|German Colonial Troops Executing Prisoners (mislabeled SWA)|
I am uneasy making this observation, feeling as if the forest has been missed for the trees, when I point out that in this one case, in multiple citations, a picture of a mass hanging of African prisoners has been misidentified with the German Herero War of 1904 rather than a colonial conflict in German East Africa. Aside from the horrific image itself, and the brutality of colonialism it commemorates, there are two reasons to suspect that it was not taken in Southwest Africa.
The first is the color of the hat bands on the feldmutz worn by the three Schutztruppen who stand before the scaffold. Although the images are in black and white, the hat bands are clearly too light to be the blue color worn in Southwest Africa, as shown at left in an image from 1912-1914 showing two Schutztruppe commanders (Von Heydenbeck and Franke) wearing feldmutz with bands in their colony's color. The three men in the image above, however, are wearing what appear to be white bands, such as were worn in German East Africa prior to World War I.
I believe that this image actually records an execution that may have taken place between 1905-1907 in East Africa during the Maji Maji uprising. Summary executions, like the one that is likely depicted above, were used to suppress the Maji Maji resistance. Many Africa people - perhaps even more than who died in German Southwest Africa during the same period - may have been killed or died as a result of this contemporary colonial conflict in German East Africa. It does not diminish the evidence of German brutality in either colony to say that this picture belongs to one conflict and not the other.