Adelaide Institute



Dr Claus Nordbruch's Australian presentation


28 December 2004 - 9 January 2005


Ladies and Gentlemen. My talk will be divided into two main topics: First I would like to talk about ‘The Absence of intellectual freedom in the Federal Republic of Germany. Then I shall introduce you to the latest historical lie against Germany and the German people: The alleged Atrocities committed on the Herero people during the suppression of their uprising in German South West Africa 1904-1907.

There is no doubt that both freedom of speech and freedom of scientific enquiry are constitutionally guaranteed in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). The decisive question, however, is to which degree these basic rights are also respected in practice.

Without the fundamental basic right to freedom of opinion - which includes the freedom of information, freedom of scientific enquiry and freedom of the press as crucial elements, among other things - no freedom of decision or free will can exist for any person. Freedom of opinion is therefore the highest good of the citizens in a free society; and the degree to which freedom of opinion is curtailed indicates the degree of subjugation or lack of personal emancipation. Only opinions which are contrary to those held by the people in authority need to be protected by the right to freedom of opinion. He who talks apologetically of state authority needs no protection. He is not threatened and only the opponent is threatened.

The freedom of expressing an opinion, i.e. freedom of speech, assumes a prominent place among human rights. It needs extensive protection, which should only in exceptional cases be appropriately infringed. Such exceptional cases occur when, for example, children, youths or the people at large need to be protected against publications, sound recordings, »art« or other forms of opinion expression. This may happen in the case of propagation of violence, perversity, criminal acts, sadism, treason or terrorism. However, in practice the measures of censorship intended to protect youth are especially employed against dissident political authors and students of contemporary history.

According to the official German censorship authority, the so-called Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Schriften (BPjS) or Federal Office for the Investigation of Publications Endangering the Youth, the measures of censorship are meant to protect children and youth against media output that could negatively influence them in their moral and social growth. The concept »dangerous to youth« is vague and in the FRG tends to assume a general character. It is not to be understood as a religious or moral definition, but has to be regarded specifically as a political concept.

Already during the sixties The sociologist Ulla Otto focused attention on the fact that this concept is closely associated with the accusation of being »of a pseudo-scientific nature«, which is frequently applied to »undesirable publications«, »which should preferably be eliminated«. Whereas alchemy, astrology, parapsychology, spiritism and the study of UFOs were, for example, in previous times accused of »being of a pseudo-scientific nature«, this label is at present mainly attached to »revisionist« opinions and literature. Publications branded with this label, and therefore considered being of a questionable nature, are banned from German research libraries. In contrast books of an anarchistic, Marxist or communist nature are freely sold. The label ‘pseudo-science’  catches dissenting publishers who are then excluded from the public debate in advance. This exclusion follows in most cases an indexing or prohibition of the works published,  and of stigmatizing the author. In this way not only is the freedom of the press infringed, but more significantly the freedom of scientific enquiry, research and education is impaired.

The question arises as to whether the acts of indexing works as practiced by the BPjS actually protects children and youth, or whether the concept of »protecting youth« is not employed as a disguise to hide infringements of the freedom of scientific enquiry and opinion. This question assumes all the more relevance in view of the fact that it has never been scientifically proven that a child or youth had been »socially and ethically disoriented« by a specific book or displayed deviant behaviour as a result of being exposed to a specific publication - in complete contrast to being exposed to videos containing violence and horror. In any event, the BPjS makes it all too easy for itself by arguing in generalist terms that publications »antagonistic to the constitution« are »socially and ethically disorientating«. The problem concerning the above is clear: Who determines the qualitative or judgmental basis that results in material being judged as of a  »morally endangering nature?

We have just mentioned the term »revisionist«. What does that term actually mean? The term revision is derived from the Latin word revidēre, meaning »looking at anew« or »looking back« in the sense of »to examine«. »To look anew at« or »to examine« matters is the foremost and most natural task of all scientists. It is the duty of all historians always and repeatedly to re-examine and, if need be, revise written history in the light of new insights, discoveries and research results. However, Germany’s political police - Verfassungsschutz - or »protector of the constitution« - cares little about scientifically based definitions. Objectively seen, the term ›revisionism‹ is a concept free of value. The term assumes an entirely different meaning in their eyes: »[The] aim of ›revisionism‹, which is one of the most important fields of agitation of right-wing extremism, is the rehabilitation of National Socialism in order to make the latter acceptable again to society«. Another office of the Verfassungsschutz even indicates the following as revisionism: »The politically motivated attempt to play down or deny the German crimes committed under National Socialist rule«. The completely value-free academic term of revisionism is therefore without further ado smeared by secret agents as »detestable expression of right-wing extremism«. Such logic assumes that correcting errors in historiography was the sign of an inferior political attitude!

