Esther M. Zimmer Lederberg Memorial Website
Eugenics
Deutsch-Südwestafrika
(German South West Africa)

Deutsch-Südwestafrika (German South West Africa) was a colony of the German Empire from 1884 until 1915. With an area of 835,100 km2, it was one and a half times the size of the mainland German Empire in Europe (without its colonies) at the time.

Early History

Initial European contact with the area that later became German South West Africa came from traders and sailors, starting in January 1486 when Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão landed at Cape Cross (120 km north of Swakopmund ). For several centuries, European settlement of the area was limited and temporary. In February 1805 the London Missionary Society established a small mission in Blydeverwacht, but the efforts of this group met with little success. In 1840 the London Missionary Society transferred all of its activities to the German Rhenish Missionary Society, which quickly began founding churches throughout the territory. During the same time that the Rhenish missionaries were active, merchants and farmers were establishing outposts.

On 16 November 1882 Adolf Lüderitz, a German merchant from Bremen, requested protection from German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, for a station that he planned to build in South West Africa. On April 10, 1883 Lüderitz emissary Heinrich Vogelsang landed at Angra Pequena ("Little Cove") and negotiated a fraudulent lease of land from Joseph Fredericks, "Kaptein" of the indigenous Bethanie community. (Vogelsang used the unit of geographical miles in lieu of ordinary miles, effectively obscuring the true amount of land to be leased.) Lüderitz turned Angra Pequena into a trading station, and after Bismarck declared, on April 24, 1884, that the station and the surrounding area would be henceforth a German protectorate1, renamed the cove Lüderitz and began making use of it as a naval base. The general area was renamed ''Lüderitzbucht'' (''Lüderitz Bay'').

The German flag was finally raised in South-West Africa on 7 August 1884, the German claims on this land having been "confirmed" during the Berlin Conference of 1884. However, since the indigenous peoples never held the idea of individually held land as "private property" (land could never be alienated by any individual, no matter what his rank), all German land claims were actually fraudulent.

In April 1885, the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft für Südwest-Afrika (German Colonial Society for Southwest Africa, or DKGSWA) was founded with the support of German bankers (Gerson von Bleichröder, Adolph von Hansemann), industrialists (Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck) and politicians (Frankfurt Mayor Johannes von Miquel). DKGSWA was granted monopoly rights to expolit mineral deposits.2 The new Society soon bought the assets of Lüderitz's failing enterprises. Once diamonds were discovered (in 1908), they — along with gold, copper, platinum, and other minerals — became a major investment. However, at this time the colonial aim was to dispossess the indigenous peoples of their land for the use of German settlers, as well as be a source of raw materials and a market of German industrial products.3

Lüderitz drowned in 1886 while on an expedition to the Orange River. In keeping with Bismarck's policy that that private rather than public money should be used to develop the colonies, the company bought all of Lüderitz’ land and mining rights. In May 1886, Heinrich Ernst Göring was appointed Commissioner of German South West Africa, and established his administration at Otjimbingwe. A law was subsequently passed to create the colony's legal system: one set of laws for Europeans, and a second set of laws for natives.4

Over the next several years relations between the Germans and indigenous peoples continued to worsen. In 1888 the first group of Schutztruppen (colonial protectorate troops) arrived, sent secretly to protect the base at Otjimbingwe. The Schutztruppe detachment consisted of two officers, five non-commissioned officers, and 20 black soldiers. By the end of that year, Göring was expelled from South West Africa by Samuel Maharero, leader of the Herero people, when it was found that Göing had extended his house over a Herero ancestral graveyard.5 Also, by the late 1880s, the South West Africa Company was nearly bankrupt and had to ask Bismarck for help and additional troops.

In 1890 Germany declared German South West Africa a Crown Colony, and sent additional troops to the area.6 At the same time, the colony grew through the acquisition of the Caprivi Strip in the northeast, which promised new trade routes. This territory was acquired through the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty between Britain and Germany.7 Almost simultaneously, in August through September, 1892, the South West Africa Company, Ltd. (SWAC) was established by the German, British, and Cape Colony governments, aided by financiers to raise the capital required in order to enlarge mineral exploitation (specifically, the Damaraland concession's copper deposit interests).

German South West Africa was the only German colony where Germans settled in large numbers. German settlers were drawn to the colony by economic possibilities in copper (and later, diamond) mining, and especially farming. In 1902 the colony had 200,000 inhabitants, though only 2,595 were German, 1,354 were Afrikaner, and 452 were British. By 1914, 9,000 more German settlers had arrived. There were probably around 80,000 Herero people, 60,000 Ovambo people, and 10,000 Namaqua people — all referred to, disparagingly, as "Hottentots".

Rebellion Against German Rule

“Generally, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Africans did not simply accept the yoke of colonialism and many fervently resisted ... As Lundtofte has observed, ‘[t]he European hunger for power and attempt to exploit resources in Africa in the 1890s assumed various forms but in most cases provoked Africans to rise in rebellion. Examples of atrocities committed by Europeans in their attempts to pacify these rebellions are innumerable.’"8

The first "Hottentot Uprising" of the Nama and their legendary leader Hendrik Witbooi (Namaqua chief) occurred in 1893-1894. The following years saw many further local uprisings against German rule. Descriptions of the two uprisings with the most devastating local impact, follow.

