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Germany admits to ‘genocide’ of Namibians

8 July 2015 22:30


The speaker of the German parliament has said that a mass killing of indigenous Namibians by German imperial troops a century ago constituted a “genocide.”

Writing in a guest column for news weekly Die Zeit, Norbert Lammert said that the Herero and Nama peoples had been systematically massacred by German imperial troops in the early years of the 20th century.

“Using today’s standards of international law, the crushing of the Herero revolt was genocide,” Lammert wrote on Wednesday.

Lammert also pointed out that thousands of Namas and Hereros also died from malnutrition and huger in prison camps.

“There were tens of thousands of Herero and Nama victims, not only through fighting but also illness and the targeted killing through allowing people to die of thirst and hunger,” the senior German official said, adding, “Others died in concentration camps and in slave labor.”

Irritated by German settlers grabbing their land and cattle and taking their women, the Herero people started an uprising in January 1904 with warriors. The revolt was joined by Nama tribe joined one year later

The colonial rulers responded ruthlessly and signed a notorious extermination order against the Hereros.

Figures show German troops massacred around 70,000 Hereros, which amounted to about 80 percent of its population. The troops also wiped out half of the people of the Nama ethnic group.

A large number of victims were beheaded and their skulls sent to German researchers in Berlin for “scientific” experiments.

Picture taken on September 30, 2011, shows one of 20 skulls about to be handed over to a 55-strong Namibian delegation is on display at the Charite Hospital. (AFP photo)

In recent years, the German government has formally handed back dozens of the skulls, many of which were stored on dusty shelves at clinics.

The United Nations officially called the killings genocide as early as 1948. However, successive German governments have refuses to do so to this day.

The calls for an official recognition of a genocide has grown even stronger after the German parliament or Bundestag recognized a mass killing of Armenian as genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in April this year.

The German rule in Namibia ended in 1915.

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