All deaths were not a result of genocide: German lecturer

06 Mar 2014 12:10pm
BERLIN, 06 MAR (NAMPA) - Not all skulls and human remains which are being repatriated from the Charité University in Germany to Namibia were a result of the 1904-1908 genocide in Namibia, a lecturer from the university has said.
The Namibian delegation, which is being led by Minister of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture Jerry Ekandjo received a second consignment of 21 skulls and three human skeletons at the Charité University in Berlin on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the Namibians officially received 14 skulls from the University of Freiburg in south-western Germany.
Speaking to Nampa on the sidelines of the official handing-over ceremony on Wednesday, anatomy lecturer Dr Andreas Winkelmann said according to historical records, more than half of the remains point to malnutrition and difficult living conditions.
Historical records show that two Damara women - a mother and her daughter - are thought to have been killed by a German farmer as punishment for trying to abscond from his farm, while four OvaHerero people were most likely victims of the 1904-08 genocide.
Another one of the deceased, who is of Nama descent, died in the notorious concentration camp on Shark Island at Lüderitz.
Dr Winkelmann stated that death from natural causes was recorded in three cases, with pneumonia being mentioned as one cause of death.
In most other cases, remains were found in the environment or taken from graves in an open landscape, but the causes of death of these people remain unknown.
During a private viewing of the skulls, Winkelmann revealed that two of the skulls were of a woman and her foetus, but it has not yet been established whether the mother died while giving birth, or after birth.
He said more skulls will in all likelihood be collected from Germany as the university is still carrying out research on more human remains of Namibian origin.
According to him, 10 more skulls could be collected during the course of this year.
He emphasised that the Namibian skulls and human remains which were brought to Berlin in 1913 were not used for teaching and experimental purposes at the university.
Of the 21 skulls and incomplete human skeletons estimated to be aged between six months and 55 years at the time of their death, four are Herero, eight San, five Nama, two Damara and two Ovambo, while the others are incomplete skeletons and a foetus.
The majority were females who died at different places in various parts of Namibia.