Germany recognizes colonial crimes as genocide

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Berlin / Windhoek (dpa) – More than 100 years after the crimes committed by the German colonial power in present-day Namibia, the German government has recognized the atrocities perpetrated against the Herero and Nama ethnic groups as genocide. Germany intends to support the descendants with 1.1 billion euros over the next 30 years and officially apologize. This was agreed by the government delegations of both countries after almost six years of negotiations, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced on Friday. “I am pleased and grateful that it has been possible to reach an agreement with Namibia on how to jointly address the darkest chapter of our common history,” he said.

The German Empire was the colonial power of present-day Namibia from 1884 to 1915 and brutally quelled the rebellions. During the Herero and Nama War, from 1904 to 1908, in what was then German Southwest Africa, colonial rulers committed mass murders in what is considered the first genocide of the 20th century. According to historians, about 65,000 of 80,000 hereros and at least 10,000 of 20,000 nama died.

Since 2015, the German Foreign Ministry has routinely used the term genocide to describe the war of extermination in Namibia. Atrocities will now also be officially referred to as genocide.

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