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Germany finally apologizes for its other genocide—more than a century later

Women of the Herero tribe, the fourth largest of the territoryís black tribes, show their traditional dress, July 4, 1981 in Windhoek. (AP Photo/JJ)

Germany will finally apologize for its other genocide. In a landmark admission of historical guilt, chancellor Angela Merkel said her country will formally recognize and apologize for the systematic murder of Namibia’s Herero people more than a century ago.

Germany’s federal government is in talks with the Namibian government to finalize a common language and policy around the hitherto almost ignored mass killing, the chancellor’s office said this week according to AFP. Still, Merkel’s government was clear that there would be no reparations, but rather targeted development projects.

“On the question of whether there could be reparations or legal consequences, there are none. The apology does not come with any consequences on how we deal with the history and portray it,” Sawsan Chebli, Merkel’s spokeswoman, told reporters.

The genocide is widely viewed as the first of the twentieth century, perpetrated from 1904 to 1907, but is rarely recognized. Historians believe that the atrocities perpetrated by the German troops became a precursor for those perpetrated during the Holocaust. The parallelsbetween Germany’s two genocides are chillingly similar: the extermination order for the sake of expansion, forced labor in concentration camps and scientific experiments on prisoners.

Within three years, German troops oversaw the extermination of 85% of the Herero population, expropriated


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