Germany Recognizes Genocide Against Namibia

On Friday (May 28), German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas officially announced the recognition of the genocide of tens of thousands of people belonging to two ethnic groups more than a century ago in what is present-day Namibia.

“In light of Germany’s historical and moral responsibility, we will ask Namibia and the descendants of the victims for forgiveness,” Maas said, according to NPR, adding the European country will support the African nation and the victims’ descendants with more than $1.3 billion for reconstruction and development.

From 1884 to 1915, Germany occupied several territories in Africa. Namibia was called “Lebensraum,” at the time and  was established to provide more territory for German people. At the time, urban areas in Germany were overcrowded due to a population boom.

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After settlers seized their land and resources, ethnic Herero and Nama people launched a rebellion against their occupiers. Subsequently, German soldiers killed tens of thousands of the native people between 1904 and 1908. Survivors were forced into the desert and later placed in concentration camps.

It’s estimated that 80 percent of the Herero and Nama people died during the genocide, many from disease and starvation, and some, after being used for medical experiments.

In 1985, a United Nations report on genocide mentioned the killings, but it wasn’t until Friday that the German government began classifying it as mass murder.

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