As a port and trading city, Hamburg was at the very heart of German colonial history between 1884 and 1918. The majority of German settlers and colonial soldiers got on board here. So did 15,000 soldiers of the ‘protection force’, who under the command of Lothar von Trotha in ‘German South West Africa’ battled against the anti-colonial resistance of the Herero tribe. Expropriation, oppression and exploitation of the locals by the whites led to resistance from the Herero. The decisive battle came at Waterberg on 11th August 1904. But von Trotha did not stop at the victory of his troops. Thousands were driven into the Omaheke desert, waterholes were closed off and a firing squad shot at anyone who tried to return. 80 per cent of the Herero people were killed. Germany’s guilt for the first genocide of the 20th century is not in question. Nevertheless to this day there has still been no official apology from the German government and the claims of the descendants are currently being heard in court in New York.
David Ndjavera, named Namibia’s best director and himself a Herero descendent, stages this production together with Gernot Grünewald, who is well known for his documentary theatre work on political themes. With a Namibian-German ensemble they approach this traumatic chapter in colonial history in an international co-production.
World Premiere January 2020, thalia gauß