Almost daily new insights are won not only in the natural sciences and in the field of technology, but also in the social sciences. In fact, science just like human life is not like a video tape you can stop or wind forward or backward as you like it, but goes on continuously and bears unforseenable developments. At the start of the research, the scientist has doubts regarding or examines matters as they stand and considers the existing state of knowledge, before embarking on a further search for new facts or insights which may possibly lead to new conclusions. It is only logical that what applies to, for instance, paleontologists, archeologists, geneticists, nuclear physicists or any other researcher, of course, also applies to the historian.To work in a revisionist manner is therefore nothing dishonourable. Rather the opposite is true. Despite this, the originally value-free term of ›revisionist‹ is today mainly applied to those researchers critically studying the history of the Third Reich or the Second World War. Conveniently smearing the revisionists as »right-wing extremists« has nothing to do with either a factual evaluation of their work or the necessary criticism expressed in a debate within scientific and research circles. It is exclusively politically motivated and revolves around the defamation of those considered to be political opponents.

Let us now have a closer look on a couple of examples of oppressing freedom of speech in the FRG.

Circumstances surrounding instructions to remove important passages from the book Geschichte der Deutschen - History of the Germans by the historian Prof. Dr Hellmut Diwald from Erlangen caught media attention during the eighties. A widely published historical falsification connected to German concentration camps and the so-called final solution was rectified by the author on pages 163 to 165 of this book. This did not meet with approval from the opinion cartel. Although Diwald personally had retracted none of his written words - and later even broke off the relationship to his publisher, the latter had the following editions of the work edited by third parties and removed the passages which contradicted accepted dogma. Diwald confronted these Stalinist-like acts of censorship in the book – Mut zur Geschichte - Courage in Historical Matters – which appeared in 1983. He quite rightly accused a considerable number of his colleagues of one-sidedness and betrayal of the scientific ethos.The book Auge um Auge, a German translation of the factual treatise by the American journalist John Sack which originally appeared under the title An Eye for an Eye, was scheduled for publication by the Piper-Verlag during 1995. The publisher had already advertised the book in the press when it was suddenly withdrawn. According to the head of the firm, Viktor Niemann, this was done to prevent provoking »any misunderstandings« during the fiftieth commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz. The 6 000 copies of the first edition were destroyed without further ado. This shameful behaviour was justifiably criticized, e.g. in a letter by Christian Riester which appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 21 February 1995. This reader was of the opinion that »The argument of the Piper-Verlag for not distributing the book by John Sack is already an astonishing construction. Discussions are thus to be managed, and that in the right direction. Does one proceed from the premises that the citizen has in the meantime been so distracted by the daily flood of reports on the subject of dealing with the past that he is no longer in a position to recognize and evaluate historical facts? I think one should describe the actions of the Piper-Verlag for what it is: Censorship«.

The former scientific director at the Institute for Research into Military History in Freiburg (now located at Potsdam), Dr Joachim Hoffmann, recorded his insights in a document titled Stalins Vernichtungskrieg 1941-1945 - Stalin's War of Destruction 1941 – 1945 – during 1995. In this work the scientist took little cognisance of persisting taboos, dogmas and prohibited ideas, but all the more tried to analyze all the actions of all those concerned in the outbreak of the »Great Patriotic War«, as Soviet propagandists liked to call the war between Germany and the Soviet Union. In this groundbreaking work Hoffmann provided evidence that, contrary to the views expressed in prevailing contemporary historiography, this war actually did start as a preventative blow by the Germans. According to his research, the German campaign came just in time to thwart a planned Soviet invasion of Germany. Hoffmann's superiors, Wilhelm Deist and Manfred Messerschmidt, demanded that the Soviet contributions to the invasion be deleted. They expected Hoffmann to delete all references to the shared responsibility of the Soviet Union and Germany for the destruction of Poland in 1939, as well as the deletion of all references to Soviet methods of waging a war of destruction. In other words, historical facts had to be hidden from the public and history falsified. In reaction to this, Hoffmann wrote in his foreword that »Contrary to the letter and spirit of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of scientific research, it is today unfortunately to be recommended that many passages of historiographic text be submitted for examination to determine a possible ›contravention of the law‹ - which is a most degrading state of affairs«.

