Germany Recognizes It Committed Genocide In Present-Day Namibia


Germany has formally recognized its killing of tens of thousands of people belonging to two ethnic groups more than a century ago in present-day Namibia was a genocide.

  • German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced the recognition on 28th May 2021, saying "in light of Germany's historical and moral responsibility, we will ask Namibia and the descendants of the victims for forgiveness."
  • He added that Germany will support Namibia and the victims' descendants with more than $1.3 billion for reconstruction and development.

A Brief History

  • From about 1884 to 1915, Germany occupied several territories in Africa. Its colony in German South West Africa, in what is now Namibia, was established to provide more territory for its people, a campaign called Lebensraum. At the time, German urban areas were overcrowded due to a population boom.

Lebensraum

  • The German concept of Lebensraum comprises policies and practices of settler colonialism which proliferated in Germany from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, Lebensraum became a geopolitical goal of Imperial Germany in World War I (1914–1918) originally, as the core element of the Septemberprogramm of territorial expansion. The most extreme form of this ideology was supported by the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and Nazi Germany until the end of World War II.
  • Following Adolf Hitler's rise to power, Lebensraum became an ideological principle of Nazism and provided justification for the German territorial expansion into Central and Eastern Europe.
  • After settlers seized their land and cattle, ethnic Herero and Nama people launched a rebellion against their occupiers. German soldiers killed tens of thousands of them between 1904 and 1908. Survivors were forced into the desert and later placed in concentration camps where they were exploited for labor.
  • Many died of disease and starvation, some after being used for medical experiments. It's estimated that 80% of the Indigenous populations of the Herero and Nama died during the genocide.
  • Note: Recently, French President Emmanuel Macron also acknowledgement that France had a duty to confront history and to recognize its part in the suffering it inflicted on the people of Rwanda.