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Southwest Africa Monument

“Thank you for taking me to this monument. Ahough it is hidden, I don’t know how many people can see the monument. There’s so many brush, you know, around it, that I don’t think anyone can see it. But the point is what is written on it… It honours the soldiers from Germany, who went to Namibia and who killed our people. There’s no mention of the victims. Now, if you want to talk about healing. Between all of us. I think that we acknowledge the crime that was committed, and you cannot apologise for anything unless you truly, truly show remorse that I’m remorseful. I have done wrong. I’m asking for forgiveness. I come to you and ask for forgiveness. You don’t come to me as a perpetrator of the crime and tell me what fashion that apology has to take. That’s unacceptable.” – Dr. Ngondi Kamaṱuka

The “Southwest Africa Monument” is a war memorial erected in 1910. It belongs, as for example the Bismarck Tower, to the places that unreflectively and glorifyingly remind of Göttingen’s colonial past. Despite years of protests against the monument, the city of Göttingen refuses to critically engage with it, reinterpret it, or tear it down. Since the 1970s, protests against this colonial revisionism have been made in many ways, for instance by removing the eagle that was originally placed above the monument.

It honors four Göttingen soldiers who died in the suppression of a Herero and Nama uprising (1904-08, in what is now Namibia) against German colonial rule. The use of the German “Schutztruppen” against the anti-colonial resistance, in which between 60,000 and 80,000 Herero and Nama died, is considered genocide. We clearly advocate a critical approach to this memorial, there should be no places that positively commemorate and glorify the colonial past.
More information about the “Southwest Africa Monument” and the protests against it can be found in an article by the Basisgruppe Geschichte Göttingen (Basic Group for History Göttingen).

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