Facing these kind of doubtful measures of censorship, we have to ask whether historical truth can be proscribed by law.

The acting director of the Hannah Arendt Institute in Dresden, Prof. Dr Uwe Backes, dared to utter a statement which, basically, should be considered a matter of course, namely that »More than 50 years afterwards it should be possible for the generations since born to also ask unconventional questions in a sober and objective way during the scientific discourse. Young scientists have to be allowed to tackle uncomfortable topics«. Nothing wrong with this opinion, one would think. Reality, however, is something else.

During April 1994 the Federal Constitutional Court confirmed that those people questioning the »Auschwitz lie«, and therefore the killing of millions of Jews by means of poison gas during the time of the Third Reich, would no longer be protected by the constitutional guarantees regarding freedom of expression. This decision was confronted with harsh criticism worldwide. The second largest human rights organisation after AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, namely HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, commented as follows on the court's ruling: »The court's ruling appeared to unduly restrict the protected right to free speech and expression«. As a direct result of the court's decision, the Bundestag on 20 May 1994 passed an »Auschwitz Lie Act«. In § 130 paragraph 3 of this law it is explicitly stated that »Whoever publicly or in a meeting condones, denies or minimizes an act described in § 220a paragraph 1 [›Genocide‹] performed under the reign of National Socialism in a way that could disturb the public peace, is liable to be sentenced to five years imprisonment or a fine«. Even the Süddeutsche Zeitung, untainted by any revisionist ambitions, took note of the new turn of events. On 8 October 1998 it justifiably reported that the Federal Constitutional Court had established that »not only valuable, but also false, even objectionable opinions are protected«. »It would actually be absurd for the state to determine which opinions enjoyed freedom of expression. However, this is exactly what happens in the new paragraph 130 III of the criminal code. The law-maker determines historical facts and threatens with prosecution not only those denying these, but also any attempt at the re-interpretation of such facts.«

Prof. Dr Gottfried Dietze, expert on human rights at the John Hopkins University, expressed the opinion that paragraph 130 of the criminal code goes against the »tried and trusted judicial protection of freedom of expression and thereby disregards the framework of what is generally acknowledged.« He then proceeds to ask »whether it also falls outside the framework of the constitution and has to be declared unconstitutional. The establishment of the constitution was a praiseworthy decision against the National Socialist authoritarian state. Measures at that time taken to prevent a relapse into dictatorship are understandable, even if these restricted fundamental rights in this regard. Whether, in view of the fact that the danger of such a relapse does no longer exist, provisions like those contained in par. 130 of the StGB (criminal code) are justified half a century later is doubtful and I want to negate this«.

The »truth paragraph« – paragraph 130 III of the criminal code –  means nothing less than the short-circuiting of intellectual debate by the state and thereby prevents the development of free political expression, which is unworthy of an actually freedom-loving state, as this is repeated ad absurdum. The increasing measure that sanctions special laws, then are sanctioned and applied against the public uttering of opinion to enable the prosecution of authors, editors, publishers and scientists, is a clear indication of the one-sided curtailment of the freedom of the press, opinion and scientific enquiry in the FRG, and consequently is a curtailment of intellectual freedom in that state.

Dr Rolf Kosiek, chairman of the Gesellschaft Für Publizistik – Society for the Freedom of Publication – wrote in a circular released on 6 April 1999 that it has for some time become a matter of concern that judicial action against publishers and authors were increasingly being taken on the basis of the strengthening of the Special Law for the Inhibition of the Freedom of Speech and the Press in the Field of Contemporary History (discussed in more detail in the next section of this report), which had come into effect during December 1994. Kosiek also criticized the »disproportionately high fines or jail sentences« with which the vocational classes concerned are threatened. This kind of judicial persecution represents a new attempt, against the spirit of the constitution, »at abolishing freedom of speech and the press, with the aim to silence right-wing publications and economically ruin them«. In much the same vein the EUROKURIER already two years earlier had focused attention on the judicial prosecution of unwanted publishers. The increased political pressure on dissident publishing houses and measures against books from the right-wing were, according to this news magazine on current affairs surrounding books and publishers, evidently intended to destroy independent publishing houses striving towards freedom in political and ideological matters.

