Order of Lothar von Trotha to the Herero People (1904)


Windhuk 2 October 1904

I, the great general of the German soldiers, send this letter to the Hereros. The Hereros are no longer German subjects. They have killed, stolen, cut off the ears and other parts of the body of wounded soldiers, and now are too cowardly to want to fight any longer. I announce to the people that anyone who hands in one of the chiefs as a prisoner to any of my stations shall receive 1,000 marks, whoever brings Samuel Maherero will receive 5,000 marks. The Herero nation must leave the country. If it refuses, I shall force it to do so with the ‘Groot Rohr’ (cannon).

Any Herero found inside the German frontier, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot dead. I shall spare neither women nor children. I shall give the order to drive them away and fire on them. These are my words to the Herero people. The Great General of the Mighty German Kaiser

(Written underneath to be read to troops) This proclamation is to read to the troops at roll-call, with the addition that the unit that catches a captain will also receive the appropriate reward, and that the shooting at women and children is to be understood as shooting above their heads, so as to force them to run [away]. I assume absolutely that this proclamation will result in taking no more male prisoners, but will not degenerate into atrocities against women and children. The latter will run away if one shoots at them a couple of times. The troops will remain conscious of the good reputation of the German soldier

From: Bundesarchiv Berlin