Khaua-Mbandjeru Rebellion (1896)

One of Administrator Theodor Leutwein's (1894-1898) most urgent tasks in German South West Africa was to establish German sovereignty throughout the colony. Unfortunately, he did this by interfering with tribal organization.

Circa 1894, a German trader had been murdered in Kai|khauan (Khauas Nama) tribal territory around Naosanabis (today's Leonardville, Namibia), "and the chief had refused to hand over the murderer to Major Kurt von François. In addition, the Kuaha had attacked a group of tribesman from Bechuanaland, who lived on their lands under German protection. They had killed many people and had stolen their cattle. Finally, the Khaua chief had ill-treated a Berg-Damana chief who had acted as von François's messenger and demanded the surrender of the German trader. By these actions the Khaua chief, Andries Lambert, had flouted every aspect of public order with an almost systematic thoroughness."9 Leutwein wanted to discipline the Khaua for political reasons, especially because the Bechuanas who had been attacked, had been under a protection treaty.

"In February 1894, a few weeks after landing in Swakopmund, Leutwein marched to the Khaua tribal centre with a hundred troops and one field-gun. ... His tactical surprise was only intended to prevent the tribe from scattering, and to allow him to appear as the representative of victorious state authority. ... in the negotiations of 17 March 1894, Andries Lambert accepted Leutwein's conditions[, which] involved the recognition of German sovereignty, the surrender of arms and munitions, the return of stolen cattle and the pledge that he would act 'peacefully and quietly' in the future."10

To ensure compliance, Andries Lambert was released "to supervise the surrender of arms and stolen goods, but hostages were detained, among them the chief's brother. The chief then attempted to escape from the Germans with his whole tribe, but the preparations ... were discovered".11 Lambert was arrested and subsequently executed.

In the aftermath of this incident, Leutwein attempted to insure order by inserting German rule into the tribe's natural succession. As the legitimate heir to the chiefdom had been brought up with a branch of the tribe in Berseba, Leutwein appointed Andries Lambert's brother regent until the arrival of the new chief. Lambert's brother and the whole tribal assembly signed the protection treaty, which was to be ratified later in Windhoek by the new chief. The tribe's weapons remained impounded and their horses were forcibly purchased by the Germans. The stolen cattle were returned to the Bechuana, who were promised their living areas 'in the name of His Majesty the Emperor'. Previously they had only "leased" them from the Khaua. The tribe's submission meant it was "forbidden to wage war and to raid cattle", even though these activities were the entire basis of the tribe's economic existence. (Unlike the Herero, the Khaua did not increase their small herds by systematic cattle-raising, and they had no organized system of reserve supplies. Without "raiding" cattle they could not hope to survive.).12, 13

"In the longer term, Leutwein's policy had a devastating effect on the Khaua tribe. Not only had the chief been made liable to deposition, but no substitute was found for their nomadic life of raiding and hunting. Their whole tribal structure was shattered. Although the material and organisational framework had been preserved for the tribe to live independently on the basis of cattle-breeding ... the Khaua could have benefitted from these opportunities only if they had been their own independent and rational decisions. ... There was no opportunity for a gradual process of acculturation to take place. ..."12

In 1896 The Khaua rebelled against the restraint under which they lived. The revolt was defeated, and the tribe scattered into prisoner-of-war and forced-labour camps. They lost their entire territory.14

The Herero-Namaqua Genocide (1904-1908)

"Genocide 'is never a sudden or unplanned act. ... it is a deliberate, pre-meditated and carefully orchestrated orgy of mass murder for political purposes ... a well organized campaign of carnage..."15

The Herero-Namaqua Genocide in German South West Africa is considered to have been the first genocide of the 20th century.16, 17 The genocide was prompted by a brief “war” between the indigenous Herero people, led by Samuel Maharero, and the German colonial rulers of German South West Africa. The war started on January 12, 1904; remote farms were attacked, and approximately 150 German settlers were killed. At first, the Schutztruppe of only 766 troops and native auxiliary forces was, no match for the Herero. The Herero went on the offensive, sometimes surrounding Okahandja and Windhoek, and destroying the railway bridge to Osona. The Germans were unable to defeat the Herero, who were extremely dispersed. However, a stand-off between the Germans and the Hereros at the Waterburg Plateau in mid-April prompted Leutwein to offer the Hereros a negotiated settlement.18 Berlin, however, refused to permit a negotiated settlement. The sentiment of the German military was expressed by the Grosser Generalstab: "He who wishes to colonize the territory must first take the sword and wage war — not with limited and puny means, but with strong measures which command respect and must persevere until the total subjugation of the natives has been accomplished."19

Leutwein was removed as Commander and replaced with Lieutenant General Adrian Lothar von Trotha. I. Goldblatt describes von Trotha as 'a man who believed that the bowl containing the fish should be smashed by heavy hammer blows, rather than by the quiet withdrawal of the water, which was Leutwein's policy."20 Von Trotha defeated the Herero in the Battle of Waterberg on August 11, 1904, and drove them into the Omaheke desert, where most of them died of thirst.

