NewsGermany apologizes to Tanzania. "I would like to ask for forgiveness"

Germany apologizes to Tanzania. "I would like to ask for forgiveness"

The Federal President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, apologized to the nation of Tanzania for the harm that German colonists caused to their ancestors.
The Federal President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, apologized to the nation of Tanzania for the harm that German colonists caused to their ancestors.
Images source: © Getty Images | Simona Granati - Corbis

6:02 PM EDT, November 1, 2023

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German Federal President, issued an apology to the citizens of Tanzania for the horrific actions of German colonizers. The apology took place in the city of Songea, a location where a public uprising against German rule was savagely quelled between 1905 and 1907.

The United Republic of Tanzania originated from the merger of the former British colonies of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Before World War I, Tanganyika was under German ownership.

Steinmeier, while on his visit to the country, expressed his contrition for the era of colonial rule in Tanzania, perpetrated by the German government. "I would like to ask for forgiveness for what Germans did to your ancestors here," he said.

He highlighted feelings of shame for the period when his compatriots took control in East Africa. He acknowledged that Germany had ruled the colony with a brutal hand.

The Federal President guaranteed that Germany was ready to reconcile with its past. He mentioned that many human remains were transported from East Africa to Germany during that period.

He underscored that the victims deserve to have their memory and dignity respected. He further added that he realizes the identification of human remains can be intricate, but Germany will make every effort to return them to Tanzania.

The apology comes from a city where a local rebellion, ruthlessly curbed by German colonists in 1907, occurred. Historians estimate as many as 300,000 people may have perished during the so-called Maji Maji uprising.

Germany's involvement in Africa began with Carl Peters commissioning the establishment of the German East African Society, followed by the forceful confiscation of Zanzibar Sultan's Land on Otto Bismarck's instructions. In the future, Germany swapped territories with the British, eventually culminating in the loss of these lands following the Treaty of Versailles.

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