The First Genocide of the 20th Century

Nearly 100,000 people died, but you probably didn't learn about the Namibian Genocide in history class, the first genocide of the 20th century.

The forgotten Namibian genocide, first of the 20th century

Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, is distinguished by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast. The country is home to diverse wildlife, including a significant cheetah population. The capital, Windhoek, and coastal town Swakopmund contain German colonial-era buildings such as Windhoek's Christuskirche, built in 1907. In the north, Etosha National Park’s salt pan draws game including rhinos and giraffes.

It is the birthplace of the world’s first genocide of the 20th century in Namibia, the Herero and the Nama were exterminated. In January 1904, the Herero revolted against the German colonizers, killing around 100 people. In response, German general Lothar von Trotha was sent there to subdue the rebellion. Known for his cruelty, he signed an extermination order. The soldiers forced the children to watch all these murders. The colonial army developed various genocide techniques: massacres, exile in the desert and concentration camps. Children, women, old people, men, everyone had to be exterminated. They forced them into the desert, where they died of hunger, they poisoned their wells. Roughly 50% of the Nama and 80% of the Herero were exterminated and nearly 100,000 people died based on data from the Courtesy of National. Their skulls were then sent to Germany for scientific experiments.

Physician Eugen Fischer, whose historical racist writings would influence Adolf Hitler, officiated in the Namibian camps. His goal was to prove the superiority of the white race. Although they represented nearly 40% of the Namibian population at the beginning of the century, the Herero now account for only 7%. For the past three decades, descendants have been demanding recognition and reparations from the German authorities. They have consistently refused to talk to us, arguing that we are a non-sovereign, non-state entity.

Several German leaders have already recognized this genocide, but the government opposes any financial reparations.


06/25/2019 12:00 PM


  • Fisher K.
    07/07/2021 16:51

    Does Germany citizens looks at this video and feel proud of what they have done in past, or they just drink coffee and start whispering to it!

  • Prince T.
    02/03/2020 21:48

    So sad

  • Uirab U.
    01/13/2020 10:49

    Why only Namas and Hereros what about Damaras and bushmans the original inhabitants of Namibian soil and in some history contexts is the nama leaders who were hunting down damaras so does hereros also hunt namas Jesus we are confused.

  • Louis K.
    12/27/2019 22:15

    The boers also had a genocide from the brittish soldiers, but managed to rise from the ashes. Never seeked any reparation from the anyone, and still became one of the strongest economies in the world.

  • Mukao L.
    12/27/2019 21:08

    Herereros deserve that because no where on earth you can get stupid people like them

  • Loraine M.
    08/12/2019 23:55

    But Namibia wasnt alone. It was scramble for Africa remember, so these genocides took place everywhere these people stepped their foot. Let's always remember that.

  • Psalmist L.
    07/13/2019 10:06

    And this history is not taught in Germany schools. Sad that recent generations in Germany knows nothing about this

  • Fisher K.
    07/07/2019 20:10

    Germany are still cruelly in Namibia!

  • Kuhanga L.
    07/06/2019 16:18

    Patji ngarikotoke mapeuombo opuwo tuaurua nao

  • Vernon C.
    06/30/2019 23:15

    To treat people this way very very sad devils devils devils

  • Ruben C.
    06/30/2019 18:00

    If we don't learn history will repeat itself and right now we are in the middle of another one here in the USA, open your eyes!

  • Mateo M.
    06/30/2019 15:51


  • Arnita V.
    06/30/2019 14:19

    Wow I bet their souls burning in hell right now for all that they did to those people.. OH WELL

  • Michael B.
    06/30/2019 11:47

    So much history hidden by the oppressors! This is why history is so important for people to know and learn, and to not allow this to ever happen again! The fact that it does return time and time again just underscores what happens when history is denied or manipulated!

  • Salman H.
    06/30/2019 04:08

    Hiirad Yare Christian waxay bini aadan ka u gasteeen markay Diinta Christian fidi naayeeen adna Waad diiday

  • Patsy C.
    06/30/2019 02:40


  • Joseph P.
    06/30/2019 01:41


  • Pat R.
    06/29/2019 21:27

    No, you'll find that alot of history was not toll in school wonder why... right

  • Mani B.
    06/29/2019 21:14

    Colonialism at its worst. Sad, but move on.

  • Geushia A.
    06/29/2019 19:37

    Around the world the descendants of Cain harms all