This leads us to our conclusion: The theoretically guaranteed intellectual freedom in the FRG is in practice severely restricted and subjected to tightly-woven blocking mechanisms of a party-political and media nature, as well as to judicial restrictions. The realisation of intellectual freedom has not been achieved: In the FRG books are censored and placed on the index, while opinions are increasingly being suppressed and »banned«.

Personal integrity and courage are clearly needed to express an opinion in the FRG, especially as far as matters outside the currently acceptable taught opinion or contrary to published opinion are concerned. »The other side«, especially dissident political and historiographical opinions, is not really heard in this state. The opposite is rather true. The latter kind of opinions are often distorted, ignored or the authors thereof even criminally prosecuted. Especially since the 1990s thousands of incarserations — »preventative arrests« — there have been ten thousands of in the meantime severely increased fines and prison sentences, both suspended and otherwise, and an uncountable number of bannings of meetings have been experinced mainly by conservative, nationally inclined or revisionistically active Germans. At the same time almost no such measures have been taken against the representatives of other political opinions, for example like those of a communist or anarchist nature. Nowadays more political prisoners are imprisoned in the »democratic« FRG than were previously imprisoned in what was known as the communist GDR – German Democratic Republic – or so-called East Germany): According to the German daily Die Welt of 7 April 1997, for instance 5800 people in that year alone were criminally prosecuted in connection with the uttering of forbidden opinions, especially on matters of contemporary history. This figure has in the meantime almost doubled for the past years. NB: These individuals were not convicted as the result of having committed terrorism or any other condemnable act, but simply because they were guilty of presenting contrary opinions or harbouring »thought crimes«.

In practice the expression of political and historiographic opinions by dissidents does not enjoy the theoretical judicial protection of freedom of expression guaranteed by the fifth clause of the German constitution –  and this at the cost of the dignity and honour of those involved. Political justice applied with regard to personal inclinations and a one-sided curtailment of the freedom of opinion, including the freedom of information, scientific enquiry and gathering, have meanwhile become the order of the day in the FRG where hundreds of books, newspapers and magazines are forbidden just for expressing opinions which do not suit the authorities. Dozens of authors, booksellers, journalists, publishers, editors, scientists and even ordinary individuals of any age are imprisoned or sentenced to pay severe fines. Due to the increasing restrictions on the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of opinion the political and intellectual climate in contemporary Germany has become unbearable.

The intellectual and political repression in the FRG has for years been increasing in intensity. For this reason it is  necessary to deliver a clear plea for the authentic democratic constitutional state. »A free state system is inter alia distinguished by the fact that its citizens possess the right to [freely] express their opinions verbally or in print, as well as the right to physical integrity and dignity. Opinions can never be uniform in a genuinely pluralistic state. Only from continuing conflict of opinions can a free system develop the ability to find solutions to the always continuing search for answers to various questions. Arguments and counter-arguments are the point around which such a free system revolves and in which it is anchored - also and especially if opinions may deliberately be kept controversial and are allowed to be sharply formulated.« However, a system which disguises policy on opinion by means of liberal pretexts; moralistically applies the »stick of Fascism« against political dissidents and attempts to shut them out of the process of public opinion formulation; which vilifies them in public; which implements the banning of opinion and prohibits people from pursuing their chosen careers; which infiltrates agents provocateur and spies into organizations belonging to potential political adversaries and uncomfortable opposition parties, often with the aim of activating third parties to commit criminal transgressions, »in reality represents totalitarianism. In this sense the FRG is a totalitarian state«.

This brings me to the second part of my talk.

Now, I would like to talk about the latest accusations against Germany: the alleged atrocities committed on the Herero people in German South West Africa in 1904. According to the allegations, the Kaiserliche Schutztruppe – Imperial Protection Force, had hunted down the Herero after «a battle of encirclement» at Waterberg on 11 August 1904 by forcing them «systematically and mercilessly» into the waterless Omaheke desert preventing them from escaping and, thus, sentencing them to die atrociously from hunger and thirst. Tens of thousand of Herero people were supposed to be killed. To some extent, the advocates of this allegation state, this «genocide» would have been manifested by the «infamous proclamation» by General Lothar von Trotha, then commander-in-chief of the Schutztruppe in German South West Africa. Are these accusations based on the historical truth? Let us examine the facts!