In October 1904, the Namaqua people entered the struggles against the colonial power under their leaders Hendrik Witbooi (Namaqua chief) and Jakobus Morenga (often referred to as "the black Napoleon"). This uprising was finally quashed during 1907 – 1908.

The Battle of Waterburg

The Battle of Waterberg took place on August 11, 1904. It was the decisive battle in the German campaign against the Herero.

The German Imperial Forces under the command of von Trotha numbered just over 1,500.21 They were armed with 1,625 modern rifles, 30 artillery pieces and 14 machine guns. The Herero, under the command of Samuel Maharero, in expectation of peace negotiations, had assembled some 3,500-6,000 warriors along with their families.22. The total number of Hereros in the area is estimated at 25,000 to 50,000. Most of the Herero warriors were armed with rifles. The rest were armed with traditional close combat weapons called kirri.

The Germans had effectively "cornered" the Herero at the Waterberg Plateau. When the Kaiserreich replaced Leutwein withvon Trotha, they expected to end the revolt with a decisive military victory. The Waterberg Plateau where the Herero concentrated lay 100 kilometers east the railhead source of German supplies. Von Trotha spent nearly three months (June, July, and part of August) transporting troops and supplies by ox- drawn carts to the site of the expected battle. In the meantime, the Herero, estimated around 60,000 men, women, and children, with an equal number of cattle, drew on meager grass and water supplies while awaiting overtures from the Germans.

On August 11, 1904, von Trotha intended part of his force to squeeze the Herero south of the Plateau with columns from the east and west while two more columns would seal off the escape route to the south and southeast. However, the commander of the southeastern blocking column failed to maneuver his troops into position in a timely fashion, nor communicate his tardiness to Trotha. Meanwhile, the western advancing column did not stop at the appointed line and pressed the Herero through the unclosed gap created by the failure of the southeastern troops.

The bulk of the Herero and their cattle escaped eastward into the Omaheke desert.

Trotha and his staff were not prepared for the unexpected failure, and at the end of an attenuated supply line and occupying ground thoroughly foraged by the Herero, the Germans could not immediately pursue the Herero. While signaling to Berlin a complete victory and subsequent pursuit, Trotha began to move his force westward toward the railroad.

The Germans had won a tactical victory by driving the Herero from Waterberg, but had failed in their intentions to end the Herero Revolt with a decisive battle. Trotha soon thereafter ordered the pursuit of the Herero eastward into the desert, intending to prevent Herero reorganization by depriving them of pastureland and watering holes. This campaign caused most of the deaths of Herero people during the Revolt, and resulted in the notorious Vernichtungsbefeh (extermination order) of October 2, 1904:

'I, the great general of the German soldiers, send this letter to the Hereros. The Hereros are German subjects no longer. They have killed, stolen, cut off the ears and other parts of the body of wounded soldiers, and now are too cowardly to want to fight any longer. I announce to the people that whoever hands me one of the chiefs shall receive 1,000 marks, and 5,000 marks for Samuel Maherero. The Herero nation must now leave the country. If it refuses, I shall compel it to do so with the 'long tube' (cannon). Any Herero found inside the German frontier, with or without a gun or cattle, will be executed. I shall spare neither women nor children. I shall give the order to drive them away and fire on them. Such are my words to the Herero people.''23

He further gave orders that:

"This proclamation is to read to the troops at roll-call, with the addition that the unit that catches a captain will also receive the appropriate reward, and that the shooting at women and children is to be understood as shooting above their heads, so as to force them to run [away]. I assume absolutely that this proclamation will result in taking no more male prisoners, but will not degenerate into atrocities against women and children. The latter will run away if one shoots at them a couple of times. The troops will remain conscious of the good reputation of the German soldier."24

Von Trotha’s tactics were in marked contrast to those of the Herero leaders, who were, in the main, careful to ensure that only soldiers were attacked.25 His troops also eventually routed the Namaqua, to whom Trotha sent an invitation to surrender on April 22, 1905:

The Nama who chooses not to surrender and lets himself be seen in German territory will be shot, until all are exterminated. Those who, at the start of the rebellion, committed murder against whites or have commanded that whites be murdered have, by law, forfeited their lives. As for the few not defeated, it will fare with them as it fared with the Herero, who in their blindness also believed that they could make war successfully on the powerful German Emperor and the great German people. I ask you, where are the Herero today?26

Approximately 10,000 Nama died during the fighting, the remaining 9,000 were confined to concentration camps.27

Although they ultimately gave the German government what it wanted, Von Trotha’s methods caused a public outcry which led Imperial Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow to ask Kaiser Wilhelm II to relieve von Trotha of his command.28 This, however, came too late to help the Herero, as the few survivors had been herded into camps and used as labour for German businesses, where many died of overwork, malnutrition or disease. Prior to the uprisings, there were estimated to be 80,000 Herero. The 1911 census recorded 15,000.

