October 3, 2007

Von Trotha family arrives 'to reconcile'

The relatives of a German general, who a century ago issued orders to his colonial troops to exterminate the Herero tribe, say they have come to Namibia to reconcile and contribute to healing the wounds of the past. Eleven members of the Von Trotha family, who are not direct descendants of the notorious General Lothar von Trotha but related to him, have arrived in Windhoek. It was exactly 103 years ago that General Von Trotha issued his infamous extermination order, ordering his troops to shoot at the fleeing Herero after the Battle of the Waterberg, The chairman of the Von Trotha Family Association, Wolf-Thilo von Trotha, told a welcoming delegation of Hereros: "We all bear the same family name and that is reason enough to deal with historical facts associated with General Lothar.
"We, the members of the Von Trotha family, are ashamed of the terrible events that took place a hundred years ago. We deeply regret what happened to your people and also to the Nama and Damara - the cruel and unjustified death of thousands of men, women and children," he said. "We support the public apology given by the German government (in 2004) and we will support the dialogue between Germany, Namibia and the Ovaherero people in our own modest way," Von Trotha read from a prepared statement. He emphasised that they came in their private capacity. The welcoming committee of the Ovaherero Genocide Committee of 1904 was led by DTA president Katuutire Kaura, Mburumba Kerina and Committee Secretary FestusTjikuua. The family was invited by the six Herero Royal Houses to attend the annual White Flag Day at Omaruru. Before, Herero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako warned the Von Trothas to "bring their own security" and hinted that something bad might happen to them should they visit historical sites where Hereros are buried. (The Namibian, Windhoek)

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