In September 2001 a claim on ‹compensation› was made on behalf of the Herero people of South West Africa, now Namibia, by controversial chieftain Kuaima Riruako and even more controversial Member of Parliament Mburumba Kerina. By means of legal action before an American court, he intended to claim four billion US$ in damages from the Federal Republic of Germany and two German firms for slavery, genocide and theft. The chance to be successful, he characteristically estimated to be «possible, because we are following the same path as that of the Jews. The genocide against our people was a precursor of the Holocaust.» Riruako argues, «that since Germany has paid reparations to Jews for their suffering in the Nazi Holocaust, his tribe should also receive German compensation.» This strong statement deserves to be analysed in detail, particularly, in the view of the fact that Riruako has already threatened in public, in case his people were not paid «reparations for crimes committed against his people during the colonial era», they would forcefully «repossess» farms. «Germany owes us reparations, or otherwise the only road left for us as Africans will be the Zimbabwe way.»

Lots of exterminationist publications are saturated with overused and worn out shut-up words such as ‹genocide›, ‹brutality›, ‹fascism›, ‹German tyranny›, ‹extermination politics› and of course ‹Holocaust›. No wonder, that even so-called acaemic books you can find sentences like this one, for example: «For von Trotha the uprising was nothing but a horde of wild ‹niggers›, whose rebellion could only be effectively punished through extermination.»

According to the German Christian weekly Das Sonntagsblatt, the German Imperial «Afrikacorps» [sic!] committed the first genocide of the 20th century. The Schutztruppe had forced the Herero into the waterless desert, where four fifths of the Herero people would have died of thirst. The African Unification Front describes the degree of this alleged atrocity: «The Herero and Nama women and girls were interned in concentration camps and raped by German troops, while the men and boys were tortured and murdered. This treatment of the Africans was later applied to Jews and other enemies of the Nazi regime in Germany, by the same units of troops that had practised their deadly craft on Africa.»

Enzo Traverso, who teaches political science in France, alleges: «The Herero people numbering more than 80,000 at the begin of 1904 has been decreased to 8,000 at the end of that year due to systematic actions of persecution, destruction and deportation to the desert, which was classified as ‹deliberative politics of genocide› by some historians.« Peter Carstens of the University of Toronto whole-heartedly agrees, although his numbers significantly differ: »When the rebellion was suppressed in 1907, their numbers in the colony had been reduced from 100,000 to 25,000.« The London-based Peace Pledge Union asserts, the German soldiers were paid well to pursue the Herero into this treacherous wilderness. They were also ordered to poison the few water-holes there. Others set up guard posts along a 150-mile border: any Herero trying to get back was killed.

No allegation seems to be too grotesque, no accusation too absurd. In 1998, well-known American journalist of the Dallas Morning News, Todd Bensman, wrote without any shame: «From 1904 to 1915 [!], the Kaiser’s troops systematically exterminated as many as 80,000 Herero, a scarcely known slaughter of Teutonic efficiency that produced forced labor camps, sex slaves and the first academic ‹studies› of supposed Aryan superiority.» The Socialist writer Tom Sanders states: «Oral histories say men slit the throats of cattle to drink the blood. […] Some Hereros cut open the bellies of the dead to drink the liquid from their stomachs. Men who escaped the desert were lynched in Ku Klux Klan style.« Although this allegation is purely subjective, it nevertheless enjoys international mainstream support! A couple of years ago, the BBC seriously stated, the «Germans drove the Herero into the Omaheke desert, sealing the last water holes off before erecting a fence to keep them out.»

The advocates of the extermination thesis state, «the annihilation of the Hereros» was actually «the first genocide of the 20th century». It would now becoming increasingly clear that this «merciless German undertaking in Namibia, sowed the first seeds from which Adolf Hitler plucked ideas for his racial experiments against the Jews in the Nazi holocaust that came 40 years later.» No wonder, that the human rights group Society for Threatened Peoples - Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker could seriously proclaim: «Judged by all historic criteria the Herero’s claim is the same claim as that of the Jews.»

As in many others cases regarding demands for «reparation», also here the number of the alleged victims seems not to be too unambiguous. Riruako figures quite adventurously: «According to research, today we would have been a people of 2 million souls, in place of the 400,000 to 500,000 we are today.» Well, this is amazing! According to official statements, Namibia today has a total population of some 1.8 million people of which just about 100,000 are Hereros. In January 2004 Riruako even broadcasted «there was an additional number of «about 500,000 people of Herero origin living in Germany.»

