Germany initially admitted that it had committed a genocide in Namibia at the beginning of the last century. Berlin has already pledged more than 1 billion euros for aid projects in the southwest African country on Thursday.
“From now on, we will formally refer to these events as they were from a contemporary perspective: genocide,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement. It was issued to welcome the agreement with Namibia after five years of negotiations.
“As a gesture of appreciation for the immeasurable suffering of the victims, we want to support Namibia and the descendants of the victims with a major reconstruction and development program worth 1.1 billion euros,” Maas said.
Namibia was a colony of the German Empire from 1884 to 1915. Between 1904 and 1908, thousands of people of the Herero and Nama ethnicities were killed by colonial forces after the peoples’ revolt against German colonial rule. Survivors were driven into the desert, where many were locked up in concentration camps. There, many Herrero died and fell asleep from exhaustion, cold, and malnutrition. According to historians, 65,000 of the 85,000 herero were killed and at least half of the 20,000 sleepers.
In the past, the German government has already accepted “moral responsibility” for the atrocities committed in Namibia, which a minister once described as genocide. Until recently, Berlin refused to apologize, fearing compensation claims.
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