Book Review: The Kaiser’s Holocaust by David Olusoga and Casper W. Erichsen
The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s forgotten genocide and the colonial roots of Nazism is one of my favourite books – non-fiction and fiction – of 2010. It’s an absolutely gripping colonial history of German South-West Africa (today’s Namibia) with a special focus on the genocidal near-extermination of the indigenous Herero and Nama people under the regime of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last German emperor.
If you have not heard about this atrocious period in southern African history, this is a definite must read – you’ll be shocked. The Kaiser’s Holocaust not only leads you through the historical background and the factual details of this human tragedy, but it also makes some intriguing connections – from the terminology of racial supremacy and brownshirt uniforms to extermination camps – between the German colonial experience and the horror unleashed by the Nazis on Europe in later years.
This is history writing the way I like it: academically sound, yet accessible, revealing, thought-provoking and utterly absorbing. Highly recommended!
Andreas Späth, Idasa
The Kaiser’s Holocaust is available at Lobby Books for R150 (hardcover).