There has never been an official counting of the population before the Herero uprising. 100 years ago, Missionary Friedrich Bernsmann estimated the strength of the Herero people just before their outbreak to 35,000. He, furthermore, guessed that of these 23,000 to 25,000 Hereros survived the uprising Although theses figures are based on estimations only, Bernsmann’s statements are fairly true. According to declarations made by the Rheinische Mission, the main Christian mission in German South West Africa, in the entire Herero/Damaraland about 4,400 natives, 3,000 of them Herero, had been baptized at the end of 1901. If one agrees with the respective documentation that at the time of the outbreak about 10% of the indigenous population had been christianised, then this calculation results in about 30,000 kinsmen of Herero people.

Furthermore, the former Judge of the Supreme Court of South West Africa, Israel Goldblatt, evaluates in his book History of South West Africa that in 1921 – about 15 years after the war – number of Herero population was just above 31,000. Within the next four decades it rose to just above 35,000. This natural growth rate clearly indicates that it is biologically impossible for the «Herero survivors» to triple or even quadruple within not even one generation, what they, however, must have achieved, if the numbers given by the exterminationists were true.

Based on demographic facts we can trust, there were at the most 30,000 Herero in 1904. Not all of them did participate in the uprising. At Waterberg about 22,000 Herero assembled, inclusively women and children. These are the realistic numbers that we have to deal with and not the astronomically exaggerated and politically motivated allegations offered by the advocates of the legend of the genocide.

Nevertheless, chieftain of the Hereros, Kuaima Riruako, unashamedly preaches the suppression of the uprising would have been «a war of genocide» in which over 80,000 Hereros were decimated in a «Nazi-Jews style of killing». Without inhibition he compares this, what he titles, «German cruelty» to «the Holocaust» and proclaims: «We’re equal to the Jews who were destroyed. […] The Germans paid for spilled Jewish blood. We say, ‹Compensate us, too!› It’s time to heal the wound.» So what are the historical facts? In August 1904 about 22,000 kinsmen of the Herero people – children and women inclusive – came together at Waterberg. They were by no means defeated, neither did they intend to surrender. Under historic view, it is not true to pretend on 11 August just one decisive battle would have taken place. In fact, there were a couple of battles and skirmishes separated from each other up to 50 kilometres in distance. The biggest of all was that one at the waterholes of Hamakari which almost ended up in a disaster for the Germans. During all battles, the Hereros never gave up the initiative. Undefeated and without being ultimately threatened, their leader, chieftain Samuel Maharero, however, took a fatal decision that following night. The Hereros scattered in all directions, most of them south-easterly towards the Omaheke. The Imperial troops were incapable to hinder them from doing so, particularly it was impossible for them to follow. Both, horses and men, were totally exhausted. German patrols that tried to follow the Hereos had to return after a few days only. So, the Hereros were able to move off in segments and bunches of people fast, but quite undisturbed by the Germans.

Only weeks later the German military forces were able to follow. This was not a hunt, but rather a strenuous following on the tracks of the Hereros. There was no «forcing them aside the Sandfeld» like the exterminationists state. When the Germans finally reached Osombo Windimbe, the place where General Lothar von Trotha declared his proclamation to some Herero late-comers and stragglers on 2 October, the Herero were dispersed all over the entire area for a long time. Samuel Maharero and his followers were safe in British Bechuanaland since the last week of September, for example. Others had made it southwards and went back to their homelands even up to Walvis Bay. Others again had fled northwards to Ovamboland. Most of them had disappeared into the bush. It is complete nonsense to assume, the Hereros on that stage were still in the Omaheke. There was not the slightest possibility that they might «flow back» from the desert «into the German lines».

What about the general treatment of the Herero by the Germans? In a letter to the editor of the Windhoek daily Allgemeine Zeitung dated 28 July 1961, Mr. R. Sarnow, a former soldier who served in the Schutztruppe during the Herero uprising, confessed: «…that every Herero man, woman or child who surrendered, was sent to the mission station and provided for. […] We German soldiers were no undisciplined soldateska who senselessly murdered, but we were an absolutely disciplined troop, who did not harm any unarmed Herero.» Marxist historians, of course, know better. Well-known Communist historian Horst Drechsler, for example, claims: «In reality the different treatment of men on the one hand and women and children on the other was not made. All Herero, irrespective of men, women and children, were killed whenever they fell into the hands of German soldiers.» Such assertions, sold as historical facts, are continuously found in the media. The German leftist paper junge Welt, for instance, wrote: «Mass shootings of prisoners and decimation of wounded Herero warriors was the order of the day. Even women and children were killed during such battles, sometimes even burned alive.» Those of you, ladies and gentlemen, who know history, and mainstream historiography in particular, are reminded here of the propaganda horror stories of World War One – children with chopped-off hands – or reminded of the Iraq-Kuwait war – babies torn out of their incubators. The truth-content of these stories is akin to that of the gossip the Germans were butchering the Herero.

