Friday 28, April
Berlin’s controversial Herero Stone is vandalised
In a city that isn’t exactly short of controversial monuments, this might be the most outrageous.
German colonial troops under the command of Lothan von Trotha carried out a campaign of ethnic extermination against the Herero and Namaqua peoples
The so-called Hererostein sits in the garrison cemetery on Columbiadamm in Berlin-Neukölln. First laid in 1907, it commemorates seven German soldiers who volunteered for the campaign in South West Africa between 1904 and 1907 and – as the stones states – “died a hero’s death”. The truth is, however, that German colonial troops in South West Africa under the command of Lothan von Trotha carried out a campaign of ethnic extermination against the Herero and Namaqua peoples in those years in what is now considered to be the first genocide of the 20th century. The fact that a monument remains in place today naming the perpetrators of this as heroes has brought much criticism – although the city government has so far refused to alter or take down the memorial.
Now, it seems, activists are taking matters into their own hands. Some members of the group “End the worship of genocides” vandalised the stone last week, writing over it in black letters: “No racist commemoration of Nazis and the perpetrators of genocide”. Sascha Effler, a spokesperson for the group, told the Tagespiegel, “It’s a scandal that there is not a single memorial to the Overherero and Nama people in Berlin, but instead a genocide stone that has been sitting here for a hundred years.”
It’s not the first time the stone has been vandalised. In fact, it happens with such regularity that the stains what is sometimes called the Africa Stone were still visible from the last time activists smeared it with red paint to invoke its blood-soaked legacy.