Genocide

"In January 1905, as part of the campaign to beat down Herero and Nama resistance, the German colonial authorities officially embarked on a policy of interning prisoners-of-war in what was labelled Konzentrationslager. The concept of the concentration camps was borrowed from the South African Boer War, where four years earlier thousands of people had died as a result of internment in such camps.29

"In the ... concentration camps, prisoners were forced to perform hard, unpaid labour regardless of gender, age or physical condition. The result was exceedingly high mortality in the camps — as high as 70 percent of all interned prisoners in some cases. Overall, deaths among prisoners-of-war between 1905-08 accounted for a third of the total wartime mortality among Herero and Nama. It is estimated that the Nama population was decimated by as much as 50% and the Herero by up to 80%.30

In total, from 24,000 up to 100,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama died.31, 32, 33

A Summary of Concentration Camps in German South West Africa

The information in this section was gathered painstakingly by Casper W. Erichsen, who describes some of the difficulty he encountered, in ""The Angel of Death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Nimibia, 1904-08", University of Leiden African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, p. xvi:

My research necessarily focussed [sic] most of its attention on the 'privileged historical site' of the [National] archives [of Namibia]. The task was not straightforward, however, because files dealing with the administration of the concentration camps, a task that befell the German Army, no longer existed. In 1915, the German Colonial Administration had these files destroyed to avoid them falling in the hands of the rapidly approaching Union troops. German copies of these files are similarly believed to have gone up in flames during the heavy bombardment of Germany in the latter stages of the Second World War. So, there were no files that directly related to the day-to-day administration of Shark Island Extermination Camp or the other concentration camps. Moreover, the former head of the archives once claimed not to have seen any substantial evidence of the concentration camps in her alleged research of the archival collection.34

In the table below, Extermination camps are in red; Internment or concentration camps are in blue, and Collection or Work camps are unmarked.

Name35, 36 Est. Deaths37 Notes
Bondelslokation . .
Karibib . .
Ketmanshoop . .
Lüderitz . .
Okahandja . Four sub-camps, or kraals:38
1. Young children;
2. Prisoners of war;
3. Sick and dying;
4. Police camp (mostly Damara)
Okomitombe . .
Omaruru . .
Omburo . .
Otjihaenena . .
Otozongombe . .
Shark Island 3,000 In Lüderitzbucht, 121.2% for Nama, 30% for Herero.
Swakopmund 74% .
Windhoek 50.4% There were two lager (camps) at Windhoek.

One should bear in mind that the above table of concentration camps, extermination camps and collection or work camps did not exhaust all the other places where indigenous people were interned.

"There were numerous smaller and lesser concentration camps in the colony. Some pertained to private businesses such as the Woermann company [active in other German colonies such as German Togoland, German Kamaruun, and German South Pacific colonies] and others to government related projects such as railway construction, which saw several thousands of Herero 'accommodated' in 'Railway Concentration Labour Camps'."38
.
"Hereros working in Swakopmund had been rounded up and interned on two Woermann line ‘steamers’ anchored off the coastal town’s shores."39
.
"Firma Lenz used slave labor to build railway embankments."40
.
"The Arthur Koppel Company constructed the Otavi railroad."41
.
"Etappenkommando in charge of supplies of prisoners to companies, private persons, etc., as well as any other materials. Concentration camps implies poor sanitation and a population density that would imply disease."42
.
Prisoners were used as slave laborers in mines and railways, for use by the military or settlers.43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48

Bridging the Second and Third Reichs in German South West Africa

Historians such as Hannah Arendt, Casper Erichsen and Jeremy Sarkin-Hughes feel that the experience the Germans gained in German South West Africa and other colonies (see, especially, German East Africa) acted as a bridge between the Second and Third Reichs. For example, there was at least one German citizen who visited German South West Africa during the period between 1904 and 1908, as well as working closely with the Nazi Party in Germany (straddling the Second Reich and Third Reich): Eugen Fischer, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics (KWI-A). Fischer also worked closely for many years with Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, who became Fischer's successor at the KWI-A. It is indisputable that Eugen Fischer was fully apprised of the activities of the Nazis.49, 50, 51, 52, 53

Paul Rohrbach was the Settlements Commissioner in GSWA. Concerned with miscegenation, he is quoted as follows:

"In order to secure the peaceful White settlement against the bad, culturally inept and predatory native tribe, it is possible that its actual eradication may become necessary under certain conditions."54

Independent of what was happening in German South West Africa, in 1918 the Germans had invaded the Ukraine while people like Symon Petliura (infamous anti-Semite) were also trying to establish an independent Ukraine. Rohrbach worked with Field Marshal Hermann von Eichhorn, commander of the German forces in the Ukraine, to install General Pavel Petrovitch Skoropadski as "Hetmann" of the Ukraine.55 During the Third Reich, German colonists from German East Africa were moved into Polish land "annexed" in 1939, displacing Poles (the indigenous population), Jews and Gypsies. This new settlement area was called the Reichsgau Wartheland (German-speaking territories annexed to Germany from 1938 were generally organised into Reichsgaue or administrative 'districts'); as the people in Poland and the Ukraine were considered inferior, they could thus be exterminated and replaced with Germans from the former African colonies and other places.

"... Hitler, Darre, and other Nazi ideologues played down overseas colonialism and concentrated instead on contiguous German settlements in Eastern Europe and especially Ukraine where the Aryan 'soldier-peasant' tilled the soil with a weapon at his side, ready to defend the farm from the 'Asian hordes.' As for the Ukrainians whom the Nazis pejoratively branded 'Negroes,' Hitler remarked that the Germans would supply them 'with scarves, glass beads and everything that colonial people like.'"56

Also active both in Deutsch-Sudwestafrika and in Nazi Germany were two members of a well-known family: Heinrich Ernst Göring and his son, Hermann Göring.

Franz Ritter von Epp also straddled both the Second Reich and the Third Reich. He served as a company commander in the German colony Deutsch-Sudwestafrika, where he took part in the bloody Herero and Namaqua Genocide.57 Von Epp also served as the NSDAP's head of its Military-Political Office from 1928 to 1945, and later as leader of the German Colonial Society, an organization devoted to regaining Germany's lost colonies.

Since several later NSDAP leaders were either active in, or informed about, the operation of Shark Island extermination camp, it has been described as an important predecessor of later Nazi extermination camps during the holocaust.58

Several other notable members of the NSDAP received their initial education repressing people in German colonies59, including:

Franz Ritter von Epp Reichsstatthalter of Bavaria, member of GSWA schutztruppen
Heinrich Ernst Göring
Hermann Göring
Heinrich worked in German Southwest Africa, Hermann was a well-known member of the NSDAP
Hans Grimm Originated the slogan Lebensraum while in GSWA in 1910
A sympathizer who influenced the NSDAP since 1923, and held many of the same beliefs60
Eduard von Liebert Governor of German South West Africa, Member NSDAP
Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck German South West Africa, German Kamerun and German East Africa with General von Trotha; joined NSDAP in 1928
Friedrich von Lindequist Governor of German South West Africa; member NSDAP
Karl Peters Founder of German East Africa; member NSDAP in 1933; praised by Kaiser Wilhelm II and Hitler
Wilhelm Roemann Served in German South West Africa under General Trotha; member NSDAP
Paul Rohrbach Settlement commissioner in GSWA61
Rohrbach tried to establish an independent Ukraine in 191862
Rohrbach was associated with the Reichsgau Wartheland during the Third Reich
Heinrich Schneem Governor of German East Africa; President, Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft (DKG); President, Deutsche weltwirtschaftliche gessellschaft; member NSDAP
Theodore Seitz Governor of German Kamerun; Governor of German South West Africa; President, Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft (DKG)

Fifty-five years after Arendt published "The Origins of Totalitarianism," a new group of historians is beginning to extend the specific relationships between Germany's African colonies during the Second Reich, and Nazi policies in Eastern Europe during the Third Reich. See Benjamin Madley, "From Africa to Auschwitz: How German South West Africa Incubated Ideas and Methods Adopted and Developed by the Nazis in Eastern Europe", European History Quarterly 2005 35:429, p. 429.

Recognition and Remembrance

The Herero and Namaqua genocide has been recognised by the United Nations and by the German Federal Republic. At the 100th anniversary of the camp's foundation, the German Minister for Economic Development and Cooperation of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul commemorated the dead on-site and apologised for the camp on behalf of Germany.

Sources of Information

Horst Drechsler, "Let Us Die Fighting: The Struggle of the Herero and Nama against German Imperialism (1884-1915), Akademie-Verlag Berlin, 1986 (3rd Ed.)
.
This was a pioneering work, and remains a major source of information about German South West Africa. Unfortunately, the book does not provide any photographs.
.
Casper W. Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-08", University of Leiden African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005.'''
.
This book should be considered a major source of information on German South West Africa. It contains many photographs and several rare maps, including a great deal of information about the Shark Island Extermination Camp and the other concentration camps and collection centers.
.
Jan-Bart Gewald, "Herero Heroes: A Socio-Political History of the Herero of Namibia 1890-1923", James Currey, Oxford, 1999.
.
This book has a great many photographs and maps.
.
Jeremy Sarkin, "Germany's Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, His General, His Settlers, His Soldiers", James Currey, UCT Press, 2011.
.
This book contains several photographs and maps. The book focuses on the extermination order issued by Kaiser Wilhelm II to Lothar von Trotha, as well as several other extermination orders issued by Kaiser Wilhelm II. It also contains extermination orders issued by Lothar von Trotha,63 and the misleading proclamation made by Trotha's successor, Governor Friedrich von Lindequist, asking the Herero and Nama to turn themselves in to facilities that were actually concentration camps, including Omburo and Otjihaemena.
.
"Report on the natives of South-West Africa and their treatment by Germany." Administrator's Office, Windhuk [sic], London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1918. (also known as the "Blue Book")
.
Originally available "At any bookstore or through H. M. Stationery Office [His Majesty's Stationery Office]", until 1926, when it was removed from the public and destroyed. There are many revisionists of history who claim that this book is biased. However:

"A number of eyewitness accounts do exist and some victim accounts are found in the Blue Book, which recorded accounts of the atrocities committed during the Herero war. Since the British produced the Blue Book during World War I reservations about its objectivity remain. However, the sentiments contained in the 1918 Report were already present in a British report of 1909, which stated:

"'The great aim of German policy in German South West Africa, as regards the native, is to reduce him to a state of serfdom, and, where he resists, to destroy him altogether. The native, to the German, is a baboon and nothing more. The war against the Hereros, conducted by General Von Trotha, was one of extermination; hundreds -- men, women and children -- were driven into desert country, where death from thirst was their end; whose [sic] left over are now in great locations near Windhuk [sic] where they eke out a miserable existence; labour is forced upon them and naturally is unwillingly performed.'"64