Nobody else than Colonel Deimling, who after World War One became a leftist pacifist, confirmed that in spite of the bestial rawness, that the Herero displayed towards wounded German soldiers, thousands of Herero were made prisoners and treated with humanity: «Innocent, defenceless prisoners and women were treated humanely and with the utmost patience; often I saw how our people shared with the prisoners what little water and food they had.»

Indeed, in authentic primary sources we again and again come across accounts that German soldiers, especially towards children, were humane in the truest sense of the word. Captain Bayer, for instance, has reported another classic example that arose during a hot pursuit of the Herero and that can be taken to be typical of such a behaviour: «A Herero child about 4 years of age sat at a waterhole and looked at us with wide-open, surprised eyes. We had to stop there for a moment. Our troopers stood around the baby and wondered how it could be saved from certain death. Finally someone decided: ‹We need to find this baby a mother.› Quickly a few riders ran into the bushes and finally found an old Herero woman, a shrivelled old woman, whom they placed the child on her lap. Then they got a goat and someone began to milk it. The almost empty udder yielded a quarter cup of milk, which they gave to the child. They tied a rope around the goat’s neck and handed the end to the old woman. It was a wonderful picture: the old smiling Herero woman, the child and the milk goat; in front of them our soldiers who enjoyed this peaceful scene.» Lieutenant Erich von Salzmann reported another characteristic example. Near to the water-hole Owikokorero the Germans detected two indigenous women. The one »had a baby about one week of age and looked incredibly pitiful. She soon noticed that we had compassion for her, since she was quite successful in her attempts of begging. We gave her corned-beef and she filled up her stomach very quickly.«

The humane attitude of the German soldiers was well-known amongst the Hereros who gave up fighting or were taken prisoners. There are even some remarkable and authentic Herero sources proofing this fact. The honourable evangelist Andreas Kukuri, for instance, who was among those who made it through the Omaheke desert in September 1904, confessed, when he and his segment were captured they were sent to missionary Eich who said «Let’s make true peace!» and then «we returned to our regions and territories.» Quite similar are the announcements made by prominent Herero wise men in interviews made by the Michael Scott Project during the early eighties. Perhaps most impressive of all, is the testimony of Amanda, the well-bred literate daughter of Captain Zacharias from Otjimbingwe. She admitted to have handed in herself to the Germans, because she knew the Germans would do Herero women no harm. These provable historical facts, ladies and gentlemen, doubtlessly indicate the blameless attitude of German soldiers, who en gros never enchanted to brutal maltreatments or even worse towards native people in German South West Africa.

Hans Germani, world famous journalist of the German daily Die Welt, spoke to Chief Clemens Kapuuo, the leader of the Herero in the seventies. Germani asked the prominent Herero what his attitude towards Germans was, who were blamed to have had committed genocide on his people: «You know, this is actually nonsense. Both of us are martial people, the very best here in South West Africa. At that time we fought each other, you have been the stronger one. Sure, lots of us died on the run through the desert – but what is that supposed to mean? We should avoid digging in old graves, because that will never create a future. Take a look on my Herero. At their annual celebrations they wear old German uniforms and decorate themselves with military ranks [that are directly rooted from German terminology, for example] ‹Leutnanti›, ‹Oberleutnanti›, ‹Hoppmann›, ‹Majora›. In a fundamental manner we have a deep respect for the Germans.» Kapuuo, however, expressly excluded the Federal Germans («Bonner Deutsche»).

Ladies and gentlemen, let me finish my expositions with a last striking argument. During the uprising the British military attaché Colonel Trench accompanied the German high command during its military actions. He became acquainted with basically all German officers and all places of military action. He was the neutral eyewitness par excellence. Who – if not this British officer! – would have made detailed reports about violations of human rights? However, in none of the essential archives (neither in Windhoek nor in London nor in Pretoria) are there to be found any documents, that might give the smallest hint that this qualified officer had made any negative reports to his superiors in London. This fact is of vital importance, since it is to be taken for granted that – if there were any incidents, which were to be connected with even the slightest suspicion to be regarded as maltreatment or even genocide – Trench would certainly have reported such illegal acts and crimes to his superior office. He would certainly never had concealed them. The fact that there is no such report is logical, because there was nothing to report in that direction, since the Germans have not committed any atrocities or even genocide on the Herero people in 1904.

