27 April 2012 | Leserbriefe

Show and tell the stories

In August 2014 it will be 100 years ago that the "Great War" broke out in Europe and plunged the entire world into chaos and conflict (First World War 1914-1918). Even the people residing in the then German South West Africa - today Namibia - could not escape being drawn inevitably into this war.

With the Union of South Africa being part of the British Commonwealth, Britain requested the Union to occupy its neighbouring country of German South West Africa, which was a German protectorate. Whilst German troops and citizens were expecting an invasion by Union troops there was very little they could do to stop it and within a year Union troops occupied the country. German troops and citizens were rounded up and sent to internment camps in the Union and perhaps also locally in South West Africa.

I have come across an extraordinary collection of photographs of people in the internment camp in Pietermaritzburg where German citizens were held. Most likely the people who were interned have already all passed away. In the hope that their stories and with a bit of luck photographs have been preserved by their families, it may well be time to haul them out and "show and tell" their stories to the people of this country and beyond. This could serve as a reminder of the fact that this was part of this country's history and to acknowledge their plight and give them a place and voice once more.
Perhaps there are also stories from our black compatriots who were involved with or interned during the First World War - because of their employment with German families or other affiliations (whatever they may be), and had perhaps passed their stories on orally to their children.

There may of course be someone out there who has already written something or has a collection of photographs/letters on the subject. There may also be literature on this subject that readers/historians would like to share.

If there is anyone that can or would like to respond kindly make contact.

Brenda Bravenboer (Documenting Living History, PO Box 21796, Windhoek, Tel. +264-61-233858, E-mail: [email protected])

Gleiche Nachricht

 

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