.
In August 1912 [pre-dates World War I], another British foreign office official commented:

"In view of the cruelty, treachery [and] commercialism by which the German colonial authorities have gradually reduced their natives to the status of cattle (without so much of a flutter being caused among English peace loving philanthropists) the [Portuguese] S. Thome agitation in its later phases against a weak [and] silly nation without resources is the more sickening. These Herreros were butchered by thousands during the war & have been ruthlessly flogged into subservience since."65

.
Brigitte Lau, "History and Historiography: 4 essays in reprint", Discourse/MSORP, Windhoek, May, 1995
.
Both Erichsen and Sarkin refer to Brigitte Lau as a denialist. Nevertheless, in essay III, between pages 50 and 51 of her work, nine photographs with captions including "prisoner of war camps, in Windhoek and Luderitz", are published. Lau was a research officer at the National Archives of Namibia, and in 1991 was appointed Head of the National Archives of Namibia.
.

1  Bismarck's hasty act, which took effect on August 7, 1884, was propelled by the belief that Great Britain was about to claim the area as a protectorate. See Casper W. Erichsen, "'The angel of death has descended violently among them': Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-08", University of Leiden African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, p. 66
.
2  http://www.klausdierks.com/Chronology/39.htm, item 30.04, captured 12/29/2011
.
3  From http://www.klausdierks.com/Chronology/45.htm, item 30.05, captured 12/29/2011: "Hendrik Witbooi writes to Samuel Maharero, stating: 'You will eternally regret that you have given your land and your right to rule into the hands of the whites.'"
.
4  http://www.klausdierks.com/Chronology/40.htm Chronology 1886 Section, item 17.04, captured 12/29/2011
.
5  David Olusoga, Casper W. Erichsen, "The Kaiser's Holocaust: Germany's Forgotten Genocide", Faber and Faber, London, 2010, pp. 42-43
.
6  http://www.klausdierks.com/Chronology/45.htm Chronology 1890 Section, top of page, captured 12/29/2011
.
7  http://www.klausdierks.com/Chronology/45.htm Chronology 1890 Section, item 01.07, captured 12/29/2011
.
8  Jeremy Sarkin, "Germany's Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, His General, His Settlers, His Soldiers", James Currey, UCT Press, 2011, p. 39
.
9  Helmut Bley (Hugh Ridley, Trans.), "South-West Africa under German Rule 1894-1914", Heinemann Educational Books, Ltd., 1971, p. 9
.
10  Helmut Bley (Hugh Ridley, Trans.), "South-West Africa under German Rule 1894-1914", Heinemann Educational Books, Ltd., 1971, pp. 9-10
.
11  Helmut Bley (Hugh Ridley, Trans.), "South-West Africa under German Rule 1894-1914", Heinemann Educational Books, Ltd., 1971, p. 10
.
12  Helmut Bley (Hugh Ridley, Trans.), "South-West Africa under German Rule 1894-1914", Heinemann Educational Books, Ltd., 1971, p. 11
.
13  Note: One cannot 'raid' cattle if the concept of personal ownership of those cattle is not recognized.
.
14  Helmut Bley (Hugh Ridley, Trans.), "South-West Africa under German Rule 1894-1914", Heinemann Educational Books, Ltd., 1971, p. 13
.
15  S. Johnson, "Peace without justice: Hegemonic instability or international criminal law?" Ashgate Publishing,London, 2003, p. 200
.
16  David Olusoga and Casper W. Erichsen, ''The Kaiser's Holocaust: Germany's Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism'', Faber and Faber, 2010
.
17  Although the Herero-Namaqua genocide was the first large-scale act of genocide in German South-West Africa, it was preceded by less well-known acts of destruction in German East Africa.
.
18  Jan-Bart Gewald, "Herero Heroes: A Socio-Political History of the Herero of Namibia 1890-1923", James Currey, Oxford, 1999, p. 169-170
.
19  Jan-Bart Gewald, "Herero Heroes: A Socio-Political History of the Herero of Namibia 1890-1923", James Currey, Oxford, 1999, p. 171
.
20  I. Goldblatt, History of South West Africa, from the beginning of the nineteenth century Juta & Co., Cape Town, 1971, p. 131
.
21  http://www.namibia-1on1.com/battleofwaterberg.html; captured 12/30/2011
.
22  See Helmut Bley, ''South-West Africa Under German Rule, 1894-1914'' Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 1971; Jon Bridgman, ''The Revolt of the Hereros'', University of California Press, Berkeley, 1981; Jan-Bart Gewald, ''Towards Redemption: A Socio-Political History of the Herero of Namibia between 1890 and 1923'', Leiden, 1996; and Kirsten Zirkel, "Military Power in German Colonial Policy: The Schutztruppen and Their Leaders in East and South-West Africa, 1888-1918," in David Killingray and David Omissi, eds., ''Guardians of Empire: The Armed Forces of the Colonial Powers, 1700-1964'' Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1999
.
23  Puaux Ren, "The German Colonies; What Is to Become of Them?", BiblioBazaar, 2009; a copy of the original pamphlet, which was published "pre-1923".
.
24  Isabel V. Hull, "Absolute Destruction: Military, Culture And the Practices of War in Imperial Germany", Cornell University Press, 2006, p.56
.
25  Isabel V. Hull, "Absolute Destruction: Military, Culture And the Practices of War in Imperial Germany", Cornell University Press, 2006, p.56
.
26  Drechsler, Horst: "Let Us Die Fighting: The Struggle of the Herero and Nama Against German Imperialism, 1884-1915", Zed Press, London, 1980, p. 150
.
27  http://www.namibia-1on1.com/battleofwaterberg.html; captured 12/30/2011
.
28  http://www.ppu.org.uk/genocide/g_namibia1.html; see "Talking about genocide: Namibia 1904"; captured 12/30/2011
.
29  This was preceded by another early use of the concentration camp by General Valeriano “Butcher” Weyler during the Spanish-American War in 1896; see Aline Helg, "Our Rightful Share: The Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality, 1886-1912", The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1995, pp. 85-86, and Willard B. Gatewood, Jr., "Smoked Yankees and the Struggle for Empire: Letters from Negro Soldiers 1898-1902", University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, 1987, p. 239
.
30  Casper Erichsen,"The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-08", University of Leiden African Studies Centre, Leiden, pp. 1-2
.
31  Jeremy Sarkin-Hughes, “Colonial Genocide and Reparations Claims in the 21st Century: The Socio-Legal Context of Claims under International Law by the Herero against Germany for Genocide in Namibia, 1904-1908”, Praeger, 2008
.
32  Sara L. Friedrichsmeyer, Sara Lennox, and Susanne M. Zantop, "The Imperialist Imagination: German Colonialism and Its Legacy (Social History, Popular Culture, and Politics in Germany)", University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1999, p. 87
.
33  Marie-Aude Baronian, Stephan Besser, Yolande Jansen, "Diaspora and memory: figures of displacement in contemporary literature, arts and politics", Rodopi, 2007
.
34  Planning for mass death at the Swakopmund work camp, authorities kept a Totenregister, or death register, and death certificates pre-printed with 'death by exhaustion followed by privation'." See Benjamin Madley, "From Africa to Auschwitz: How German South West Africa Incubated Ideas and Methods Adopted and Developed by the Nazis in Eastern Europe", European History Quarterly 2005 35:429, p. 449
.
35  Casper Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-1908," African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, p. 23
.
36  See Jeremy Silver, Casper Erichsen, "Lüderitz's Forgotten Concentration Camp", at http://www.namibian.org/travel/namibia/luderitzcc.html, captured 12/30/2011
.
37  "The other annual average death rates (for the period Oct. 1904 to Mar. 1907) were as follows: Okahandja, 37.2%; Windhuk, 50.4%; Swakopmund, 74%; Shark Island in Lüderitzbucht, 121.2% for Nama, 30% for Herero. Traugott Tjienda, headsman of the Herero at Tsumbe and foreman of a large group of prisoners at the Otavi lines for two years, testified years later to a death rate of 28% (148 dead of 528 laborers) in his unit, Union of South Africa, 'Report on the Natives', 101." In this excerpt, "BA-Berlin" means Bundesarchiv (Berlin-Lichterfelde); "Lüderitzbucht" means Lüderitz Bay; Tsumbe was a copper mine; Otavi was the railroad that the inmates of Shark Island were forced to build. See Isabel V. Hull, "Absolute Destruction: Military, Culture And the Practices of War in Imperial Germany", Cornell University Press, 2006; pp. 81-82 footnote #64, 'Sterblichkeit in den Kriegsgefangenlargern,' Nr. KA II.1181, copy of undated report compiled by the Schutztruppe Command, read in Col. Dept. 24 M. 1908, BA-Berlin, R 1001. Nr. 2040, pp. 161-62.
.
38  Casper Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-1908," African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, p. 49
.
39  Casper Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-1908," African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, p. 23
.
40  Casper Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-1908," African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, pp. 59, 111
.
41  Casper Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-1908," African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, p. 76
.
42  Casper Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-1908," African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, p. 113
.
43  Casper Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-1908," African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, p. 43
.
44  Casper Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-1908," African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, p. 58. For further details, see Shark Island Extermination Camp.
.
45  Casper Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-1908," African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, pp. 60-61. For further details, see Shark Island Extermination Camp.
.
46  Casper Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-1908," African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, p. 78. For further details, see Shark Island Extermination Camp.
.
47  Casper Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-1908," African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, p. 80. For further details, see Shark Island Extermination Camp.
.
48  Casper Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-1908," African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, p. 84. For further details, see Shark Island Extermination Camp.
.
49  Hans-Walter Schmuhl, "The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, 1927-1945" Springer, 2003, pp. 336-337: "At the end of his colonial policy conclusions, Fischer designed a system of apartheid for German Southwest Africa, long before such a system was introduced in South Africa: the Ovambo and Herero were to be deployed as agricultural laborers, the Hottentots as herders. [...] Despite his paternalistic attitude toward the 'little nation of bastards,' Fischer regarded the Rehoboths from the perspective of the colonial masters: 'So they will be granted just that degree of protection which they need as a race inferior to us, in order to endure, no more and only as long as they are useful to us [...]' This last comment by Fischer reads like a retrospective justification of the war of extermination the German colonial troops had led against the rebellious Herero and Nama from 1904 to 1908. Fischer had profited from this genocide directly, for he apparently brought skulls and skeletons of "Hottentots" with him from Southwest Africa, which may have come from the internment camps on Shark Island, where people died like flies. The skeleton of the Nama leader Cornelius Frederiks (1907) also supposedly came into Fischer's collection in this way."