FOOTNOTES and additional information:

 For further information please consult the two standard books on this topic written by Dr. Nordbruch:

-          Claus Nordbruch, Sind Gedanken noch frei? Zensur in Deutschland, München Universitas, 2nd, enlarged and revised edition 2001.

-          Claus Nordbruch, Der Angriff. Eine Staats- und Gesellschafskritik an der »Berliner Republik«, Tübingen Hohenrain 2003.

You are also welcome to visit Dr. Nordbruch’s homepage in this regard:

Die Welt, 8 September 2001.

Massacre returns to haunt Germans, in The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 July 1990.

Land pressure mounting in Namibia, in, 28 August 2002.

Wolfgang Mayer (et al.): Schwarz-Weiß-Rot in Afrika, Puchheim 1985, p. 183.

Thomas Bastar, Länder, die im dunkeln bleiben, in Das Sonntagsblatt, 4 April 1997.

Enzo Traverso, Die Moderne und die Barbarei, Sozialistische Zeitung, 7 December 2000.

Encyclopaedia Americana, Vol. 14, New York 1971, p. 137.

Todd Bensman, Forgotten Victims: African Tribe Wants Apology, in Dallas Morning News, cited from

Tom Sanders, Imperialism and Genocide in Namibia, in: Socialist Action, Vol. April 1999.

Tax wars, in:

The tribe Germany wants to forget, in: New African, Vol. March 2000.

German Government must apologise for genocide of the Herero (Namibia), Press release 31 August 2001.

Herero-Häuptling fordert von Deutschland Entschädigung, in Die Welt, 3 September 2001.

Namibia recalls Herero uprising, in Argus (Cape Town) 10 January 2004.

See attachment No. 3 of the conference of Herero missionaries in Otjibingue in September 1906, (Archives of the Rheinische Mission, Barmen) quoted in N. Mossolow, Waterberg, Windhoek, 2nd ed., pp. 42.

See Berichte der Rheinischen Missions-Gesellschaft 1902, Barmen o. J., p. 228. This relativeness seems to be true. The then-Government secretary of the Imperial Colonial Office (Staatssekretär des Reichskolonialamts) Wilhelm Solf referred to statistics of both Christian missions that indicate that in 1914, i.e. 10 years after the war, some 32.200 natives had been christianized. (See. Wilhelm Solf, Die Missionen in den deutschen Schutzgebieten, Berlin 1918, pp. 43.)

I. Goldblatt, History of South West Africa, Cape Town/Johannesburg 1971, p. 265.

Quoted from Todd Bensman, Forgotten Victims: African Tribe Wants Apology, Dallas Morning News,

Horst Drechsler, Aufstände in Südwestafrika, Berlin 1984, p. 81.

Gerd Bedszent, Terror und Enteignung, in junge Welt, 13 March 1998.

Berthold von Deimling, Aus der alten in die neue Zeit, Berlin 1930, p. 69.

Maximilian Bayer, Mit dem Hauptquartier in Südwestafrika, Leipzig 1909, 2nd ed., p. 164.

Erich von Salzmann, Im Kampfe gegen die Herero, Berlin, 1905, 2nd ed., p. 186.

See Andreas Kukuri, Herero-Texte (translated into German and edited by Ernst Dammann), Berlin 1983, pp. 51.

See Annemarie Heywood (et al.) (ed.): Warriors leaders sages and outcasts in the Namibian past, Windhoek 1992.

See Claus Nordbruch, Der Hereroaufstand 1904, Stegen 2002, p. 114.

Hans Germani, Rettet Südwest, Munich/Berlin 1982, pp. 74. (My translation).

See, i.e., Maximilian Bayer, Mit dem Hauptquartier in Südwestafrika, op. cit., p. 269.

For further information please consult the two standard books on this topic written by Dr. Nordbruch:

-          Claus Nordbruch, Der Hereroaufstand 1904, Inning Vowinckel 2001.

-          Claus Nordbruch, Völkermord an der Herero in Deutsch-Südwestafrika? Widerlegung einer Lüge, Tübingen Grabert 2004.

Dr. Nordbruch’s homepage: