Katharina von Hammerstein, Professor of German Studies and member of UConn’s Human Rights Institute, was interviewed by Courthouse News on the current Herero and Nama lawsuit against Germany at the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York for the article “For Victims of a Little-Known Genocide, a Long Journey to Justice.” As a scholar of testimonies on the Herero genocide at the hands of German colonial troops in the early 20th century in what is today Namibia (Africa), she has called for an awareness in the history books of these horrendous events and for reparation to the Ovaherero and Nama peoples. The following is an excerpt from the article:
“This is a unique and historical case, and through this process we succeeded to educate the world about the Ovaherero and Nama genocide at the hands of German soldiers, and in the process put brakes on the so-called government-to-government genocide and reparation negotiations,” said Katuuo, who founded the Association of the Ovaherero Genocide in the USA.
“We are going to take advantage of every avenue available to us within the United States judicial system, and hold ‘mighty’ Germany accountable for the crimes they have committed against the Nama and Ovaherero peoples,” Katuuo added in an email.
Several experts contacted about the case called it important for German society and government to do right by the Ovaherero and Nama, particularly given how the West has grappled for decades with fallout from the Holocaust. The latest version of Katuuo’s complaint calls Germany’s annihilation efforts in southwest Africa a “precursor” to the events of World War II less than four decades later.