people in Namibia after the local tribal groups rebelled against German rule. The colony at the time was named German South West Africa. German forces forced survivors of the rebellion into the desert, where many were put in concentration camps to be used as slave labor.

An estimated 65,000 of the 80,000 Herero living in German South West Africa, and 10,000 of an estimated 20,000 Namas, are believed to have died during the period, Reuters reported.

Germany ruled Namibia from 1884 until it lost the colony during World War One. In 1920 the territory was placed under South African administration. In 1990 when Namibia gained independence.

The German government has previously acknowledged “moral responsibility” for the killings, but there was no official apology.

In 2015, Germany began formal negotiations with Namibia over the issue of compensation and in 2018 it returned skulls and other remains of massacred tribespeople that had been used in German colonial-era experiments to assert claims of European racial superiority, Reuters reported.

Prior to this latest development, in 2020 Namibia rejected Germany’s reparations offer for genocide. 

The Namibian president has said a German offer of compensation for colonial-era mass killings needs to be “revised.” Germany had offered $11.7 million in reparations, DW reported.

“The current offer for reparations made by the German government remains an outstanding issue and is not acceptable to the Namibian government,” Geingob said in a statement last year.