.
50  Hans-Walter Schmuhl, "The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, 1927-1945" Springer, 2003, p. 253: "In July 1940 -- by this time Fischer had coordinated his plans for reorganizing the institute with Baron Ottmar von Verschuer -- the departing director expressed himself more clearly to Telschow:
      In repetition of earlier conversations, Prof. Eugen Fischer designated prof. von Verschuer in Frankfort as a suitable successor. [...]
.
51  Hans-Walter Schmuhl, "The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, 1927-1945" Springer, 2003, p. 279: "In July 1942 Verschuer reported to the race biologist Wolfgang Lehmann of Strasborg, a member of the "Dahlem circle": "I will take almost all of my staff from here, first of all [Heinrich] Schade and [Hans] Grebe, later [Josef] Mengele [...]"
.
52  Hans-Walter Schmuhl, "The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, 1927-1945" Springer, 2003, p. 284: "Verschuer [...] filled the ranks of assistants with Hans Grebe, Siegfried Liebau, Hans Ritter, and Karin Magnussen [...]"
.
53  Hans-Walter Schmuhl, "The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, 1927-1945" Springer, 2003, pp. 379-381. In her interrogation by the Bremen Denazification Commission on May 25, 1949, Karin Magnussen testified that she worked closely with Dr. Josef Mengele and that Prof. von Verschuer worked closely with both Magnussen and Mengele.
.
54  Jeremy Sarkin, "Germany's Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, His General, His Settlers, His Soldiers", James Currey, 2011, p. 102
.
55  See Hans-Joachim Torke and John-Paul Himka, "German-Ukrainian Relations in Historical Perspective", Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, Edmonton, 1994 (review).
.
56  See Jonathan Petropoulos, John K. Roth, "Gray zones: ambiguity and compromise in the Holocaust and its aftermath", Berghahn Books, 2006, pp. 187-188
.
57  Kurt Jonassohn, Karin Solveig Björnson, "Genocide and gross human rights violations in comparative perspective", Transaction Publishers, 1997, p. 76
.
58  Benjamin Madley, "From Africa to Auschwitz: How German South West Africa Incubated Ideas and Methods Adopted and Developed by the Nazis in Eastern Europe", European History Quarterly 2005 35, pp. 430-432
.
59  http://techcrunch.com/2007/12/06/wikipedia-sued-for-nazi-sympathies/, captured 12/30/2011; see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katina_Schubert, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutz_Heilmann
.
60  Eric Ames, Marcia Klotz, and Lora Wildenthal (Eds), “Race, Gender, and Sexuality in German Southwest Africa: Hans Grimm’s Südafrikanische Novellen.” Germany’s Colonial Pasts. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 2005, pp. 63-75.
61  Examples of views by individuals such as Paul Rohrbach and Eugen Fischer that were specific links between GSWA and Nazi Germany are given in Jeremy Sarkin, "Germany's Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, His General, His Settlers, His Soldiers", James Currey, 2011, p. 25. "Jonassohn points out how the writings of Paul Rohrbach, advocating the extermination or expulsion of the indigenous population to provide space for white settlers, later became part of the Nazi ethos. To confirm the link between the two eras Jonassohn also refers to Eugen Fischer, who conducted human experiments in GSWA and later Nazi Germany."
.
61  President of the German-Ukrainian Society during World War I; see Ihor Kamenetsky, "Hitler's Occupation of the Ukraine: A Study in Totalitarian Imperialism", Hailer Publishing, 2006
.
62  President of the German-Ukrainian Society during WWI; see Ihor Kamenetsky, "Hitler's Occupation of the Ukraine: A Study in Totalitarian Imperialism", Hailer Publishing, 2006
.
63  Casper Erichsen, "The angel of death has descended violently among them: Concentration camps and prisoners-of-war in Namibia, 1904-1908," African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2005, p. 23
.
64  "Some scholars, such as Brigitte Lau, have denied the existence of the order itself. In 1989, she noted that no original copy of the order in German existed. However, Berat argues correctly that subsequent references to the order in German colonial documents confirms the veracity of it. Besides, the original order has been located and now resides in the Botswana National Archives. [...] Much of the Blue Book, as Wellington points out, consists of translations of German sources. The veracity of these records has not been questioned, neither have the translations been critised as inaccurate." See Jeremy Sarkin, "Germany's Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, His General, His Settlers, His Soldiers", James Currey, UCT Press, 2011, pp. 110, 111, 30-31
.
65  Report by Captain H. S. P. Simon, 'Report on German South West Africa', 6 April 1909, FO 367-236, quoted in W. M. R. Louis 'Great Britain and German expansion in Africa 1984-1919', in P. Gifford and W. M. R. Louis (Eds.), "Britain and Germany in Africa: Imperial rivalty and colonial rule." Yale University Press, New Haven, 1967, pp. 3-46, 38

Back

© Copyright 2006 - 2017    The Esther M. Zimmer Lederberg Trust     Web Site Terms of Use