Germany, for the first time, admits to killing 100,000 people in Namibia in the 20th century

The tragic event is labeled as the first genocide of the 20th century by historians.

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Germany on Friday admitted for the first time that it committed genocide in Namibia by assassinating an estimated 100,000 people.

The German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, said, “We’ll now officially refer to these events as what they are from today’s perspective: genocide.”

“Considering the historical and ethical responsibility of Germany, we’ll ask forgiveness from the people of Namibia, and the victims’ descendants for the “atrocities” committed,” he added.

The settlement came after more than five years of discussions between the two countries over events in Namibia held by Germany from 1884 to 1915.

Germany and Namibia

German colonial settlers massacred tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people from 1904 to 1908. The tragic event is labeled as the first genocide of the 20th century by historians.

In a “gesture to recognize the immense pain caused to the victims,” Germany will support the “restoration and the construction” of Namibia through a financial program of 1.1 billion euros ($1.34 billion), Maas said.

According to sources, “The sum will be paid over 30 years to benefit the descendants of the Herero and Nama.”

Following this, Namibian President Hage Geingob’s spokesman Alfredo Hengari told a source, “The acceptance on the part of Germany that a genocide was committed is the first step in the right direction.”

“It is the foundation for the second step, which is an apology, to be followed by settlements,” the spoke person added.

Namibia was declared German Southwest Africa during Berlin’s 1884-1915 rule and then came under South African sway for 75 years before finally gaining independence in 1990.

Tensions boiled over in 1904 when the Herero — deprived of their livestock and state stood up, followed shortly after by the Nama, in a rebellion crushed by the massive German troops.

During the Battle of Waterberg in August of 1904, about 80,000 Herero, including women and children, fled and were trailed by German troops to the Kalahari Desert. Only 15,000 people survived.

Germany and Namibia

More than 55,000 Herero and around 10,000 Nama were assasinated between 1904 and 1908.

Colonial militants carried out mass killings and forced men, women, and children to flee to the desert, where thousands died of thirst and hunger.

The atrocities have defiled relations between Berlin and Windhoek for many years.
Negotiations over an apology began in 2015. In 2018, Germany returned the bones of members of the Herero and Nama tribes with an apology asking for “forgiveness.”

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