Towns build around and on concentration camps: The War in German Southwest-Africa and its urban trajectories
Date and Start Time 01 July, 2017 at 09:00
The genocidal wars in German Southwest-Africa from 1904 onwards saw the rapid construction of concentration and military camps in or close to emerging towns, leading to the emergence of a particular urban landscape and first urban identities in Namibia.
The genocidal wars in German Southwest-Africa from 1904 onwards saw the rapid construction of concentration camps and other prisoner-of-war and labour camps, apart from colonial military camps. They were often build in or close to emerging towns and settlements and in close proximity to each other, displaying a bewildering network of infrastructures, economies and relationships. Population figures exploded rapidly and at times dropped sharply again after a few years. Detailed everyday histories of these camps remain scarce as are histories on the very uneven urbanisation processes which grew out of the (shifting) camp/settlement networks. African and settler histories tend to pin their urban roots and claims down to these years of violence and survival, planning and boom. This panel invites (comparative) presentations and discussion on these key issues which arguably underpinned the emergence of a particular urban landscape in central and southern Namibia.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Yiddish Perspectives on the Ova Herero-Namaqua Genocide
An unexplored field is the reception of the Herero-Nama Genocide in Yiddish journalistic, historical and literary texts written by Yiddish-speaking authors from Namibia and South Africa, were they emigrated in the 19th and 20th century.
The Herero-Nama genocide couldn't be ignored by the Jewish population that fled pogroms and persecution. But its discovery by Holocaust survivors from the Lithuanian ghettos of Vilnius and Kovno, the writers and poets Avrom Sutzkever and Dovid Wolpe, who emigrated to South Africa in 1951, opens new perspectives.
Built on War: Policing towns and military camps in German Southwest Africa, 1905-1915.
This paper will investigate into the ways in which the police force in German Southwest-Africa built on war and the military (its physical infrastructure, but also its ideologies, values, and practices) to police the emerging urban areas of German Southwest-Africa.
The police force in German Southwest-Africa - the so called berittene Landespolizei für Deutsch Südwest - was created in the midst of the ongoing war of annihilation which the German army waged against the African population living there. Most of its 600 to 700 members had fought as soldiers in the war or had been involved in it, on either side. These men were both African and German, and they were charged with the task to bring a new order to a colonized and colonizing society marked by extreme violence, suffering, and fear.
My paper investigates into the practices of policing in the emerging urban areas of German Southwest-Africa towards the end of the war. I claim that the police built on the war and on the military - both on its physical remainders as well as on its non-material legacies - in order to fulfill its mission. Yet, the paper will also show that these policing practices were no longer inscribed into a logic of war and absolute destruction, but rather made up a culture of everyday, run-of-the-mill violence in which all inhabitants of the colonial settlement sought an elusive stability through the regularized ways in which they built individual lives, formed and reformed communities, and organized social life.
Death and Modernities
Taking the Lüderitz Bay area and its various camps as example, the paper discusses dynamics of infrastructure, sanitation and labour policies in order to chart urban trajectories of modernities and death in southern Namibia between 1905 and 1909.
Taking the Lüderitz Bay area and its various camps as example, the paper discusses dynamics of infrastructure, sanitation and labour policies in order to chart urban trajectories of modernity and death in southern Namibia between 1905 and 1909. The paper is exploraory and makes use of the private letters of a Swiss medical camp doctor reporting on the area and themes of concern.
A place of eclectic remembrance: Visiting Luderitz’s Shark Island today
In stark contrast to their sheer number, the concentration camps in German South-West Africa, installed during the German-Namibian War (1904–1908) remain mostly undocumented.
In stark contrast to their sheer number, the concentration camps in German South-West Africa, installed during the German-Namibian War (1904–1908) remain mostly undocumented. The development of the town of Luderitz is strongly connected to the war and the Shark Island concentration camp I will discuss Shark Island as a place of remembrance and oblivion and contrast the lack of remembering the island’s past with a recent project by the Namibian visual artist Nicola Brandt.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.