Last week, the German government handed over the remains of Namibian men and women killed in what has been called “the first genocide of the 20th century.”
Between 1904 and 1908, German imperial soldiers slaughtered tens of thousands of members of the Herero and Nama indigenous groups.
The violence was prompted by an anti-colonial uprising in 1904that took the lives of 123 German citizens.
In October of that year, the colony’s commander, General Lothar von Trotha, ordered that “in the (colonial) German borders, all Herero with or without weapons, with or without cattle, should be shot.”
As many as 75 percent of the Herero and half of the Nama died. Some 300 skulls and thousands of other body parts were then shipped to Germany for experiments trying to prove European racial superiority.
While the German administration has accepted responsibility for the massacres, no formal apology has been made and the government has refused to pay reparations.
Members of both ethnic groups denounced last week’s gesture as not enough, and some have filed a class action lawsuit in the United States demanding reparations.
Sources: Deutsche Welle, France 24, Al Jazeera