Germany returns skulls of Namibians massacred during brutal colonial era and sent to Europe to prove the whites were superior Updated for 2021


Updated: February 27, 2021

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Germany on Wednesday returned more than 25 skulls of Namibians massacred during the brutal colonial era more than hundred years ago. The skulls were sent to Germany for the now-discredited “eugenics research” to prove the racial superiority of white Europeans.

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Racial anthropologists studied the bones as part of an attempt to justify a theory about the superiority of Europeans. 

Skulls from Germany’s other African colonies, including Cameroon, Tanzania, Rwanda and Togo, were also used in the discredited studies.

Despite those studies discredited long ago, some white nationalists still remain convinced that the whites are naturally superior to the blacks and other races.

On Wednesday, more than 25 skulls were received by a Namibian government delegation at a church service in the German capital, Berlin.

It is estimated that more than 100,000 Namibians were massacred or forced into the desert to die by German forces in Africa when Germany still owned vast swaths of land before it lost the first and second world wars.

Those killed or left to die were mainly from Herero and Nama tribes.

The genocide began 1904 after a Herero and Nama rebellion in response to the German expropriation of their land and cattle.

Documents and media reports show that the head of the military administration in what was then known as German South West Africa, Lothar von Trotha, issued an extermination order in October 1904.

“The Herero and Nama were forced into the desert and any who were found trying to return to their land were either killed or put into concentration camps.

“There is no agreed figure of how many died but some estimates have put it as high as 100,000,” BBC reported on Wednesday, adding that it is thought that 75% of the Herero population and half of the Nama population died.

There are thought to be hundreds of Namibian skulls in Germany.

Despite the atrocities, Germany has refused to apologize, saying only in 2016 that it was ready to apologize in principle and was still negotiating with Namibia over the form of the apology.

Instead, Germany has argued that it has been giving Namibia millions of dollars in development aid.

Wednesday’s ceremony is the third time that remains have been handed back to Namibia.

BBC said the descendants of the victims are angry that there has been no apology and no agreement of reparations. They are also unhappy that they are not part of the negotiations.

“Our two governments… are still negotiating on an appropriate text for an apology. That’s a big joke. These guys are just playing when Rome is burning,” Herero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro told the service in Berlin.

BBC said the skulls will now be taken to Namibia where they will be housed in the national museum until it is decided where they will be buried.


Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on


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